Borge Wada

Wada(वाडा) is a Marathi term for special residential place or complex, which is many times similar to fortress or castle. Pune was once said to be city full of these structures all over. Most of them were built during last 300 years. The most famous being Shanivar Wada. In fact, these structures can be found all over Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka also. One can loosely say that there are two waves when these were built. One wave during which these were built, was during Maratha empire, especially, during Peshwa period. One would many of these fortress like dwellings built by senior generals of Maratha empires, including the Peshwa himself. They were typically named after the name of that general. Examples can be Mujumdar Wada, Raste Wada, Karhadkar Wada, Purandare Wada, Dhepe Wada, Borge Wada, Holkar Wada etc. I have found a good link where one architect as detailed out Karahadkar Wada with plans etc. My grand-parents residential place in Karnataka used to be a wada like structure with huge compound wall made of mud and stones, with couple of bastions(हुडे) like structures. I have talked about the memories of that place(Nimbal)  on my blog. Wai, another historic town near Pune also has some good wadas.

The second wave for wada construction happened in early part of last century. Since early part of 20th century when Pune started its journey from historic town towards commercial, industrial city, migrants from all over started coming in. Many of these existing wada were used as residential places for these new people and their families. And many new ones were constructed for the purpose of letting them out to these new migrants. Many families lived here in these dwellings for years together, and it gave birth to unique culture called Wada Culture in Pune, which can be said to be similar to chawl culture of Mumbai. I had recently visited Ahmedabad, and visited their famous Pols(पोळ) which are similar to these wadas in Pune. While the later ones which were constructed 60-70 years ago, are still part of heritage, many of them being destructed and converted into apartment complexes. But the wadas which are really older than 100 years or even older, which have historic significance, are being conserved, restored by the authorities, wherever possible. An example of that is Vishrambaug Wada in Pune(I had visited when PMC official Shyam Dhavale was in charge of this conservation activities for this wada few years back).

During the course of trekking, I have visited many of these historic wadas such as Sardar Dabhade’s wada at Indori, Sardar Holkar’s wada near Vaphgao, both near Pune. Other Sunday, I was visited someone in the newly developed area called Punawale near Pune. It has been a fringe villages till few years ago. I was taken by surprise to see castle like structure as I was passing through old area of Punawale village, towards apartment complex built in the open farm lang much further. I also noticed briefly a name plate saying Borge Wada(बोरगे वाडा). I did not have much time during that time to visit the place, which I would say was in shambles, with broken walls, traces of structure, main gate, couple of bastions were noticeable though. I came back and started looking for references. On the Google Map it shows up as Borge Wada prominently which I never noticed so far.

The famous Marathi book by history scholar Dr Sadashiv Shivade on wada also does not mention this. I found one blog in Marathi talking about it. It has some photographs also, which I could not take any during my trip, as I said earlier. I am referring some relevant information from that blog here, after translation: Borges happen to be from Khatav in Satara district, who got Punavale town for their local rule. The wada was constructed in later years of Peshwa rule, towards the end of 17th century. Moghul and Sardar Borge fought a battle near Punawale, where Borge’s army was severed. The wada has a well, four bastions(I noticed only one that day though), compound wall, mainly constructed in stones and brick, and also mud.

I certainly noticed that remains of wada, empty spaces are filled with shops and modern construction, which is ruining the beauty and old grandeur it may have. How I wish these historical monuments were preserved for later generations?

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