shaniwar

Known for its sheer architectural brilliance, this fort has witnessed various spooky occurrences. It is believed that the level of supernatural activity is on its zenith on every full moon night. The mysterious story behind the strange activities suggests that a young prince was brutally murdered here which is maybe why his spirit haunts the place and when the night falls, sounds of him shrieking can be heard. There are many locals who actually camp at night on the fort grounds just to hear the little boy’s scream.

It is preferable to visit the fort during day hours since the fort is deserted at night except for maybe a caretaker. Visit this place at your own risk as this would definitely be the scariest haunted place in Pune, India.

Shaniwarwada is an 18th-century fortification in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1732, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818, when the Peshwas lost control to the East India Company after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the center of Indian politics in the 18th century.

The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site.

Peshwa Baji Rao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha empire, laid the ceremonial foundation of his own residence on Saturday, January 10, 1730. It was named Shaniwarwada from the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (a general term for any residence complex). Teak was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone was brought from the nearby quarries of Chinchwad, and Lime (mineral) was brought from the lime-belts of Jejuri. Shaniwarwada was completed in 1732, at a total cost of Rs. 16,110, a very large sum at the time.

The opening ceremony was performed according to Hindu religious customs, on January 22, 1732, another Saturday chosen for being a particularly auspicious day.

Later the Peshwas made several additions, including the fortification walls, with bastions and gates; court halls and other buildings; fountains and reservoirs. Currently, the perimeter fortification wall has five gateways and nine bastion towers, enclosing a garden complex with the foundations of the original buildings. It is situated near the Mula-Mutha River, in Kasba Peth.

The Dilli Darwaza is the main gate of the complex, and faces north towards Delhi. Chhatrapati Shahu is said to have considered the north-facing fort a sign of Baji Rao’s ambitions against the Mughal empire, and suggested that the main gate should be made chhaatiiche, maatiche naahi! (Marathi for of the chests of brave soldiers, not mere mud).

The strongly built Dilli Darwaza gatehouse has massive doors, large enough to admit elephants outfitted with howdahs (seating canopies). To discourage elephants charging the gates, each pane of the gate has seventy-two sharp twelve-inch steel spikes arranged in a nine by eight grid, at approximately the height of the forehead of a battle-elephant. Each pane was also fortified with steel cross members, and borders were bolted with steel bolts having sharpened cone heads. The bastions flanking the gatehouse has arrow-loops and machicolation chutes through which boiling oil could be poured onto offending raiders. The right pane has a small man-sized door for usual entries and exits, too small to allow an army to enter rapidly. Shaniwar Wada was built by contractor from Rajasthan known as ‘Kumawat Kshatriya’ belongs to Kumhar Sub-caste, after completing construction they were given the name ‘Naik’ by the Peshwa.

Even if the main gates were to be forced open, a charging army would need to turn sharply right, then sharply left, to pass through the gateway and into the central complex. This would provide a defending army with another chance to attack the incoming army, and to launch a counterattack to recapture the gateway.

As the ceremonial gate of the fort, military campaigns would set out from and be received back here, with appropriate religious ceremonies.