During Diwali, the whole nation was lit up in lights and diyas to give you a sight unmatched, and Pune was no less bright than the rest. While the entire city was LIT stunningly, Shaniwar Wada took the cake, with 50,000 diyas decorating the beloved monument. Not only that, the traditional diyas were accompanied by a light show which left the visitors spell-bound. The video-mapping was conducted by Berlin based artist, Philipp Giest and beautifully represented the mix of tradition and culture with modernisation.
The tradition of adorning the Shaniwar Wada in thousands of diyas dated back to the Maratha Empire, and was in practice since 1734. The tradition continued until the British took over. In the year 2000 the laughing club Chaitanya Hasya Yog Mandal (CHYM) resumed this tradition again. Till date, thousands of Puneites gather at the Wada to light candles, lamps and lanterns that transform it into the palace it once was.
This year the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) collaborated with Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhavan to organise a video-mapping show that lit up the Shaniwar Wada in displays of spectacular colour. The purpose was to display the city’s and the Shaniwar Wada’s history and to create awareness. The aim was also to establish public spaces and heritage sites as cultural spaces. Thus the 284-year-old monument was lit up for the first time in vibrant and cheerful colors. Music arrangements were also made with DJ Ma Faiza at the console (I know right?!) and Sandeep Vasishta on the flute and saxophone.
Not only was this a sight to see, but also symbolised a graceful fusion of cultural and traditional practices with modernization. It was wonderful to see a festival bring about this amalgamation. Let’s hope we see more such traditions with a twist in the future to come!