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

Asia and Europe are two major regions in the world, while the rest of the world refers to all other regions outside of these two. Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna, offers a holistic living experience. If you are looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a great option. Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa provides luxurious travel experiences in the pilgrimage city of Pushkar. Clarks Awadh allows you to experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow. Chitnavis Wada is a heritage site in Nagpur, Maharashtra, known for its grand houses. A visit to Chitnavis Wada in the Mahal area of Nagpur introduced me to the city's rich history and architecture.

This particular Wada stands out for successfully maintaining the elegance and nostalgic appeal of the luxurious houses from the past. As I approached, I passed through a gate with a wooden door, adorned with an arch. A sign outside displayed its name and location.

When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed that there were buildings surrounding an open area. It was hard to determine if I was already inside the Wada or still outside because of the layout. The construction on the main door side had a colonial feel to it, especially with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar structures in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, which are likely much older than the nearby buildings, are dense in this area. I entered the building that was pointed out to me as the office. Inside, there is a collection of old wooden furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It became clear to me that this is the main Wada. The structures I observed outside were additional sections that were used 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 open the Wada for my visit. Initially, I had low expectations, anticipating only the presence of attractive wooden pillars in the Wada. However, to my pleasant surprise, there were additional unexpected delights, starting with the carved wooden pillars that adorned the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion with three courtyards arranged in a row. It is similar to the layout found in Shekhawati Havelis. The first courtyard, known as the First Chowk, serves as a public space where guests and people conducting business would visit. In this particular mansion, the First Chowk also functions as the office of the family's patriarch.

Chitnavis was a title given to the highest-ranking documentation officer in the court 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 of Nagpur. Randive arrived in Nagpur in 1744 CE, accompanying Raghuji – I Bhosle. Based on the architectural style, it is estimated that the Chitnavis Wada is approximately 200 years old.

As I entered the initial courtyard, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. The courtyard, which was previously open, is now sheltered with wooden structures. However, the surrounding corridor still retains its peaceful charm with its soothing mud floor.

On the walls, there were paintings illustrating the life of Krishna, which I later learned was the deity of the family. These paintings depicted scenes from famous epics such as Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artwork.

Located within 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 you sit in front of this temple, you feel completely immersed in the presence of Krishna. The courtyard itself is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, signifying that it is the sacred space of the deity.

The next square we came across, known as Family or Fountain Chowk, had a beautiful fountain at its center. Surrounding the fountain was a pathway with mud flooring. We took a seat by the fountain and enjoyed the peacefulness of this cozy area in the Wada. This was the designated family space, where people would gather to eat and spend time together. I could picture the women of the family coming here to chat or enjoy the sunlight.

Kitchen Courtyard

We entered through another doorway and arrived at the final courtyard, which was likely frequented mostly by the household staff. This area was once the location of the kitchen. One can observe the presence of a grinding stone and grooves used for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant in this courtyard. Colorful palkis, or traditional palanquins, were scattered around the area.

There is a fascinating aspect in the wall that is linked to the granary. By simply opening the window, you can easily access the grains needed for cooking. This area can also be referred to as a service chowk or the behind-the-scenes facilities for operating the wada.

Inside the chowk, there is a door that takes you to the family temple known as the Murlidhar Temple. It is common for large traditional houses, or wadas, to have a personal temple dedicated to the family's chosen deity. In this particular wada, the temple is dedicated to Murlidhar. The temple features a small inner sanctum, or garbhagriha, and a shikhara in the style of Nagar architecture. The mandapa, or hall, is adorned with wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. On either side of the temple, there are small temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda.

At Chitnavis Wada, once we have appreciated the beauty of the inside, we step outside and are captivated by the exquisite woodwork of the building. One notable feature is a hanging corner adorned with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive symbol of the talented woodcarvers at this location. Additionally, we can observe decorative elements resembling Banana flower endings, similar to those found in the Peshwa wadas in Pune.

The upper levels of the building are linked to the external guest houses. The guest houses, which have a colonial design, were possibly utilized for entertaining or accommodating European visitors. This section is attached to the main wada, but it is distinct, establishing a division between the living space for the family and the designated area for guests.

Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the style of Charbhag, which features walking paths that divide the garden into four sections. The garden, although not as vibrant as it once was, still retains some of its original charm. Interestingly, I stumbled upon a vintage handpump that is still functional and being used.

The top of the Wada building offers a vantage point where you can observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you are able to admire the city's skyline from this location. I had the opportunity to visit during sunset, and the tilted red tiled roofs contributed to the overall enchanting atmosphere.

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 has been designated as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the rental of the venue for events like weddings or small gatherings. As a nod to tradition, 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 Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust office. The heritage tour of the Wada is conducted by Architect Nitika Ramani, so it would be 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 lanes near Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore by walking around.

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I found this article to be extremely helpful and informative, as it provided me with new insights about Nagpur. I appreciate you sharing this.

I find your blog to be like a gateway to the world, offering me a glimpse into places I never even knew existed. Your captivating narratives and breathtaking images have allowed me to explore new destinations. Your talent for capturing the true essence of each place is truly exceptional. Please continue sharing your adventures, as they always inspire and fuel my desire to travel!

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