G-20 delegates soak in Pune’s rich heritage, visit Aga Khan Palace

Pune (IANS) Visiting G-20 delegates went around some of the historical and heritage sites of Pune including the Aga Khan Palace, learning about the history and importance of various locations, officials said here on Wednesday.

The G20 team went around the famed Aga Khan Palace where Mahatma Gandhi was incarcerated for nearly two years during the Quit India Movement (1942) along with his Kasturba Gandhi, and his secretary Mahadev Desai, besides Sarojini Naidu.

The delegates were provided information about Gandhiji and Kasturba’s childhood and their life, their pivotal role in the freedom struggle, etc, how Mahadev Desai passed away a few days after he was jailed here (August 15, 1942), and then the passing of Kasturba (February 22, 1944), and their ‘samadhis’ are there.

They went around the museum there, viewed the exhibits displayed there, learnt about Gandhiji’s legacy, the ‘Charkha’ and the ‘samadhis’ in the palace complex.

At the historical Lal Mahal, built by Shahaji Raje Bhosale in 1630, the delegates learnt about the history and life of his son and later the great Maratha warrior-king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and viewed the statues of ‘Bal Shivaji’ who lived here for many years during his childhood along with his mother Rajmata Jijamata Bhosale, and saluted them.

The visitors were thrilled by the grandeur of the Shaniwar Wada built in 1732, an erstwhile fort complex with 5 imposing ‘darwazas'(gates) within which over a thousand people lived, but most of the fort was destroyed in fires and other calamities, though the remnants are still awe-inspiring.

The G20 delegation went around the Nana Wada, believed to be built around 1780 as the residence of the legendary Nana Phadnavis, the chief administrator of the Peshwas and labelled by the British as ‘the Maratha Machiavelli’ and learnt about his contributions to the state history.

The G20 delegates were accompanied at various locations by the Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, top officials like Vikas Dhakne, Santosh Deshmukh, Supriya Karmarkar, Neelam Mahajan, Ajit Apte, Sandeep Godbole, Chandrakant Dalvi, and others.

An official coordinating the trip told IANS that the excited delegates learnt a lot about all these historical or heritage sites, asked many questions, clicked photos and selfies at different venues and returned feeling enriched by the outing.

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