The following chapter (excerpt) taken from a book ‘Poona in bygone days’ was written by Rao Bahadur DB Parasnis and printed in 1921 by the Times Press Bombay.
Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa (the first)’s most important memorial surviving are the ruins of the Shanwar wada built over five acres of land. Raobahadur DB Parasnis has described the wad over a hundred years from its birth in 1732 to its being burnt down in 1727 with original descriptions from various visitors to the palace. The court of the Peshwa (Sawai Madhavrao and Bajirao II) are described in some details as well as the ravages the wada suffered after Holkar occupied it and after the Battle of Kirkee in 1818. IN one chapter therefore we have the life story of the Shanwar wada of the Peshwas.
Poona in Bygone Days. SHANWAR WADA.
The Shanwar Wada was the most magnificent and stately mansion that was ever built in Poona by the Peshwas in the 18th century. The foundation stone of the building was laid by Bajirao I (1720-1740) on Saturday, the 10th of January 1730, being an auspicious day. On this occasion, according to state records, Rs. 1-8 were spent in charity. There is an interesting legend about the site selected for this historic building. While riding over this ground, the Peshwa Bajirao saw, to his great astonishment, a hare chasing a hound, which struck to his mind that there must be something very auspicious in this place, where ahare forgetting its natural timidity boldly chased a dog. He at once resolved to secure the site and build there a house for himself and his family. At that time, this piece of land was included in the ' Kasha ' or village of Poona which was enclosed by a mud wall. It contained only a few huts of fishermen and weavers, from whom Bajirao acquired five acres of land by exchanging them for suitable sites in Mangalwar Peith and commenced the building rapidly. Within an interval of two years a two storeyed Palace with three quadrangles sprung up to be the focus and centre of all the life and movement of theMaratha power. The opening ceremony of the Palace was performed according to Hindu religious customs on Saturday, the 22nd January 1732, when Rs. 15i were paid in charity to Brahmans. It is stated that the total expenditure incurred on this Palace came up to Rs. 16,110.
As conceived originally the plan of the Palace was very simple and elegant and only the Diwan Khana or the main hall of audience contained some ornamental carvings. It was the third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao (1740-1761), who made several additions and alterations, and added much splendour and beauty to this fine mansion. He devoted his store of knowledge as well as money and patience in turning out this edifice to be an object of great delight and admiration. Later on, Nana Phadnawis, Prime Minister to Sawai Madhavrao (1774-1795), constructed a few more rooms and halls, galleries and towers, pavilions and fountains, and made the royal residence truly majestic and grand, worthy of the great rulers of Maharashtra.
The Palace was destroyed by fire in 1827 and now there remain only the fortified enclosure wall, and the five gateways, and nine bastions. It is therefore impossible to form a correct idea of the actual building which existed in the heyday of the Peshwa's power. The foundations of the Palace and various other buildings in the extensive compound which covers about five acres of ground have been recently unearthed by the Archaeological Department. They give us a faint idea of the original plans of the building but no picture of the real magnificence and greatness of this royal mansion.
…… The main building of the Palace consisted of six storeys and it is said that the spire of the Alandi temple could be seen from the uppermost terrace of this building. Sawai MadhavraoPeshwa used to enjoy a beautiful view of the Parvati temple and of the city from the terrace of his Meghadambari room, and often spend evening hours looking at the stars in the sky through a telescope which was presented to him by Sir Charles Malet, the British Resident at his Court. The height of the main building can be imagined by the height of the existing Nagarkhana (music gallery) from the top of which the royal standard of the Peshwas waved proudly day and night. The main entrance to the Palace is known as Delhi Gate as it faces Delhi in the north. Raja Shahu of Satara told Bajirao I not to put the main entrance to the north as it would mean a disrespect to the Mogul Emperor of Delhi, whom Raja Shahu held in great respect and to whom he acknowledged his allegiance. In deference to the wishes of his master the Peshwa stopped the work ; and the present massive gate which still indicates the former greatness of this Palace was the work of Bajirao's son, Balaji, who completed it in 1751 after Raja Shahu's death. It may be worthy of note here that the design of the entrance gate is exactly a copy of that of Indraprastha, the ancient Hindu capital of the Pandawas, in old Delhi. The Peshwas, being devoted Hindus, selected the design of the gate of Indraprastha, or Purana Killa, instead of imitating the magnificent gates of the Mogul capital.
