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, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living experiences. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For a stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. If you're looking for luxury travel in a pilgrimage city, consider Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. Experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow at Clarks Awadh. To get a glimpse of Nagpur's heritage, visit Chitnavis Wada, a grand house in the old city.

This particular Wada stands out from the rest as it has successfully maintained the elegance and nostalgic allure of high-class residences. Passing through a gate with a wooden door, I noticed a sign outside displaying its name and location.

Exploring Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur was quite an experience. As I entered through the gate, I was surrounded by various buildings that encircled an expansive open space. It was hard to determine whether I was already inside the Wada or still outside due to the seamless integration of the architecture. The construction on the main door side had a distinct colonial vibe, with wooden blind panels that evoked memories of similar structures I had seen in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, which are likely much older than the nearby buildings, are dense and abundant. I entered a room that I was informed was the office. Inside, there is a collection of aged wooden furniture, such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It dawned on me that this room 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 man who oversees the location, who provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the Wada for me. I had low expectations, assuming that the Wada would only have beautifully carved wooden pillars. However, to my delight, there were additional surprises waiting for me. 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 Chowks. These courtyards are arranged one after the other. This architectural style is reminiscent of the Havelis found in Shekhawati. The first Chowk is typically a public space where guests or individuals conducting business would visit. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this first courtyard serves as the family head's office and is located in the outer area of the building.

Chitnavis was the title given to the highest-ranking documentation officer of a king. The Chitnavis Wada, a building in Nagpur, was constructed by Rakhmaji Ganesh Randive, who held the position of Chitnavis for the Bhosle kings. Randive arrived in Nagpur in 1744 CE alongside Raghuji – I Bhosle. Based on the stylistic elements, it is estimated that the Wada is approximately 200 years old.

Upon entering the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada in Deoghar Chowk, I found myself encircled by vibrant paintings. Although the open courtyard has been transformed with wooden covering, the surrounding corridor retains its calming mud flooring.

The walls were adorned with paintings that showcased the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the deity of the family. These paintings included scenes from famous epics such as the Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of artworks by Raja Ravi Varma.

Within the confines of this courtyard, there stands a charming wooden temple. Its resemblance to the temples found in Rajasthan is striking. This temple is devoted to Krishna and exudes an exquisite beauty. When one sits before this temple, they are completely enveloped by the presence of Krishna. Hence, this courtyard is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, signifying it as the sacred space of the deity.

The next chowk we entered, known as Family or Fountain Chowk, had a central fountain. Surrounding the fountain was a corridor with mud flooring. We found a spot near the fountain and took a moment to appreciate this cozy and inviting area of the Wada. It was clearly designed for families to gather and share meals together. I could picture the women of the family coming together in this space for conversations or to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Kitchen Courtyard

We entered through another doorway that opened up into the final courtyard, which was likely utilized primarily by the household staff. This area used to house the kitchen. One can observe the presence of a grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant, symbolizing religious significance. Brightly colored Palkis, traditional Indian palanquins, were scattered throughout the space.

A fascinating aspect is a little opening in the wall that connects to the storage area for grains. By simply opening the window, you can easily access the grains needed for cooking. This opening can also be referred to as a service chowk or the back-end services responsible for operating the wada.

Located on the side of the chowk, there is a door that leads to the private temple of the Murlidhar family. Like many large wadas, this particular one has a personal temple devoted to their family deity. The Murlidhar temple features a small inner sanctum and a shikhara in the Nagar architectural style. Inside the mandapa, there are numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in temples throughout Nagpur. Additionally, the Murlidhar temple is accompanied by smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda.

Upon observing the inside of Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and appreciate the remarkable woodwork featured on the exterior. Notably, there is a distinct hanging corner adorned with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive trademark of the talented woodcarvers associated with this location. Additionally, the presence of Banana flower endings, reminiscent of those found in Peshwa wadas in Pune, further enhance the aesthetic appeal of the wada.

The higher levels of the building are linked to the external guest houses. The guest houses, which have a colonial design, might have been utilized for entertaining or accommodating European visitors. While these guest houses are connected to the main wada, they are physically separate, serving as a barrier between the section designated for the family and the section designated for guests.

Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style. This style divides the garden into four sections using pathways. 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 vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city that envelops the Wada. During my visit, I was fortunate enough to be present at sunset, which enhanced the atmosphere with the beautiful sight of the sun's rays hitting the slanted red tiled roofs.

Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made efforts to incorporate modern amenities such as bathrooms. Additionally, a section of the Wada has been designated as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the place for rent, allowing it to be used for events like weddings or small gatherings. In these instances, traditional wooden planks are utilized to serve food.

At the moment, the place is not accessible to the general public. To visit, you must get in touch with the office of Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. Architect Nitika Ramani offers a heritage tour of the Wada, and it is advisable to arrange the visit through her.

Depending on how interested you are, it will take you anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to see it.

In the streets surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore by walking around.

This article provides valuable information about Nagpur and I have gained new knowledge from it. Thank you for sharing.

I really rely on your blog to show me the world. The way you tell stories and take amazing photos has introduced me to places I never even knew existed. Your talent for capturing the true spirit of a place is truly impressive. Please keep sharing your adventures because they constantly inspire and make me long for travel!

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