|Maratha Fortification,Shaniwar Wada fort.Pune, Maharashtra. www.trekearth.com|
|Shaniwar Wada, Fort Pune, India, www.spicejet.com|
|Lawn inside Shaniwar Wada, fort, double-dolphin.blogspot.com|
Shaniwar Wada, an historical fortification in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India was the palace of the Peshwas - rulers of the Maratha since the 18th century C.E. The palace became a center of politics during the hey days of Maratha power. Later they were defeated by the British India company in 1818.
|Shaniwar Wada palace's Delhi Gate, Pune. en.wikipedia.org/wiki|
Above Palace: Shaniwar Wada palace. Delhi gate, Pune. strong Steel spikes are fixed on the thick, strong door panes to discourage charging elephants,
To build a massive fort, for security reasons, the ceremonial foundation work began by Bajirao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha empire, on Saturday 10th January 1730 C.E and was completed in 1732 on another auspicious Saturday in January as per Hindu religious customs and traditions. The name Shaniwar Wada refers to the fort's association with Saturday.
|Shaniwar Wada - Pune MouthShut.com|
A heavily fortified building complex with nine bastions and five gateways, spreading over 625 acres was primarily the seat/residence of the Peshwas ( titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. They were leader in military expeditions and great strategist). The building was made of stones brought from quarries of Chinchwad, using lime-sand mortar; lime from the limestones of Jejuri. The five gates are the Delhi Darwaja (North), Mastani Darwaja (Mastani's Gate, North, used by Bajirao's wife Mastani ), Khidki Darwaja - Window Gate (East), Ganesh Darwaja (Ganesh Gate, South-East) and Jambhul Darwaja or Narayan Darwaja (Narayan's Gate, South - meant for concubines),
|Painting by Prakash Chandras Shaniwar wada,). Pune, www.chandrasarts.com|
|A hall in the first floor above Delhi Gate. Shaniwar Wada, Pune en.wikipedia. org|
The important features about the North gate - Delhi Darwaja are massive gates through which elephants with howdahs (a seat with a canopy over) could easily pass through and to discourage the charging of enemy elephants, the pane of the gate is firmly fixed with seventy-two sharp twelve-inch steel spikes in a nine by eight grid, roughly at the height of the forehead of a battle-elephant. The steel borders were bolted with steel bolts having sharpened cone head. It will be difficult for the tuskers to bang their head against the gate to get it open. Besides the gate house has machicolation (special openings) through which boiling oil could be poured onto the raiders on the offense mode. The inner parts of the fort are built in such a way, if the main gate is opened by force, the invading army has to make sharp right or left turn to proceed further. It means the defending army gets vantage points to make counter attack and recapture the main gate.
The important parts the palace included court reception hall of the eldest ruler - in Marathi Thorlya Rayancha Diwankhana, Dance hall - Naachacha Diwankhana and Old Mirror Hall - Juna Arsa Mahal . The buildings were destroyed during a major fire accident in 1828. It is believed that these buildings, deigned by many famous artisans, had doorways with beautiful teak arches, ornamental teak pillars, exquisite glass chandeliers hung from the ceilings and highly polished marble, arranged in a mosaic pattern. The catchy paintings depicted scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Lots of tourists visit this fort, which was once a busy place from where the great Maratha warriors successfully defended the mighty Moguls and the British East India company forces.