As mentioned above the Palace had five principal gates and they were named as follows :— 1. Delhi Darwaja—as it faces the north. 2. Ganesh Darwaja—as it was near the famous Ganpati Mahal. 3. Mastani Darwaja—which is mentioned in old records as Natakshala gate was named after Mastani, the beautiful mistress of Bajirao I, who was brought from Raja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. Nana Phadnawis afterwards called it ' Ali Bahadur Darwaja ' after the grandson of Mastani, who conquered Bundelkhand and founded the Banda State. 4. Khidki Darwaja—which was always closed and the entrance was open through a small window. This Darwaja is now known as ' Kavathi ' on account of a Kavath tree grown near it. 5. Jambul Darwaja—owing to a tree of Jambul.
The palace contained four large courts or chowks and several halls or state rooms known as ‘Diwan khanas’. They had taken their names from their decorations or other uses. The most important halls were as follows :- 1.Ganpati rang mahal or Hall of audience. 2. Nachacha Diwankhana or Dancing Hall. 3. Arse Mahal—Hall of mirrors. 4. Juna Arse Mahal—Old Hall of mirrors. 5. Dadasahebancha Diwankhana—Hall of Raghunathrao Peshwa. 6. Thorlya Rayacha Diwankhana—Hall of the first Peshwa. 7. Narayan Ravacha Mahal—Hall of Narayanrao Peshwa. 8. Hastidanti Mahal—Ivory hall.
Besides these there were many other rooms and apartments assigned to different members of the royal family and to several departments of the household such as Treasury, Store room, Record room, Library, Jewellery room, Armoury room, Medicine room, etc., etc. The vast household was well regulated and controlled, separate officers being appointed for the supervision and management of the Palace. There were regular guards and patrols placed inside and outside of the Palace. As the records show, the staff at the Palace in 1779 contained the following :— 480 Royal Guards, 229 Purandar Guards, 325 Kanadi Infantry, 34 Attendants of Royal Stables, 82 Royal Cavalry-men, 224 Infantry men, 76 Attendants, 1,690 Shiledars and bargirs Thus making up a total of 3,144. In addition to this there were 300 regular sowars or horse soldiers in attendance night and day. This number afterwards rose to 500. Such was the strength of the Royal household of the Peshwas.
As regards the construction and style of the Diwankhanas or halls of this Palace, it may be said that they were generally of one pattern—" Kalamdani" meaning an oblong old inkstand fashion, one central hall with flat ceiling and small compartments with sloping ceiling on four sides. The ornamentation was generally of one pattern. The pillars supporting the main hall were beautifully carved out and shaped like cypress trees, and joined together on the top by engraved arches of exquisite workmanship. The ceilings were covered with beautiful wooden tracery in different designs and were painted with trees, creepers, flowers, or scenes from the great epics, the Mahabharat and the Ramayan. Bhojraj, a very skilful artist from Jaypur, was specially engaged for the work of painting these halls.
The main Diwankhana or the Durbar hall in this Palace was the Ganpati Ranga-mahal. It was designed and built by Balaji Bajirao, the third Peshwa, for celebrating Ganpati Festival, in 1755. This historic hall was the scene of many political and social events and the famous picture ( see attached picture) of the Poona Durbar represents the remarkable assembly held here in 1791. Captain Moor who visited Poona when the Peshwa's power was at its height describes the splendour of this hall in the following words :—
" He (the Peshwa) has a very magnificent room in his palace at Poona, called the Ganes room, in which, on particular festivals in honour of Ganes, he receives numerous visitors; I have seen more than a hundred dancing girls in it at one time. At one end, in a recess, is a fine gilt figure, I believe in marble, of this deity, and many other mythological decorations around it ; the other end of the room, bounded by a narrow strip of water in which fountains play, is open to a garden of fragrant flowers, which, combined with the murmuring of the fountains, has a very pleasing effect. This room is well designed in Mr. Daniel's fine picture of the Poona Durbar unrivalled perhaps in oriental grouping, character, and costume. This picture was painted for Sir Charles Malet, from sketches by the late Mr. Wales ; and the artist has chosen the time”.
