Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Nashik Travel Blog

After our visit to the Statue of Unity, we travelled to Nashik to drop Renuka’s Cousin. We stayed 3 days in Nashik before leaving for Pune. This was my first visit to Nashik as a tourist as earlier visits were for a family function.

Read my Travel Blog On Statue of Unity here

About Nashik
             Nashik city is situated at the Bank of Godavari River. It is 4th largest city in Maharashtra. As per Ramayana, Laxman cut the nose of Shurpanakha (Sister of Ravana) and thus the city was named Nashik. The city is famous for Kumbha Mela which held every 12 years. Nashik is also known as the wine capital of India.


23 December 2019: Nashik Local sightseen
             Our first destination was Nashik caves which are famous by name Pandav Leni. Pandav Leni name is nothing to do with Mahabharata’s characters Pandavas. I tried searching reason behind the name and found that earlier Caves name was Pundru Caves (In Pali language). After decades, people started calling Pandu and then word change (Term in Sanskrit apa-bhraṃśá/अपभ्रंश and in English corrupted form of a word by locals while passing name from 1 generation to another) to Pandav Caves. To visit Nashik Caves, you have to climb around 200 steps (around 20-25 min Hike). There is a total of 24 caves, one cave is chaitya (Cave number 18) and rest all are Viharas. Vihara means monastery for Buddhist whereas chaitya refers to Shrine or prayer Hall. These Caves carved between 1st Century BC and 3rd/4th century AD.

Steps to Nashik Cave

               Cave numbers start from rightmost cave starting with number 1 to Number 24 until the Left most point of Cave. Cave 1 and 2 are small in size Vihara cave. Cave 1 looks incomplete whereas Cave 2 have sitting and standing Buddha carved on the wall. You can see water trenches just besides cave 2. Cave 3 is known as Gautamiputra Vihara. It is the largest cave of the Nashik cave complex. Queen Gotami, the mother of Gautamiputra Satakarni (Satavahana Empire), built it and dedicated to Buddhist Samgha. Total of 18 cells is present in the cave. The entrance has six pillars carved with the story. You can see Bodhi tree, Stupa, Chakra and Dvarapal (Gatekeeper) over the entrance. There is a script available at the entrance of the cave, which describes the glory life of Queen Gautami mother of glorious king Gautamiputra.

Nashik Cave Number 3

Cave Number 3

                Caves 4 and 5 are destroyed and no script available on the wall of caves. These caves are small and you can see the few Monks Cells. Merchant dedicated cave 6 to Monks. Ascetic named Tapasini and Fisherman respectively dedicates caves 7 and 8 to monks. Cave 9 is small and no information is available.

Nashik Cave Number 4

Nashik Cave Number 8

               Cave 10 is Nahapana Vihara and it is second largest Cave from Nashik Cave complex. Nahapana was the Ruler of the Western Kshatrapas emperor. Total of 16 cells is present in the cave. Pillars and walls are carving are beautiful whereas carving on pillars is similar to Karla Caves from Pune. Carved script is available in Cave 10, which describes that Cave donated to monks along with 3000 gold coin and food after defeating Satavahana Empire in year 106 CE.

Nashik Cave Number 10

               Cave 11 is Jain Cave and it has idol figure of goddess Ambika and Lord Indra. Cave 12, 13 and 14 are next to each other and small in size. You can see carved Buddha inside Caves and No script available in the caves. Cave 17 is Yavana Vihara and built-in 120 CE. It is close to the Chaitya Cave, which is Cave number 18. Cave 18 has Stupa and Pillars to complete Parikrama around Stupa.

Cave Number 15

Nashik Cave Number 18 - Chaitya Cave

Cave 18 - Stupa

                Cave 19 is Sri Yajan Vihara and it contained a total of 21 cells. Hall in the cave is large and Shrine at the end of the wall. Shrine area has two cells. Shrine has 10 feet high Buddha seated on feet on a lotus. Carving style of Inner and outer part of caves are different which denoted that is carved in two different ages. Cave 23 and 24 have different figures of Buddha and Bodhisattvas.

