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. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. If you're looking for luxury travel in the pilgrim's city of Pushkar, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great choice. Experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow with a stay at Clarks Awadh. In Nagpur, explore the rich heritage by visiting Chitnavis Wada, a grand house in the Mahal area of Chitnavispura.

This particular Wada stands out among the others as it successfully maintains the majestic and nostalgic appeal of the prestigious houses. I made my way inside by passing through a beautifully arched gate with a wooden door. A sign displayed outside indicated the name and location of the Wada.

When I entered the premises of Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed a cluster of buildings surrounding a spacious open area. It was challenging to determine whether I had already stepped inside the Wada or if I was still outside due to the layout. The construction on the side of the main entrance had a distinct colonial feel to it, with wooden blind panels that brought to mind similar structures seen in Colonial Calcutta.

The towering trees, likely much older than the nearby buildings, proudly rise above. I entered what was described to me as the office. Within, I noticed a collection of aged wooden furniture, including palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It became apparent to me that this was the main Wada. The structures I had seen outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the time of British rule.

I received assistance from a kind gentleman who oversees the location, and he provided me with a brochure. He also requested the staff to unlock the wada for me. Initially, I had low expectations and only anticipated seeing beautifully crafted wooden pillars inside the Wada. However, to my delight, there were even more surprises awaiting me. I was pleasantly surprised to first come across the intricately carved wooden pillars surrounding the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion or residence known as a Wada, which features three interconnected courtyards. This architectural layout, reminiscent of the Havelis found in Shekhawati, comprises three sequential courtyards. The first courtyard, also referred to as the First Chowk, typically serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would be received. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this outer courtyard served as the office or administrative area of the family patriarch.

Chitnavis was the title given to the main official responsible for documenting the activities 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 along with Raghuji – I Bhosle. The architectural style of the Wada suggests that it is approximately 200 years old.

As I entered the initial courtyard, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. Although the open area was now sheltered with wooden structures, the surrounding corridor retained its calming mud flooring.

The walls were adorned with paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, who I later found out is the deity worshipped by the family. These paintings depicted various scenes from epic tales like Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's renowned artworks.

Located in a corner of the courtyard, there stands a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to several temples found in Rajasthan. This temple, devoted to Krishna, exudes beauty and grace. When one sits in front of this temple, they feel completely immersed in Krishna's presence. This particular courtyard is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, signifying it as the sacred space of the deity.

At the next intersection, known as Family or Fountain Chowk, we came across a charming fountain surrounded by a corridor with a rustic mud floor. It was a peaceful spot within the Wada where families would gather to enjoy meals together. I could envision the women of the family coming together here for leisurely conversations or to bask in the sunlight.

Kitchen Area

We entered another entrance that brought us to the final area, which was most likely frequented by the family's staff. This space used to house the kitchen. The grinding stone and grooves for pounding can still be observed. There is also a well and a Tulsi plant present. Colorful Palkis were scattered around.

A notable aspect is a small aperture in the wall which has a connection to the granary. By simply opening the window, one can obtain the necessary grains for cooking. This area can also be referred to as a service chowk or the behind-the-scenes facilities for operating the wada.

Located on the side of this chowk, there is a family temple known as the Murlidhar Temple. It is not uncommon for large wadas to have their own personal temple dedicated to their family deity. The Murlidhar Temple consists of a small inner sanctum and a shikhara in the Nagar style. Inside the temple's hall, known as the mandapa, there are numerous wooden pillars, a common feature in many temples found in Nagpur. Additionally, there are two smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.

At Chitnavis Wada, the woodwork on the exterior catches our attention after we have taken a moment to appreciate the beautiful interiors. One distinctive feature is a hanging corner adorned with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a symbol of the skilled woodcarvers who work here. Additionally, the presence of Banana flower endings reminds us of the architectural style seen in Peshwa wadas located in Pune.

The upper levels of the building are linked to the outer guest houses. The guest houses' colonial section might have been utilized for entertaining or accommodating Europeans. This portion is attached to the main wada, but it is physically separated, establishing a division between the family space and the guest space.

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

The top of the Wada building provides a vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, it offers a picturesque view of the city's skyline. I personally experienced this view during sunset when the angled 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. The owners also rent out the premises for events such as weddings or small gatherings. Visitors will notice the traditional use of wooden planks for serving food.

At the moment, the Wada 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. Architect Nitika Ramani offers a heritage tour of the Wada, so it might be advisable to arrange the visit through her.

The amount of time you will need to see it varies based on how interested you are, but generally it will take around

In the vicinity of Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous lanes where you can leisurely stroll and explore a multitude of Wadas and temples.

Other articles that may interest you include "Ramtek – The Influence of the Ramayana in Vidarbha," "The Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar – A Masterpiece of Kalinga Architecture," and "Discovering Matheran: A Charming Hill Station in Maharashtra." Two comments have been made on this article expressing gratitude for the new knowledge gained about Nagpur.

Your blog has opened up a whole new world for me. Your captivating narratives and breathtaking pictures have introduced me to extraordinary places that I had no idea existed. Your talent for capturing the true essence of each destination is truly exceptional. Please continue to share your adventures, as they constantly inspire me and fuel my desire to explore!

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