Robert Mabon, a European artist, who helped Mr. Wales in preparing the sketches of the Poona Durbar and visited the Ganpati Mahal in his company about this period (1790-1795) has given a most graphic description of the Poona Durbar. " During my stay at Poona," writes Mr. Mabon, " I had the pleasure of being introduced to the durbar, or court of the Mahrattas. After waiting there some time, in conference with several Brahmins, attendants of the Peshwa, he made his appearance. I made a salam to him, which he gracefully returned, and advanced to the musnud or throne ; on which he sat down, cross-legged, with attendants behind him, armed with swords ; one of whom was his chowree-bardar, with a large chowree, or whisk, in his hand to keep off the flies. In front of the Peshwa stood his chopdar, with a long silver stick, ready to receive any orders he might be pleased to favour him with. " I sat down at a distance in the attitude in which the Peshawa was, viz : cross-legged, as nothing is considered by him a greater piece of impoliteness than extending your legs, or sitting in any manner in which the soles of your feet might be pointed towards him. He was of a fair complexion and appeared to be about twenty-three years of age ; his dress consisted of a long jama, or gown, of very fine muslin; a string of very large pearls hung from his neck, a considerable way down his waist ; a very fine red shawl, with a rich embroidered border, was thrown carelessly over his shoulders, wore a beautiful cluster of diamonds, the centre one of which was about an inch square, of a very fine water. On the top of his turban, he wore a small curvature of gold, about three inches high, richly set with emeralds and various precious stones ; over the right temple, from the top of the turban, hung several strings of pearls, which terminated at bottom by small red tassels. In this group, on theleft, I was introduced to Nana Furanvese, his then Prime Minister, and formerly regent during the time the Peshwa was under age. It is to this sagacious politician, that almost all ascribe the present flourishing state of the Mahratta empire. His dress was much the same with that of the Peshwa, but not so splendid”.
" The musnud, or throne, is raised from the ground about four inches, and consists simply of three pillows covered with dark green velvet, placed upon rich embroidered cloth, in the manner represented in the annexed sketch. Before the Peshwa, upon this cloth is placed his cuttar (Katyar) or dagger, beautifully enamelled with various devices : next to it, a small urn and plate, made of copper, enamelled, and his goolab-danee for sprinkling rose-water, richly set with diamonds; close to them, his betelnut-box, which is truly splendid, it is set so full of diamonds, that at a little distance, it appears entirely composed of them : next to it is placed a silver cup, for his saliva, on a towel ; and last of all, his sword and shield ; the handle of the sword is green enamelled, full of diamonds ; the scabbard is covered with red scarlet ; the shield differs in no respect from the common Mahratta one, otherwise than that the five studs upon it, are gold ; which, in that of a person of inferior rank, would be plated, or perhaps plain brass. •'
.... The room in which the Peshwa thus sits in state, has nothing of beauty or elegance to recommend it : on one side, is a row of wooden pillars, over which are hung purdahs, made of kincobs, or gilt flowered silk, which are so constructed as to bind up or let down as occasion may require. Opposite to these pillars, are a few windows made in the eastern mode, very narrow and long. The Durbar is a very extensive building built in a style peculiar to the Asiaticks in general.
" In surveying the Peshwa seated on the musnud, the eye is dazzled with the immense riches about him ; but his effeminate dress and unmanlylike attitude which the customs of the people make him under the necessity of observing, takes away from that dignity in appearance, which an European might expect to see in a Prince seated on a throne. After remaining sometime with the Peshwa, betelnut was presented me, which according to their custom, is the signal to depart. I accordingly, after accepting of it, took my leave."
The Ganpati Ranga-mahal may be styled as the 'Diwan-i-am ' of the Marathas, as it had seen many vicissitudes of fortune and witnessed many important events of great consequence. Here the great festival in honour of Ganpati was celebrated with eclat every year in the bright half of Bhadrapad which lasted for ten days. Here the Dasara Durbar was held annually on a very grand scale when all the sardars and military officers assembled to pay their homage to the Peshwa. The great Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao, celebrated his glorious victories in the north and south of India in this very building. His son Madhavrao I tried to regain the lost glories of the Marathas in the battle of Panipat by his judicious and wise rule in this Palace. His brother and successor Narayanrao was cruelly murdered in a corner room of the main building. His posthumous son, Sawai Madhavrao, resided here nearly for twenty memorable years, while the administration was carried on under the sole guidance of the famous minister Nana Phadnawis. His brilliant courts in the Ganpati Rang-mahal were thronged not only by sardars and chiefs from different parts of the Maratha Empire, but by representatives and envoys of European Nations and other Indian States. The marriage of the Peshwa was celebrated here with great pomp in 1782 and the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Raja of Nagpur, the Raja of Satara and other Chiefs and Sardars from all parts of India attended the grand ceremony.
