“New reminds us of our progress. The old reminds us of who we were”
Standing strong amidst the changing infra in Wai is the ‘Karandikar Wada’. Built in 1815 under the guidance of Nana Phadnavis, this Wada has housed 4 generations of Karandikar family.
I came across such places only in my history text books or Marathi daily soaps. But, today I had an opportunity to live in a house which is decorated by history & traditions.
Just near the boundary that Wai shares with ‘Melawni’, is the Karandikar Vada – a beautiful & historical abode.
Built 200 years ago, the Wada has come a long way. Thanks to its owners who have played a great role in maintaining this structure till date.
By now, you must be thinking that how did I manage to live in a house built in 18th Century? Were the sanitation & bathroom system neat & clean? How was the electricity supply? Well, don’t worry; the house in its true sense is a perfect blend of new & old. With times, it has changed itself and given way to the new while holding on to its traditional elements.
When I spoke to the house owner, Mr. Prakash Karandikar, I was amazed by the way he described the efforts taken in maintaining the grand old structure. Patience, determination, emotion & willingness, is what one needs to accomplish the task of strengthening a 200 year old structure. Mr. Karandikar’s rigid nature helped him to achieve this remarkable coup of curating & renovating this structure.
Talking about the structure, it is influenced by Peshwai Architect. The thickness of the wall, the colourful wooden doors, small windows peeking out from above the door, all looks marvellous.
When I entered the Wada, the first thing that caught my attention was the ‘Padavi’ – a big hall with an open space in between with no roof in the middle. Two doors, which are your entrance to the bedrooms & the living room, are on the either sides of the hall. The big wooden swing at the centre of the hall is an antique piece & reminded me of the meetings held by Peshwas or Sarpanch with the villagers.
There is a meaning behind every structure in the house. For example the short doors they are small in height & we need to bend before entering the room. The reason is really simple yet powerful, when you enter the house or a room, you need to bend yourself which is a sign of being humble. In that era, people who visited their elderly, bowed to them as a sign of respect. This habit has been unknowingly followed by people visiting this house.
Looking at its entrance, you might think that the house is small. But, once you enter you will experience its vastness. There are hidden steps that take you to the upper floor of the house, which is used by the owner for PG or tourists.
The ‘Paras’ or the backyard is surrounded by redeveloped buildings but still, you will experience the essence of a typical village backyard, thanks to vintage water well & ‘Tulsi Vrindavan’.
One of the most exciting parts of my stay was Mr. Karandikar’s mini museum in the attic. It was one of the highlights of the trip. I was literally holding a copy of ‘Kesari’ – newspaper founded by Lokmanya Tilak in 1881. There were many small things that tell us a lot about our ancestors. Stories & emotions are part of it which flourishes for generations.
Mr. Karandikar can be an example to people who love collecting antiques & preserving them.
Things were quite strange for me on the first day. The thick walls, tall roof, airy hall, old & small wooden doors had their own distinct features & a story to tell. It was like a time machine, which took me to the past & showed me glimpses of a great historical period.
While returning back to Mumbai I was wondering, will our generation be so enthusiastic & passionate about preserving such elements that remind us of our traditions & history? Will we tell our grandchildren about the importance of respecting the structures or elements that symbolizes our culture? Whether or not the things that once defined our religion, beliefs, and traditions will survive?