Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Myths / Legends of Shaniwarwada Fort

Shaniwarwada Fort in Pune, Maharastra
The Shaniwarwada Fort is a renowned historical tourist destination, and quite well known for its mysterious and scary legends. Most parts of the Fort was destroyed in an unexplained intense fire which erupted on February 27, 1828 inside the palace. The fury of the inferno raged for seven days and nights and destroyed every bit of the exquisite masterpiece except the heavy granite embankment built around the fort, strong teak entrances, and deep foundations and ruins of the buildings withing the fort.
Shaniwarwada Fort walls and internal structures

High walls of Shaniwarwada Fort

According to the legend, the Full Moon nights are haunted in the Shaniwarwada Fort. The young prince Narayanrao Peshwa, then thirteen years old was the heir of the Peswa Dynasty. His cold-blooded, spine-chilling and brutal murder, ordered by his aunt Anandibai still haunts the walls of the fort.

An ancient well in the courtyard of Shaniwarwada Fort

A public well used by male occupants of Shaniwarwada Fort

The young prince Narayanrao, then thirteen years old became the heir of the Peswa Dynasty after the death of his elder brother Madhavrao I in 1772. Narayanrao was made the Peshwa but since he was a minor, his uncle Raghunathrao was made Regent. Soon Raghunathrao was held captive by Narayanrao on charges of conspiracy to overthrow him.
Canon in Shaniwarwada Fort

Canon inside the palace fort of Shaniwarwada

A strong door in Shaniwarwada Fort
Door Lock in Shaniwarwada FortIn an effort to free Raghunathrao, Anandibai (second wife of Raghunathrao and daughter of Raghu Mahadevo Oake of Guhgarh) hired Gardis as mercenaries on August 30, 1773, who captured the Shaniwarwada Fort. Soon they reached the chambers of Narayanrao Peshwa and imprisoned him. Narayanrao tried to appeal to his uncle and yelled “kaka mala vachava!” (uncle save me) again and again. However, Anandibai intervened and did not allow his uncle to help him.

Strong rampants of Shaniwarwada Fort

High walls of the Shaniwarwada Fort

Magnificient view from Shaniwarwada Fort
One of the staircases in Shaniwarwada FortFinally Anandibai was successful in plotting the death of her nephew and Naranyanrao was killed brutally by the mercenaries. His appeal to his uncle was extremely painful and so intense that the natives say that they still hear his painful soul-shaking cries at midnight on every Full Moon night.

The imposing walls of the Shaniwarwada Fort in a rare 1860 photograph

Shaniwarwada Fort in Pune, Maharashtra

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