The state entry of Sawai Madhavrao in Poona after the victory over the Nizam at Kharda in 1795 was the last exhibition of Maratha glory and power, which passed away with the death of the young Peshwa by an accidental fall from the first story of the Ganpati Mahal on a fountain in the same year. It may be interesting to note that all the ambassadors and representatives of the foreign powers were received and political business was transacted with them in this very Durbar hall. It is stated in old records that two members of the Bombay Council, Thomas Byfeld and John Spencer, were received here by Balaji Bajirao in 1756 and given dresses of honour worth Rs. 1,224. Here Mr. Mostyn, Col. Upton, and many other English gentlemen were received with honour and were presented with rich dresses and ornaments. It is said that Mr. Mostyn was charmed with the fragrance of the Peshwa's rose-water and expressed a desire to have a bottle or two for his use, but tohis surprise next day, orders were issued to supply him half a pound of best rose water every day as long as he remained in Poona. The French representatives, M. Bussy and St. Lubin, were given audience in the same hall and received costly presents from the Peshwa. Since the establishment of the British Residency in Poona in 1786 Sir Charles Malet and his suite were the constant visitors to the Durbar. They cultivated great friendship with the Marathas and kept up cordial relations with them. This hall as well as others were surrounded by beautiful rows of fountains that used to play here on festive occasions. It may be noted that in India it was the custom from ancient times to erect fountains and gardens in Royal Palaces for the sake of pleasure, art, and beauty, and the Mogul Palaces at Lahore, Delhi, and Agra are specially famous for their magnificent gardens and ornamental fountains. The Moguls and Hindus like other Eastern nations were interested in art, and enjoyed beauty not for selfish purpose, but for religious and traditional ideas which they cherished most. The Peshwas too following the example of the Mogul princes adorned their palaces with beautiful gardens and water fountains, terraces, and pavilions. There are yet some traces of original fountains which confirm our belief that they were imitated from Mogul palaces in Northern India. Besides a number of fountains and gardens for ornamental purposes, the Poona Palace had some special fountains constructed most artistically and ingeniously for the pleasure and joy of the Peshwa, Sawai Madhavrao. There was one celebrated fountain known as " Hazari Karanje” or thousand sprayed fountain, in the western side of the main Palace which was an object of curiosity and wonder to the whole court. It had the shape of a lotus flower of sixteen petals—each petal having sixteen spouts with a circumference of 80 feet. It issaid that in India there is not a single fountain like this anywhere having 196 jets, not even in Europe, excepting the celebrated fountain 'Fontana di Trevi ' at Rome. The water of this great fountain played in hundred patterns while the sun for its amusement would make and break a thousand rainbows. Like the Diana's Fountain at Versailles it was a favourite rendezvous of the Poona Durbar and the young Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao was an enthusiastic lover of this wonderful sight. In the western side near the Ganapati Hall, there was another deep tank or well, built after the Mogul pattern, to exhibit shining waterfalls. The stone-chutes were so ingeneously cut that the water running over them was thrown down forcibly and broken into ripples and splashes. They were called "Chadars" meaning white shawls of water. Behind these transparent waterfalls a skilful arrangement was made to place coloured lights in the niches which gave a charmingly brilliant effect at night. The young Peshwa was very fond of these shows and used to invite his Royal guests to enjoy the delightful scene. It is on record that he had invited one of the Patwardan Sardars to see this marvellous water "Chadar" in 1780. In this Palace the state rooms or Durbar halls were lofty and well arranged, and contained very rich articles of furniture and tapestry. The department of jewellery and library contained choicest and rarest things. The picture gallery possessed most valuable masterpieces of the old Mogul and Persian arts, and also finest specimens of old masters in Europe, mostly presents from foreign Nations such as the English, the French, and the Portuguese. The armoury was full of rare and curious arms, and the collection of arts and curios was placed in the Museum Hall known as Jinnas Khana. It contained chiefly foreign articles of art and mechanism including watches, clocks, globes, music boxes, and toys. According to oriental fashion these halls were tastefully arranged and decorated with wall paintings and were the objects of great admiration to those who had the good fortune to visit them. This brief account will hardly give a real idea of the pomp and glory of this historic building which it once possessed in the zenith of the Peshwa's power.
