Exploring the Historic Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Historic Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Exploring the Historic Chitnavis Wada: A Glimpse into Nagpur’s Heritage

Continents such as Asia and Europe and the rest of the world have various destinations that offer holistic living experiences. 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 a pilgrimage city, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great choice. Experience the vibrant life of Lucknow by staying at Clarks Awadh. In Nagpur, a visit to Chitnavis Wada in the Mahal area provides a glimpse into the city's rich heritage. These Wadas are reminiscent of the grand houses of the elite in Maharashtra, like the famous Shaniwar Wada in Pune.

This particular Wada stands out from the rest as it has successfully maintained the opulence and nostalgic appeal of the prestigious houses. Passing through an arched gate with a wooden door, I noticed a sign outside displaying its name and location.

When I entered the Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I immediately noticed the numerous buildings surrounding a spacious courtyard. It was quite perplexing 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 conveyed a sense of being from the colonial era. Specifically, the presence of wooden blind panels brought to mind similar architectural elements found in Colonial Calcutta.

The tall trees, which are likely older than the nearby buildings, are abundant in this area. I entered the office as directed, and noticed a collection of aged wooden furniture such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered throughout. It dawned on me that I had entered 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. He provided me with a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the wada for my visit. Initially, I didn't anticipate anything extraordinary, aside from the presence of beautifully crafted wooden pillars in the Wada. Nevertheless, surprises were just around the corner, as I soon discovered the intricate carvings on the wooden pillars throughout the front courtyard.

Chitnavis Wada is a historical mansion with three courtyards, known as "Chowks." This architectural feature is reminiscent of the Shekhawati Havelis we previously encountered. The first Chowk serves as a public space where guests and individuals conducting business would visit. In this particular Wada, the first Chowk also functioned as the office space for the head of the family.

Chitnavis was a title given to the highest-ranking documentation officer of a king. The Wada, or building, in question 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 architectural style of the Wada suggests that it is approximately 200 years old.

When I entered the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada's Deoghar Chowk, I was immediately greeted by vibrant paintings that filled the space. Although the courtyard itself was now topped with wood, the surrounding corridor had a calming mud floor.

On the walls, there were paintings that illustrated the life of Krishna, who I later found out is the deity worshiped by the family. These paintings included scenes from famous stories like the Mahabharata. Additionally, there were lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artwork displayed in frames.

Situated in a corner of the courtyard, there is a charming wooden temple that bears a resemblance to temples found in Rajasthan. It is devoted to Krishna and exudes a captivating beauty. When one sits in front of this temple, they are completely enveloped by Krishna's presence. This courtyard is appropriately named Deoghar Chowk, signifying its status as the sacred space belonging to the deity.

At the next intersection, known as the Family or Fountain Chowk, we came across a charming fountain surrounded by a corridor with mud flooring. We took a seat near the fountain, appreciating this cozy and inviting section of the Wada. It was evident that this area was designated for family gatherings and meals, as I could envision the women of the household coming together here for friendly conversations or to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Kitchen Square

We entered through another door into the final square, which was likely frequented more by the household staff. This area used to be the kitchen. It had a grinding stone and grooves for pounding ingredients. There was also a well and a Tulsi plant. Colorful Palkis were scattered around the space.

There is a fascinating aspect in the wall which is linked to the granary. By simply opening the window, you can easily retrieve the grains needed for cooking. This area 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 is a door that grants access to the private temple of the family associated with this chowk. It was common for large residences, known as wadas, to have a personal temple dedicated to their family's chosen deity. In this particular wada, the temple is dedicated to Murlidhar. The temple itself features a small inner sanctum and a shikhara (tower) designed in the Nagar style. Inside the temple, the mandapa (hall) is adorned with numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples dedicated to Hanuman and Garuda positioned on either side of the main temple.

At Chitnavis Wada, we can appreciate the beautiful wood carvings both inside and outside the building. Once we step outside, we are greeted by the impressive woodwork of the wada. One distinctive feature is a hanging corner adorned with carvings of a peacock and a parrot, which is like a unique signature of the skilled woodcarvers at this place. Additionally, we can also notice the presence of Banana flower endings, similar to the ones found in the Peshwa wadas located

The higher levels of the building are linked to the outer guest accommodations. The colonial section of these accommodations might have been utilized for entertaining or hosting Europeans. This particular section is attached to the main building but is set apart, effectively dividing the family space from the guest space.

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

On top of the Wada building, you have a vantage point to observe the inner courtyards and the Murlidhar temple. Additionally, the rooftop offers a panoramic view of the city that encompasses it. Personally, I visited during the sunset, creating a captivating atmosphere with the complementary ambiance of the slanted red tiled roofs.

Throughout the years, the owners who are descendants of the original owners have made efforts to incorporate modern amenities such as bathrooms to the Wada. Additionally, a section of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. Furthermore, they also rent out the venue for events such as weddings or small gatherings. It is interesting to note that traditional wooden planks are used to serve food at these events.

At the moment, 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 go on a heritage tour of the Wada led by Architect Nitika Ramani.

The amount of time it takes to see it varies depending on how interested you are, but generally it will take about 1

In the lanes surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore on foot.

Other articles you may be interested in:

– The Influence of the Ramayana in the region of Vidarbha

– The Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar, a magnificent example of Kalinga architecture

– Matheran, a charming hill station located in Maharashtra

There are two comments on this article expressing gratitude for the information provided about Nagpur.

Your blog has opened up a whole new world for me. Your captivating stories and breathtaking pictures have introduced me to places I never even knew existed. The way you capture the true essence of each location is truly impressive. Please keep sharing your adventures, as they constantly inspire and fuel my desire to explore!

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