Budhha Statue inside Cave Number 19

               You need around 2 to 3 hours to explore Caves properly. All Caves are facing east hence; morning will be the best time to visit the caves. After exploring caves, we visited the Dadasaheb Phalke memorial. He was the father of Indian cinema and made first Indian Film. Memorial has information on Dadasaheb Phalke’s films and on Indian cinema journey.
               We had our lunch and decided to explore the Panchvati area. According to Ramayana, Lord Rama along with wife Seeta and brother Laxman was sent to exile (Vanvas in Sanskrit meaning residence in Forest) for 14 years. After completing 10 years, they can on the northern bank of Godavari River near Nashik and lived for 2.5 years. This place is known as Panchvati. Our first destination was the Kalaram Temple. Kalaram temple name derives cos of the black status of Lord Rama. Temple was built in the year 1766 and Sardar Rangarao odhekar had a dream that statue of Rama is in River. He took that Statue and built the temple. Temple is an old and most important temple from Nashik city. Architecture and Carving on the temple are beautiful. A kilometre from Kalaram temple, there is another temple as Goraram temple. Statue of Rama in this temple is in White Color. Temple is old and carved in wood.

Kalaram Temple

               We went to see Seeta Gufaa. Photography is strictly not allowed here and you have to pass through the narrow cave. People with Asthma, Heart disease and obesity are not supposed to visit the Gufaa. It is believed that Lord Rama and Seeta use to worship Lord Shiva during their exile. Shivalinga is present inside Cave. Outside Cave area, there are five old Banyan trees. Due to which this area is called as Panchvati (Panch means Five and Vati means Banyan tree). Many Temples are located in this area, which linked with Ramayana.


               We explored the Panchvati area and then went to Ganga Ghat. It is one of the main Ghat on Godavari River in Nashik. A Lot of old temples are present on Ghat along with holy Rama Kund. Water is considered as Holy water and devotees come here for holy bath. Water is not clean at Ghat. This place hosts the Kumbha Mela (Gathering of Sandhu and Devotees) which happens once in 12 years. Last Kumbha Mela in Nashik was in the year 2015 and next will be in the year 2027. It is mainly known as Simhastha Kumbha Mela. When Jupiter and Sun enter in Sinha Rashi (Leo Zodiac BUT as per Hindu calendar) and when the lunar phase of the new moon (Amavasya) comes at that time Kumbha Mela begins.

Ganga Ghat

               According to Hindu Mythology, when Amrit (immortality drink) Kumbha (Pot) appeared from Samudra-Manthan (churning of the ocean to find Treasures between God and Evil), Lord Indra asked lord Jayant (son of Indra) to take it away from evil. While carrying Amrit Kumbha, some drops of nectar fall at four places on earth as Haridwar, Prayagraj (old name Allahabad), Ujjain and Trimbak (Nashik). A Kumbha Mela is celebrated at these four places every twelve years for this reason. People believe that after bathing there during the Kumbha Mela, one can attain moksha (spiritual freedom). We went home after a visit to a holy place.

Ganga Ghat, Nashik
Ganga Ghat, Nashik

  • Pandav caves entry: INR 75/- for 3 person
  • Phalke museums entry: INR 30/- for 3 person
  • Car parking at Phalke museums: INR 10/-
  • Lunch at Sayali mutton: INR 680/- (chicken, Mutton plate, egg Burji n Rotis)
  • Snacks: ₹320 (2 Pani Puri, sandwich, 2 coffee)

24 December 2019: Nashik sightseen
               We left home by 8AM and visited Sadhana chulivarchi Missal for breakfast. It is considered as one of the most famous Missal from Nashik. Nashik along with Pune and Kolhapur is famous for Missal Dish. There are many famous Missal joints in Nashik and due to Time limit, we only able to taste this one. Overall missal was good in taste but Farshan factor was on the higher side rather than other ingredients. They have huge space and overcrowded on weekends. We went on a weekday so we got the table without waiting in the queue. Will try other missal joints in our next visit to Nashik for sure.

Sadhana Chulivarchi Missal

               After Breakfast, we went to Saptashrungi gad. It is around 55-60 km from Nashik city. Saptashrungi temple is dedicated to Goddess Saptashrungi. This place is considered a half Shakti Peetha from Three and a half Shakti Peetha of Maharashtra. There are 51 or 108 Shakti Peetha (Number varies in India based on different mythology account/Book) spread across the Indian subcontinent. The story behind Shakti Peetha is based on the death of Goddess Sati (Wife of Lord Shiva). When Lord Shiva got to know the death of Sati, he carried her body and roamed around it. Her Body parts fell on earth to become holy places known as Shakti Peetha.

