Khunya Murlidhar Temple

Pune city is well known for its rich heritage and its strong connection with history. Every nook and corner of the city speaks volumes about golden past. Every road in the main city area has a story to tell.

Adding to the curiosity are the temples in Pune with its uncommon names like Upashi
Vitohbha, Dulya Maruti, Patrya Maruti, Jilbya Maruti Mandir etc.
(Do check the link given at the bottom of the blog for additional info on this)

A closer look

The peak with its decorative

One of such strikingly different names to outsiders is Khunya Murlidhar temple. Murlidhar who with the soothing tones of his ‘Murli’ i.e. Flute has the power to calm the world, the Shrikrishna who played the important part of messenger of peace before the war of Mahabharat, the embodiment of ‘perfect man’, a political strategist who pledged not to use any weapon during the Mahabharat war,  how his temple got such a name?

This name ‘Khunya Murlidhar’  is basically given based on the events which took place in the temple.

temple exterior view

Temple Exterior View



Sadashiv Gadre was one of the moneylenders in Second Bajirao Peshwa’s kingdom. Sadashiv Gadre built this temple in 1797 after he had a dream in which Murlidhar (Krishna) appeared in front of him and and instructed him to make the idols and build a temple in this place.

Gadre hired a sculptor named Bakhatram from Jaipur to make the beautiful idols. Peshwa Bajirao II happened to see these idols and liked them very much. He asked Dada Gadre to give him the idols, this demand was declined by Gadre and he asked the Khare family of Trimbakeshwar to worship the idols and install them in the temple overnight.

Accordingly, on 6 May 1797, Gadre shifted the idols from his home to this temple in the early morning and started the religious ceremony to install them here. Peshwa Bajirao came to know about this and sent a few British soldiers that were newly deployed in Pune to stop Gadre. But there was a defense in place as Gadre had deployed a few Arab soldiers that he had at his service to protect the temple.

Paintings and description on walls

Paintings and description on walls

While the religious ceremony was going on inside the temple, a battle raged outside between the British soldiers and the Arab defenders resulting in bloodshed and a number of deaths outside. As these murders (Khoon) happened outside, the temple got its name (Khunya) Murlidhar.

Khunya Murlidhar Interior

The main Hall of Khunya Murlidhar

Enraged by this, the Peshwa imprisoned Sadashiv Gadre in jail in Ahmednagar and confiscated all his properties. Gadre was in jail for 23 years and Khare family took care of the temple and the daily worshiping of the idols during this time. For his dedicated work, Gadre decided to handover the temple management and its surrounding area to the Khare family, which they are doing till date and the seventh generation of the Khare family currently manages the temple. Khare Vaidya, (expert of Ayurveda) is well known in #Pune to provide a traditional medicine for jaundice which has cured over thousands of people over the past many decades.

Khunya Murlidhar columns

Other interesting facts:

Many other interesting stories are attached to this temple. Being a #Punekar by birth I have heard this story from many other natives. It is said that the Chaphekar brothers hatched the plan to assassinate Rand in this very temple. The brothers used to conduct secret meetings in the temple to plan the attack and assassination.

It is also said that a person staying close by, named Dravid, heard about this plan and tipped off the British about it which resulted in the capture and hanging of the Chaphekar brothers. It is also said that Dravid was also murdered later as revenge for passing on the information to Britishers.



The Temple architecture:  The temple consists of courtyard, main Hall and sanctum sanctorum. The main hall is decorated with beautiful wooden pillars and decorative chandeliers. One can see some beautiful pictures, paintings on the wall. The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple is built in black basalt rock and the hall around it is built using a wooden frame structure. This hall has excellent carvings on the walls and columns that depict the typical artwork popular during those time.



The idol:
The idol of Shrikrishna is also unique and is seen standing on one leg and the support of the thumb of the other leg without any other support.The idol of Radha Krishna is carved out of white marble. In the temple do observe the Eagle which represents the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
Every Janmashtami this temple is decorated with beautiful flowers, garlands, rangoli and diyas. This Janmashtami make sure to visit this temple and experience the eternal magic of Shrikrishna.

temple view2.jpg

An interesting read:

One can read many interesting stories behind different names of temples in Pune on the following link.

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Vishrambaugwada: A golden leaf in the architectural glory of the Peshwa era

The person who visits Pune never misses his visit to Tulshibaug. I somehow feel that Tulshibaug is more attractive to outsiders than the Punekars. I remember when my cousins used to come to Pune during their summer vacation they always wanted to find time to visit this place.

But somehow the architecturally attractive and somewhat mystical Vishrambaug Wada which is actually just across the road from this busy and bustling marketplace called Tulshibaug has not scored those many points on the list of the must-visit places.

Vishrambaug Wada

As seen from across the street

For me, this Wada has always held the old world charm. Earlier I was a bit hesitant to visit this place as I was not really sure if it is open to general visitors the way we visit Shaniwar Wada. Thanks to the different heritage tours held during the last 4,5 years such beautiful yet less-visited attractions in Pune have opened their doors to everyone.


The wonderful windows of the hall

Associated with Bajirao the second, Vishrambaug Wada attracts visitors with its exquisite beauty and superior interior. As the story goes, this place was earlier a small park owned by Haripant Phadke.
After marrying his daughter with Bajirao Peshwa (II) this place was transferred to the Peshwa’s who renovated the existing structure and built a three-storied edifice.

The beautiful architecture stands even today still maintaining its charm.

Vishrambaug Wada is a very important historical building standing on the Bajirao Road in the heart of Pune. Bajirao II was not ready to stay in Shaniwar Wada due to earlier bad incidences and he was scared to go and stay there. He built his own lavish Palace. It is said that this Bajirao II was prodigal and used resources and money extravagantly. Another story famous about this is about a dancer named Venkat Narsi who made a record of dancing here for 36 hours non-stop.


Delicate wooden carvings on the columns

Vishrambaugwada was built in the year 1807. Excellent use of teak wood with attractive carvings have added to its beauty. Even today when you see the East facing teak wood canopy and the carving of crocodiles on it, it still captures our attention.  The main attraction is the fountain in the centre of the main square.


Fountain at Vishrambaugwada

There is a  big hall on the first floor which has many artillery equipment of the Peshwa era on display. This hall has well-decorated columns and beautiful lampshades. Various antiques, pictures and scriptures are kept on display in the hall which will surely give you a glimpse of the glory of Peshwas and the Maratha empire. During our visit to this place a few years ago,  we got to see a drama practice based on the life of  Shivaji Maharaj. That experience almost took us back in time.

vishrambaugwada hall

Hall(Diwankhana) on the top floor

There is a permanent exhibition in this place called ‘Punawadi te Punyanagari’ which is also a must-see.

vishrambaug corridors

Spacious Corridors of Vishrambaugwada

After the Peshwa era in 1818, it went into the hands of the British. This beautiful mansion is in the heart of the city. It is better to visit it by public transport like auto or bus since it is very difficult to find a parking place near-by for private vehicles.

Vishrambaugwada as the evening sets in

Quick Facts:

Visiting hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (closed on Monday)

Entry fees: There is no entry fee to visit this historical monument.

Parking: Is a challenge due to the extremely busy roads around this place. The Best mode is to take an auto or come to the nearest bus stop known as Shanipar – (more about this place in some other blog)


The main attraction in the centre of the building

**Don’t forget to eat Bhel(a savoury snack) at ‘Pushkarni Bhel’ and do taste some delicious snacks at Sweet Home snacks centre, both these places are situated just opposite Vishrambaugwada. Of course, the most famous Chitale Sweets shop( diagonally opposite to Vishrambaugwada) is not to be missed