Mastani Mahal at Kelkar Museum

If Bajirao Mastani interests you and if you have liked my last post on Shaniwar Wada, you are sure to get intrigued by this one. The Mastani Mahal – or the Palace of Mastani. For those who have not seen the movie or are unaware of Bajirao, a quick story from history.

The Epic Romance of Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao as I have mentioned earlier, was the Prime Minister or Peshwa to Chhatrapati Shahu. A mighty leader who had led several campaigns for the Chhatrapati and returned victorious in those. Amongst the various military campaigns he led, was one for Maharaja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. The Maharaja was facing a constant threat from the Mughal officials and called upon this brave Peshwa to help him out. Peshwa Baji Rao answered his plea and emerged victorious in this battle. As a sign of gratitude, it is said that the Maharaja offered him his daughter Mastani.

Image Credits: Mughal School under Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Image Credits: Mughal School under Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It is said that Mastani bai was one of the most beautiful women of her times and it is no wonder that Baji Rao fell head over heels in love with her. He took her on as his second wife and returned home to face the wrath of his Brahmin mother. A couple of reasons why the mother-in-law hated her new daughter-in-law – She was a half Muslim and a half Hindu. Some say that she was not a true princess – a daughter of a dancer from the Maharaja’s court. Well !!! Among the many virtues that Baji Rao’s mother had, tolerance was definitely missing!

Well, the story goes like any other mom-in-law and daughter-in-law story goes. However, this went to the extent that the lady Mastani was put under house arrest when Baji Rao was out for a military campaign. On his return, he freed Mastani and put her up in her own separate residence – Mastani Mahal.

Mastani Mahal

The Mastani Mahal no longer exists in Pune. However, history has it that it was a beautiful palace. The best part of it is that a section of it still lives – not at its original location but at the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune.

About the Mastani Mahal at Kelkar Museum
About the Mastani Mahal at Kelkar Museum

Dr. D.G Kelkar was instrumental in helping conserve this piece of heritage. The original Mastani Mahal is said to have been in Kothrud, in Pune. After being ignored for years, and before it completely vanished, Dr. Kelkar helped dismantle and recreate a part of this palace within his own museum. The rest as you can read above.

Mastani Mahal Section of Kelkar Museum
Mastani Mahal Section of Kelkar Museum

The gorgeous sitting arrangements, the chandeliers, the wall art and Mastani’s instruments is what fills up the space. Granted that this is just a small room and some of you might say – what is the big deal. For me, I saw something more than just a room.

I pictured the beautiful Mastani playing her instrument while Bajirao was reclining on the pillows, admiring his wife. In the background were two maids, fanning their master and mistress, enjoying the beautiful melody that Mastani bai created 🙂

Mastani's silver mirror and musical instrument
Mastani’s silver mirror and musical instrument

I happened to chat with a few officials of the museum and they told me that the woodwork in the recreated palace, behind the seating arrangements was originally found at Mastani Mahal. As was the silver mirror and her musical instrument that you see at the end of the seating. I am not sure of the ceiling being the original, but if it were, I would not be surprised either.

Mastani Mahal
The corridors of Mastani Mahal section at Kelkar Museum
The corridors of Mastani Mahal section at Kelkar Museum

The corridors that you see above, used to be the endless ones in the original palace. Imagine the dark wooden corridors lit with numerous lamps lighting up the path for Bajirao to meet his beloved. 🙂

I know that the grandeur displayed here is a small representation of what is completely lost. However, I am happy that some bit of history is still preserved. My vote of thanks to Dr.Kelkar for preserving and gifting us memoirs of the past. And that was not all, he preserved many other amazing things. All that in my next post about the Kelkar Museum in Pune. Till then, let’s admire and pin up this bit of the epic romance between Baji Rao and Mastani, at the Mastani Mahal in Pune.

Mastani Mahal

Getting to Mastani Mahal:

  • Pune is easily accessible by road, rail and air from Mumbai as well as other cities of India. There are plenty of direct international flights to Pune.
  • Mastani Mahal is a part of the Kelkar Museum that is right in the middle of Pune city. You can reach Kelkar Museum by bus, cab or an auto rickshaw. Many tourist buses take you on a tour of this museum.

