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Maratha Reign to
Marathas were warriors. So in order to increase their territory,
protect their culture and religion against Islam rulers (Mainly
Mughals), they brought in the new architecture style called Wada
architecture and also redesigned Forts/‘Killa’ according to their
surroundings and taking the advantage of the same, for instance
Hills, Water, Forest , etc.
This practice fulﬁlled their objectives by such political approach :
The bond between people increased, making them unite and
more powerful against the mighty Mughals.
The ‘Wada’ Architecture, also referred to as Courtyard
Architecture is the residential style of Maratha Architecture
which has made a contribution in Residential Architecture.
This type of Architecture style dealt perfectly with Air and Light,
resulting to great ventilation of both. And it also fulﬁlled
security/privacy concern, due to the exterior of structure.
All the courtyard houses/plans in today’s time, have been
somewhat inﬂuenced by the Maratha Reign Architecture.
The traditional residence in Maharashtra was called the Wada.
A Wada was typically a large building of two or more storey with
groups of rooms arranged around open courtyards.
Two types of wadas:
◦ One which houses many families, like an apartment building of
recent times or chawl of Mumbai.(Mostly for the middle class
◦ One in which only one family resided. (Mostly owned by the richer
class like relatives of the Peshwas and traders)
EMERGENCE OF WADA
Wadas - which were the traditional residential form of Maratha
architecture, evolved under the reign of Peshwas.
Its style was an amalgamation where features from Mughal,
Rajasthan, and Gujarat architecture were combined with local
So basically, The Wada architecture by Maratha had beep developed
under the inﬂuence of surrounding architecture at that time ( Mughal,
Rajasthan and Gujarat ), resulting to the most powerful designs yet -
The Wada Architecture ( Courtyard Architecture in today’s World ).
Settlements developed around the Peshwa’s residence.
Land around the Peshwas residence was divided into wards called peths.
These were self-sufﬁcient units and they were named after the days of weeks
or the person who had established the peths.
Social life centred around the village community.
The village communities were economically self-reliant and self-sufﬁcient units,
each having its own set of ethics and residential enclaves, shops,temples , etc.
The administration was autonomous.
Town had a multinucleated structure.
Neighbourhood of a Wada
• The streets and roads in the settlement were narrow.
• Roads were never straight as the growth of the settlement was
• The plots for construction of wadas were rectangular and lay right
next to the streets.
• A Wada never had a garden or vistas leading to it.
• The urban form of the settlement appeared like a maze of two or
three storied structures having internal open spaces, placed along
the road network with very little open community space.
Built in 1875 by
Shri Karandikar, a
related to the
Kharadkar Wada is
located in Pune,
Pune having a moderate type of climate has the following characteristics:
◦ The solar radiation is more or less the same throughput the year.
◦ The relative humidity in dry periods varies from 20-55% and in monsoons 55-90%.
◦ The total rainfall usually exceeds 1000 mm per year. Winter is a dry season.
◦ Winds are generally in summer.
◦ Their speed and direction mainly depends upon the topography.
◦ The sky is mostly clear with an occasional presence of dense low clouds during
The design of a Wada was not inﬂuenced much by the climatic factors rather it
was inﬂuenced more by the social and cultural factors.
• Distinct zoning can be seen.
• Separate entrances for guests, domestic help, people visiting the
durbar, separate entries for the people performing in the durbar and a
separate entry into the cattle shed.
• There are 4 entrances to the house.
• Privacy for the women is given a priority.
• Has three main courtyards or chowk.
• The Wada has its entrance facing south.
• The most signiﬁcant
features of the Wada
was the way it’s zoning
of public, private and
• This can be seen very
distinctly in the plan.
• There were very few openings on the sides of the building, so the rooms
were not well lit.
• The rooms were ventilated from the courtyards.
Wooden grill small window opening
• One of the most interesting features
of this Wada was the underground
water supply which came from Katraj
dam which was 11kms from the site.
• One noteworthy point is that no
pumping was required.
• The water that came was collected
in open tanks called ‘HAUDS.’
• Kharadkar Wada has three
separate Hauds for separate
• One for bathing, one for washing
utensils and one for storing drinking
• All the staircases were places in 4ft thick
• This was done so that when the women
moved around in the house they wouldn't be
seen from the outside.
• This way the privacy of the house was
• All the external walls of the Wada were 4ft
• This helped to keep the interior of the wall
cool in summers.
External wall section Ring in the courtyard
to tie horse
Niche in the wall
Forts were a primary defence mechanism in Maharashtra
against enemy invasions since the ancient times and are
known in the local language as ‘Killa’ (Qila in urdu).
They were naturally and artiﬁcially protected human
settlements, guarded by elements like the hills, the forests,
the desert, the sea, and the man made stone structures
that formed a armour around them.
Types of Forts
Hill Forts : These forts were constructed on the high hills and made from
stone cut out from those very mountains. The high altitudes and the steep
walls made these forts daunting for the enemy. In the vernacular Marathi
language they were called as ‘Giri Durg’ (‘Giri’ means the mountain and
‘Durg’ is the term for a fort).They were considered the most reliable in
comparison to land forts
Land Forts : These forts were created on the plains. In Marathi they were
called ‘Bhuikot’ (Durg)
Forest Forts : These forts were created amidst a dense jungle, protected
by the trees, the reptiles and wild animals. They were the ‘Vana Durg’
Sea Forts : These forts were created in the middle of the sea (at a
shallow point with a solid foundation base) and protected by its vicious
waves. In Marathi they were called ‘Jal Durg’ . Shivaji was quick to realise
the importance of sea forts. They provided an efﬁcient base for controlling
sea trafﬁc and trade. e.g Janjeera (the fort of Janjeera was considered
virtually impregnable and was held by the Siddis, enabling them to
withstand the most extreme of enemy pressures)
Human forts : human war formations , encampments often resembled
forts. These were the ‘Nar durg’.Nar
Types of Forts
Forts in Maratha times were often a combination of land and sea
forts. They weren’t as picturesque or aesthetic as their northern
counterparts but were most practical under the circumstances.
The Hill Forts were most common in Maharashtra and scattered all
around the Sahyadri Mountains.
They are located at short distances from each other and were accessed
by crossing a couple of mountains. This helped the king and his ofﬁcials
escape from one fort to other in case the earlier fort was captured by the
The hill forts were constructed from stones carved out from the very
mountains and joined (as per the design) with the help of lime, rubble,
gravel, stones, bricks (used mainly in land forts/smaller forts), molten
metal and sand.
Lime/mortar was ground on the fort itself (in what were called the
'Chunyaachya ghaani'. Chuna being the term for lime) with the help of a
roller passing though a circular channel.
The stones formed the outer layer of the fort. Stone layers were often
sandwiched between earth, rubble and mortar.