We decide to go to the Shaniwar Wada on the same day as the Lal Mahal, since they are both in the vicinity of each other. The Shaniwar Wada is an intimidating structure, thirteen storeys tall, and old to boot. It looks dusty and like it could use some leaning because of all the dirt of modern day pollution accumulating within the pores of its ornate architecture, but the Shaniwar Wada manages to look majestic in all this.
The entrance gate of the Shaniwar Wada is huge, with ornate Maratha-style architecture adorning the door frame. As we walk through the gates, we learn a little more about the history behind this mansion. Legend has it that the Elder Bajirao once saw a rabbit chasing a dog in this place. Taking this to symbolize victory, he was inspired to build the Shaniwar Wada, a place that would never see defeat. While the Peshwas were in power in Maharashtra, the Shaniwar Wada served as their headquarters, and even now is regarded as a popular sign that symbolized the culture of Pune.
The foundation of the Shaniwar Wada was supposedly laid in the 1700s by Bajirao, and the construction took a cost of what in today’s world would be a measly amount: Rs. 16,120. Its development did not end there; several of his successors made additions to improve the utility of the Wad as a stronghold by fortifying the walls by adding bastions, court halls and gates.
As we looked at the structure, it is easy to understand how the structure was fashioned to give the highest priority to security. There are multiple entrances, with the main one being called the ‘Delhi Darwaza’, and the others having names like ‘Ganesh’, ‘Mastani’ , ‘Jambhal’ and ‘Khidki’.
Sadly enough, what was once a structure of seven stories was razed by a fire in the palace. Now, its only the remains that can be seen, including the nine bastions that once enclosed the entire palace and the fortification walls with the five different gateways.
Currentlyhaving been renovated, it has a sprawling garden now and fountains that add splendour to its appearance. The attraction doesn’t end at that: we stayed the evening at the Shaniwar Wada to watch a beautiful light and music show that was a big part of the tourist magnet.