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, Europe, and the rest of the world offer different experiences and opportunities for holistic living. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna, where you can immerse yourself in a holistic lifestyle. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, consider staying at Piramal Haveli. For luxury travel in the city of pilgrimage, Pushkar, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great option. Experience the Lucknow lifestyle by staying at Clarks Awadh. If you want to explore the heritage of Nagpur, Chitnavis Wada in the Mahal area is a must-visit.

This particular Wada stands out among the few that have successfully maintained the magnificence and nostalgic appeal of high-class residences. To gain entry, I passed through a gate with an arch and a wooden door. A sign displayed its name and location on the outside.

When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I immediately noticed numerous buildings surrounding a spacious courtyard. It was quite challenging to determine whether I was already inside the Wada or still outside due to the seamless integration of the structures. The construction on the main entrance side had a distinct colonial-era appearance, particularly with the wooden blind panels resembling those found in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall and ancient trees, which may have been standing longer than the buildings, caught my attention. I entered a room that was referred to as the office. Inside, there were numerous old wooden pieces of furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It dawned on me that this room was the primary Wada. The structures I had seen outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the British era.

I received assistance from a man in charge of the location who aided me in creating a brochure and requested the staff to open the Wada for me. My expectations were not very high, assuming that I would only find impressive wooden pillars within the Wada. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed the beautifully carved wooden pillars surrounding the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion with three courtyards, commonly known as a 3-Chowk Haveli. This architectural style, reminiscent of Shekhawati Havelis, features three consecutive courtyards. The first courtyard, also referred to as the First Chowk, serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would often visit. In this specific Haveli, the first courtyard served as the office of the family's patriarch.

Chitnavis was the title given to the chief documentation officer of a king. The Chitnavis Wada, a building, 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. The Wada is estimated to be around 200 years old, judging by its stylistic features.

As I entered the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. The previously uncovered courtyard now has a wooden covering, while the surrounding corridor retains its calming mud flooring.

The walls were adorned with paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, which I later learned is the deity of the family. These paintings depicted scenes from epics such as Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artwork.

In a specific area within this open space, there is a charming wooden temple. It brought back memories of the numerous temples found in Rajasthan. This particular temple is devoted to Krishna and is remarkably beautiful. When you sit in front of this temple, you feel completely encompassed by Krishna's presence. This courtyard is appropriately known as Deoghar Chowk, which means the courtyard of the deity.

The next intersection, known as the Family or Fountain Chowk, welcomed us with a door that led to a courtyard featuring a beautiful fountain in the center. Surrounding the fountain was a corridor with a rustic mud floor. We found a spot by the fountain and took a moment to appreciate this charming and cozy section of the Wada. It was evident that this area was designated for family gatherings, where people would come together to share meals. I could envision the women of the household gathering here for casual conversations or to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Kitchen Square

We entered through another door and found ourselves in the final square, which was likely frequented by the household staff. This area used to house the kitchen. Evidence of its previous use can be seen in the presence of a grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant. Colorful Palkis were scattered in the vicinity.

One intriguing aspect is a small aperture in the wall that links to the granary. By simply opening the window, one can retrieve the necessary grains for cooking. This could also be referred to as a service area or the operational support for the wada.

The Murlidhar Temple is located next to a chowk and can be accessed through a side door. It is common for large wadas to have their own personal temples dedicated to their family deity, and this wada is no exception with the Murlidhar temple. The temple features a small garbhagriha and a shikhara in the style of Nagar. Inside the temple, the mandapa is adorned with numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples of Hanuman and Garuda located on either side of the main temple.

Upon appreciating the inside of the Chitnavis Wada, we step outside and admire the remarkable woodwork displayed on its exterior. One distinct feature is a hanging corner embellished with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a symbol of the skilled woodcarvers present at this location. Additionally, there are decorative elements resembling Banana flower endings, reminiscent of the Peshwa wadas found in Pune.

The higher levels of the building are linked to the outer guest houses. The guest houses, which have a colonial style, might have been utilized for entertaining or accommodating Europeans. This section is connected to the main wada, but it is also distinct, serving as a barrier between the family space and the guest area.

Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, with walking paths dividing it into four parts. The garden has undergone some changes and is not as vibrant as it used to be. Nevertheless, I came across a fascinating antique handpump that is still functional.

At the top of the Wada building, you have a vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you can enjoy a picturesque view of the cityscape that surrounds it. I had the opportunity to visit during sunset, where the slanted 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. Additionally, a section of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also rent out the venue for occasions like weddings or small gatherings. Visitors can observe the traditional use of wooden planks for serving food.

Currently, the place mentioned is not accessible to the general public. To visit, you must get in touch with the office of the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. It is recommended to arrange a heritage tour of the Wada with the Architect Nitika Ramani.

The amount of time required to see it varies depending on how interested you are, typically ranging from 1 to 2 hours

In the vicinity of Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous lanes where you can take a stroll and observe a plethora of Wadas and temples.

Other articles by the same author include "Ramtek: The Influence of the Ramayana in Vidarbha" and "The Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar: An Architectural Masterpiece from the Kalinga Period." Another article focuses on Matheran, a charming hill station in Maharashtra. This article has received two comments, with one reader expressing gratitude for the new insights gained about Nagpur.

I find your blog to be a gateway to the outside world. Your captivating narratives and breathtaking pictures have introduced me to unknown places. Your talent for capturing the true essence of a location is truly extraordinary. Please continue to share your adventures, as they consistently spark my desire to travel and explore!

Please refrain from leaving a comment. I would like to store my personal information such as my name, email, and website for future reference when I decide to comment again.

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