Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Visiting Vishrambaug Wada

Vishrambaug Wada, is a nice old style wada situated in the heart of the Pune city. For shoppers who are well-known with Tulshibaug won't find it difficult to find this place. It's just opposite the entrance to Tulshibaug on Bajirao Road. Lot of confusing names for the newcomer in Pune. But don't worry. Just hop into a rickshaw and ask the rickshaw-wallah to take you to Vishrambaug Wada. You'll be alighted right at its entrance.

Inside of Vishrambaug Wada
So...to start with the history, this palace or Wada as it is called in Marathi, was built in 1807 at a cost of Rs. 2,00,000, which was a whooping cost at that time. It was owned by Peshwa Bajirao II, who stayed there for around 11 years before he was imprisoned by the British.

In 1821, a Sanskrit school was started in Vishrambaug Wada. Government Engineering College (now called COEP), Deccan College, Pune University, and Agricultural University were all had their humble beginnings here in Vishrambaug Wada.

A well inside Vishrambaug Wada
An interesting placard in the Wada mentions that William Wordsworth had written to the Public Works Department (PWD) complaining of the unhygienic conditions of the Wada at that time. I am really not sure if this could be true. Need to verify that. Nevertheless, it does give a different charm to the Wada.

At this Wada are now some municipal offices such as the Birth and Death Registration Office, Post Office, and a few shops are also operative.

What is also of some interest is a very small showcase of old buildings and structures in Pune, right from Council Hall, Gokhale Hall, Kasba Ganpati, Mandai, and various other notable structures. Miniatures of all these noteworthy buildings are on display. But this showcase seriously needs a makeover. More information about these buildings, clean and bright environment, old photographs, and many more interesting facets of life in Pune in the 18th and 19th centuries will make this a veritable source of information. This display is for free now. But I wouldn't mind paying if they upgrade it.

Also. if they take some serious restoration work for the Wada, make a few more rooms open to the general public by providing them information and entertainment, I am sure it will work wonders for not just tourism, but also for our glorious history.

Wish someone does take some efforts!

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