Continents such as Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living. One such destination is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. In the pilgrimage city of Pushkar, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa provides luxury travel experiences. Experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow by staying at Clarks Awadh. Nagpur's heritage can be explored at Chitnavis Wada, a historical house located in the Mahal area of Chitnavispura.
This particular Wada stands out as one of the rare ones that has successfully maintained the majestic and nostalgic atmosphere of the affluent residences. I made my way inside by passing through a gate with an arched design and a wooden door. A sign posted outside displayed its name and location.
Exploring Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur was quite intriguing. As I entered through the gate, I was surrounded by various buildings encompassing an expansive open area. It was challenging to determine whether I was inside the Wada or still outside, as the architecture seamlessly blended together. The construction on the main door side evoked a sense of the colonial era, particularly with its wooden blind panels which bore resemblance to structures found in Colonial Calcutta.
The tall trees, which are likely older than the nearby buildings, are abundant in this area. As I entered the designated office space, I noticed a plethora of aged wooden furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It became clear to me that this is the primary Wada. The structures I observed outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the time of British rule.
I received assistance from a kind man who oversees the location. He helped me with a brochure and requested the staff to open the Wada for me. My expectations were not high, aside from the presence of beautifully carved wooden pillars in the Wada. Nevertheless, surprises are never too distant, as I discovered upon seeing the intricate woodwork adorning the front courtyard.
Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion or haveli with three courtyards arranged in a row. This architectural design, similar to the ones found in Shekhawati Havelis, features a public area in the first courtyard where guests and individuals conducting business would visit. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this outer courtyard served as the office space for the head of the family.
Chitnavis was the title given to the top official responsible for documenting the affairs of a king. The Wada, or residential complex, was constructed by Rakhmaji Ganesh Randive, who held the position of Chitnavis for the Bhosle kings of Nagpur. Rakhmaji Ganesh Randive arrived in Nagpur in 1744 CE along with Raghuji – I Bhosle. Based on its architectural style, it is estimated that the Wada is approximately 200 years old.
As I entered the first courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I found myself surrounded by vivid paintings. The courtyard, which was once open, is now covered with wood, but the corridor that encircles it still has a calming mud floor.
On the walls, I found paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the revered deity of the family. These paintings depicted various scenes from epic stories like the Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's famous artworks.
Located in a corner of the courtyard, there is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to the temples found in Rajasthan. It is a stunning temple dedicated to Krishna, creating a sense of being completely encompassed by his presence when sitting in front of it. This particular area of the courtyard is appropriately named Deoghar Chowk, signifying it as the sacred space of the deity.
At the next intersection, we reached a chowk that contained a fountain at its center. Surrounding the fountain was a corridor with a floor made of mud. We took a seat near the fountain, appreciating the cozy and welcoming atmosphere of this part of the Wada. This area was designated for family gatherings and meals, and I could envision the women of the family coming together here for conversations or to enjoy the sunlight.
We entered another doorway that brought us to the final courtyard, which was likely primarily used by the family's staff. This was the area where the kitchen was located. Here, you can observe the grinding stone and indentations for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present. Colorful Palkis were scattered around the area.
One intriguing aspect is a tiny aperture in the wall that is linked to the storage area for grains. By simply opening the window, one can retrieve the necessary grains for cooking. This area could also be referred to as a service area or the behind-the-scenes operations for managing the wada.
The Murlidhar Temple can be accessed through a door located on the side of this chowk. Just like many other large wadas, this one also has a personal temple dedicated to the family deity, which in this case is the Murlidhar temple. The temple features a small garbhagriha and a shikhara designed in the Nagar style. Inside the temple, the mandapa is adorned with numerous wooden pillars, a common feature found in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples of Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.
When we finish appreciating the inside of the Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and are captivated by the exquisite woodcarvings on its exterior. One notable feature is a hanging corner that showcases a beautiful peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive symbol of the skilled woodcarvers associated with this place. Additionally, the presence of Banana flower endings in the woodwork reminds us of the architectural style seen in Peshwa wadas located in Pune.
The upper levels of the building are linked to the external guest accommodations. The colonial section of these accommodations might have been utilized for entertaining or hosting Europeans. This section is attached to the main residence but is distinct, establishing a division between the living quarters for the family and those for the guests.
Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, with walking paths dividing it into four sections. The garden has lost some of its original charm, but I did come across a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.
On top of the Wada building, you have a fantastic vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can also enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city surrounding the Wada. During my visit, I had the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing sunset while the slanting red tiled roofs added a special ambiance to the scene.
Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made efforts to incorporate modern amenities such as bathrooms. Additionally, a portion of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the premises for rent, allowing individuals to host events like weddings or small gatherings. Interestingly, traditional wooden planks are used to serve food in this setting.
Currently, the place is not available for the general public to visit. In order to visit, you must get in touch with the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust office. The heritage tour of the Wada is led by Architect Nitika Ramani, so it would be advisable to go through her for the visit.
The amount of time required to see it will vary depending on how interested you are, typically taking around 1-2 hours
In the narrow streets surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore by foot.
In this article, the author discusses various topics related to Nagpur, including the Ramtek, Lingaraja Temple, and Matheran. The author found the article to be informative and appreciated the opportunity to learn new things about Nagpur.
Your blog has opened up a new perspective on the world for me. The way you tell stories and showcase your breathtaking photos has introduced me to hidden places I never even knew existed. Your talent for capturing the true essence of a destination is truly extraordinary. Please keep sharing your adventures, as they constantly inspire and fuel my desire to explore!
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