Lal Mahal

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The Lal Mahal (Red Palace) of Pune is one of the most famous monuments located in Pune, India. In the year 1630 AD, Shivaji's Father Shahaji Bhonsle, established the Lal Mahal for his wife Jijabai and son. Shivaji stayed here for several years until he captured his first fort. The original Lal Mahal fell into ruins and the current Lal Mahal is a reconstruction of the original and located in the center of the Pune city. Shivaji's marriage with his first wife, Maharani Saibai took place in Lal Mahal. The original Lal Mahal was built with the idea of rejuvenating the recently razed city of Pune when Dadoji Kondev entered the city along with Shivaji and his mother, Jijabai. Shivaji grew up here, and stayed in the Lal Mahal till he captured the Torna fort in 1645. Towards the end of the 17th Century, the Lal Mahal fell into ruins and was eventually razed to the ground as a result of various attacks on the city. [1]It is said that during the construction of the Shaniwarwada, some soil and stones of the Lal Mahal were used for luck. In 1734-35, a few houses were constructed on the land of the Lal Mahal and given for use to Ranoji Shinde and Ramchandraji. The records in the offices of the Peshwas mention that Lal Mahal was used for arranging feasts for the Brahmins during the thread-ceremony of Sadoba, son of Chimajiappa. The exact original location of the Lal Mahal is unknown, however it was known to be very close to the location of Shaniwarwada, which is roughly where the current reconstruction stands. The current Lal Mahal was built only on a part of the land of the original Lal Mahal. The new Lal Mahal was not rebuilt in the same fashion as the original one and there is not much information found about the area and structure of the original Lal Mahal. The current Lal Mahal was rebuilt by the PMC. Construction started in 1984 and was completed in 1988 .

Historically, the Lal Mahal is famous for an encounter between Shivaji and Shaista Khan where Shivaji cut off the later's fingers when he was trying to escape from the window of the Lal Mahal. This was part of a surreptitious guerrilla attack on the massive and entrenched Mughal Army that had camped in Pune, with Shaiste occupying (possibly symbolically) Shivaji's childhood home. As a punishment for the ignomy of the defeat despite superior numbers and better armed and fed soldiers, Shaiste was transferred by the Mughal Emperor to Bengal. Even today, Shaiste Khan is regarded as a national hero in Bangladesh- the Muslim homeland of Bengalis. Monuments to him stand testimony to it in Dhaka, capital of modern Bangladesh. The current Lal Mahal is a memorial holding a collection of large size oil-paintings based on the significant events in the life of Shivaji, a statue of Rajmata Jijabai, a carving depicting Shivaji using a gold plough along with Dadoji Konddeo and Jijabai, a fiber model of Raigad with horsemen and a huge map of Maharashtra indicating the forts of Shivaji.The popular Jijamata Garden is now a recreational park for kids.

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The statue of Dadoji Konddev was removed later about two years back after protests

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