One of Pune’s must-visit places, Aga Khan Palace in Kalyani Nagar stands today to narrate the story of generosity, kindness, and a couple of pages from the history of the Indian freedom struggle. This mighty edifice was constructed by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III within the year 1892 to use the villagers within the famine-struck areas surrounding Pune. Around 1,000 workers were involved in the construction of the palace for five years. However, this building is more famously related to public knowledge because the place where Gandhi and his wife were under confinement.
Standing tall on 19 acres of land, this magnificent monument has witnessed significant events from India’s freedom struggle. Hence, this rightly places Aga Khan Palace because of the third feature on our series, Freedom to Travel. The series aims at educating the reader on the lesser-known locations that were instrumental during the Indian Freedom struggle. you’ll find the opposite articles within the series here.
The History Attached To The Aga Khan Palace
The first president of the All India Muslim League, Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, took it upon himself to supply relief to the villagers suffering from the famine. He ordered the development of a palace that cost him 1.2 million at that point. Today Aga Khan Palace stands on a well-maintained garden with its elegant Italian arches, five halls, and enormous verandas. However, the place assumed national importance when Gandhi, alongside his wife Kasturba Gandhi and few of his staunch followers, were imprisoned here soon after the launch of the Quit India Movement. Gandhi et al. were delivered to this mansion under the Defence of India Rules on 8 August 1942 and were imprisoned here for nearly two years before being released on 6 May 1944.
It was here that Mahadev Desai and Kasturba Gandhi breathed their last within the palace’s premises. The celebrated architect Charles Correa built their samadhis and placed them inside the mansion, which is now monuments of national importance. One of the opposite reasons why Aga Khan Palace finds a mention in India’s history is because it had been indeed here that Gandhi hoisted the sooner version of the Indian Flag on 26 January 1943 also as 1944.
The Halls Of Aga Khan Palace
The architecture of Aga Khan Palace is a mixture of Indo-Saracenic and European styles and today stands to narrate the tales from the five large halls wherein Gandhiji and his fellow freedom fighters resided during the confinement.
First Hall – As you enter this hall, two life-size statues of Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi greet you alongside busts of other freedom fighters, and a number of other paintings depicting the various stages of the liberation struggle.
Second Hall – The second hall depicts Gandhi’s philosophy of “Unto the Last”. Deeply inspired by John Ruskin’s book Unto This Last, he developed a philosophy of “Antyodaya” or the “uplift of all” which is reflected within the statue of Gandhi lifting a child.
Third Hall – Sarojini Naidu used this hall during the confinement. A round table occupies the middle of the space, and therefore the walls of this hall display painting, photographs, and news clippings from the pre-independence era. You’ll also find portraits of Aga Khan III and IV to your right once you enter the space.
Fourth Hall – The fourth hall housed Mahadev Desai, who gave up the ghost within a couple of days of his arrest. an enormous wooden board hangs on the wall, which has spelled the circumstances resulting in Mahadev Desai’s death, alongside articles employed by Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. One of the rooms within the fourth also housed Gandhi and his wife. It had been also here that Kasturba Gandhi breathed her last. Although not hospitable to the general public, the fifth hall has portraits of Gandhi and his wife also as their personal belongings, which are visible through the glass door blocking the doorway.
Fifth Hall – The fifth hall served because of the office of Dr. Gilder and Shree Pyarelal Nayyar. This hall is additionally not hospitable to the general public.
Once you’ve got taken an honest tour of the halls, you’ll take the steps at the top of the corridor and walk into a garden that results in the Samadhi or the place where both Kasturba and Mahadev Desai are entombed. To the proper of those tombs, lies the ashes of Gandhi during a separate tomb. While Gandhiji was cremated at Raj Ghat in New Delhi, his ashes are said to possess been donated in 1992 and are housed here since then.
Present Day Aga Khan Palace, Pune
Today, the Aga Khan Palace is the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society. there’s a store inside the premises of the memorial where clothing made from handloom textiles and khadi are sold as mementos. Khadi making remains one of the most activities administered at the palace.
However, not just a logo of Indian independence, Aga Khan Palace photo shoots are quite popular among young newly married couples who come here for his or her pre-wedding or post-wedding shoots. and therefore the architecture of the Agha Khan Palace humbly explains why.
If and once you do visit the Aga Khan Palace, do join the prayer sessions that are held at Gandhiji’s Samadhi every morning. A sizable amount of individuals attend the prayer session and it’s quite a remarkable experience before you start a tour of the palace.
On Gandhi Jayanti, the footfall is double with people coming in from different corners of the planet to pay reference to the daddy of the state. The palace also hosts a Martyrs Day every 30th January in memory of the liberty fighters who gave their lives to free us from the Raj.
Aga Khan Palace timings are from 9:00 am to 05.30 pm throughout the week, except on national holidays. The entry fee of Aga Khan Palace is INR 25 for Indians and INR 300 for foreign nationals.
How To Reach Aga Khan Palace
Aga Khan Palace is found 14 km from the railroad station and about 10 km from the International airport. One can hire a secure, sanitized cab on rent for a full-day tour from any a part of Pune. For those traveling from the airport, you’ll book a taxi right outside the airport and travel straight to the monument.
Standing tall with a legacy of quite 125 years, the elegant Aga Khan Palace in Pune stands as a testament to generosity, history, and architecture. At an equivalent time, its role within the country’s freedom struggle makes it one of the foremost significant landmarks in India’s history.