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 such as Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living. One such destination is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For a unique stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is worth considering. If you're seeking luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great option. Experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow at Clarks Awadh. In Nagpur, you can explore the rich heritage by visiting Chitnavis Wada, a grand house located in the Mahal area of the city's old town.

This particular Wada stands out among the rest for successfully maintaining the elegance and nostalgic appeal of the affluent homes. As I approached, I passed through a gate with a curved arch and a wooden door. A sign displayed on the outside clearly indicated its name and location.

When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed several buildings surrounding a spacious open area. It was hard to determine whether I was inside the Wada or still outside due to the layout. The construction on the main entrance had a distinct colonial vibe, particularly with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar structures found in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, likely older than the nearby buildings, tower above. I entered the space that was identified as the office. Inside, there is a plethora of aged wooden furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It dawned on me that this 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 in charge of the establishment who aided me in creating a brochure. He also requested the staff to open the Wada for me. Initially, I had low expectations and only anticipated well-crafted wooden pillars in the Wada. Nonetheless, surprises are always close by, as I was pleasantly surprised to find intricately carved wooden pillars encircling the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion with three courtyards, known as 3-Chowk Haveli. This architectural design, also seen in Shekhawati Havelis, consists of three consecutive courtyards. The first courtyard, referred to as the First Chowk, usually serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would visit. In the case of Chitnavis Wada, this outer courtyard also functioned as the office of the head of the family.

Who was Chitnavis?

Chitnavis is a title given to the highest-ranking document officer in the court of a king. The Chitnavis 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. Based on its architectural style, it is estimated that the Chitnavis Wada is approximately 200 years old.

Upon entering the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. Though the open courtyard has been transformed with a wooden covering, the surrounding corridor retains its calming mud flooring.

The walls were adorned with artwork showcasing the life of Krishna, which I later learned is the patron deity of the family. The paintings depicted scenes from ancient Indian epics such as Mahabharata. Additionally, there were framed lithographs of renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma's creations.

Located in a corner of the courtyard is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to several temples found in Rajasthan. Devoted to Krishna, the temple is truly a sight to behold. When one sits in front of the temple, they feel completely encompassed by Krishna's presence. This area of the courtyard is appropriately known as Deoghar Chowk, which translates to the deity's courtyard.

At the intersection known as Family or Fountain Chowk, we entered a new area that featured a fountain at its center. Surrounding the fountain was a pathway with a floor made of mud. Taking a seat by the fountain, we appreciated the humble yet inviting atmosphere of this section of the Wada. It was clear that this space was designated for family gatherings and meals, where I envisioned women from the family coming together to engage in casual conversations or bask in the sunlight.

Kitchen Courtyard

We entered through another doorway which brought us to the final courtyard, primarily used by the household staff. This area was where the kitchen was located. Evidence of the past kitchen activities can be seen, such as the grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a sacred Tulsi plant. Colorful carriages, known as palkis, were scattered around the area.

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

Located on the side of this square, there is a door that leads to the personal temple of the family at this residence. Like many grand homes, there is a dedicated temple for the family deity at this residence, known as the Murlidhar temple. The temple consists of a small inner sanctum and a pointed tower in the style of the Nagar architecture. Inside the temple, the mandapa is adorned with wooden pillars, a common feature seen in numerous temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.

When we exit the building and stand in front of the Chitnavis Wada, we can't help but appreciate the beautiful woodwork on display. One distinctive feature is a hanging corner adorned with a peacock and parrot, which serves as a signature of the talented woodcarvers in this area. Additionally, the wada also showcases Banana flower endings, similar to those found in the Peshwa wadas in Pune.

The higher levels of the building are linked to the guest houses located on the outer side. It is possible that the colonial section of these guest houses was utilized for entertaining or accommodating European guests. This specific section is connected to the main building, but it is physically separate, establishing a division between the residential space for the family and the designated area for guests.

Across from the wada, there existed a garden designed in the Charbhag style, with paths that split it into four sections. The garden has undergone some changes over time and is not as vibrant as it used to be. Nonetheless, I came across a fascinating old handpump that is still functional.

On top of the Wada building, one can have a clear view of the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, it offers a picturesque skyline view of the city that envelops it. Personally, I had the opportunity to witness this view during the sunset, where the slanted red tiled roofs created a unique ambiance.

Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made efforts to incorporate modern amenities, such as bathrooms, into the property. Additionally, a section of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the option to rent out the premises for events like weddings or small gatherings. During these events, traditional wooden planks are used to serve food.

Currently, the place mentioned in the text is not accessible to the general public. In order to visit it, one must get in touch with the office of the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. The heritage tour of the Wada is led 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 around 1 to 2 hours to see it.

In the alleyways near Chitnavis Wada, there are plenty of opportunities to explore various Wadas and temples on foot.

Other articles on this website discuss different topics such as the Ramtek region's connection to the Ramayana, the impressive Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar, and the charming hill station of Matheran in Maharashtra. There are two comments on this article, expressing gratitude for the new information about Nagpur.

Your blog has provided me with a unique perspective on the world. Your captivating narratives and impressive visuals have introduced me to unknown places. Your talent in capturing the true essence of each location is truly extraordinary. Please continue sharing your adventures, as they constantly fuel my desire to explore!

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