Pune has an amalgamation of historical landmarks and Lal Mahal is just one of them. Located in the proximity of Shaniwar wada, the palace was a significant part of the Maratha era. Made up of red bricks, it is aptly called Lal Mahal, meaning Red palace.
A peep into the past
The palace was built in 1643 AD by Sahaji Bhonsale especially for his wife Jijabai their son Shivaji. The mahal was home to Shivaji maharaj for several years until he captured Torna in 1645.
The palace marked the celebration of Shivaji’s marriage to Saibai, which took place here. It is also well known for the encounter between Shivaji and Shaistekhan, a Mughal invader whose fingers were cut off, when he tried running from there.
The original Lal Mahal got destructed during the attacks and the current one is much different from the original structure. In 1998, the mahal came under the management of Pune Municipal Corporation and underwent renovation.
Lal Mahal is popular for the statues of bal Shivaji who is shown ploughing with a golden plough and his mother Jijabai and Guru Dadaji Kondadev watching him. The umbrellas and statue of Jijabai located on the terrace of the mahal is also a great attraction. Pictorial images of the incidents that took place at Lal Mahal can be seen through the large oil paintings displayed inside. A serene garden is also located here, which is called as the Jijamata garden. Now converted in a play area for kids, it is often flocked by toddlers and senior citizen who find their piece here.
Just recently the Mahal was in controversies over the removal of Dadaji Kondadev statue. The removal created unrest among the citizens. Entry to the palace was closed for several days with tight security being deployed around it.
Lal Mahal is a must visit monument in Pune. Narrating the history of great warrior Shivaji Maharaj, the palace stands amidst the city with great pride.
Situated in the heart of the city, transportation is not a problem. You can get into a local bus plying via Shaniwar wada or best get into an autorickshaw if you are not familiar with the route.