A Memorial to Remember – Pune’s Historic Shinde Chhatri Temple

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Mahadji Shinde Chhatri is one of Pune’s oldest architectural wonders, a memorial built in the late 1700s, one that’s a treat to the eyes and mind, especially if you’re interested in Maratha history.

As you make your way through the iron-clad entrance, you will be transported to a completely different era. With its stained glass windows, ornate columns and carvings, Shinde Chhatri temple in Wanowrie is an amalgamation of Rajput, Islamic and Anglo architecture. It was originally built as a temple for Lord Shiva by Mahadaji Shinde.

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Mahadaji Shinde has been described as one of the three pillars of the Maratha resurrection. Shinde Chhatri was built in the year 1794. Mahadaji Shinde died soon after the completion of the structure and his last rites were carried out in the temple itself.

Centuries later, in 1965, a memorial was created in his honour by his descendant Madhavrao Shinde, who also further built the temple complex.

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It is a 15-foot-tall fortified complex made from Basalt, built keeping in mind the Vaastu Shastra of the place.The carvings and idols are created from yellow basalt, whereas the sanctum sanctorum is made up of black basalt. The Shikara on top however is made up of a softer rock which makes carving easier.

Upon entering, it is impossible to not notice the black and white marble-tiled floor, the heavily decorated columns and carved arches. The intricate carvings from the arches and columns are carried into the ceiling. Paintings and portraits of members of the Shinde family are present throughout the hallway.

All in all, this 200-year-old memorial is most definitely a must visit for Punekars as well as tourists!

Feature image by Guneet Sharma

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