Earlier known as Gaikwad Wada, Kesari Wada has become a historical monument in Pune, hallowed by the long stay of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the Father of Indian Unrest and a great leader of India
Tilak purchased this estate from Shrimant Sayajirao Gaikwad Sarkar in 1905, and stayed here till he breathed his last in 1920. Tilak also housed the offices of his newspapers, Kesari and Maratha, in this place and renamed Gaikwad Wada as Kesari Wada. It holds its own importance in the history of Indian freedom struggle, as during Tilak’s residency, it was a place for night-long discussions among national leaders, concerned about overthrowing the tyrannical British rule over India.
The estate has a beautiful gold-plated Ganesha idol, and a bronze statue of Lokmanya Tilak at the back of the idol. It’s also famous for its Ganapati festival, which Tilak strategically started as a means to unite people and prepare them for the freedomstruggle.
The building has undergone renovations, but the huge wooden main entrance to the building, is still the same, and so are the roaring lions carved on both the doors to the entrance; a symbol of the brave-hearted Tilak, who was also known as Kesari (lion in English). Once you enter the wada, you find plenty of open space; this was used for social gatherings, lectures and meetings. On the immediate left you see many offices, divided into three floors.
And on the right side, you find the spacious Lokmanya Sabhagriha (hall) which has been a popular venue for many programmes. There is a library as well that was founded by Tilak for his newspapers, Kesari and Maratha, in August 1912, housing more than 50,000 books.
The Tilak Museum is a big attraction of the Wada, as it displays the legendary career of the freedom fighter right from his genealogical table and horoscope to his holy remains. There is also a replica of Tilak’s study room and that of his cell in Mandalay Jail.