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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mahatma Phule Mandai completes 125 years

It is presumed that Pune wake up at 4 am early in the morning. Mahatma Phule Mandai alias the then Reay Market awakes at the dawn, when every Puneite is fast asleep. The hustle and bustle begins in Mandai early at 4 am, with vegetable and fruit sellers setting up their stalls. Popularly known as the prime vegetable market of Pune, the building of the Mahatma Phule Mandai completed 125 years on October 5, 2010.

As this is a landmark in Pune, it is an ideal example of British architecture. The interiors are charming and a treat for architects & enthusiasts. The beautifully and aesthetically built Mandai has mammoth structure carved in stone and wood, with eight sides (wings) and eight ways (openings) for entry and exit, the 80 ft structure was constructed during the British rule. Functioning as a vegetable marketfor over 100 years, it has around 1,438 stalls of vegetables and fruits.

Situated within the heart of the city on a total area of around eight acres, the mandai tower can be spotted from all the sides. According to historians, the mandai has played a vital role in the city's history as all the social and political developments of the last 100 years took place here.

The construction of the building began in 1882, and was completed in 1886. A total of Rs 2.30 lakhs was spent on the construction. It was

inaugurated at the hands of the then governor of Bombay, Lord Reay, after whom the mandai was named as Lord Reay market. The construction work was undertaken by Raobahaddur Vasudeo Bapuji Kanitkar and Naraso Ramchandra Godbole.

Known primarily as a vegetable and fruit market, this building also functioned as the main office of the Pune Municipal Council till 1966.

The municipal council operated from mandai's main structure. The hall on the first floor was used to conduct the general body meetings,

while other rooms were given for the offices of various departments.

Veteran writer and journalist Acharya P K Atre and others took the initiative to rename the market Mahatma Phule Mandai in 1938. Till

1966, the open space before the main structure was a place for conducting political rallies, public gatherings and social celebrations. Later, the municipal corporation constructed another mandai on the open space. In 1977 the wholesale market was shifted to the market yard. The structure is very spacious. Thousands of people can be accommodated in the eight wings. And, every wing is dedicated to specific types of vegetables and fruits.

Sunday observes maximum crowd at the Mandai with several people walk in to purchase their weekly stock of vegetables and fruits. This market is flooded with people during festivals as it offers various related decoration materials and other essential things required for holy rituals.

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