In Photos: Pune’s Old Wadas Stand Tall Amid High-Rises as Reminders of a Bygone Era

In these rapidly changing times, the labyrinthine bylanes of Pune’s peth areas continue to retain their old city charm. Here’s a peek at some old architectural marvels that have been preserved by their proud owners.

Intricate woodwork of the balcony railings, tinted glass windows that reflect rainbow colours when sunlight falls on them and the longstanding stone-walled wadas that hark back to a historical era- the lanes and bylanes of Pune’s peth areas have all of it.

Since urbanisation and globalisation swept sleepy Pune off its feet to turn it into a city that’s growing by the day, much has changed for this small old town of pensioners. While skyscrapers go up in the city, there’s still a slice of the past that remains rooted in these bylanes.

Nagarkar Wada in Shaniwar Peth

There’s change happening everywhere, yet there are some proud owners of such century-old or even older properties who are striving to preserve the traditional buildings.Walk down the lanes of the old city and you’ll find such structures and the people who have held them dear for years.

Purushottam Joshi, owner of the Waman Sadan in Shaniwar Peth, is one of them. Wadasare historical architectural forms characterised by stone walls, typical wooden staircases, and the chowk– an open space in the centre attaching one structure to the other. Waman Sadan, where a third generation of the family now resides, was built in early 1900s by Joshi’s father.

An octogenarian himself, Joshi wishes to hold on to his house and along with that, the fond memories of his parents.

Waman Sadan and Purushottam Joshi

“I have grown up in this house. There are so many memories. We have kept the wadain an excellent condition- there’s constant repair work and painting done to keep it in the best state possible. It is a piece of legacy and I wouldn’t want to let go of it just yet,” says Joshi.

He highlights some typical architectural features of the wada like the chowk, the typical kadikoyanda (the unique bolts) and the four-brick-thick walls that trap the cold inside in the summers and keep it warm in the winters.

There are many such old buildings adjacent to Waman Sadan, but not all have been preserved by choice. Lying within 100 metres of the famous historic monument of Shaniwarwada, there are many constraints on the redevelopment of these wadas. However, there are many who have no complaints about the restrictions. Usha Bhide, owner of the 125-year-old Bhide Wada, says redevelopment is not an option for her.

“We have maintained our wada so well and we will keep it as it is. It’s a small, cosy property and the new buildings lack this homely feel,” she says.


Also read: German Video-Mapping Artist Turned Pune’s Shaniwarwada into His Canvas This Diwali & It Was Superb!


While the likes of Waman Sadan and Bhide Wada still stand tall, there are hundreds that have been torn down across the city either for the purpose of redevelopment or due to safety issues. Skyscrapers are rapidly replacing the spacious single-storied houses, leaving behind little trace of the old times.

A simple stroll across the narrow paths of Shaniwar peth, Kasba peth, Budhwar peth and the adjacent areas reveals a plethora of architectural marvels, some crumbling, some still standing tall. As you drift into the lanes at the cost of getting lost, you find more such interesting buildings that clearly shout out ‘heritage.’ Not only are there wadas, but also multi-storied buildings from the British era that adorn the narrow streets on both sides.

Let’s take a peek into the golden days through this series of photos, and let the nostalgia set in!

Bhausaheb Rangari Bhavan, Budhwar Peth

Beautiful wooden windows of a house in Shukrawar Peth

 

 

The ‘jharokhas’ of the Shitole Wada in Kasba Peth remind of the Peshwa era

 

Some century-old wooden structures still stand hidden amidst the concrete buildings

 

A splash of cool blue meets your eye in a narrow lane in Budhwar Peth

 

Unique wooden doors are aplenty!

 

The beauty of tinted glass is unmissable even amidst the heavy traffic near the City Post

 

The beautiful red & white colour scheme makes this wada in Budhwar Peth stand out

 

Wooden staircases are another unique characteristic of the wadas

 

This single-storied building in Kasba Peth has all the right & bright colours

 

 

Isn’t the balcony of this house in Sadashiv Peth just perfect?

 

The famous Nana Wada is now home to several offices of the Pune Municipal Corporation

 

Nighojkar Wada is now the rehearsal space for theatre actors!

 

 

Wooden windows & tinted glass is just the perfect combination for this old house in Shukrawar Peth

 

Many stone buildings still stand tall, like this one near Lal Mahal

 

So many windows on this one small wada in Shukrawar Peth!

 

The wada in Budhwar Peth that was once home to Maharshi Annasaheb Patwardhan

 

Gham Wada in Kasba Peth has an appealing exterior

 

 

Another stone house stands silently in a quiet lane in Sadashiv Peth

 

The sunlit windows of this wada in Shaniwar Peth look sublime

 

The white beauty in Narayan Peth

 

This wada in Kasba peth has been around for almost a century!

 

The open area in the middle is called the chowk

 

The chawl system is still alive in some parts of the city

 

One can find many unique varieties of designs of the balcony railings

Also read: 30 States, 30 Stunning Photos: These Award-Winning Images Show Why India’s Beauty Lies In Its Diversity


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