Pune city is delightfully peppered with several historical and cultural influences. The birthplace of Maratha freedom, the hometown of the great Peshwas, Punyanagari is the mecca of history, culture and deep-rooted traditions.
Nana Wada is one such historical and culturally important landmark in Pune which is layered with rich stories. Built in 1780 by Nana Fadanvis, Nana Wada is a central example of the glory and majestic traits of the Peshwa era.
Located next to Shaniwar Wada, Nana Wada was an important landmark in the Peshwa Era for political and administrative reasons. However, to know more about Nana Wada, we have to first take a dive into the life of its metaphorical builder- Nana Fadanvis.
Perhaps the longest serving officer in the Maratha dynasty, he served under four rulers in succession. After the death of Madhavrao Peshwa, things were looking grim for the golden Maratha rule. It would have been the end, if not for the leadership of Nana Fadanvis; the Maratha kingdom prospered and grew under his guidance. His importance is visible in the subtle architecture and other traits of Nana Wada.
Architecturally, this building is clearly visible and looks intriguing, it stands distinctive amidst the modern buildings and houses in the vicinity. It’s hard to guess at first glance, but Nana Wada is made of timber. A few noteworthy architectural traits of this place are – the arches, balconies, railings, and of course, the timber ceiling. The ceiling has a carved design across it’s expanse which can be easily seen once you enter the place. There used to be a lot of paintings in this place, but they’re barely visible now. The front room has columns which look like Cyprus trees.
However, the most sought-after visual trait of this Wada is the dome in the balcony. It signifies the royalty of the Wada, this fact is hard to miss even for an untrained eye, it makes the Wada stand out. The Wada has a court house (Diwan Khana) and a verandah. The carvings and the pillars are also extremely attractive, and they leave the viewer stunned with their intricate details.
What’s noteworthy though is the Wada’s emergency exit, a clever exit stairway in the wall which leads out. The emergency exit was built mostly to save the important documentation and paperwork which recorded most of the administrative letters and accounts during the rule.
These days, the Wada houses a municipality school. Restoration of the Wada has been in process, but so far, no commendable development is visible. This makes one wonder if our government is indeed prioritizing our culture and heritage. If they aren’t, then the question arises- do we, the citizens of Pune, come forth and play our part?