Saptashrungi Gad
Saptashrungi Gad

               There is enough parking space available at the base. Many shops on road allowed you to park your vehicle without any parking fees but the catch is you have to buy Saadi and other Pooja stuff from the shop owner, which will cost you starting from INR600 and above. We parked our car in the parking area and took the funicular trolley to reach on top. Another option to reach on top is by climbing 510 steps. Trolley area is well maintained and the waiting area has shops to buy Pooja material for Goddess. Once you reach the top, you have to be a queue for Darshan. Time to take goddess Darshan depends on the date and time of your visit. It is believed that Goddess Saptashrungi took rest after defeating demon Mahishaasura.

Funicular Trolley

               After Visit to Saptashrungi visit, we went back to Nashik. Our evening destination was Vineyard. Though we do not drink Wine or any alcohol base drink, we visited the place to understand the process. We visited Sula Vineyard where you can take a tour to understand the Winemaking process. Overall, the vineyard was well decorated and maintained. They also have a tasting tour (Not sure but you can taste a couple of wine by paying some charges) and restaurant. We went to York winery which is a few kilometres from Sula. They also have some facilities like Winemaking tour, Wine tasting, and shop to buy Wine and restaurant. We got to know that food is good at York winery. We had a good dinner before our day ends.

Sula Vineyard

  • Car petrol: INR 2100/-
  • Missal: INR 398/- (3 Missal, Jilabi in Sweet, water bottle)
  • Entry fee at Saptsrungi: INR 30/-
  • Ropeway ticket: INR 270/- for 3 people
  • Parking at Saptsurngi: INR 50/-
  • Dinner at York: INR 1500/- (Soups, 1 veg and 1 Non-veg Starter, Veg Pulav, Chicken Biryani and Cold drink)

25 December 2019: Nashik and Travel back to Pune:
               We woke up at 8AM and left Nashik after breakfast. We decided to visit places like artillery museum (Deolali), Veer Savarkar smarak at Bhagur (Birthplace of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar), Gargoti mineral museum, Sinnar and Gondeshwar Temple at Sinnar. Our first destination was the artillery museum. Due to national holiday, the Museum was closed but they allow us to see the artillery, which is kept for display in open ground. The museum is located in Army camp from Deolali. There are old artillery weapons, Tanks, canons and Aircraft displayed in open ground. The museum building was closed due to holiday. Detailed information is available for each artillery.

Artillery Museum, Deolali

Artillery Museum, Deolali

Artillery Museum, Deolali

              Post artillery museum visit, we went to Veer Savarkar smarak. It is the birthplace of great freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. House has resorted and now converted into a museum. You are allowed to roam in the house. Volunteer/Caretaker of property explains to us about the place. We spend some time inside the house for meditation. There are books on Veer Savarkar available for sell.

Veer Savarkar Smarak

               Our journey begins towards Pune. We took a small detour to Sinnar for Gargoti Museum. It is one of the biggest private mineral collection. This museum has a collection of beautiful natural mineral and gem found in India. The museum has two-floor, which divides the collection into Deccan plateau collection and Prestige Gallery. Deccan plateau gallery displays mineral and crystals collected from Maharashtra and nearby Maharashtra state. Prestige gallery contains a collection of exclusive and rare collection from India and around the world. They have rocks from Moon and Mars as well as fossils. A guide from Museum gives you detail information about the huge collection. There is one shop where you can buy a few crystal, Gems and ornaments. It required more than an hour to see the entire museum.

             Our last destination was Gondeshwar Temple. It is located at Sinnar and temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Temple was built in 11 or 12 century during Yadav dynasty. Temple Complex has Shiva temple at the centre and 4 small temples of Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Parvati and Lord Surya (Sun). Temple is built in Bhumija architecture. The main shrine contains Shivalinga. You can see scenes carved on the wall of the temple are from epic Ramayana.

Gondeshwar Temple, Sinnar

Gondeshwar Temple, Sinnar

Gondeshwar Temple, Sinnar

After a visit to the temple, we had lunch on the highway and reach Pune safely by 10PM.

