India’s Haunted Shaniwar Wada Fort, Pune

India’s Haunted Shaniwar Wada Fort, Pune

Shaniwar Wada Fort, Pune

The Shaniwar Wada Fort is a historic place of politics, rulers and death that embellishes the city center of Pune, India. The imposing fort continues to stand strong after being constructed in 1732, even after a destructive fire stripped the fort of its interior palace and many other structures in 1828.

Haunted fort in Pune, India.
Outside the imposing and allegedly haunted Shaniwar Wada Fort in Pune, India.

Although the fort is certainly a historic destination, it is the dark side of its history that has lead to some seriously eerie ghost stories. These stories have become prevalent to the point that they are openly advertised by the fort’s nightly light and sound show, sealing Shaniwar Wada’s reputation of being one of the most haunted places in India.

Historic and haunted fort in Pune, India.
Outside of one of Pune, India’s most haunted places.

Ghosts of Shaniwar Wada Fort in Pune

The Shaniwar Wada Fort of Pune is believed to be haunted by many spirits. Majority of these spirits are sadly thought to be victims of the great fire that ravaged the fort in 1828. In addition to devasting many of the grand structures that formed the fort’s interior, the fire also claimed the lives of many. Years have passed since this devastating fire tore through Shaniwar Wada Fort. Yet, the agonized screams of pain from the fire’s victims burning alive can still be heard echoing from the fort on a still, silent night.

Garden inside of Pune's Shaniwar Wada Fort.
Looking up at the fort’s walls from inside the courtyard’s garden.

Perhaps the most famous ghost story of Pune’s historic fort relates to a past royal feud. This feud describes complex relationships, which lead to treachery and murder. After a man named Nanasaheb, who had claimed the throne, died, he chose to pass the throne onto his sons. This decision enraged Nanasaheb’s jealous brother, who believed he deserved to rule.

Garden inside of Shaniwar Wada Fort, India.
The fort’s intricately designed gardens.

Time passed and the deaths of a few of Nanasaheb’s son’s caused the throne to be passed along until it reached his youngest son Narayanrao, who was just 16 years old. This further angered Narayanrao’s uncle as well as his aunty, who had already conspired to take out the new ruler’s brothers.

Haunted fort in India.
The fortified walls of one of the most haunted places in India.

Unfortunately for Narayanrao, his own family soon organized to have him assassinated. One night as he slept peacefully in his chambers, he was awoken to a sudden commotion. After waking from his slumber, Narayanrao was viciously hacked into small pieces by his attackers. He screamed out, crying for mercy, repeating the words: “uncle save me.” Following this murder, the dismembered pieces of Narayanrao’s body were disposed of in the nearby river, without proper burial rights.

Haunted river bank in Pune.
The river that Narayanrao’s body was disposed of and where his ghost allegedly haunts.

To this day, many claim to capture the sight of Narayanrao’s apparition throughout the fort, or sometimes walking the banks of the river his body was dumped in. More commonly reported paranormal activity is reported from people passing by the fort who can still hear Narayanrao’s pleads for help to his uncle reverberating off the tall, stone walls.

Metal spike adorning the Delhi Gate of Shaniwar Wada Fort.
The Delhi Gate guarding entry to the fort with metal spikes positioned to deter elephant attacks.

Visiting Shaniwar Wada Fort

The Shaniwar Wada Fort is a fascinating place to visit in Pune and is of immense historical significance to the area. The fort is open daily to visitors for a small fee and can be explored with or without a guide. The fort also opens nightly for a light and sound show. This consists of fountains, lasers and sounds all telling the fort’s history and paying particular detail to the story of Narayanrao. This show is spoken in Gujarati and was difficult to follow as an English speaker.

Light and sound show in Pune, India.
The nightly light and sound show of Shaniwar Wada Fort.

If you are interested in learning about other haunted places in Pune, India, check out the haunting of Holkar Bridge.

Inside a haunted fort in India.
Exploring the haunted Shaniwar Wada Fort in Pune, India.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (6)

  • Justin Messer

    Posted by Justin Messer on August 14, 2019

    Wow, loved this. The history about the deaths and the young prince is so sad and heartbreaking but eerie too. Loved this one!


      Posted by Amy on August 15, 2019

      Thanks for reading, Justin! The fort really does have some dark history linked to it! Glad you enjoyed!

  • Shivraj

    Posted by Shivraj on January 22, 2020

    It’s true I stay near Shaniwarwada he sounds *kaka Mala vachava* means: uncle save me


      Posted by Amy on January 27, 2020

      Hey Shivraj! Thank you for reading and for leaving me a comment. It is very cool that you can confirm this legend.

  • Vashist Hegde

    Posted by Vashist Hegde on August 8, 2021

    Hi Amy, Thank you for the video! In this video you said you were not sure if the story about Narayanrao was true. A little bit of history:

    So, the story is absolutely true. After the death of Narayanrao, an investigation was launched by the royal administration to find out who the culprits were.
    according to the investigation, which is well documented, the uncle (Raghunathrao) only wanted to arrest Narayanrao. But his wife (Narayanrao’s aunt, Anandibai), passed on his command to the mercenaries as “kill” (the exact words being “Dharaa” meaning “abduct/kidnap” which was distorted to “Maraa” meaning “kill” by Anandibai). When the mercenaries were just about to kill Naraynrao (who was begging his uncle to save him), Raghunathrao asked the mercenaries to spare him out of pity. But the mercenaries went ahead and killed him anyway.

    The result of the investigation was that Raghunathrao was found not-guilty but his wife Anandibai was found guilty. But Raghunathrao had to give up the throne anyway.

    Hope you find this useful! Thanks Again! 🙂


      Posted by Amy on August 10, 2021

      Thanks for sharing more information about the history, Vashist.

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