Shaniwarwada was the palace of the Peshwas since the 18th century C.E. The construction started on a Saturday, hence the name Shaniwarwada was given to the palace. Started by Bajirao I on 10th January 1730 C.E. the monument was completed in 1732. Spread over 625 acres, it was primarily a residence for the Peshwa (Prime Minister of the King). It is a heavily fortified building complex with nine bastions and five gateways. The 21ft tall main entrance of the complex faces North i.e. towards Delhi and hence is named as the Delhi Darvaja (Gate). Many additions were made to the original plan of the palace since its construction. In the final phase the palace was a seven storied building with four large and many smaller courtyards (chauk). The palace consisted of exquisite fountains and numerous gardens. But the most noteworthy is the sixteen petal lotus shaped fountain called the Hazaari Kaaranja (fountain of a thousand jets). The complex was taken over by the British when they defeated the Peshwas in the Battle of Khadaki in 1818. In 1828 most of the buildings were destroyed in a devastating fire. What remains today are only the plinth and the surrounding walls telling the visitor the story of the glory that Shaniwarwada experienced once upon a time.
Today the palace stands in the heart of the city and the area around it has been developed in such a way that programmes can be organized in the courtyard of this magnificent fort palace and people can enjoy them. A huge statue of Peshwa Bajirao I is also erected in the courtyard. There is a small shop ‘Warsaa’ in the campus which sells traditional hand made goods, books and souvenirs. The Pune Municipal Corporation has started a sound and light show in an open air auditorium in the palace grounds of Shaniwarwada. The show which is held both in English and Marathi, is run from 7.15 pm to 8.10 pm (Marathi) and 8.15pm to 9.10pm (English). The ticket is Rs. 25/- (subject to change in future). The tickets can be bought from 6.30 pm onwards and advance booking is not needed for this show. (Timings – 8 am to 5 pm. Entry for foreigners – Rs.100/- or $2 )