Gaekwad Wada at Pune

Kesari Wada, previously known as Gaekwad Wada is located in Narayan Peth area in Pune. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III had built this beautiful wada for their stay, but after hearing about freedom struggle of Lokmanya Tilak, maharaja sold it to him. Lokmanya Tilak purchased this wada from Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1905. Lokmanya Tilak stayed here in Gaekwad Wada from 1905 till his last breath in 1920. Lokmanya Tilak also housed the offices of his newspapers Kesari and Maratha in this place and renamed Gaekwad Wada as Kesari Wada. Kesari Wada holds its own importance in the history of Indian freedom struggle. This used to be the place for nightlong discussions of the eminent national leaders concerned about overthrowing tyrannical British Rule over India. It was in the courtyard of the Kesari Wada itself that Lokmanya Tilak strategically started the annual Ganesh festival as a means to unite people and prepare them for the freedom struggle.

The Present
Today, the Wada is not in its original form, but has undergone many renovations. The huge wooden main entrance to the wada is still the original one. Roaring lions have been carved out on both the doors of the entrance as ‘Kesari’ in Sanskrit means ‘Lion’ in English. As you enter in, a couple of beautiful carvings on both the sides in the wall catch your eye. These carvings show Lokmanya Tilak initiating the celebrations of the Ganesh festival and Shivjayanti Festival. Lokmanya Tilak’s expanding the frontiers of these two festivals and giving them a public form was a major contribution to the Indian freedom struggle.

As one goes inside, there is plenty of open space around. This area used to be the place for social gatherings, lectures and meetings during the Ganesh festival in pre-independence era. Even today, many cultural programmes like music concerts, lectures and competitions are organized here during the Ganesh festival. This open ground can accommodate around three thousand people at a time.

From the left side of ground, there is a building housing many offices including a couple of branch offices of the Bank of Maharashtra on the first and second floors and Kesari-maratha Trust Office on the third floor. On the right side of ground, there is Lokmanya Sabhagriha (Hall) which has been a popular venue for many programmes.

There is also a beautiful gold plated Ganesh idol & a bronze statue of Lokmanya Tilak at the back of the Ganesh idol.

Kesari-Maratha Library
Lokmanya Tilak founded a separate library for his newspapers Kesari and Maratha on 1st of August 1912 here in Kesari Wada, located on the second floor. The library contains many books written by Professor Jinsiwale, Lokhitwadi and other contemporary intellectuals. There are more than 50,000 books in the library. There is also collection of cuttings useful for the newspapers.

Lokmnaya Tilak Museum
The main attraction of the Kesari Wada – Tilak Museum was inaugurated on 22nd of January, 1999 by the then Congress President Shrimati Sonia Gandhi.

The museum displays the legendary career of Lokmanya Tilak from his genealogical table and horoscope to holy remains. There is also beautiful replica of Lokmanya Tilak’s study room and his cell in Mandalay Jail. Lokmanya Tilak’s personal items like his clothes, books, watch etc have been kept here in the museum.

For Visitors
• No Entry Fees
• The library and the Museum in Kesari Wada are open 7 days of the week from 10 AM to 01 PM and 03 PM to 06 PM


Image & Info Credits: Maharashtra Government Site