Continents like Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer different experiences for holistic living. One such experience can be found at Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a great option to consider. For luxury travel in the pilgrimage city of Pushkar, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a top choice. Immerse yourself in the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow with a stay at Clarks Awadh. In Nagpur, you can explore the rich heritage of the city by visiting Chitnavis Wada, a magnificent mansion in the old city area known as Chitnavispura in the Mahal area.
This particular Wada stands out from the rest as it successfully retains the magnificence and nostalgic allure of the prestigious residences. Upon my arrival, I passed through a gate adorned with 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 space. It was hard to determine whether I was already inside the Wada or still outside since the view was confusing. The construction on the main door side had a distinct colonial era aesthetic, particularly with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar structures in Colonial Calcutta.
The tall trees, which are likely older than the buildings nearby, provide a dense canopy. As I entered the building that was pointed out to me as the office, I noticed a collection of old wooden furniture, such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It dawned on me that this area was the main Wada. The structures I had seen outside were additional buildings added during the time of British rule, which served as guest houses.
I received assistance from a man in charge of the establishment who provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the Wada for my visit. My expectations were not high, anticipating only the presence of beautifully crafted wooden pillars within the Wada. To my delight, the front courtyard greeted me with a pleasant surprise as I first laid eyes on the intricate carvings adorning the pillars.
Chitnavis Wada is a historical building known as a 3-Chowk Haveli or Wada, which indicates that it consists of three consecutive courtyards. This architectural layout is reminiscent of the Shekhawati Havelis we previously encountered. The first chowk, or courtyard, typically serves as a public space where visitors, including guests and individuals conducting business, are welcomed. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this particular area functions as an outer courtyard that also serves 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. Randive arrived in Nagpur in 1744 CE alongside Raghuji – I Bhosle. The Wada is estimated to be approximately 200 years old, judging by its stylistic features.
As I entered the first courtyard, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. Although the open area was now covered with wooden flooring, the corridor encircling it still had a calming mud floor.
Upon examining the walls, I noticed various paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the deity worshipped by the family. These paintings included scenes from epic tales such as the Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs showcasing the artwork of Raja Ravi Varma.
Located in a specific area of this outdoor space is an elegant wooden temple. Its resemblance to temples found in Rajasthan is striking. This temple is devoted to Krishna and exudes beauty. When sitting in front of this temple, one feels completely immersed in the presence of Krishna. This courtyard is appropriately named Deoghar Chowk, signifying that it is the designated area for the deity.
At the next street intersection known as Family or Fountain Chowk, we discovered a doorway that led us to a square with a beautiful fountain at its center. Surrounding the fountain was a pathway with earthy flooring. We decided to sit by the fountain and appreciate this peaceful and inviting section of the Wada. This particular area was designated for family gatherings and meals. I could envision the women of the household coming together here for casual conversations or to bask in the sunlight.
We entered through another entrance and found ourselves in the final junction, which was likely frequented by the household staff. This area used to house the kitchen. There are visible remnants of the grinding stone and grooves used for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present. Brightly colored Palkis are scattered around the space.
One intriguing aspect is a tiny hole in the wall that is linked to the storage area for grains. By simply opening the window, one can easily access the needed grains for cooking. This can also be referred to as a service entrance or the backend operations for operating the wada.
The Murlidhar temple is located within a chowk and can be accessed through a side door. It is common for large traditional houses, known as wadas, to have their own personal temple dedicated to their family deity. In this particular wada, the temple is dedicated to Murlidhar. The temple features a small inner sanctum and a tower in the Nagar architectural style. The mandapa, or entrance hall, is adorned with wooden pillars, a common feature in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.
Upon exploring the inner areas, we step outside Chitnavis Wada and appreciate the craftsmanship displayed in its woodwork. One notable feature is a hanging section adorned 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 resembles those found in the Peshwa wadas of Pune.
The higher levels of the building are linked to the guest houses located on the outskirts. The guest houses with colonial influences were possibly utilized for entertaining or accommodating Europeans. This section is connected to the main wada, but it is physically separated, forming a division between the family space and the guest space.
Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, featuring walking paths that divide the garden into four sections. The garden has lost some of its original charm, but I came across a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.
On top of the Wada building, you have a clear view of the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city that surrounds it. I had the opportunity to be there during sunset, and the charming red tiled roofs enhanced the atmosphere.
Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made efforts to incorporate modern amenities such as bathrooms into the property. Additionally, a portion of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the option to rent out the venue for events like weddings or small gatherings. Interestingly, traditional wooden planks are used to serve food at these events.
Currently, the place is not available for public access. If you wish to visit, you will need to get in touch with the office of Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. It is recommended to go on a heritage tour of the Wada with Architect Nitika Ramani, who can provide the best guidance.
The amount of time required to see it varies based on how interested you are, typically ranging from 1 to 2 hours
In the streets surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that one can explore on foot.
This piece of writing provides valuable information about Nagpur and I was able to gain new knowledge from it. I appreciate the author for sharing this.
Your blog has opened up a whole new world for me. With your captivating stories and breathtaking pictures, I have been introduced to places I never even knew existed. Your talent for capturing the true essence of a location is truly impressive. Please continue to share your adventures, as they constantly inspire and fuel my desire to travel!
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