Shaniwar wada is one of the most haunted place in Pune located in the Maharashtra State of India.
The Shaniwar Wada Fort is a historic place of politics, rulers and death that embellishes the city center of Pune, India.. The imposing fort continues to stand strong after being constructed in 1732, even after a destructive fire stripped the fort of its interior palace and many other structures in 1828.
The foundation of Shaniwar Wada was laid by Peshwa Baji Rao 1 who was succeeded by his son Peshwa Balaji Bajirao, fondly known as Nanasaheb Peshwa. Nanasaheb Peshwa had three sons: Vishwasrao, Madhavrao and Narayanrao.
His eldest son Vishwasrao perished during the third battle of Panipat against Afghan armies and hence, Nanasaheb Madhavrao succeeded as the 4th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire which he remained until his death in 1772.
After death of Madhavrao, Narayanrao, the youngest of Nanasaheb’s son, took over as the 5th Peshwa. He was only 17 years old at the time of his brother Madhavrao’s death and became the youngest Peshwa ruler ever. As he wasn’t an adult yet, his uncle Raghunathrao was incharge of the state on behalf of his nephew.
However, Anandibai ; wife of Raghunathrao was jealous as she wanted the throne to be her husband’s. So she seeked help of the Gardis, highly trained assassins for hire. Gardis were originally the Bheels of central India, a hunting tribe.
On the last day of Ganesh Festival on 30th August 1773, several Gardi guards, led by their captain, Sumer Singh Gardi, entered the palace and started creating a commotion.
They then charged towards the sleeping Peshwa’s chambers, killing a clerk on the way. Narayanrao, seeing the Gardis and sensing trouble, ran out of his chambers towards his uncle’s quarters, screaming “Kaka! Mala Vachva!!” or “Uncle! Save me!”.
The Gardis followed Narayanrao to his uncle’s chamber and a menial pulled him while Sumer Singh Gardi cut him down. Narayanrao’s corpse was cremated secretly by the river at midnight.
To this day, many claim to capture the sight of Narayanrao’s apparition throughout the fort, or sometimes walking the banks of the river his body was dumped in.
More commonly reported paranormal activity is reported from people passing by the fort who can still hear Narayanrao’s pleads for help to his uncle echoing off the tall, stone walls.
It is believed that Raghunathrao never wanted to kill his nephew and only asked Gardis for help in order to get out of captivity. According to popular legend, Raghunathrao had sent a message to Sumer Singh Gardi to capture Narayanrao.
His message read “Narayanrao la dhara” where dhara means to capture. This message was intercepted by his wife Anandibai who changed the letter dhara to make it read as maaraa or ‘kill’ .
The miscommunication led the Gardis to chase Narayanrao and finally kill him. Rumor has it that Narayanrao’s body was hacked into so many pieces that they had to carry the pieces in a pot.
The Shaniwar Wada Fort is a fascinating place to visit in Pune and is of immense historical significance to the area.
The fort is open daily to visitors for a small fee and can be explored with or without a guide.
The fort also opens nightly for a light and sound show. This consists of fountains, lasers and sounds all telling the fort’s history and paying particular detail to the story of Narayanrao.