  • Gargoti museums entry: ₹300/- for 3 people
  • Lunch: 340/-
  • Toll: ₹70/-
  • Coffee ₹50/- for 2 coffee
Places which we missed due to lack of Time
1. Trimbakeshwar Temple: This is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India
2. Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary: Bird Sanctuary. I have visited this place a few years back but went without Camera hence skipped blog on it. Best time to visit is from December to Mid March.
3. Someshwar Temple
4. Jain temple
5. Gangapur Dam
6. Anjneri Hill and Waterfall
7. Other Famous Missal Joints.

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni

Statue of Unity - World's tallest Statue

We were unable to explore new places in 2019 due to Medical reason. Before we plan any long trip, we decided to visit nearby place for a couple of days. Statue of Unity was on my radar and hence we plan to visit Statue of unity followed by Nashik.
Our friend Ameya Deshpande and Wife Renu’s cousin brother Varun Joshi from Mumbai joined us.

Statue of Unity (SoU) at Sunset

About Status of Unity:
              Statue of Unity (Also known as SoU) is a statue of independence activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875–1950), who was the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of independent India. He played a major role in uniting 562 princely states of India with a major part of the former British Raj to form the single Union of India.
              The statue is World’s tallest statue located in the Kevadiya, Gujarat on the River of Narmada. The statue is facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is one of the largest dams. Statue’s height is 182 meters and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated it on 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 31 October 2018.

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Our Route:
Best Way to reach SoU by Road from Pune is Pune – Mumbai – Manor - Vapi – Valsad – Ankleshwar – Take a Right from Ankleshwar – Mulad – Take a right at Mulad – Rajpipla – Status of Unity (SoU)
SoU is also accessible from Vadodara, Bharuch and Surat. Nearest railway, the station is Vadodara and Bharuch.

20 & 21 December 2019: Pune to Statue of Unity:
             We left Pune after office time. This time, my i20 was not on the road and we drove Ameya's SUV 500. We picked up Varun from Mumbai and had dinner near Thane. We decided to drive a car turn by turn so everyone will get enough sleep. The highway was empty which made drive smooth and fast. We reached Ankleshwar by 5AM and then went towards the Statue of Unity.
               We took halt at Gurudeshwar, which is a holy place of Lord Dattatreya and situated on the bank of Narmada River. We booked a room in Dharmshala for a couple of hours to freshen up. Gurudeshwar is the place where Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Sree Vasudevananda Saraswathy Swamy Maharaj took his Samadhi. The Samadhi Mandir is on the banks of Narmada River. We took a Darshan of Samadhi and Holy River Narmada before moving ahead for Statue of Unity. We had Lunch and reached the Statue of Unity at 12:30PM.

Statue of Unity Ticket system:
Statue of Unity offers you three types of Tickets SoU Express Ticket, SoU Viewing Gallery and SoU entry Ticket.
1. SoU Express Ticket contain, direct entry to lift/ elevator for viewing Gallery, Museum, Light and Sound show, Sardar Sarovar Dam view and Bus service. (Cost: INR1030)
2. SoU viewing Gallery Ticket contains same as Express but the only difference is you will NOT get direct entry to lift/elevator (Wait time varies from 30 min to 90 min based on the crowd). (Cost: INR380 for Adult & INR230 for Child 3 to 15 year age)
3. SoU entry ticket contains Museum, Light and Sound show, Sardar Sarovar Dam view and Bus service. (Cost: INR 150 for adult and INR 90 for child). This ticket will not allow you to go to viewing Gallery but it will allow you to visit the museum, which is at the base of the statue.
              You can book a ticket for other activities such as River Rafting, Jungle Safari (i.e. Zoo), Cycling tours, Children Nutrition Park, Boating, Cactus & Butterfly Garden, Kevadiya Bus tour and Ekta Nursery.

