Continents mentioned in the text include Asia, Europe, and the Rest of the World. Swaswara at Om Beach in Gokarna is a destination for holistic living. Piramal Haveli is a recommended place to stay in Shekhawati. Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa offers luxury travel in the city of pilgrimage, Pushkar. Clarks Awadh provides an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of Lucknow. Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur is a heritage site that offers a glimpse into the city's history.
This particular Wada stands out as one of the few that has successfully maintained the magnificence and nostalgic allure of the prestigious residences. Upon my arrival, I passed through a gate adorned with an arch and a wooden door. A sign displayed outside provided the name and location of the Wada.
When I entered the gate of Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed that there were buildings surrounding an open area. It was hard to tell if I was actually inside the Wada or still outside due to the layout. The construction on the main door side had a distinct colonial feel, especially with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar structures in Colonial Calcutta.
The tall trees, which appear to have been around longer than the buildings, are dense. I entered the office as directed. Inside, there is a collection of aged wooden furniture, such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts. It became clear that this is the central Wada. The structures I observed outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the British era.
I was assisted by a man in charge of the location who provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the wada for me. My expectations were not high, I simply anticipated seeing beautiful wooden pillars inside the Wada. However, as it turned out, surprises were not too distant. Although the first thing I noticed were the intricately carved wooden pillars surrounding the front courtyard.
Chitnavis Wada is a historical building with three courtyards, known as a "3-Chowk Haveli" or Wada. This architectural style, with multiple courtyards, is reminiscent of the design seen in Shekhawati Havelis. The first courtyard, also known as the First Chowk, serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would visit. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this outer courtyard functioned as the office of the head of the family.
Chitnavis was the title given to the highest-ranking documentation officer of a king. The building known as Wada 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. Based on the stylistic features, it is estimated that this Wada is approximately 200 years old.
When I entered the first courtyard, I found myself encircled by vibrant paintings. The courtyard, which was previously open, is now sheltered with wood, but the surrounding corridor still has a calming mud floor.
I noticed that the walls were adorned with paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the revered deity of the family. The paintings included scenes from legendary stories like the Mahabharata, as well as 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 numerous temples found in Rajasthan. This temple is devoted to Krishna and is truly a sight to behold. When one sits in front of this temple, they are completely immersed in the presence of Krishna. This particular courtyard is appropriately referred to as Deoghar Chowk or the sacred space of the deity.
At the Family or Fountain Chowk, we found a door that led us to the next chowk. In the center of this chowk, there was a beautiful fountain. Surrounding the fountain was a corridor with a floor made of mud. We took a seat around the fountain and enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere of this cozy part of the Wada. This area was designated for families to come together and share meals. I could envision the women of the family gathering here for casual conversations or to bask in the sunlight.
We entered through another door into the final courtyard, which was likely frequented by the household staff. This was the location of the kitchen in the past. Evidence of its existence can be seen in the grinding stone and grooves used for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present in this area. Colorful palkis were scattered around, adding a vibrant touch to the surroundings.
One intriguing aspect is a tiny hole in the wall that is linked to the granary. By simply opening the window, one can easily retrieve the necessary grains for cooking. It could also be referred to as a service area or the operational support system for the wada.
The Murlidhar Temple can be accessed through a door located on the side of this chowk. Like many large wadas, this wada also has a private temple devoted 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 mandapa, there are numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda located on either side of the main temple.
When we finish exploring the inside of the Chitnavis Wada and step outside, we are greeted by the impressive woodwork of the building. One notable feature is a hanging corner adorned with a beautifully carved peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive symbol of the skilled woodcarvers in this area. Additionally, there are decorative elements resembling Banana flowers, similar to those found in the Peshwa wadas in Pune.
The higher levels of the building are linked to the guest houses located on the outskirts. It is possible that the colonial section of these guest houses was utilized for entertaining or hosting Europeans. Although it is connected to the main wada, this particular section is separate, effectively dividing the family space from the guest area.
Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, featuring pathways that divide it into four sections. The garden has lost some of its original charm but I did discover a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.
On top of the Wada building, you have a panoramic view of the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can admire the city's skyline from this vantage point. During my visit, I arrived just as the sun was setting, and the slanted red tiled roofs enhanced the overall ambiance.
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 location for rent for events like weddings or small gatherings. Traditional wooden planks are used to serve food in this setting.
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 might be advisable to arrange the visit with her.
The amount of time required to view it varies depending on how interested you are, ranging from 1 to 2 hours.
In the streets near Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore by walking around.
Other articles on this website discuss different topics related to Nagpur, such as the Ramayana's influence in the region of Vidarbha and the architectural masterpiece of the Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar. Another article explores the charm of Matheran, a picturesque hill station in Maharashtra. This particular article has received positive feedback, with two comments expressing gratitude for the new information learned about Nagpur.
I consider your blog as a gateway to the world because it allows me to explore places that I wasn't aware of before. Your captivating storytelling and breathtaking photographs have introduced me to hidden gems. It's truly impressive how you are able to capture the true essence of each destination. Please keep sharing your adventures as they consistently inspire and fuel my desire to travel and explore!
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