Continents mentioned in the text include Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world. One can experience holistic living at Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa offers luxury travel in the holy city of Pushkar. Clarks Awadh provides a chance to experience the lifestyle of Lucknow. Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur is a heritage site that showcases the grand houses of the elite in Maharashtra, similar to the famous Shaniwar Wada in Pune.
This particular Wada stands out for its ability to maintain the magnificence and traditional allure of the esteemed residences. Upon arrival, I passed through a gate with an arch and a wooden door. A sign outside displayed its name and location.
When I entered the premises of Chitnavis Wada in Nagpur, I noticed that the area was surrounded by buildings and an open ground. It was hard 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 era feel to it, particularly with the wooden blind panels that reminded me of similar structures in Colonial Calcutta.
The tall trees, likely older than the nearby buildings, cast a dense presence. I entered the designated office space as instructed. Inside, I noticed an abundance of antique wooden furniture, such as palanquins, wooden boxes, writing desks, and wooden bullock carts scattered about. It dawned on me that this was the primary Wada structure. The structures I saw outside were additional sections that functioned as a guest house during the British era.
A kind man, who is in charge of the location, assisted me in creating a brochure and requested the staff to unlock the wada for my visit. Initially, I had low expectations and anticipated only the presence of beautiful wooden pillars inside the wada. However, to my delight, I quickly discovered that there were carved wooden pillars surrounding the front courtyard as well. Surprises are always just around the corner.
Chitnavis Wada is a traditional residence called a Haveli or Wada, consisting of three courtyards connected in a row. This architectural design, reminiscent of the Shekhawati Havelis, features an outer courtyard known as the First Chowk, which serves as a public space for receiving guests and conducting business. In this particular Haveli, the First Chowk also functions 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 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 alongside Raghuji – I Bhosle. The architectural style of the Wada suggests that it is approximately 200 years old.
Upon entering the initial courtyard of Chitnavis Wada, I found myself completely immersed in a vibrant display of paintings. Although the open area was now protected by wooden coverings, the surrounding corridor retained its soothing mud flooring.
I noticed paintings on the walls that showcased the life of Krishna, who I later learned is considered the family deity. The paintings included scenes from famous epics like Mahabharata, as well as framed lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma's artwork.
Located in a corner of the courtyard is a charming wooden temple that bears resemblance to the temples found in Rajasthan. Devoted to Krishna, it exudes beauty and elegance. When seated in front of this temple, one feels completely immersed in the presence of Krishna. This area of the courtyard is appropriately named Deoghar Chowk, which translates to "the deity's courtyard."
The next chowk we entered was called Family or Fountain Chowk. In the center, there was a beautiful fountain surrounded by a corridor made of mud flooring. We found a spot by the fountain to appreciate this cozy and inviting section of the Wada. It seemed to be a gathering place for the family, where they would come together to eat. I could picture the women of the family using this area for casual conversations and enjoying the sunlight.
We entered through another door that led us to the final courtyard, which was likely utilized more by the household staff. This area used to house the kitchen. Evidence of cooking activities can be seen, such as the grinding stone and grooves for pounding. Additionally, there is a well and a Tulsi plant present. Colorful Palkis were scattered about.
A fascinating aspect is a tiny gap in the wall that is linked to the storage area for grains. By simply opening the window, one can retrieve the necessary grains for cooking. This area can also be referred to as a service area or the behind-the-scenes operations for maintaining the wada.
The Murlidhar Temple is located on the side of this chowk. In many large wadas, there would be a personal temple dedicated to the family deity, and in this particular wada, it is the Murlidhar temple. The temple features a small garbhagriha and a shikhara in the Nagar style. Inside the mandapa, there are numerous wooden pillars, a common sight in many temples in Nagpur. Additionally, there are smaller temples of Hanuman and Garuda situated on either side of the main temple.
At Chitnavis Wada, we can appreciate the beautiful wood carvings both inside and outside the building. One notable feature is a hanging corner that showcases a peacock and parrot, which is a distinct characteristic of the skilled woodcarvers in this place. Additionally, the presence of Banana flower endings resembles the architectural style seen in Peshwa wadas in Pune.
The higher levels of the building are linked to the external guest houses. The guest houses that have a colonial design might have been utilized for entertaining or accommodating Europeans. Although connected to the main wada, this section is physically separated, serving as a barrier between the family space and the guest space.
Across from the wada, there was a garden designed in the Charbhag style, featuring walking paths that divide it into four sections. The garden, although not as vibrant as it once was, still holds some remnants of its former glory. One intriguing discovery I made there was an antique handpump that is still functional and in use.
The Wada has a rooftop that offers a picturesque view of the inner courtyards, the Murlidhar temple, and the city skyline. 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 efforts to incorporate modern amenities, such as bathrooms, into the building. Additionally, a portion of the Wada is utilized as an office space for different organizations. The owners also offer the venue for rent, specifically for events like weddings or intimate gatherings. One interesting feature is the use of wooden planks to serve food in a traditional manner.
At the current moment, the location mentioned is not accessible to the general public. In order to visit, it is necessary to reach out to the office of the Sh Gangadhar Rao Chitnavis Trust. To make the most of your visit, it is recommended to arrange a heritage tour with Architect Nitika Ramani, who specializes in showcasing the historical significance of the Wada.
Depending on how interested you are, it will take you around 1-2 hours to see it.
In the streets surrounding Chitnavis Wada, there are numerous Wadas and temples that you can explore on foot.
Other articles on this website discuss various topics related to different locations and attractions. One article specifically talks about the impact of the Ramayana in the city of Ramtek in the Vidarbha region. Another article highlights the architectural masterpiece of the Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneshwar, showcasing the unique Kalinga style. Lastly, there is an article that explores Matheran, a charming hill station in Maharashtra. The article received positive feedback, with two comments expressing gratitude for sharing new information about Nagpur.
Your blog has opened my eyes to new and unknown places through its captivating storytelling and breathtaking photographs. Your talent for capturing the true essence of each destination is exceptional. Please continue sharing your adventures as they continuously inspire and fuel my desire to explore the world!
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