Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Continents like Asia and Europe are well-known destinations for travelers. However, there are also other parts of the world that offer unique and holistic experiences. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna, where visitors can enjoy a holistic way of living.

If you're looking for a place to stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is worth considering. This accommodation offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience for guests.

For those seeking luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is the perfect choice. Located in Pushkar, this resort provides top-notch amenities and services.

If you want to experience the lifestyle of Lucknow, Clarks Awadh is the place to be. This hotel offers a taste of the vibrant culture and traditions of the city.

In Nagpur, there is a heritage site called Chitnavis Wada, which gives visitors a glimpse into the grand houses of the elite in Maharashtra. This area, known as Chitnavispura, is located in the Mahal area of the city.

This particular Wada is one of the rare ones that has successfully maintained the elegance and nostalgic appeal of the prestigious houses. I made my way inside by passing through a gate with an arched design and a wooden door. A signboard outside displayed its name and address.

When I entered through the gate, I noticed that there were buildings surrounding an open area. It was hard to tell if I was already inside Chitnavis Wada or still outside due to the layout. The construction of the main entrance gave off a colonial vibe, especially with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of structures in Colonial Calcutta.

The ancient trees, likely older than the nearby buildings, tower above me. Upon entering 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 apparent that this area is the primary Wada. The structures I observed outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the time of British rule.

The manager of the location kindly assisted me by providing a brochure and requesting the staff to open the wada for me. I had low expectations, assuming that the Wada would only have beautifully carved wooden pillars. However, to my surprise, I noticed the carved wooden pillars in the front courtyard as soon as I arrived, proving that surprises can be found in unexpected places.

Chitnavis Wada is a heritage building with three courtyards arranged in a row. It follows a similar architectural plan to the Havelis in Shekhawati. The first courtyard, known as the First Chowk, serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would be received. In this particular case, the first courtyard also served as the office of the family's patriarch.

Chitnavis was a title given to the main person in charge of documenting the activities 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. In 1744 CE, he arrived in Nagpur alongside Raghuji – I Bhosle. The Wada is estimated to be around 200 years old, judging by its stylistic features.

As I entered the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. The once uncovered courtyard is now sheltered with wooden structures, while the surrounding corridor retains its calming mud flooring.

The walls were adorned with paintings that showcased the life of Krishna, which I would soon come to learn is the deity worshipped by the family. These paintings depicted scenes from famous epics such as Mahabharata. Additionally, there were lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artworks that were beautifully framed and displayed.

Located in a corner of the courtyard, there is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to numerous temples found in Rajasthan. This temple is dedicated to Krishna and exudes beauty. When one sits in front of this temple, they are completely enveloped by Krishna's presence. The courtyard itself is appropriately named Deoghar Chowk, which translates to the courtyard of the deity.

The next area we entered was called the Family or Fountain Chowk. In the center of this chowk, there was a beautiful fountain. Surrounding the fountain was a corridor with mud flooring. We took a seat near the fountain and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of this charming part of the Wada. It was evident that this was a place where families would gather to eat meals together. I could envision the women of the family coming together in this area to engage in friendly conversations or simply enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Kitchen Square

We entered through another doorway into the final square, which was likely primarily used by the household staff. This was the location of the kitchen in the past. In this area, you can observe the presence of a grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present. Palkis, brightly colored and decorative seating arrangements, were scattered around the area.

One intriguing aspect is a tiny aperture in the wall that links to the storage area for grain. By simply opening the window, one can gather the necessary grains for cooking. This area could also be referred to as a service hub or the operational support for managing the wada.

The Murlidhar Temple can be accessed through a door located on the side of the chowk. Like many other large wadas, this one also has a private temple that is dedicated to the family deity. In this particular wada, the temple is called the Murlidhar Temple. It features a small garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) and a shikhara (tower) in the traditional Nagar style. The mandapa (hall) of the temple is adorned with wooden pillars, a common feature found in numerous temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are small temples of Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.

When we finish enjoying the inside of the Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and appreciate the intricate wood carvings on the building. One notable feature is a hanging corner adorned with a peacock and parrot, which is a distinctive design created by the skilled woodcarvers at this location. Additionally, the wada also showcases Banana flower endings similar to those seen in the Peshwa wadas in Pune.

The upper levels of the building are linked to the outer guest houses. The guest houses, which have a colonial style, might have been utilized for entertaining or accommodating Europeans. This section is connected to the main wada, but it is also distinctly separate, creating a division between the family space and the guest area.

Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the style of Charbhag, featuring walking paths that divide it into four sections. The garden has lost some of its former glory, but I did come across a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.

On top of the Wada building, you have a vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can also enjoy a panoramic view of the city that surrounds it. I had the opportunity to be there during the sunset, and the sloping red tiled roofs enhanced the ambiance of 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. They also offer the Wada as a rental venue for occasions like weddings or small gatherings. Visitors can observe the traditional use of wooden planks for serving food.

Currently, the place mentioned is not accessible to the general public. In order to visit it, you must get in touch with the office of the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. The heritage tour of the Wada is organized by Architect Nitika Ramani, so it is advisable to arrange the visit through her.

The amount of time it takes to see it varies depending on how interested you are, typically ranging from 1 to 2

In the lanes surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are several Wadas and temples that you can explore on foot.

In this article, the author discusses the influence of the Ramayana in the region of Vidarbha, specifically in the town of Ramtek. They also highlight the Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar, describing it as a remarkable example of Kalinga architecture. Additionally, they mention Matheran as a charming hill station in Maharashtra. The article has received positive feedback, with two comments expressing gratitude for the new information about Nagpur that was shared.

Your blog has opened my eyes to new and unknown places through your captivating narratives and breathtaking pictures. Your talent for capturing the true feel of a location is truly impressive. Please keep sharing your journeys, as they constantly motivate and fuel my desire to explore!

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