Exploring Kasba Peth: The Cradle Of Pune

Exploring Kasba Peth: The Cradle Of Pune

Kasba Peth, an area barely covering a square kilometer, resides at the heart of Pune and holds invaluable treasures from the past

Gaurav KadamUpdated: Monday, December 04, 2023, 12:34 PM IST
article-image
Exploring Kasba Peth: The Cradle Of Pune | Gaurav Kadam

Kasba Peth, an area barely covering a square kilometer, resides at the heart of Pune and holds invaluable treasures from the past. As the oldest part of the city, it stands as a silent witness to centuries of history, heritage, culture, and faith. Nestled along the banks of the Mutha river and the Nagzari stream, this locality has witnessed the rule of various dynasties, from the Yadavas to the Peshwas. Before its amalgamation, Kasba was comprised of small hamlets, a legacy that endures in the present with areas named such as Tambat Ali (known for brass/copper utensil manufacturers), Kumbhar Wada (home to earthen pot makers), Shimpi Ali (the area of tailors), and many others.

I was aware of this bit of Kasba's history but was eager to delve deeper, which led to my participation in a heritage walk conducted by Sandeep Godbole. Godbole, a cybersecurity expert by profession, conducts these walks out of personal interest rather than formal expertise. In conversation with me, he shared, "While I lack formal qualifications in history, my extensive travels across India and abroad exposed me to people's interest in their heritage. I wondered, why not initiate something similar? It started informally with friends and family, eventually evolving into this activity. It's not a commercial endeavour but more of a passion. Over time, I developed a profound interest in history, conducted research, and delved into original documents. Moreover, viewing Pune through the lens of past generations naturally captivated me. Besides, I'm also collaborating with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on their heritage walks."

We, a group of around 15 individuals, spanning from school kids to senior citizens, gathered at Shaniwar Wada. Here, Godbole introduced himself, and the other participants became acquainted with each other. Following a brief talk about Kasba, we commenced our walk.

Interestingly, half of Shaniwar Wada is in Shaniwar Peth, and the other half is in Kasba Peth

Interestingly, half of Shaniwar Wada is in Shaniwar Peth, and the other half is in Kasba Peth | Gaurav Kadam

A group of around 15 individuals, spanning from school kids to senior citizens, gathered at Shaniwar Peth for Kasba Walk

A group of around 15 individuals, spanning from school kids to senior citizens, gathered at Shaniwar Peth for Kasba Walk | Gaurav Kadam

Baloba Munja Mandir

Baloba Munja Mandir

Baloba Munja Mandir | Gaurav Kadam

One of the earliest locations identified in Pune, as informed by Godbole, is the Baloba Munja Mandir. Munja, a folk deity in Maharashtra, is often perceived as the spirit of a young boy. At this site, there is an ancient 'Veer Gal,' a hero's stone, serving as a memorial to local heroes from the region.

The intricate wooden pillars and embellishments offer a captivating glimpse into the earlier beauty of Kasba Peth

The intricate wooden pillars and embellishments offer a captivating glimpse into the earlier beauty of Kasba Peth | Gaurav Kadam

This wada appears to have been renovated and now houses a restaurant

This wada appears to have been renovated and now houses a restaurant | Gaurav Kadam

These wooden windows offer a glimpse of the past

These wooden windows offer a glimpse of the past | Gaurav Kadam

Nilkantheshwar Mandir

Nilkantheshwar Temple

Nilkantheshwar Temple | Gaurav Kadam

According to historical records, Godbole informed that Nilkantheshwar was among the deities that received a dakshina to commemorate the birth of Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa in 1774. However, the temple has undergone renovations with tiles, significantly reducing its traditional ambiance.

Lal Mahal

Lal Mahal

Lal Mahal | Gaurav Kadam

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj spent his formative years at the Lal Mahal

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj spent his formative years at the Lal Mahal | Gaurav Kadam

The present Lal Mahal is a modern structure constructed in the past decades. However, it occupies the precise location where the original Lal Mahal once stood, informed Godbole. He also recounted the tale of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj severing three fingers of Shaista Khan as the latter attempted to flee through a window at this site.

