Shinde Chhatri memorial in Pune

Located in the Wanwrie suburb of Pune, Shinde Chhatri cenotaph is often overlooked by tourists and, judging from the response I’m getting in the social media, by locals as well. However, it’s one of the most beautiful and exquisitely unique buildings you can lay your eyes upon when visiting Pune. The complex was built in honor of Mahadji Shinde, the prominent 18th century military commander in the Maratha Empire‘s army. Shine Chhatri Pune travel guide photo

The history of Shinde Chhatri 

Mahadji Shinde (also spelled as Scindia) was a talented military leader who held the position of commander-in-chief in the time span of 20 years – from 1760 to 1780. Thanks to his brilliant tactics, the Marathas saw some of the greatest victories in their history, including the defeat of the British army in the first Anglo-Maratha war. The commander-in-chief was also extremely helpful in re-establishing the power of the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II in Delhi under Marathas’ terms.

In 1794, he died in his camp in Pune, where the Peshwas had a seat of power. His body was cremated near the Shiva temple, which was constructed by Mahadji Shinde himself. A beautiful memorial that marks the site of his cremation was built right next to the temple in 1965.

Shinde Chhatri: the architectural details 

In Indian architecture, chhatri is an ornate dome-like pavilion, constructed over the place of an important person’s cremation (burial). The word chhatri literally translates as “umbrella”, so the memorials are meant to symbolically protect the ashes, just like an umbrella protects one from the elements. Constructed to shelter the ashes of the great warrior, Shinde Chhatri is nothing short of astounding. Architecturally, it combines two major styles – Rjasthani and Gothic Revival, resulting in an interesting fusion of patterns and influences. While the overall exterior bears an undeniable English influence, the Rajastani motifs can be easily spotted in details: stained glass windows, arches, intricate stonework. Add to it the typical Hindu architecture of the temple, and you’ll see what I mean when I call this complex unique.

You may also like: Qutb Shahi Tombs – a one of a kind necropolis in Hyderabad

Shinde Chhatri Pune photo

Shinde Chhatri in Pune, the exterior

Shinde Chhatri cenotaph Pune photo

Shinde Chhatri, the temple and the cenotaph

Shine Chhatri memorial Pune photo

Shine Chhatri memorial, the idols atop the structure

Shinde Chhatri spiral staircase photo

An elegant spiral staircase

Shinde Chhatri Pune stainglass windows

Beautiful stained glass windows of Shinde Chhatri, Pune

Shinde Chhatri, Pune photo

 

Shinde Chhatri Pune stonework photo

Lovely stonework

The interior of  Shinde Chhatri 

With the abundance of green  and orange stucco work, the memorial’s interior was a bit too colorful for my taste. Apart from the color scheme, the spacious hall, the beautiful ceiling, the ornate pillars and huge chandeliers were a pleasure to look at. The stained glass windows were open, but I could imagine them letting the light fall on the black-and-white marble floor in lovely hues. The upper floor was not accessible to visitors, and it’s a real pity – I would be glad to explore the beautiful viewing level.

Shinde Chhatri Pune Wanowrie photo

Portraits of the kings of kings from Shinde dynasty

Shinde Chhatri Pune interior

Captivating interior of the Shinde Chhatri

Shinde Chhatri interior photo

The hall

Shinde Chhatri interior ceiling photo

The ceiling and the top floor

Shinde Chhatri beautiful patterns photo

Beautiful patterns of the ceiling

Shinde Chhatri Travel Tips 

~ To get to the complex, hire an auto rickshaw or a cab. It takes around 20 minutes to get to the Wanwrie suburb from the city center, but I enjoyed seeing a bit more of Pune on the way. The address is:

Shinde Chhatri
Nagar Wanwadi Nagar,
Fatima Nagar, Vikas Nagar,
Wanowri, Pune, Maharashtra 411001

~ The opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm.

~ The entrance charge is negligible – Rs 5 for Indians and Rs 25 (around $0.4) for foreigners.

~ You’re expected to remove your shoes before entering the memorial.

~ It will take you up to one hour to explore the complex.


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Visiting Shinde Chhatri complex in Pune

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16 thoughts on “Shinde Chhatri memorial in Pune

    • You’re right, Jyotirmoy, about knowing the history of the place. I’m glad I had done some research before visiting the Shinde Chhatri complex 😉

  1. Beautiful location. So are you celebrating 10 years in India? Might be an interesting posting of highlights and experiences to remember.

    • This is what we call an observant reader 😉 Yes, Robert, it’s been 10 years since I left Ukraine for this mind-blowing adventure. As for writing a post on highlights, unfortunately, it’s too late – now it feels a lot like at home, and freshness of impressions is not there anymore.

    • Yes, it’s an easy 3 hours long journey from Mumbai to Pune. I went by train an AC chair compartment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience Shaivi, and welcome to my blog 😉

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  3. Pingback: 25 photos to inspire you to visit Pune - indiapalette.com

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