Exploring Pune A day of history & adventure

Tales of infidelity, murder, and exile

The first stop on the tour was of Shaniwar Wada, which was built in 1732 by the Peshwa Baji Rao I as a seat of power. He had a muslim mistress who was not accepted by the public and was essentially kept under house arrest in Shaniwar Wada. In 1773 Narayan Rao, the grandson of Baji Rao I was murdered by his uncle Raghunathrao in order to secure power. Narayan Rao's ghost is said to still haunt the wada on a full moon with people hearing the shriek "Kaka Mala Vaachva!" (Save me uncle!). Then in 1818 the son of Raghunathrao, Baji Rao II fearing for his life from challenges to power turned to the British for help, giving up large amounts of territory and fleeing in exile. Then in 1828, a great and mysterious fire destroyed most of the wada and its internal structures.

Top row: The main gate to Shaniwar Wada. Second row left: Rampart of Shaniwar Wada. Second row right: OutsideĀ street view of walls. Third row left: Inside gate entrance. Third row right: Stairs leading to upper gate. Fourth row: Courtyard and gardens within walls. Fifth row left: Teak woodwork in gatehouse. Fifth row right: Stonework in one of the remaining structures.

A city of hidden temples and crowded alleys

We then walked down some of the old city streets and alley ways. Between the crowds and the cars that would cram themselves through you can find beautiful colonial architecture and observe the daily life of India.

Top row left: Colonial inspired architecture. Top row right: Looking down a relatively sparsely populated road. Second row: Two women carrying the wares to the marketplace. Third row: The top of a temple that was hidden behind alleyways and side roads. Forth row: British inspired architecture that looks as if it were located in London.

Open air markets are the Indian supermarket

We next walked towards the heart of Pune to Mahathma Phule Mandai market where farmers bring in their produce from the outlaying fields and offer them for sale. Organized with 526 stalls and built in 1882 it is often crowded due to the affordability and freshness of the produce. Outside the market, basket weavers and other craftsman sell their wares to shoppers.

A craftsman and a lost art

As we walked down a narrow alleyway we came across a few stalls that had craftsmen hammering away at copper. The hammering turned into a rhythm that was precise and unending. We were offered to purchase some of the copperware but not seeing anything we could use we were taken down a small alleyway into a small building and up a step and extremely narrow staircase to the second floor of this mans workshop where he showed us some of his handcrafted pieces that he made.

The Coppersmiths workshop
The Coppersmith
He often works on pieces for hours with the simplest of bowls taking about 4 hours to make.
This pieces we ended up purchasing took about 6 hours to make and sold for 450 rupees ($6.75 USD)

Freedom fighters and the revolt against the British

The last stop on our walking tour was the house of a prominent member of society Bhausaheb Javal. He covertly lead an underground movement in Pune to expel the British and started a Ganpati festival as a way of organizing freedom fighters to assemble in one place. His home was outfitted with secret passageways and exit doors with hidden locks. As recently as last year a cache of weapons and explosives were found hidden in the basement.

Detail of ornamentation nearby Javals home.
Some of the weapons found in the basement of the home. Also found were Colt rifles and one of the pistols was manufactured and stamped "Made in New Jersey".

Thank you

Created By
Mike Gordon

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