A formidable weight of the Maratha history sits on the numerous ‘peths’ that make Old Pune. Pune was a Maratha stronghold and the seat of the Peshwas, one of the five ruling clans that composed the Maratha Empire.
Post the disintegration of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, the Marathas emerged as a significant regional power in Pune. This not only marked the growth of the Empire but also coincided with the first kind of urbanisation in Western India. The 18 peths or wards created by the Peshwas were the birthplace of the wadas of Peshwai Pune.
Situated on deep narrow plots, Wadas are usually two to three storeys high. The symbolic core of Old Pune is Shaniwarwada (The Saturday Estate) or the Peshwa’s residence. Built in the year 1732 by Bajirao Peshwa the First, the Shaniwarwada is a large building with rooms arranged around an open courtyard, balconies, carved pillars, the classic timber supports leading to stairways and halls, latticed windows, sculpted ceilings, decorative Jejuri limestone wall niches and the Mughal influenced Hazari Karanje (fountain of thousand spouts). It also has massive wooden doors, big enough for elephants to walk through and five gates (Dilli darwaza, Mastani darwaza, Khidki darwaza, Ganesh darwaza and Jambhul/Narayan darwaza).