My other posts on Pune:

top-indivine-post
Show some love and share the post

75 thoughts on “Mastani Mahal at Kelkar Museum”

  1. Very interesting. Would love to see this next time I am Pune. Especially after watching the movie Bajirao Mastani. Good story!

    Reply
  2. My two and a half year stint in Pune was filled with weekend getaways to western ghats and now after reading this post, I regret not exploring the city to it’s potential. I shall return someday, with an agenda.

    Reply
  3. After reading multiple posts of yours, now I know, I may have explored enough around Pune but I surely haven’t seen the historic city itself.

    Reply
  4. this is an excellent stuff here, i love the movie Bajiro Mastani!! Ami also love your writeup too.

    Reply
  5. Waah! This is wonderful! Your last few posts have introduced me to so much history in a wonderful way jitna maine purey school me nahi padha tha 🙂

    Reply
  6. Wow! It’s so beautiful and ornate, but also seems like a livable residence. India has so much history and art. So beautiful!

    Reply
  7. Stunning captures. I would love to visit this place. Loved the movie, Bajirao Mastani and I am so eager to visit these historical places. Great post, Ami 🙂

    Reply
  8. Your photos are always incredible but this place seems special: the texture and the colour is so unusual and beautiful. I enjoyed reading the story, I had never heard it before, thank you for sharing

    Reply
    • Thanks Marta. Bajirao and Mastani’s story is not as popular as the other epic ones in India but is fascinating nonetheless.

      Reply
  9. Very well captured and elaborated. Couldn’t agree more with you Ami nothing precious than preserving the past memoirs.
    When I visited this place as a kid, I imagined the Baji Rao-Mastani era for many years till the movie came out 😛

    Reply
    • Thanks guys. I think our heritage is our strength. There are very few places today that can boast of diverse cultures and heritage as India and we must do our best to preserve it.

      Reply
  10. Looks like a very cool display with an incredible story behind it. I love visiting places that can capture my imagination like this!

    Reply
  11. Wow this really is incredible India! It’s the sort of room I could sit in for hours pondering about life (and blogging!)

    Reply
  12. Wonderful. Hats off to people like Dr Kelkar who work so hard to preserve history and kudos to you for bringing this and other wonders to our notice, Ami

    Reply
  13. My list of places to visit in Pune keeps growing, thanks to you, Ami. This museum seems fascinating, especially with the recent Bollywood movie, the romance of the Peshwa and Mastani, has come to the fore 🙂

    Reply
  14. The original palace must have been quite elegant. So good that some part was preserved and the history has not been lost.

    Reply
  15. Such an interesting place! Thanks to the movie Bajirao Mastani, got to know about a part of history which I was totally unaware of. Will surely visit this on my next trip to Pune.
    Wonderful post Ami 🙂

    Reply
  16. Splendid interiors … I wonder if we had the actual Mahal standing in all glory today … what a sight it could be!!

    Thanks for sharing such hidden gems … I don’t remember reading this anywhere else..

    Reply
  17. That was an interesting story about the history behind the place. I guess people have been fighting with their in-laws since the beginning of time. I love the interior of the museum, especially the color. Thanks for sharing the photos!

    Reply
    • Thank you Stella for stopping by. This was a clear inter-caste debate that led to this whole drama. Nonetheless, must say that though things have changed but not completely. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Thanks to Dr Kelkar that at least some of the Mastani memorabilia has been salvaged. I knew about
    Mastani in an academic sense, but my appetite was whetted after I saw Bajirao Mastani film. The movie
    showed that the palace was set fire to. It it true?

    Too bad Bajirao died at age 38. He was among the best of the PeshwAS.

    i DO NOT HAVE A WEBSITE.

    Reply
    • Indeed thanks to Dr. Kelkar for having preserved some of these memories. Wish we could have seen more of it. However, something is better than nothing.

      Reply
  19. Hi,thrilling travel.
    First of all,love the way you have described about Mastani Mahal.
    I would love to know if you are in anytype of social media.Thank you.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !! Any reproduction of the same will be considered as a Copyright Infringement!