Atlas Obscura - Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations

Lal Mahal

A historic palace in the center of Pune where the founder of the Maratha Empire spent his formative years.  

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Pune shares a glorious relationship with history and culture.

The older parts of Pune are dotted with iconic forts, palaces, temples, and mansions, along with famous markets and other landmarks. There are also several mysterious alleys and fascinating lanes that take one back in time. 

Just east of Shaniwar Wada, across the street, there is an iconic red-colored, palatial building called Lal Mahal (which translates to Red Palace). This was the childhood residence of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The construction of this palace dates back to around 1636.

Maharaj grew up in this palace until he captured the fort of Torna in 1645. The original palace was lost over time, and the present one is a 20th-century reconstruction.

It was also here that a skirmish between Maharaj and Shaista Khan took place in 1663. Maharaj planned a strategic attack and cut off the latter’s fingers when he was trying to escape from the palace.

Today, the palace stands proudly, highlighting the association of Maharaj with Pune. Within the palace premises, in the main hall, there are paintings depicting several important events from Maharaj’d early years.

Know Before You Go

The palace stands east of Shaniwar Wada, just across the street.

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February 12, 2024

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