Old Pune ( Punaka ) : Lost Pune - Pune 50 Years Ago


Chaturshingi Temple

Bhawani Peth

Vithhawadi Jatra

Lakadi Pool

SNDT College

Coming Up With More Pictures : Picture Courtesy Sakal-Pune esakal.com


During Prehistoric Times

During The Maratha Reign

During The Peshwas

During The British Raj


During Prehistoric Times

'Punaka' is the name by which Pune was known in the ancient times. The etymology of the name is uncertain. The word may have been derived from the Sanskrit root 'poo', that is to purify. In the pre-historic times, like the rest of the Deccan plateau, Pune is said to have formed a part of the Dandaka forest, which the epic Ramayana represents as inhabited by demons who disturbed the religious rites of the Brahmin sages. Sacredness was attached to the town because of its location on the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers.
The Pune region seems to have attained prominence as early as 90 B.C., when king Vedishri made Junnar the capital of his kingdom, thirty miles north of Pune. For the 900 years ending in the early fourteenth century, with the overthrow of the Devgiri Yadavs by the Mughals, no historical information regarding Pune is available. The Mughals ruled the Deccan and other parts of India from the fourteenth century till the end of the sixteenth century. 

During The Maratha Reign

The rise of the Marathas can be traced to the Mughal attack on Ahmednagar, a town 95 miles east of Pune, in 1595. In 1595, King Bahadur Nizam II (a Mughal king 1595-1605) honored a Maratha, Maloji Bhonsle with the title of raja and gave him the estates of Pune and the fort of Chakan, near Pune. Maloji Bhosle was the grandfather of Shivaji Bhonsle, the founder of the Maratha Empire. Shivaji Bhosle was born in 1627, in the fort of Shivner, near Pune.
In 1629, Shivaji's father Shahaji, who had succeeded his father Maloji, in Pune and Chakan, disengaged himself from the service of the Mughal government. Consequently, in 1635 the Mughal army attacked Pune. Shahaji surrendered; therefore his estates were returned to him. Soon, Shahaji put Dadaji Kondadev in charge of Pune, while he left to capture the South.
In Pune, Dadaji built a palace 'Lal Mahal', for Shivaji and his mother Jijabai. At the age of sixteen (1643 A.D.), Shivaji took great delight in stirring up his friends' hopes and nursed the thought of becoming independent. By 1647, Shivaji had captured two forts and had the complete charge of Pune. In 1657, he committed his first act of hostility against the Mughals by plundering a large booty in Ahmednagar. Thus, began a sequence of attacks on the Mughals. By 1680, the year of Shivaji's death, nearly whole of the Deccan belonged to his kingdom.
Shivaji was succeeded by his son Sambhaji. He showed the same vigor as his father, but was taken prisoner and executed by the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, in 1689. Rajaram, Sambhaji's younger brother then took the throne, since Sambhaji's son, Shahu was still a minor. The death of Rajaram in 1700 seemed to end the power of the Marathas, but Tarabai, the elder widow of Rajaram, put her young son Shahu on the throne, at the tender age of ten. 

During The Peshwas

Between 1700 and 1703, Aurangzeb captured the fort of Sinhagad, near Pune. During the siege, his son prince Muhuil-Mulk died; so Aurangzeb changed Pune's name to Muhiabad, in the prince's honor. Shahu continued to fight against the Mughals and captured Rajgad, the former capital of the Maratha territory. In 1712, Shahu died of smallpox and his minister or Peshwa, Balaji Vishwanath took over the throne.
Negotiations between the Mughal court of Delhi and Balaji Vishwanath enabled him to send a large Maratha delegation to Delhi to assist the Mughals. The year 1718 marked the beginning of the Maratha influence in Delhi, to which they remained closely acquainted, till 1803. Balaji Vishwanath's health had suffered considerably, and he died in 1721. Bajirao, his elder son was then awarded the title of peshwa. It was Bajirao's dream to extend the Maratha empire to North India.
In 1734, Bajirao captured the Malwa territory in the north, and in 1739, his brother Chimnaji drove out the Portuguese from almost all their possessions in the northern Western Ghats. Bajirao died in 1740 and left three sons behind him; Balaji Bajirao, who succeeded him as peshwa, Raghunathrao, who later betrayed the Marathas and joined hands with the British, and Janardan, who died in his early youth.
Balaji Bajirao was ambitious and a multifaceted person. In 1741, when his uncle Chimnaji died, he returned from the northern districts and spent nearly a year improving the civil administration of Pune. The period between 1741 and 1745 was of comparative calm in the Deccan. Balaji Bajirao encouraged agriculture, protected the villagers and brought about a marked improvement in the state of the territory.
The scene changed in 1751, when the Mughals, supported by the French, advanced towards Pune, totally destroying every village in their way. The Marathas fought with great determination, and nothing but the French artillery saved them from total defeat. In 1754, Raghunathrao, Balaji Bajirao's brother started on an expedition to conquer Gujarat, the state north of Bombay. In 1756, Balaji Bajirao marched south to attack Karnatak. In the meantime, news spread that the war had broken out between the English and the French, in Europe. 

