It was midnight, there was a full moon, the birds surrounding the fort ramparts flew off. The temperature of the place was chilling and the guard could feel the shivers. Shaniwar wada was always uncanny after Peshwa Narayan Rao’s murder, the guard flanking the main entrance exchanged posts with another fellow guard, the guard with his spear, sheathed sword and lantern, walked past the fountain and garden to the main palace complex. The inside was eerie.
He stood there profusely sweating, with trembling legs, chanting rhymes scared of the Peshwa’s ghost who he did not frankly believe in, suddenly he heard the twitching sound of a twig, he grabbed his rudraksha pendant. Was it the Peshwa’s ghost? Was it another palace guard?
Then he saw the shadow of a person clad in a white dress with an orange turban. “Phew!!!” he relaxed, it was the uniform of the palace guard. But why was he here when he was already in duty there? The guard dropped his lantern, oil all over his shoes, he scrambled away through the outer doorway towards the deserted temple.
The man he saw had a dagger bulging out of his stomach. “Kakka mala vachva…kakka…”, was what the daggered man kept screaming.
He finally arrived at the temple complex and stepped over the threshold panting and praying. “I’m inside the temple now, I’m safe” he cried out in relief. Mysteriously, fumes erupted from the temple’s entrance.
The guard screeched “Why didn’t I listen to my mother when she warned me ? It’s the new moon today. I shouldn’t have come here!”
The echoes of “Kakka mala vachva!” grew louder and spine-tingling. The flames became more invigorated. He could feel himself burning from the intensity of the flames, he moved around frantically as he felt something nudge him, trying to find what had hurt him. “Ahhh” the guard screamed feeling as if molten lava swished through his body.
He looked down to realise that it was a dagger that was impaled on his stomach and was being twisted brutally making him gasp for breath. Red coloured liquid flowing. And then his passage of air was suddenly blocked as if someone was choking him. Now the echoes of Kakka mala vacha had turned into agony filled whispers.
The guard could feel life draining out of him slowly as the whispers were fading and into something more dreadful- silence and death.
The following day the palace guards found a dead body which was unrecognisable due to the many cuts caused by a sharp metal and there were no signs of a fire except that the temple door was open albeit no one opens the temple since the door was supposed to be sealed and the idol relocated to another temple.
The only sign of someone being there was an orange turban that was nearly burnt, with no fingerprint or any evidence that could detect the presence of humans apart from the now demised guard.
The above story is a true incident reported back from Shaniwar Wada a few years ago.
Had it been no body no crime, less questions would have arised but there have been a string of deadly incidents that have taken place in Shaniwar Wada that raises various speculations only few have lived to tell the tale. Numerous tourists have felt whooshing air out of nowhere, echoes of ‘kakka mala vachva’ loud enough to terrify the life out of the people and only leading to dead ends or mysterious deaths when followed.
There have been cases where locals have reported seeing someone wearing orange turban similar to the one found near the dead guard’s body
Shaniwar Wada (translated as Saturday residential complex in English) was built by Peshwa Baji Rao-1 , (prime minister of Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Satara) with nine bastion towers, five gateways, number of halls, fountains, a temple, a thirteen story palace and gardens. Shaniwar Wada comprises 625 acres of land.
Peshwa Narayan Rao who is known as the ghost of Shaniwar Wada was the tenth Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. He was the son of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao. According to local lore, he was assassinated by his uncle Raghunath Rao.
The modus operandi used for his assassination was most brutal, he was cut into small pieces and put in a pot. Then the pieces were tossed into the river. According to lore he escaped the assassins at first and ran to his uncle shouting, ‘Kakka mala vachva ‘ but unfortunately his uncle was also killed.
Greed; the vine that climbs through everyone’s house and breaks the foundation. It is gruesome, how avarice led to the death of a little boy and how it still is the cause of death and fear in thousands of people.
A little boy who couldn’t receive the justice he deserved. A boy who supposedly now kills everyone he encounters in search of help cause he knows no other way to express himself. His voice was not taken into account when needed now he makes sure to be loud enough through his actions to be heard. Be seen and feared even after years of death.
The young peshwa was bred and nurtured in violence, he had seen and gone through what evil was at a very young age. The inner evil which gives birth to the bigger evil, we are all born with it. Some of us let the evil in us have control and the others fight back the evil with goodness. But it’s always we lose some and win some. So the evil sometimes wins too, in the form of greed, dishonesty, violence, hatred, ego and envy.
The Peshwa’s uncle let his inner evil win which has led to the birth of an evil no one has control over. It has resulted in thousands of deaths and traumas.
Some of us might not believe in ghost sightings, which from our survey we realised is a lot. But none of us can deny the fact that we cannot let our inner evil win in any form.