Monday, 14 March 2011

Kesari Wada

Kesari Wada-previously known as Gaikwad Wada- has become a historical monument in Pune hallowed by a long stay there of the Father of Indian Unrest and a great leader Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The site has witnessed many important events in the Indian Freedom Struggle and hence boasts of history and culture. Kesari Wada is located in the Narayan Peth area of the city. Distance from the Swargate Station to Keasari Wada is about 5 km while that from Deccan Bus Stop is about 2 km. The Omkareshwar Temple and the Modi Ganesh Temple can be given as nearby famous landmarks.

Historical Background :
Lokmanya Tilak purchased this estate from Shrimant Sayajirao Gaikwad Sarkar in 1905. Gaikwad Sarkar had built this Wada for his own stay there: but having heard about Tilak’s future plans in the freedom struggle, sold it with pleasure. Tilak stayed here in Gaikwad Wada from 1905 till he breathed his last in 1920. Tilak also housed the offices of his newspapers Kesari and Maratha in this place and renamed Gaikwad Wada as Kesari Wada. Kesari Wada holds its own importance in the history of Indian freedom struggle. This used to be the place for nightlong discussions of the eminent national leaders concerned about overthrowing tyrannical British Rule over India. It was in the courtyard of the Kesari Wada itself that Tilak strategically started the annual Ganesh festival as a means to unite people and prepare them for the freedom struggle.

Kesari Wada at Present:
The building that we see today is not the Kesari Wada in its original form but has undergone many renovations. The huge wooden main entrance to the building however, is still the original one. Roaring lions have been carved out on both the doors of the entrance as ‘Kesari’ in Sanskrit means ‘Lion’ in English. As you enter in, a couple of beautiful carvings on both the sides in the wall catch your eye. These carvings show Tilak initiating the celebrations of the Ganesh festival and Shivjayanti Festival. Tilak’s expanding the frontiers of these two festivals and giving them a public form was a major contribution to the Indian freedom struggle.

As you move on, you see plenty of open space all around. This used to be the place for social gatherings, lectures and meetings during the Ganesh festival in pre independence era. Even today, many cultural programmes like music concerts, lectures and competitions are organized here during the Ganesh festival. This open ground can accommodate around three thousand people at a time.

To your immediate left, you see the building housing many offices including a couple of branch offices of the Bank of Maharashtra on the first and second floors and Kesari-maratha Trust Office on the third one. On the right side, you can see the spacious Lokmanya Sabhagriha (Hall) which has been a popular venue for many programmes.

As you move across the open ground of the Wada, a beautiful gold plated Ganesh idol catches your attention. Bronze statue of Lokmanya Tilak at the back of the Ganesh idol, too is a good piece of work. Kesari-Maratha Library. Lokmanya Tilak founded a separate library for his newspapers Kesari and Maratha on 1st of August 1912 here in Kesari Wada. The library contains many books written by Professor Jinsiwale, Lokhitwadi and other contemporary intellectuals. There are more than 50,000 books in the library. The collection of cuttings useful for the newspapers, too, can be seen here. The library is on the second floor of the building.

Tilak Museum:
This can be called the main attraction of the Kesari Wada. The Tilak Museum was inaugurated on 22nd of January, 1999 by the then Congress President Shrimati Soniya Gandhi.

The museum displays the legendary career of Tilak right from his genealogical table and horoscope to his holy remains. The replica of Tilak’s study room and that of his cell in Mandalay Jail are awesome. Moreover most of Tilak’s personal items like his clothes, books, watch and the like have been kept here in the museum.

How to Reach :
Reaching Kesari Wada is pretty easy. Hiring the auto rickshaw is the best option. As mentioned earlier, the site is close from the Swargate Station and even closer from the Deccan Bus Stop.

The library and the Museum in Kesari Wada are open on all seven days of the week from 10 A.M. to 01 P.M. and again from 03 P.M. to 06 P.M. No entry fee is charged for going in the Museum.

Other Museums :

Do Visit