             We booked SoU Express ticket to avoid rush/Queue for the elevator. Our Slot was from 4PM to 6PM but when we reached, we got to know that you can visit in any slot if you have Express Ticket. Either you can park your vehicle near Ekta Gate and then board their AC Bus service (Which is part of the ticket) OR you can take your vehicle until SoU parking. We prefer taking our own vehicle to gain the advantage of time flexibility and to avoid the queue at the Bus stop.
             Statue of Unity is visible from a few kilometre distances. SoU is engineer’s marvel and you can feel its gigantic structure when you reach the base of the statue. We took multiple pit stops to capture the beauty of the statue from different locations. There is a small walk to reach the Ticket verification Gate. After ticket scanning, you entered in the statue of Unity paved approach walkway area. Statue area divided into 5 Zones.

Statue of Unity (SoU)

          Zone 1 consist of memorial Garden, Museum and small theatre. There is moving walkway (identical to escalators but on a flat surface) and well as paved approach walkway. You can feel the world’s tallest statue. Museum area consists of detailed information on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Information on Narmada River, life around River, Dam information, Scale Model of the statue, Huge sized Face structure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Library. The library contains a great collection of Books based on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. There is information on how magnificent statue built from October 2013 to October 2018. There is a small theatre, which displays a film on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as well as the tribal culture of the state. You need a minimum of 2 hours to see the entire Museum in detail else, within in an hr one can just get the glimpse of the statue.

            Zone 2 is the base area of the actual Statue. You reach up to Patel's toes. You can get an idea about the statue’s height as you are hardly able to match the height of the statue’s toes. Generally, people visit Zone 2 after Viewing Gallery. People with SoU entry ticket can access until this point. We clicked a lot of Photos here and tried to capture the entire Statue along with us.

            Zone 3 consist of Viewing Gallery. It is one of the prime attraction from the Statue of Unity. People with Express Ticket or SoU viewing Gallery can access the viewing Gallery. Height of viewing gallery is 153 meters. You can see the breathtaking view of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
             Zone 4 is the maintenance area whereas Zone 5 area consists of shoulders and Head section of the statue.

View from Statue of Unity Gallery

            After a beautiful visit to Statue, we went to the Valley of Flower. It is a small garden with a variety of flower plants and viewpoint for Sardar Sarovar Dam. Garden area is maintained well and it has no separate entry fee. Though there is less variety of flower, it is good to visit the place in the evening if you have spare time. We had a quick walk and then came back at Statue for evening Light and Sound show.

Make in INDIA at Valley of Flowers

           Light and Sound show starts at 7 PM (Time may change as per summer and winter). The entire tourist gathers in the evening to witness world-class Light and sound show. There are benches placed in the viewing area and you can see the show from the Garden area as well. Light and sound show explain the life journey of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the construction journey of Statue of Unity. Definitely, it is not to miss a thing from the Statue of Unity. Post Light and sound show, we went to Gurudeshwar to stay at the ashram. There is a Budget Hotel named “RBG Budget Stay” near SoU but all Rooms were booked. We had our dinner at Pramukh Food way restaurant.

SoU at Night

  • SoU entry: INR 1030/- for person express
  • Car fuel: INR4200/-
  • Express Toll: INR230/-
  • Snacks and coffee: INR 300/- for 3 people at Expressway Foodcourt
  • Mumbai Toll 1: INR 35/-
  • Mumbai Toll 2: INR 35/-
  • Dinner: Around INR 250/- per person (Food court from Mall at Thane)
  • Water Bottles: INR 60/- (3 Bottles)
  • GJ Toll-1: INR 70/-
  • GJ Toll-2: INR 70/-
  • GJ Toll-3: INR 70/-
  • GJ Toll-4: INR 60/-
  • GJ Toll-5: INR 70/-
  • Room charge at Gurudeshwar Ashram: INR 400/- (for 4 person room)
  • Car parking at SoU: INR 150/-
  • Snacks at SoU: INR 250/- for 4 people (Thepale, Samosa and Dhokla etc)
  • Water and Cold drink: INR200/-
  • Dinner: INR 890/- for 4 person
  • Stay at Gurudeshwar Ashram: INR 700/- for four-person as we got 7-bed dormitory.

23 December 2019: Statue of Unity to Nashik:
             We woke up by 7AM and again processed towards the Statue of Unity. Yesterday we get to know about Ekta Nursery, Zarwani Waterfall, butterfly Garden and Cactus Garden. We went to Kevadiya Village to try some local breakfast item. Our first destination was Ekta Nursery. They have a variety of plants, Bonsai plants, Bamboo products and canteen, which serves local Food. It was quick to visit before we processed towards Butterfly Garden and Cactus Garden.

