Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world offer various opportunities for holistic living. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. If you're looking for luxury travel in the holy city of Pushkar, consider staying at the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. Experience the vibrant life of Lucknow at Clarks Awadh. To get a glimpse of Nagpur's rich heritage, visit Chitnavis Wada, a grand house located in the Mahal area.
This particular Wada stands out for successfully maintaining the elegance and traditional allure of the distinguished houses. I made my way inside through a gate with an arched design and a wooden door. A sign displayed on the outside provided the name and location of the Wada.
When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed numerous buildings surrounding a spacious courtyard. It was quite challenging to determine whether I was still outside or already inside the Wada. The construction on the main entrance side had a distinct colonial feel to it, particularly with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar architectural features in Colonial Calcutta.
The tall trees, which have likely been around longer than the buildings, are dense in this area. I entered what I was informed is the office space. There is a considerable amount of antique wooden furniture present, such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts. It dawned on me that this is the primary Wada building. 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 helpful man in charge of the establishment who provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the wada for me. I didn't have high expectations, only anticipating the presence of beautifully carved wooden pillars in the wada. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I first laid eyes on the intricately carved wooden pillars surrounding the front courtyard.
Chitnavis Wada is a historical building with three courtyards, known as chowks or open spaces. It is similar to the Shekhawati Havelis in terms of its layout. The first courtyard, also referred to as the public area, is typically where guests or individuals conducting business would gather. In this particular case, the first courtyard served as the office space for the head of the family.
Chitnavis was the title given to the chief documentation officer of a king. The Wada, or building, 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 alongside Raghuji – I Bhosle. The age of the Wada is estimated to be around 200 years, determined by its stylistic characteristics.
When I entered the first courtyard, I was immediately greeted by vibrant paintings that surrounded me. The courtyard, which was now covered with wood, used to have a calming mud flooring in the corridor that encircled it.
Upon observing the walls, I noticed various paintings showcasing the life of Krishna, who I later learned was the revered family deity. These paintings included scenes from well-known epics such as Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs featuring the artworks of Raja Ravi Varma.
Within this courtyard, there is a charming wooden temple located in one corner. Its design bears resemblance to numerous temples found in Rajasthan. This particular temple is dedicated to Krishna and possesses a remarkable beauty. When one sits in front of this temple, they become completely immersed in the presence of Krishna. This courtyard is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, signifying it as the sacred space of the divine entity.
At the intersection known as Family or Fountain Chowk, we entered a courtyard with a central fountain. Surrounding the fountain was a covered corridor with earthy flooring. We took a seat by the fountain to appreciate this charming and cozy section of the Wada. This particular area was designated for families to come together and share meals. I could envision the women of the household gathering here for casual conversations or to enjoy the sunlight.
We entered through a different door into the final plaza, which appeared to be primarily utilized by the household staff. This area used to house the kitchen, as evidenced by the presence of a grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there was a well and a Tulsi plant. Colorful Palkis were scattered about in this space.
One intriguing aspect is a small gap in the wall that links to the storage area for grains. By simply opening the window, one can easily access the necessary grains for cooking. This area could also be referred to as a service point or the behind-the-scenes facilities for maintaining the wada.
The Murlidhar Temple can be accessed through a door located on the side of this chowk. It is common for large wadas to have a personal temple dedicated to the family deity, and in this case, it is the Murlidhar temple. The temple features a small garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) and a shikhara (tower) in the Nagar architectural style. Inside the temple's mandapa (hall), there are numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are small temples of Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.
Upon appreciating the inside of the Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and marvel at the exquisite woodwork of the building. One notable feature is a hanging corner embellished with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive symbol of the skilled woodcarvers in this location. Additionally, the presence of Banana flower endings, similar to those found in Peshwa wadas in Pune, adds to the grandeur of the woodwork at Chitnavis Wada.
The higher levels of the building are linked to the external guest accommodations. The guest houses, which have a colonial style, were possibly employed for entertaining or hosting Europeans. Although it is connected to the main building, this section is distinct, serving as a barrier between the family space and the guest space.
Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, which features walking paths that divide the garden into four sections. The garden has undergone some changes and is not as vibrant as it used to be. Nonetheless, I stumbled upon a captivating vintage handpump that is still functional.
The top of the Wada building offers a great vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, it provides a picturesque view of the city's skyline. I had the opportunity to be there during sunset, and the charming red tiled roofs added a unique atmosphere 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 venue for rent, allowing couples to host their weddings or smaller gatherings. As a nod to tradition, wooden planks are used to serve food at these events.
At the moment, the place is not accessible to the general public. To visit, you should get in touch with the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust office. The heritage tour of the Wada is conducted by Architect Nitika Ramani, so it would be advisable to go through her for the visit.
The amount of time required to fully experience it varies depending on how interested you are, typically taking around 1-2 hours
In the area surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore by walking around.
This article provides valuable information about Nagpur and helped me discover new facts about the city. I appreciate you sharing this.
I find your blog to be a wonderful source of inspiration and discovery. Your captivating storytelling and breathtaking photographs have introduced me to hidden places that I was previously unaware of. Your talent for capturing the true essence of a destination is truly extraordinary. Please continue to share your adventures, as they constantly fuel my desire to explore the world!
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