Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peep into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peep into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Grandeur of Chitnavis Wada: A Peep into Nagpur’s Heritage

Continents like Asia, Europe, and the Rest of the World offer various experiences for travelers. One such experience is holistic living at Swaswara, located on the beautiful Om Beach in Gokarna. If you are planning a visit to Shekhawati, consider staying at Piramal Haveli for a memorable stay. For luxury travel in the holy city of Pushkar, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great choice. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Lucknow by staying at Clarks Awadh. In Nagpur, you can explore the rich heritage by visiting Chitnavis Wada, a grand house in the Mahal area known for its historical significance.

This particular Wada is unique in its ability to maintain the elegance and nostalgic appeal of the upper-class residences. I made my way inside through a gate with a curved arch and a wooden door. There was a sign outside displaying its name and location.

When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed numerous buildings surrounding an open area. It was a bit challenging to determine if I was already inside the Wada or still outside due to the layout. The construction on the main door side had a distinct colonial feel, particularly with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of structures in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, which are likely older than the surrounding buildings, are abundant in this area. I entered a building that was described to me as the office. Inside, there is a variety 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 primary Wada. The structures I saw outside were additional sections that were used as a guest house during the British era.

I received assistance from a man in charge of the location, who provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to open the wada for my visit. My expectations were not high, other than anticipating the presence of well-crafted wooden pillars within the Wada. Nonetheless, surprises always seem to be just around the corner, as I was delighted to observe the intricately carved wooden pillars encompassing the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a traditional mansion with three courtyards, known as 3-Chowk Haveli or Wada. This architectural feature, which we also observed in Shekhawati Havelis, consists of three consecutive courtyards. The first courtyard, referred to as the First Chowk, serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would visit. In this particular Wada, the first courtyard was utilized as the office space for the head of the family.

Chitnavis was the title given to the chief documentation officer of a king. The Wada, or 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. It is believed that the Wada is approximately 200 years old, judging by its stylistic characteristics.

As I entered the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada, I found myself immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. The previously open courtyard has now been enclosed with wooden structures, but the surrounding corridor still retains its calming mud flooring.

As I explored the walls, I came across paintings that portrayed the life of Krishna, who I later learned is the revered deity of the family. These paintings depicted scenes from famous epics like Mahabharata. Additionally, I noticed framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artwork.

Located in a corner of the courtyard is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to temples found in Rajasthan. It is a magnificent structure dedicated to Krishna, exuding beauty in every aspect. Sitting in front of this temple allows one to completely immerse themselves in the presence of Krishna. This particular courtyard is aptly named Deoghar Chowk, signifying its significance as the sacred space of the deity.

The next chowk we entered was known as the Family or Fountain Chowk. In the center of this chowk, there was a beautiful fountain. Surrounding the fountain, there was a corridor with a floor made of mud. We found a spot near the fountain to sit and appreciate this cozy and welcoming area of the Wada. It was clear that this space was meant for families to gather and enjoy meals together. I could picture the women of the family coming here to engage in friendly conversations or simply bask in the sunlight.

Kitchen Area

We entered another doorway that took us to the final area, which was likely frequented by the family's staff. This was the location of the kitchen in the past. In this area, you can observe a grinding stone and grooves for pounding. There is also a well and a Tulsi plant present. Colorful Palkis were scattered around the vicinity.

There is a fascinating aspect of the wall that includes a small opening which connects to the granary. By simply opening the window, one can easily access the grains needed for cooking. This could also be referred to as a service area or the behind-the-scenes operations for managing the wada.

The Murlidhar Temple is located behind a door on the side of this chowk. It is common for large residential buildings, known as wadas, to have a personal temple dedicated to the family deity. In this particular wada, the temple is dedicated to Murlidhar. The temple is designed in the Nagar style, with a small garbhagriha (sanctum) and a shikhara (tower). Inside the temple, the mandapa (hall) is adorned with wooden pillars, a common feature in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are small temples of Hanuman and Garuda situated next to the main temple.

Upon observing the inside of Chitnavis Wada, we proceed to the front of the building to appreciate the intricate woodwork. One notable feature is a hanging corner adorned with carvings of a peacock and parrot, which serves as a distinctive symbol of the talented woodcarvers in this area. Additionally, the wada showcases Banana flower endings, similar to those seen in the Peshwa wadas located in Pune.

The higher levels of the building are linked to the external guest accommodations. It is possible that the colonial section of these accommodations was utilized for entertaining or hosting European individuals. This particular section is joined to the main building, but it is physically separated, serving as a barrier between the family section and the guest section.

Across from the wada, there existed a garden designed in the Charbhag style, featuring walking paths that divided it into four sections. The garden, although not as vibrant as it was in the past, still possesses some remnants of its former glory. Notably, I came across a fascinating antique handpump that is still functional.

On top of the Wada building, you have a clear vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, you are treated to a stunning panoramic view of the city that surrounds it. I had the opportunity to be there during sunset, and the charming red tiled roofs added a special ambiance to the scene.

Throughout the years, the current owners of the Wada have made attempts 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 offer the option to rent out the venue for occasions like weddings or small gatherings. It is interesting to note that traditional wooden planks are used for serving food at these events.

Advice for Traveling

Currently, the place 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 take a heritage tour of the Wada with Architect Nitika Ramani.

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

In the vicinity of Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that can be explored by taking a stroll around the lanes.

In this article, we explore the cultural heritage and architectural beauty of Nagpur. The author expresses gratitude for the valuable information provided in the article.

Your blog has provided me with a unique perspective of the world. The way you tell stories and showcase your stunning photos has allowed me to uncover hidden gems that I never even knew existed. Your talent for capturing the true essence of a place is truly extraordinary. Please keep sharing your adventures, as they consistently inspire me and fuel my desire to explore!

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