Local Food at Breakfast

At Ekta Nasurry

             Cactus Garden and Butterfly garden are located at the same place with common entry. The butterfly garden is an open garden with specific plants where different types of Butterfly Grow. They claim to have more than 30 species of butterfly (few species grow as per weather and season). We are able to spot around 10 species. You can see a variety of Butterfly from a close distance. Butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers hence there are a lot of flowering plants to provide them food. There are some information board, which explains which type of butterfly lives on plats. I personally feel that there should be more information on the butterfly.

Tawny Coster Butterfly

Plain Tiger Butterfly

Jezebel Butterfly (Top), Blue Tiger Butterfly (Left) and Common Crow(Right)

           Cactus garden has a huge variety of cactus plants. Some of them are from different part of the world. It is hard to believe that Cactus has such a beautiful shape and design. The entire garden is maintained very well. There is a watchtower built to see the Sardar Sarovar Dam. After Cactus Garden, we went to Zarwani waterfall. It is around 10-11 km from Cactus Garden. The road is narrow and goes through dense forest. From the parking area, you have to walk around for 1 km to reach a Waterfall. Zarwani waterfall is small in size but beautiful. There are a couple of huts to stay near a waterfall and small Adventure Park having games like Rappelling, zip line, climbing wall etc.

(From Top left to right) Golden Barrel Cactus, cactus at Cactus Garde, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (Red Flower), Cereus jamacaru (Bottom left), Rebutia heliosa (Bottom Middle), Mammillaria elongata (Bottom Right)

Zarwani Waterfall

            Our last halt before we leave the status of Unity was Ekta Mall. It is located near Ekta gate from where Bus service is available for the statue. Ekta Mall has multiple shops, which offers you a handicraft product from different part of India. Besides Ekta Mall, there is an attraction “children nutrition park”. Its small toy train journey, which takes halt at few stations. Each station is theme base station, which gives information on nutrition, food processing and horticulture. A couple of stations are equipped with games and virtual reality playing area.

Children Nutrition Park

            By 4 PM, We left Status of Unity. We reached Nashik safely after 8 hours of comfortable Drive. I will upload Separate Blog on Nashik City, which we tried to explore in the next 3 days.

  • Breakfast at Kevadiya: INR 160/-
  • Tea & coffee: INR 40/- (2 tea n 2 Coffee)
  • Ekta Nursery entry fee: INR 120/- for 4 people
  • Entry Fee for Butterfly & cactus: INR 160/-
  • Lunch at Galaxy restaurant: 580/-
  • Coffee: INR 45/- 3 coffees
  • Water: INR 40/-
  • Dinner: INR 480/-

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Pune: Shaniwar Wada

We had a long break in the year 2019 due to some personal reasons and unable to plan any trips. I read one quote on the Internet “More you travel, more you learn”. It’s was difficult for us to stop learning hence we decided to visit a few places from Pune. Being local, we had visited the place long back but it always good to visit again.

This short Blog is about Shaniwar Wada, historical fort of Pune, which was center of Maratha Empire and seat of Peshwas.

Shaniwar Wada Delhi Gate

Location of Shaniwar Wada:
Shaniwar Wada is located on the bank of Mula-Mutha River. It is center location of Pune city and area known as Shaniwar Peth.

GPS Location: 18.520212, 73.855230

About Shaniwar Wada:
              Shaniwar Wada was the capital of Peshwas of Maratha Empire. It was built by Peshwa Baji Rao I and ceremonial foundation was took place on 10 January 1730. Shaniwar Wada completed on 22 January 1732, Saturday at the cost of 16,110/- which was the huge amount at that time. As per the Local stories, plan was to build seven storied capital building made up of Stones but permission was denied from emperor. It is to be said that No one can built the stone complex greater/larger than King’s palace. Hence, only first floor was buildup of Stones and rest floors were built by Wooden.