Among Marathi records there are no descriptions preserved of this Palace, but fortunately they have been recorded by a few European gentlemen whovisited the Poona Durbar on diplomatic mission or with an object of curiosity. Their accounts place vividly before our eyes a graphic picture of the old scenes of the Palace, and it is hoped that the following extracts will be found highly interesting.
The first among the visitors was Major Price who visited Poona in 1791. He commanded a grenadier company in Captain Little's battalion and with it joined the Maratha army under the Brahmin General, Parashuram Bhow. He was present in the battle of Dharwar against Tipu Sultan in 1791, where he was severely wounded. On the surrender of Dharwar he proceeded to Poona where he remained attached to the military guard, or honorary escort, of Sir Charles Malet, first British Resident at the Peshwa's Court, until the Peace of Seringapatam. He visited the Peshwa's Palace on several occasions in company with Sir Charles Malet. He describes his visit on the 7th April 1791 in the following terms: — " The Resident, attended by the whole of his suite, European and native,and preceded by the escort of sepoys—about 80 in number — crossed the ford of the Moota; and proceeding through the middle of the crowded city, we came to the entrance of the Palace, which looksto the east*. This leading through a lofty gateway we passed to the left, along a very ordinary colonnade, which appeared, indeed, as yet in an unfinished state ; and at the termination of this, a sharp turn to the right, brought us at once into the Dewankhanah or hall of audience. This was spacious and lofty, but perfectly simple, and without ornament, unless we except the usual carving in the woodwork. The side towards the area—which as far as I recollect was to the north—was entirely open, the roof being sustained by wooden pillars ; and the floor was covered, from end to end, with a spotless piece of white calico. The young Prince was seated on his regal cushion—or gaddy, his Minister, the veteran and intelligent Nana Furnoveis. on his right hand, and other functionaries, and military chiefs, forming a semi-circle at the head, and one side, of the saloon. "As we were, in conformity with prior arrangements, all in satin shoes and silk stockings, we advanced without interruption, being, of course, announced by numerous choubdaurs, or silver sticks, towards the Prince, who stood up to receive us ; and having treated each of us, without exception, with the buggulguiry, or accolade—which was also done by the Minister—we all of us then seated ourselves, as best we could, upon our hams—as much as possible concealing the soles of our shoes, which it would have been considered the extreme of indecorum to discover. ' The Resident, communicated with the Peshwa, through the Minister, in a manner which appeared most cordial and unreserved. And I cannot forget the splendid display of jewels which decorated the person of the young Prince ; but more particularly a superb necklace, descending far down the breast, and consisting of alternate diamonds and emeralds each fully as large as a nut-meg ; which must have been of inestimable value."
Another distinguished visitor Lord Valentia, who paid a visit to Poona in 1803, has left an interesting account of it in his travels. About the Palace he writes :—
" On entering the Palace, we found His Highness's cavalry and guard of infantry drawn out, with his elephants and suwarry ; they were by no means splendid. As we passed under the Nobit Khanah the kettle-drumsbeat. Within the walls the servants were all at their posts, and the crowd considerable. In the windows were numbers of the higher orders. We quitted our palanquins at the foot of the stairs, which we mounted, attended only by our Chobdars and Ausubadars. A small anti-room led to the durbar. At the door, I waited a few seconds, till I saw that the Dewan of the State, Sadaseeo Maunkesor, was sufficiently near ; when, having quitted my slippers, I stepped on the white cloth with which the whole room was covered, Colonel Close supporting my left arm. I embraced the Dewan, and presented the officers of my suite. At this moment the Peshwa entered the room, and stepped on his guddi or throne” . " The Palace is a tolerable handsome building, and was very clean. The Durbar room is large ; it is supported by wooden pillars handsomely carved. His guddi was of white muslin, richly embroidered in gold and coloured silk. His attendants stood round without the pillars, except a few with silver sticks. Holkar did not much injure the Palace, but he carried away every thing moveable ; a small armoury and the elephant haudahs did not escape."
