Shaniwarwada is a historic fort located in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was built in the 18th century by the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire. Shaniwarwada holds great historical and cultural significance and is one of Maharashtra's most popular tourist attractions.
The fort complex was initially intended to serve as the residence of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire. The construction of Shaniwarwada began in 1730 and was completed in 1732. The fort's name, "Shaniwarwada," translates to "Saturday residence" aboubecause the construction started on a Saturday.
The fort complex originally spanned an area of around 625 acres, but today, only a small portion of it remains. The main structure of Shaniwarwada was a seven-story palace made of stone and bricks, with intricately carved arches, columns, and balconies. It was known for its exquisite architectural design and was adorned with beautiful paintings and artefacts.
Shaniwarwada is its massive wooden door called the "Delhi Darwaza" or "Delhi Gate." This gate was built to withstand attacks and was considered an architectural marvel of its time. Unfortunately, much of the fort was destroyed by a fire in 1828, and today, only the sturdy stone walls and the remains of the palace can be seen.
Shaniwarwada is not just a historical monument but has several associated legends. One of the most popular stories is about the ghost of a young prince named Narayanrao, who was brutally assassinated within the fort's premises. His ghost haunts the fort even today, and visitors often claim to have experienced paranormal activities.
Shaniwarwada attracts tourists who witness its architectural beauty and learn about its rich history. The fort complex is open to the public, and visitors can explore the remaining structures, walk through the sprawling gardens, and enjoy the serene ambience. Additionally, light and sound shows are organized in the evenings, which narrate the captivating tales of Shaniwarwada's past.
Shaniwarwada Fort stands as a symbol of the glorious Maratha Empire and provides a glimpse into the historical heritage of Maharashtra. Its grandeur, historical significance, and the captivating legends surrounding it make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.
The main palace within Shaniwarwada Fort was a seven-story structure, but only the stone walls and remnants of the castle exist today. Explore the architecture and marvel at the intricate carvings, arches, and balconies that reflect the grandeur of the Maratha Empire.
The Delhi Darwaza, also known as Delhi Gate, is the impressive entrance gate of Shaniwarwada Fort. It was designed to withstand attacks and showcases the architectural prowess of the time. Admire the massive wooden door and the defensive features of the gate.
This section of the fort was the residence of the Peshwas and housed the Ganesh Rang Mahal, which served as the reception hall. It was decorated with beautiful paintings, artefacts, and chandeliers. Though destroyed by the fire in 1828, visitors can still witness its remains.
Located within the Shaniwarwada complex, Jijamata Palace is a small museum dedicated to the life and achievements of Jijabai, the mother of Shivaji Maharaj. The museum showcases artefacts, photographs, and exhibits that provide insights into her life and contributions.
Nagarkhana is the place where musicians used to play traditional Marathi musical instruments during the Peshwa era. It is a small pavilion atop the fort's main entrance, and its elevated position allowed the music to resonate throughout the defence.
The fort complex features well-maintained gardens where visitors can relax and enjoy the serene ambience. Stroll through the gardens, appreciate the manicured lawns, and soak in the historical surroundings.
In the evenings, Shaniwarwada Fort hosts a captivating light and sound show that narrates the history and legends associated with the fort. It's a popular attraction that adds a touch of drama and storytelling to the visit.
The monsoon season in Maharashtra, which includes the months of June to September, brings heavy rainfall to the region. While the lush green surroundings and the cool weather can be appealing, visiting Shaniwarwada during this time may not be ideal due to the unpredictable weather and the possibility of the fort being closed during heavy rains. The rain can make exploring the fort complex slippery and hinder outdoor activities.
The post-monsoon season in Maharashtra, particularly October and November, can be a good time to visit Shaniwarwada Fort. The rains have subsided, and the surroundings are still lush and green. The weather during this period is generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). It's a quieter time to visit compared to the peak tourist season, allowing you to enjoy the fort and its surroundings with fewer crowds.
Spring in Maharashtra, from February to March, is another suitable time to visit Shaniwarwada Fort. The weather starts warming up, and the landscapes are adorned with blooming flowers and trees. Temperatures range from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius (59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), providing a comfortable environment for exploring the fort and its gardens.