Shaniwar Wada

              Shaniwar Wada was home and work place of Peshwas such as Baji Rao I, Bhau Saheb, Ragunath Rao, Vishwas Rao, Madhav Rao, Narayan Rao, Sawai Madhav Rao etc. Even after completion of Shaniwar Wada, Peshwas made serval changes in Wada as per their requirement. Nanasaheb Peshwa made arrangement of water, which was carried from Katraj Lake (7.5km away) to Shaniwar Wada via underground channels.

Shaniwar Wada

             Shaniwar Wada has five entrance Gates. The main entrance Gate is known as Delhi Darwaja (Gate). Peshwas Aim was to capture Delhi throne and expand Maratha Empire hence Gate, which was facing north named as Delhi Gate. Baji Rao Peshwa fulfilled this dream. It is also current entrance for Shaniwar Wada. This Gate is Large enough to enter Elephants whereas to stop enemy’s elephants, each door has 72 long steel spikes in 9x8-grid pattern. Two solid bastions are built with arrow loops and holes to attack on approaching enemy’s army. You can see Ganesh painting after entering from Shaniwar Wada. Apart from Delhi Entrance, there are four more entrance for Shaniwar Wada. They are Mastani Darwaja (Gate) or Aliibahadur Darwaja, Khidki (Window) Darwaja (Gate), Ganesh Darwaja and Jambhul Darwaja or Narayan Darwaja.

Delhi gate Bastions of Shaniwar Wada

              Mastani Gate named as Mastani (Baji Rao’s second Wife) use to travel outside Shaniwar Wada. This entrance was also use by Shamsher bahadur (Son) and Aliibahadur (Grandson). This is the smallest entrance of Shaniwar Wada.
             Khidki (Window) Darwaja also known as Dindi Darwaja. Small Window on the Door gives this name to it. Ganesh Darwaja named due to Ganesh temple facing the entrance. Narayan Darwaja named as body of Narayan Peshwa was took out of Wada from this Gate. This Entrance also known as Jambhul entrance.

Hall Above Delhi Darwaja...Shaniwar Wada

             There is large hall above Delhi Gate of Shaniwar Wada. You can view entire Shaniwar Wada from the hall. You can take a walk on the top of Wall from this point. Entire wall with Bastions are in good conditions. Shaniwar Wada consists of important building such as palace of Peshwa, Diwankhana, Dance hall, Arasa (Mirror) Mahal, Ganesh Mahal, Mastani Mahal, Garden etc. Wada was seven-floored high and last floor was allocated to Peshwa. Arasa Mahal was built for Sawai Madhavrao. There was Ganesh temple inside Ganesh Mahal hence it is named as Ganesh Mahal. Narayan Rao was in Ganesh Mahal when Guards were about to kill him. It is to be said that palace walls were fill of paintings from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Another important feature of Wada is Hazari Karanje (Fountain of a thousand jets). This was built for entertainment of Sawai Madhav Rao when he was young. Fountain shape is of Lotus with 16 petals.

Inside Shaniwar Wada

Inside Shaniwar Wada

Hajari Karanje of Shaniwar Wada

             The most interesting story associated with Shaniwar Wada is that of the horrible murder of Peshwa Narayan Rao. Narayan Rao became Peshwa upon the death of his elder brother Madhavrao. Since Narayan Rao was only 17, his uncle Raghunathrao acted as his regent. However, the relationship between the two deteriorated rapidly and Narayan Rao placed Raghunathrao and his wife Anandibai under house arrest. Upset with Narayan Rao becoming Peshwa, Raghunathrao decided to use the disaffected Gardi guards to unseat him. According to legend, Raghunathrao sent a message to the captain of the Gardis, Sumer Singh Gardi, saying “Narayanrao na dhara”, meaning “catch Narayan Rao”. Anandibai intercepted the letter before it reached Sumer Singh, and made a simple but deadly change to the message. She changed the “dh” to “maa”. The message now read “Narayan Rao na maara”, or “kill Narayan Rao”. When the Gardis entered Shaniwar Wada to attack Narayan Rao, the panicked boy ran towards his uncle’s quarters screaming “Kaka mala vachwa” (Uncle save me!) but Raghunathrao did nothing, and Narayan Rao was hacked to pieces. So brutal was the attack that Narayanrao’s body had to be carried out of Shaniwar Wada in a pot and quickly cremated. Raghunathrao did become Peshwa after Narayan Rao’s murder, but could not remain on the throne for long. At the time of Narayan Rao’s murder, his wife Gangabai was pregnant. The courtiers and knights of the Empire deposed Raghunathrao and placed on the throne the Gangabai new born son, Sawai Madhavrao.