Sir James Mackintosh, Recorder of the Bombay Court, paid a visit to the Peshwa in 1805. He describes the Palace in his journal as follows :—
" We went about half a mile, or somewhat less, through the city, of which the principal streets are paved with flags, and which is reckoned one of the best-built native towns in India. The word Bhara (wada?) which is the term for the Peshwa's house, ought not to be translated palace, because it is applied also to the houses of the other Mahratta Chiefs at Poona. From its size, it might well deserve the name ; the front is about the length of Somerset-house towards the Strand. We entered through a gate into a large square formed by the Bhara. The walls all around were painted with scenes of Hindu mythology. At one of the corners of this rather handsome square, we had a staircase to climb, which formed a singular contrast to the exterior of the building ; it was steeper than that which goes to the terrace at Parell, and not half so broad. At the top of this staircase was the entry of the hall of audience, where I left the splendidly embroidered slippers with which Colonel Close had furnished me. The hall was a long gallery, about the length perhaps of the verandah at Parell, but somewhat wider, supported by two rows of handsome wooden pillars, either of oak or of some timber exactly resembling it. (The width of which I speak is between the pillars.) Behind the pillars, on each side was a recess about half the breadth of the middle part. This apartment was carpeted, and near the end at which we entered was a white cloth laid, with three pillows : this was the Musnud, or throne."
From the above description it appears that Bajirao did not receive his illustrious guest in the Ganpati Mahal but in another hall, which is difficult to distinguish from others at this distance of time.
The fourth English gentleman to describe the Palace was Lt.-Col. Fitzclarence who visited Poona on the 31st January 1818, shortly after the battle of Kirkee, when the Peshwa Bajirao II had already left Poona and the Palace was occupied by the British and turned into a military hospital. He writes : —
' The old Palace is surrounded with a wall and circular bastions, having an open space in its front. The walls of an inner court are miserably daubed with the Hindoo mythology, elephants, and horsemen. His Highness madebut little use of this abode except on public occasions, though it contained the temple or room for the yearly fete in honour of his protecting deity Gunish. " I found Mr. Coates in a deep verandah in one of the small courts, crowded with trees and shrubs, and he was so good as to shew us round the Palace. The great quadrangle is more handsome than that at Nagpoor, has sculptured wood pillars and cornices, which are very splendid, and the whole Palace is glazed throughout. A very fine room, with dark coloured wooden pillars, and carpeted with red cloth stuffed with cotton, displayed a full length picture of the Marquis Wellesely, which had been found neglected in a small adjacent apartment ; and near the likeness of this great statesman was a miniature of Sir Barry Close, also found in the palace, let into the wall in the plaster. There were also two very large well-fashioned globes, with the names in the Latin language, and also the . . .of silver. These, it was supposed, had been a present from the King of England to a former Peshwa, previous to the year 1788. From the top of the Palace I had a most extensive view of the city, camp, mango groves, theruins of the Sunguni, and holy hill of Parbutty, to the south-east of the city. Poona, not having any suburb like Nagpoor, is inferior in population, and covers less ground”.
" We now proceeded to the holy chamber, dedicated to a deity who could boast of an elephant's head and trunk, and who, to complete the interest he excited, was painted blue. He was sitting cross-legged, but we did not find this sapient gentleman ready to receive us, for after rummaging about, he was discovered put by in a cupboard, to keep him from the dirt and flies. The room is vaulted, and about fifty feet along, and very high, with a gallery which runs round it, like our music galleries in ball-rooms. It is one mass of mirrors, intermixed with green foil, inlaid with gilt wooden partitions and numbers ofEnglish cut-glass chandeliers. The decorations were covered, to save them as well astheir master. To the fete in the honour of this tutelary divinity, the Resident was always invited, and the Peshwa did not himself do the honours, as he was also a visitor to his long-nosed patron. I saw here an English clock which was found going well, in the palace ; several large English books offine engravings, and the remains of a very large orrery nearly destroyed. There was, besides, a native map, but I imagine Goklah (Bapu Gokhale) must have a better one, to have so long escaped our pursuing army."
This was perhaps the last description of the Palace that had been written while the building existed intact, for, in June 1818, the Peshwa abdicated his Gadi or throne to Sir John Malcolm and went to reside at Bithur near Cawnpur as a political prisoner of the British Government. Exactly ten years after this event the whole Palace was completely burnt down by a great fire on the 27th February 1827, which lasted for seven days, and except the heavy rampart, strong gateways and buried foundations and ruins that still bear witness to the rise and fall of a mighty Empire, nothing of this majestic and magnificent building has been saved from the cruel hand of Time. It is only the Nagarkhana or music gallery on the top of the Delhi gate which once sang loudly the glories of the great Peshwas, now seen mourning in silence.