Journey of freedom fighters, now showing at 240-year-old wada in Pune
The wada was built in 1780 by Nana Phadnavis, the chief administrative officer of the Peshwas, and is located close to Shaniwarwada, next to Vasant theatre.Updated: Jun 22, 2019 14:43 IST
As far as heritage structures in Pune go, Nana wada, built by Nana Phadnavis, aka Balaji Janardan Bhanu, a minister in the reign of the Peshwas, bears a certain practical decadence in its demeanour.
That is, since it has been restored and will now open as a museum in the city, to be officially inaugurated by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday at 4.30 pm. The museum is aptly named ‘Swaraj – journey of freedom fighters’.
“The wada was in shambles and the entire first floor tilted to one side when we first got it in our hands in 2010, for conservation and restoration,” says Varsha Jadhav, heritage cell, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The wada was built in 1780 by Nana Phadnavis, the chief administrative officer of the Peshwas, and is located close to Shaniwarwada, next to Vasant theatre. After the death of Madhavrao Peshwa, the Maratha empire sustained its glory and grew in power under the leadership of Nana Phadnavis.
“There were two parts to the project. One is a 250-year-old wada with classic Peshwa architecture. However, in 1907, the Deccan Education Society came into ownership and added gothic style architectural elements to the structure to turn it into a school building,” says Jadhav.
In 1953, it was acquired by the PMC who began conservation only in 2010.
PMC has worked hard to retain the original essence of the structure using Sagwan wood, the same wood used in the original structure.
There are arches, balconies - like the one called the Meghdambari; ornamental domes flanking the balconies on either side and a central courtyard with its carved wooden pillars and domes.
The restoration work cost the PMC ~1.8 crore with 11 rooms on the ground floor readied into a museum at a cost of ~3.5 crore.
“The museum is where history will come alive,” said Mayor Mukta Tilak, who was on a round to inspect the restoration work on Friday.
“Each room tells a story of freedom fighters connected with Pune. There is an entire section dedicated to Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Lokus Designs Pune has been working on this museum for the past two years and specialise in museum designing. Every gallery will give the visitor a single message through the use of murals, paintings, light and sound to re-enact history and Pune’s involvement with the freedom struggle,” says Rohan Pable, project manager, Lokus Designs
Only the ground floor will open to the public on Monday, but the wada will house a museum on its upper two floors as well.
PMC is still working on getting the upper floors of the wada ready for this.