I am Nitin Dhepe, a proud entrepreneur based in the historically-rich, prosperous and extremely positive city of Pune. I would like to let you know my concept behind building Dhepewada.
My creation, Dhepewada is about preserving and promoting classic Maratha architecture in the most elaborate and rich form and reintroduce it in the contemporary context!
We understand from authoritative sources that Dhepewada is the only new structure constructed in last 200 years based on Maratha architecture.
To put things in perspective, Maratha architecture has a history close to 350 years starting around 1641 with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s rule when he commenced the reconstruction of monuments destroyed by the Mughals. His zeal and zest were matched by his successors till the Peshwas era( till 1818). The intervening period from 1645 to 1818 is considered the golden age of Maratha Architecture which found inspiration from Mughal, Rajasthani, Gujarati and South Indian architecture. Build from locally available material and backed by rock-solid architectural norms, these have stood the test of time though some are in urgent need of repairs.
Some of the known “wadas” are:
- Purandare wada at Saswad,
- Kadam wada and Babuji Naik wada at Baramati,
- Raste wada, Vishrambaug wada and Shaniwar Wada in Pune and
- Those constructed by the then Sardars, Patils and Deshmukhs
These wadas tell their own stories, have their own characteristics and have set milestones in history both on the regional and national level.
After 1818, during British regime Commoners too have constructed various sizes and designs of wadas in all parts of Maharashtra. From then, a culture got developed which is fondly named as wada culture.
The intention behind building these colossal structures was not only to provide shelter but also influence life and make it memorable. With several generations being housed under one roof, it is but obvious that a stated tradition and culture was maintained for ages. Respect for the elderly, the very young and the infirm was inculcated right from birth.
One essential feature where a “Wada” prevailed over independent accommodation was that there was no concept of loneliness which is common in today’s “independent, private” living with demand for individual space. Sharing the essentials of life was a given. In fact, an essential striking feature of the wada was that there was more of common space than those for individuals! Couryards, backyards, balconies etc were central to their existence.
Occasions right from birth to the last breath had people coming together. Be it an engagement, marriage, mangalagauri, diwali or Sankrant, everyone in the wada was invited. Of significance was the space for the women of the house. Be it a daughter or a daughter-in-law, haldi kunku, bhondale, valwan...children in wada were to enjoy recitations like barakhadi (Marathi alphabets), prayers, songs sung collectively in the evening ....how could you ever feel bored or alone?
Times and circumstances change and with them go an entire way of life. Wadas too have gone that way....unfortunately. The joint family is in disarray today with those feeling dominated thinking of their own little shelter. Economics too have played a major role in this !
Being a developer by profession, I went through a phase where old wadas had to be demolished in order to give way to new construction in form of residential apartments. Doing so, I always felt guilty of being instrumental in wiping off memories of a glorious past. This led me to think on how I could present the same to the world!
Having dreamt of constructing wadas instead of buildings where given a chance to, it was in girivan that I finally found the determination to turn my dreams into reality and introduce to those who either have experienced it first-hand and especially to the youth to experience a culture, a sanskar filled with love, joy and mutual respect. Yes, priceless it is. And like a priceless piece of art, this too is slowly disappearing into oblivion with changing times and mores. Being so close to my heart, I have taken it upon myself to recreate the magic of old times and present it to the next generation and beyond who may in good measure be completely unaware of its significance and beauty. Believe me, there are things from the past which are just as (if not more!) interesting and joyful as your i-pads, cars and high-end malls. It is difficult to describe them in words! What come to my mind are simplicity, grandeur and an unstated charm and elegance.
Today, I stand proud that I have finally achieved my dream! A dream with a 350 years old legacy of our ancestors which I hope helps preserve and enhance the Maharastrian culture and and Maratha architecture.
It would have remained a distant dream had it not been for the blessings of stalwarts and the invaluable guidance of an expert in Maratha Architecture, Dr. Avinash Sowani and unending hard work of my family members, especially my better half Mrs. Rucha and all my colleagues.
With folded hands and bowed head, I present this monument to you. Bring along your family and be part of the Wada culture when Maharastrian culture and and Maratha architecture was at its zenith!