Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Shinde Chhatri, in honour of Mahadji Shinde





During my recent visit to Pune, spent a weekend with my cousin sister and her hubby, who also happens to be my schoolmate and had a good time; took an historical turn, when I discovered that Shinde Chhatri dedicated to the founder of Gwalior’s Scindia dynasty is located right opposite their society premises. And accompanied by them, made a visit to this historical place which has a temple and samadi just outside. It took me back in time to the glorious days of the Marathas……

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Shinde Chhatri is located in Wanowrie on the edge of the city, beyond the army camp area, now a suburb of Pune. The imposing structure is situated on the left bank of Bhairoba stream. The memorial is dedicated to the eighteenth century warrior Mahadji Shinde who served as the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army under the Peshwas from 1760 to 1780. It is considered to be one of the significant landmarks and reminder of the glorious Maratha rule. It also marks the spot where Mahadji Shinde was cremated on 12 February 1794.

The three storied memorial reflects the past splendor and rich architecture. The exterior is captivating and has intricate and detailed carvings making it an imposing structure.

In 1794 the complex of the memorial only had a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by Mahadji Shinde himself. Unfortunately he died in the same year and his last rites were performed in the premises. In 1965, a samadi (memorial) was constructed outside the sanctum of the Shiva temple, in memory of Mahadji Shinde, exactly where he was cremated. 


Madhavrao Scindia was responsible for constructing the complex, along with the memorial of Mahadji Shinde. The Scindia family of Gwalior, are descendants of the founder Mahadji Shinde. The complex is maintained by Scindia Devasthan Trust, Gwalior. It is frequented by visitors and tourists who have heard or read about this place.

The major attraction of the Shinde Chhatri is its exquisite architecture, reminding one of the building-style used in Rajasthan. The Anglo-Rajasthani style of construction exhibits a fine blending of two different cultures. The fine carvings and idols of saints on the entrance of the Shiva temple are made of yellow stone and the base and the sanctum sanctorum are constructed in black stone. The Chhatri (hall) has carvings and intricate paintings. Coloured window-panes are of typical English style. The hall is also adorned with the paintings and photographs of the members of the Scindia family.

The complex is fortified with a 15 feet high wall surrounding it on all sides. The complex consists of three shrines – Shiva and Maruti temple and the Chattri in honour of Mahadaji Shinde, the commander of the Maratha army under the Peshwas from 1760 to 1780. In 1794 Mahadji Shinde himself constructed a shrine to Lord Shiva and later on when he died the last rites were performed in the same complex. It's more like a wish fulfilled of the great warrior.

There are statues of saints placed on the roof top. The decorations in the hall, ceiling and pillars are a real piece of art. Besides, there is a row of photographs of the members of the Scindia royal family. A casual glance at the photographs remind you of the rich history and the turbulent days of the Maratha history.

The entry fee to the monument is Rs 5 for Indians and Rs 25 for foreigners. The complex is open from 6 am to 9 pm. Those interested in Maratha history should visit this place. The commander of the Maratha army rose to be the founder of the Scindia dynasty in Gwalior. A little further down the road is the palatial building constructed by the Scindias, may be to stay whenever they come here to pay their respects to the founder of the Scindia dynasty.


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Picture Post

A palatial building of  the Scindia's near Shinde Chattri,
in Wanowrie, Pune in India
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Bharata, My Brother
 - Anil Kumar Naik
Foreword by Shri Asaranna Swami of Durga 
Parmeshwari Temple, Kateel, SK

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