Kasba Ganpati Mandir

The exterior of Kasba Ganpati Mandir

The exterior of Kasba Ganpati Mandir | Gaurav Kadam

The interior of Kasba Ganpati Mandir

The interior of Kasba Ganpati Mandir |

Kasba Ganpati holds the revered status of 'grama daivat' in Pune. "Not only is it the foremost 'manacha Ganpati,' but it also plays a significant role in the city's social, cultural, and religious realms. Political campaigns often commence here, and it's a customary practice to present the first marriage invitations. Architecturally, the temple features an ancient wada facade, while inside, a wooden 'sabha mandap' reminiscent of the Peshwa era adorns the premises," shared Godbole. Legend has it that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's mother, Jijabai, commissioned the temple's construction after a Ganpati idol was discovered near the residence of Vinayak Thakar, located in close proximity to Jijabai's home.

Gundacha Ganpati

Gundacha Ganpati

Gundacha Ganpati | Gaurav Kadam

Godbole explained that the name 'Gundacha Ganpati' originates from Nagoji Gund, whose house was located nearby. "The Ganpati idol here reflects distinct features of ancient idols - protruding eyes, a right-sided trunk, and a slight depression on the forehead. Experts estimate this idol to be at least 700 years old," he added. Notably, an underground metro station under construction near the temple will offer convenient access for visitors.

Nava Kalbhairav Mandir

Opposite the Nava Kalbhairav Mandir stands a pole traditionally used for the 'Bagaad' ritual, now performed symbolically

Opposite the Nava Kalbhairav Mandir stands a pole traditionally used for the 'Bagaad' ritual, now performed symbolically | Gaurav Kadam

This engraved lotus on the Nava Kalbhairav Mandir's rear wall suggests its origins could date back to the Yadav period

This engraved lotus on the Nava Kalbhairav Mandir's rear wall suggests its origins could date back to the Yadav period | Gaurav Kadam

"Though the Nava Kalbhairav Mandir may appear new from the outside, its age reveals itself beyond the modern sabha mandap. An engraved lotus on the temple's rear wall suggests its origins could date back to the Yadav period, as experts speculate. Opposite the temple stands a pole traditionally used for the 'Bagaad' ritual, now performed symbolically. In ancient times, the Bagaad ritual involved volunteers suspended mid-air, revolving like a carousel around a central pole," shared Godbole.

Mujumdar Wada

Mujumdar Wada | Gaurav Kadam

Shitole Wada

Shitole Wada | Gaurav Kadam

Participants Speak:

I've been in Pune for the last year, but I hadn't truly explored it until I joined Sandeep Godbole's heritage walk. It was a uniquely enriching experience. I wouldn't have discovered these areas on my own - Praveen Patil, a software engineer

Work takes me across India, and amidst the modern landscapes, I'm drawn to the old. I believe as we embrace the modern, we tend to forget the past. That's why I felt compelled to do this - Aditya Kondawar, Partner, VP, Complete Circle

I had heard of these places before, but the insights were fascinating. I highly recommend these walks for people to uncover Pune's rich history - Nachiket Gangakhedkar, a student

RECENT STORIES

Pune: 16-Year-Old Brutally Beaten, Naked Video Circulated On Social Media; 4 Booked

Pune: 16-Year-Old Brutally Beaten, Naked Video Circulated On Social Media; 4 Booked

Pimpri-Chinchwad: Universities Must Continue To Be Relevant To Society, Says Former President Ram...

Pimpri-Chinchwad: Universities Must Continue To Be Relevant To Society, Says Former President Ram...

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Dhule Gets Its First Woman Candidate, Four In Khandesh

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Dhule Gets Its First Woman Candidate, Four In Khandesh

Understanding Pune's Electoral Landscape: Breakdown Of Voters, Contestants, Date of Polling & More...

Understanding Pune's Electoral Landscape: Breakdown Of Voters, Contestants, Date of Polling & More...

Nashik: Separate Section For Transgenders in District Hospitals

Nashik: Separate Section For Transgenders in District Hospitals