During The British Raj

In 1756, the fall of the pirate Angria and the destruction of his power at sea at the hands of the English. It was the first achievement which raised the English to importance in Western India. In 1761, the Marathas were defeated at the third Battle of Panipat against Haider Ali, the great Mughal ruler of North India. This news shattered Balaji Bajirao, who died shortly afterwards, in the temple on Parvati hill in Pune.
The Maratha power was at the zenith of its glory during Balaji Bajirao's (also called Nana saheb Peshwa) reign. Madhavrao, his second son then took over, but had to constantly face administrative disputes with his uncle, Raghunathrao. Ultimately, Madhavrao took Raghunathrao prisoner in 1768; the same year when the Mughals destroyed Pune. Madhavrao, also called 'Thorale'or Greatest Madhavrao, is entitled to special praise for supporting the poor and for his sense of justice. He took ill in 1771 and died in 1772. Narayanrao, Balaji Bajirao's third son succeeded the throne as the next peshwa. In 1773, Raghunathrao, who had been imprisoned by Madhavrao, in a room in the palace in Pune, escaped with the help of the Mughals. Narayanrao was murdered at the Shaniwar wada in Pune, owing to a conspiracy by Anandibai, Raghunathrao's wife. 
Raghunathrao was proclaimed the next Peshwa, although he was not heir to the title. Narayanrao's widow gave birth to a son, Savai Madhavrao, who was legally the next peshwa. Raghunathrao maintained his kingdom by signing treaties with the English, and relied on them for man-power in exchange for money and territory. At the time, Pune was under a Maratha minister by the name of Nana Phadnis. Raghunathrao died in 1782, leaving behind him, two sons; Bajirao, who in 1817 confronted the British at the Battle of Kirkee, in Pune; and the younger, Chimnaji Appa.
Nana Phadnis's craving for power never let Savai Madhavrao attain the glory of the former peshwas. Nana died in 1800 and Pune fell into the hands of the Sindia's; the former chiefs of Nana's army. They remained in power for a short while and in 1802, Bajirao reestablished himself in Pune, by signing the treaty of Bassein with the British. The capturing of the Ahmednagar fort in 1803, proved British supremacy in the Deccan. In 1804, General Wellesly proclaimed the Deccan in a state of chaos, established military rule and the peshwas remained rulers in name only.
Towards the end of 1805 Sir James Mackintosh, the Chief Justice of Bombay (1804-1811), came from Bombay to visit Colonel Close, the Resident at Pune. The Residency on the 'Sangam'(confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers) Mackintosh describes as a set of bungalows, fitted conveniently and luxuriously. Pune city had its principal streets paved with stone, and was reckoned one of the best built native towns in India. The Peshwa's residence, that is the Shaniwar wada, added to Pune's glory. Between 1805 and 1811, under Colonel Close and for a short while under Mr. Russel, affairs went smoothly in Pune. 
In 1811, Mr. Russel was succeeded by the Honorable Mountstuart Elphinstone. Bajirao was very disloyal to the British, and in November of 1817, he declared war against them. This battle was fought at Kirkee, that is the Cantonment area, in the east of Pune. The Peshwa fled and the power of the country passed from the Peshwas to the British by 1819. The rest of the nineteenth century witnessed a few minor uprisings in and around Pune, but the British established their supremacy. 
The first step towards establishing a municipal government in the city of Pune, was taken in 1856, when the Pune Municipality came into existence under the Act of 1850. The fact that Pune is not recognized as a major tourist center, is probably because it cannot boast of outstanding artistic specimens of architecture, like those of Delhi or Agra. Yet, it is rich in its associations with the past. 
In the early 20th century, the whole of India was in revolt against the British; yearning for freedom. Mahatma Gandhi launched his movement of non-violence, and people participated by the thousands in the 'Chale Jao' ('go away') struggle. Paradoxically, Pune witnessed violence when the Chaphekar brothers killed a British police officer by the name of Mr. Rand. On one hand, violence overrode the city, on the other, improvements were made in the education of women and the abolition of child labor. Independence was attained in 1947, but that was not the end of violence. Once again, in 1962 and 1965, Pune witnessed wars against China and Pakistan, respectively. Thus, Pune's history is rich. In 1778 A.D., Pune was a small settlement called Punwadi, consisting of ten to fifteen houses. Then, nobody had dreamt that soon this Punwadi would become the headquarters of the great Maratha rulers and the second capital of the Bombay Presidency during the British raj.



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