Shaniwar Wada is a legendary fort located in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. It was built in 1746 and served as the ruling seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire till 1818. While most part of the fort was destroyed in 1828 by a brutal fire, the remaining structure is now maintained by the government as a tourist site. Tourist visits this place due to the elegant architecture and craftsmanship.
This magnificent fort is unique in itself. It has many gates, fortified walls with bastions and court halls. It is a seven storied structure that reflects its beauty very well. The main gate of the fort is known as Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate) and the other popular gates are Mastani Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganehs Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja. The Mastani Darwaja was used by Mastani, second wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I. He later built a separate palace called the Mastani Mahal (previous post) for her. The walls of the palace fort were full of paintings especially the scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
A glamorous 16 petal lotus shaped fountain stands in the complex of the fort, shows the exquisite work of those times. It was basically constructed for the pleasure of the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao. Each petal of the fountain has sixteen jets with an eighty foot arch. It is said to be the most complex fountain created at that time.
This historic fort was once a residential area of 1,000 people. Other important buildings in the palace include the Thoraiya Rayancha Diwankhana, Naachacha Diwankhana and Juna Arsa Mahal. After the fire, only the living areas are available. The above said buildings have been designed and constructed by many well-known artisans, including Shivaram Krishna, Devaji, Kondaji Sutar, Morarji Patharwat Bhojraja and Ragho.
One can also enjoy the light and sound show available there, especially in the evening. So, during the tour of Maharashtra, this fort must be placed in the itinerary.