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Shinde Chatri

This richly decorated memorial to a revered warrior of the Maratha Empire showcases an interesting blend of Rajasthani and British-style architecture. 

Shinde Chhatri is a temple dedicated to Mahadji Shinde, who was the well-known commander-in-chief of the Maratha Army during the 1700s. In this elegant landmark see a stylish façade, a portrait gallery and the tomb of its eponymous war hero. Mahadji Shinde himself began construction of Shinde Chhatri in 1793, when its sole building was a shrine to Lord Shiva. Shinde passed away a year later and it wasn’t until 1965 that the politician Madhavrao Scindia commissioned today’s temple. 

The temple is square in shape and displays an Anglo-Rajasthan architectural style. Notice the exterior walls with two levels of windows with colorful panes of glass, capitals, pilasters and floral carvings. Sculptures of gods and saints sit around a balustrade. To the rear is the original Shiva Temple built by Mahadji Shinde. 

Go inside to see a perfectly preserved split-level hall. Note the rows of pillars, splendid arches and patterned marble floor. Above the arches on the lower floor are photos of members of the Shinde (also known as Scindia) Dynasty. They were a noble clan from Maharashtra that ruled the historic kingdom of Gwalior until India’s independence in 1947. 

At the back of the temple is a statue of Mahadji Shinde, which portrays him in an orange-hued turban. It stands where Shinde’s cremation and last rites took place. Look for an umbrella beside the statue. Curiously, local folklore states that bad luck will be bestowed upon anyone who opens an umbrella inside the temple. 

You’ll find the temple about a 20-minute drive southeast of Pune’s city center. Get here by taking an auto-rickshaw or taxi. Other major attractions to visit in Pune are the Iskcon Temple and Osho Ashram. Shop at Phoenix Market City and learn about Maharashtra tribes at the Tribal Cultural Museum. 

Shinde Chhatri is open daily and admission is free. It is an active place of worship, so be respectful of other visitors, especially when taking photographs.


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