Shaniwarwada is a royal palace in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1746, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818 when the Peshwas surrendered to the British. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the center of Indian politics in the 18th century.
Peshwa Baji Rao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha empire, laid the ceremonial foundation of his own residence on Saturday, January 10, 1730. It was named Shaniwarwada from the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (a general term for any residence complex). Teak was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone was brought from the nearby quarries of Chinchwad, and Lime (mineral) was brought from the lime-belts of Jejuri. Shaniwarwada was completed in 1732, at a total cost of Rs. 16,110, a very large sum at the time.
The opening ceremony was performed according to Hindu religious customs, on January 22, 1732, another Saturday chosen for being a particularly auspicious day. Later the Peshwas made several additions, including the fortification walls, with bastions and gates; court halls and other buildings; fountains and reservoirs. Currently, the perimeter fortification wall has five gateways and nine bastion towers, enclosing a garden complex with the foundations of the original buildings. It is situated near the Mula-Mutha River, in Kasba Peth.
The important buildings in the palace includes the Thorlya Rayancha Diwankhana (Marathi:The court reception hall of the eldest royal, meaning Baji Rao I), Naachacha Diwankhana (Dance Hall), and Juna Arsa Mahal (Old Mirror Hall).
By 1758, at least a thousand people lived in the fort. In June 1818, the Peshwa, Bajirao II, abdicated his Gaddi (throne) to Sir John Malcolm of the British East India Company and went into political exile at Bithoor, near Kanpur in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India.
On February 27, 1828, a great fire started inside the palace complex. The conflagration raged for seven days. Only the heavy granite ramparts, strong teak gateways and deep foundations and ruins of the buildings within the fort survived.