the Nanawada crumbles...
the finalization of Pune’s urban heritage list is still pending, despite
seven years having passed by, heritage structures in the city are facing
utter neglect or are being wiped off from the face of earth, thus burying
a part of our rich cultural heritage. A trip to Nanawada revealed the sad
fate of this once glorious Wada; despite once being declared a Grade 1
structure by the heritage committee.
boards atop the entrance proclaim the place to be different things. One
says that it is the Nutan Marathi Private School, the other board states
that it is the Karamvir Bhaorao Patil School. Others proclaim it to be the
house the Vidya Prasarini Sabha’s Balak Mandir and the General Records
office, of the Pune Municipal Corporation. . Sadly, they all miss the
single most important fact and relegate it to the corners- that this is
Situated behind Shaniwarwada, next to Vasant theatre, the place where Nanasaheb
Phadnis lived and managed the Peshwa’s empire. As you enter this
building a sadness fills you. For what else can it be to see a magnificent
heritage building rotting at its core?
majestic balcony with a dome shaped ceiling is almost crumbling. The
carved wooden arches,the pillars , the intricate carvings on the ceiling
have withstood the ravages of time, pollution, misuse and even modernization.
But the rest of the structure is simple lying wasted. Once you enter, on
the left is an open space covered with putrid water that one has to
negotiate to reach the stairs.
wooden steps are in such a pathetic condition that there are steps that
are missing and the whole thing is so rickety that it actually sways
dangerously as you go up. Upstairs, the only thing that has surprisingly
remained unspoiled is the carved ceiling. Intricate carvings on the
jet-black wooden ceiling are the only pointer that mutely claim in their
days of glory.
floors are covered with dust and in some places have broken down. The
rooms below are presently being used as a garbage bin of sorts. Discarded
paper, cycles, tin, Mangalore tiles and broken sinks, and so on lie in a
heap in a corner. On the front side lives Shatrughana Khandale, the
residential watchman and his family. Says he, “I feel proud to live in
the building which was once upon a time a prime institution.” He states
that the building had what was then called the Kerunana Chattri, which was
an observatory to observe the sky and the stars. This chattri was situated
above the darbar which now lies locked. Says Khandale, “the reason why
the wooden structure has not yet deteriorated is because it was put for a
year in linseed oil, then water, and then exposed to the Sun.”With
the exception of the lower portion that is used by Khandale, the rest of
the Wada is locked. Steep steps lead to the hall upstairs and it is
painful to watch the paintings and carvings on the wall outside the darbar
rotting. All that is visible is the reddish background with ivory
paintings depicting men and horses, all lined by intricate borders. At
some time these great paintings have been covered with yellow oil paint.In
1907, the British laid he foundation stone for the building that was built
as an extension Nanawada. It was meant for the New English School.
this building houses the record office of the PMC, the Nutan Marathi
Primary school, the LN Kinkar Night School and a day- care centre for the
aged. The house where Nanasaheb lived? That’s being taken care of by