Important Dates associated with Shaniwar Wada
10 January 1730: Ceremonial foundation was took place
22 January 1722: Vastushant of Shaniwar Wada
30 August 1773: Death/Murder of Narayan Rao Peshwa
24 October 1795: Sawai Madhav Rao’s Death
17 November 1817: British captured Shaniwar Wada
27 February 1828: Great fire started in Shaniwar Wada ruined entire palace. It is said that Shaniwar Wada was under fire for 7 days.

Entry Ticket:
Entry ticket for Indian: INR 25/-
Entry ticket for non-Indian: INR 300/-
No chargers for Photography whereas separate chargers/permission required for videography.
Light and sound Show at 07:30PM (In Marathi) and 08:30PM (In Hindi) [Ticket counter Opens at 7PM]

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Blogs on Pune

Pritesh Kulkarni

Monday, 2 December 2019

Pune: Shinde Chhatri

We had a long break in the year 2019 due to some personal reasons and unable to plan any trips. I read one quote on the Internet that More you travel, More you learn. It’s was difficult for us to stop learning hence we decided to visit a few places from Pune. Being local, we had visited the place long back but it always good to visit again.

This short Blog is about Shinde Chhatri, a memorial to Military leader Mahadji Shinde from Maratha Empire under the Peshwas.

Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

About Shinde Chhatri Location:
It is located in Wanwadi area of Pune city. It is just 5.6km away from Swargate whereas 6.3km from Pune Railway station.
GPS Location: 18.491597,73.897307

Shinde Chhatri:
Shinde Chhatri is memorial to Military leader Mahadji Shinde from Maratha Empire under the Peshwas. He born on 3 December 1730 and he died on 12 February 1794 at age of 64. This memorial complex also had Shiva temple whereas Mahadji Shinde’s last rites were performed in the complex. In the year 1965, Samadhi was constructed outside Shiva Temple in the memory of Mahadji Shinde.

Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

               Mahadji Shinde was appointed in North India post-Third battle of Panipat. He recovered the loss post third battle of Panipat and became one of three pillars of Maratha Resurrection. He was the important leader during the First Anglo Maratha war between British and Maratha. British failed to win the war and forced to settle in the treaty of Salbai in 1782. He was a mediator between Peshwa and British. He also won Jodhpur and Jaipur through the battle of Patan and Merta. He helped Jats of Mathura during 1772-73 to destroy the power of Pashtun from Najibabad. His achievements over south were his victory over Nizam of Hyderabad and peace with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. He brought Maratha Glory over north post-Panipat war. 

Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

Vithal Rukhmini Temple at Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

            Mahadji Shinde died at Wanavdi near Pune on 12 February 1794. He described as Regent of Mughal affair and also Mughal gave him the title as Head of the Amir’s (Amir-IL-Umara).
           Coming back from History, the architecture of Shinde Chhatri is a combination of Anglo-Rajasthani style of construction. Temple’s structure is made up of Black stone. The chhatri Hall is a two-story building with beautiful carving and design on it. Windows panels are multi Color stained Glass which looks beautiful and allows light to fall inside in attractive hues. You can see a beautiful Rajasthani pattern over window panels. Interiors view of Shinde Chhatri is mind-blowing. Painting and carving on Pillars, ceiling are just amazing. You can see photographs/paintings of Shinde Dynasty on the Pillars. There is a spiral staircase to go in the roof which has a European touch.

Inner Hall of Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

Inner hall of Shinde Chhatri... Photo Credit: Renuka Kulkarni

            Shiva temple is just behind Shinde chhatri (Hall). Carved design is must watch at the base corner of Temple. The complex is also consist of the temple of Lord Vittala. Best time to visit the place is morning.
          Shinde Chhatri (Umbrella) consider as is a sign of respect to great warrior hence you need to close umbrellas inside the complex even if it’s a sunny day or Raining.
To view the entire complex in detail, you need 1-1.5 hours.

  • Entry ticket: INR 5/- for Indian and INR25/- for Non-Indian.

I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.

Pritesh Kulkarni