Shaniwarwada is a historical fortification in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1732, it was the seat of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire until 1818, when the Peshwas lost control to the British East India Company after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the center of Indian politics in the 18th century.
The Shaniwar Wada was originally the seven storied capital building of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. It was supposed to be made entirely of stone but after the completion of the base floor or the first story, the people of Satara (the national capital) complained to the Siva(King) saying that a stone monument can be sanctioned and built only by the Siva(King) himself and not the Peshwas. Following this, an official letter was written to the Peshwas stating that the remaining building had to be made of brick and not stone. The Wada was then completed and upon being attacked by the British Artillery 90 years later, all the top six stories collapsed leaving only the stone base, which was immune to the British artillery. Hence only the stone base of the Shaniwar Wada remains and can be seen even today in the older parts of Pune
n 1773, Narayanrao, who was the fifth and ruling Peshwa then, was murdered by guards on orders of his uncle Raghunathrao and aunt Anandibai. A popular rumour says that Narayanrao's ghost still calls for help on full moon nights. Various people, working around the area, have allegedly reported such cries. Sound of"Kaka mala wachawa"(Uncle save me) by Narayanrao Peshawe after his death.
The foundation of Shaniwar Wada was laid by Peshwa Baji Rao 1 who was succeeded by his son Peshwa Balaji Bajirao, fondly known as Nanasaheb Peshwa. Nanasaheb Peshwa had three sons: Vishwasrao, Madhavrao and Narayanrao. His eldest son Vishwasrao perished during the third battle of Panipat against Afghan armies and hence, Nanasaheb Madhavrao succeeded as the 4th Peshwa of the Maratha Empire which he remained until his death in 1772.
After death of Madhavrao, Narayanrao, the youngest of Nanasaheb’s son, took over as the 5th Peshwa. He was only 17 years old at the time of his brother Madhavrao’s death and became the youngest Peshwa ruler ever.
This succession however was highly challenged by his own uncle, Raghunathrao, brother of Nanasaheb. It is said that Raghunathrao had been fighting for power for the longest time. His hunger for the throne saw an opportunity when a young Narayanrao was declared Peshwa in 1772. Even Narayanrao disliked his uncle very much as he believed Raghunathrao responsible for assassination attempts on his elder brother, Madhavrao’s life. However, it was decided between Narayanrao and Raghunathrao to work together but Narayanrao’s arrogant, immature and impulsive behavior led to differences between them. These differences soon reached their peak and Narayanrao finally ordered a house-arrest for Raghunathrao. This moved proved disastrous and finally led to Narayanrao’s death.