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Maharashtra: Pune - A Travel Guide
Pune or Poona
The dream city of Shivaji, once popularly known as the “Queen of Deccan”, is now famous with the name Pune. A batch of people had opined that the name of the city, Pune, had been derived from the name of the Punyeshwar Temple. Opinions vary though. Previously Pune, bounded by numerous hills, was a renowned summer capital of Mumbai province for its salubrious climate. The city dwellers still recollect the memories of the great personalities, such as, Lokmanya Tilak, Ranade, Mohamati Gokhale and professor Carvey.
One of the biggest business hubs of Maharashtra is Pune. The picturesque city of Pune is located at an altitude of 559 meters high plateau, atop the Sahyadri hill. The city is surrounded by Mula River and Mutha moat, at the northern and western sides of Pune respectively. The city definitely is popular as a modern industrial destination but the prominence and significance of Pune as a historical spot is immense as well. Stroll in and around the city of Pune to watch various commemoratives of Shivaji and Peshwa Bajirao.
The ancient city of Pune was built around the Mula River and Nagjhari Cannel. The history of Pune dates back to 2000 years. People who travel across the country from south India to the port on the Arabian ocean would be able to access Pune easily. The city has gained its popularity for its geographical existence.
The city gets extremely crowded twice a year during the Ganesh Chaturthi and the Palki festival. Inhabitants participate enthusiastically in various cultural celebrations, staged at various corners of the city during the 11 days long Ganesh Chaturthi. The procession, organized on the last day of the Ganesh chaturthi, goes through the important tracts of the city. Countless numbers of inhabitants walk along the procession with utmost zeal.
The important and popular tourists’ spots of Pune are Shaniwar Wada, Pune University, the Mahatma Phule Museum, Saras Baug, Snake Park, Mahadaji Shindhe Chhattis, Aga Khan Palace, M Gandhi Garden and Gandhi Ground. To spend quality time quietly in an evening listening to the sweet musical tune of the fountain, you have to visit the Saras Baug which resembles the style and grandeur of the Virndavan Garden. The Gandhi Ground also is a must visit destination for its splendor. It is situated on the southern banks of Mula and Mutha Rivers. You can complete the tour of Pune in 3 ½ hours.
Situated at a distance of 4 km towards the southern side of the Pune railway station, at the top of the 261 feet tall hilly tila, the hallowed Parvati temple was erected by Balaji Bajirao (Nana Sahib) in 1749 spending as much as 6 lakhs rupees. Holy deities, Ganapati, Surya, Vishnu and Bhavani are residing on their respective consecrated thrones in their own diminutive righteous temples. The family Goddess, Parvati of Peshwa dynasty is blessing her followers sitting in her own abode. Her temple can easily be accessed by bus or by hiring a car from the city of Pune. To enjoy the panoramic sight around, tourists have to climb up the temple crossing 108 stairways. Spiritual crowds can also travel to watch the holy façade of the deity in the divine Dugdhadhabal temple.
Covering 30 acres of rambling land, Peshwa Ground, houses a quadrilateral Ganapati temple of 17th century, amidst the riveting Ground. Take a walk towards its western side to access the sacred Sain Baba. One of the most promising Bengali writers, Sharadindy Banyopadhyay, used to live nearby.
Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar had built a museum and dedicated it to his 12 years son before going for an exile. The rich museum showcases the own collections of Mr. Gangadhar. Mr. Gangadhar had offered this captivating museum to the Government of Maharashtra in 1975.
The Raj Dinkar Kelkar Museum has been set up in Shukrawar Petha in a house which demonstrates an astonishing Gujarati architectural form. Substances which refresh the ancient memories of last 2000 years have been exhibited in the 36 different sections of the museum. Palace architectures, Mastani Mahal, temple sculptures, terracotta items, musical instruments, war weapons, different kinds of levers, diversified lights, key-locks, assortments of pictures and many more items are innovatively showcased on the shelves of the museum. It is believed that not even one fourth of the total anthology could be displayed here due to the dearth of spaces. These impressive collections are being rotated every now and then. It’s a must watch destination for all the visitors of Pune. The museum is kept open for the general people during 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Buses regularly ply to the museum from Pune railway station.
About 5 km towards the north- eastern side of Pune, on Talegaon road, The Aga Khan palace, covering 6 ½ hectors of territory, is quietly recalling the memories of pre independence era. Indian patriot Mahatma Gandhi and his wife (Kasturba) along with Mahadevbhai Desai (Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary), Sarojini Naidu and many more national leaders had been there behind the bars in the Aga Khan palace. Kasturba and Mahadevbhai Desai both had taken their last breath here. To recall their memories, two commemoratives had been built on the premise of the palace. The adjoining Gandhi museum is rich in its collections. A letter, written in Bengali, has also been exhibited here in this museum. Aga Khan had given this museum as a gift to the Government of India in 1969. The name of the singular and chief museum was later on changed to the Gandhi National Museum as well.
The bravery of the entire Maratha community can be watched in the exhibition called Son-et-Lumiere. Local buses are regularly traveling to the museum from various places of Pune.
The Band Garden can be accessed crossing the river through the Fitzgerald Bridge. For a pleasing evening walk, city dwellers assemble in the garden in numbers.
The seven storied lavishly built Palace, Shaniwar Wada, erected by Peshwa Bajirao I in 1729, depicts a charming and pretty Daru architecture. Peshwa once used to live and enjoy the enamoring spectacle of his own palace as well. The well fortified palace had a grand doorway with spikes for protecting and safeguarding the palace from the attacks of vicious elephants. The name of this historical colossal northern doorway was Delhi Gate. The palace was demolished thrice by devastating fire. Hence, some of the primeval and interesting monuments of the palace, such as, Sish Mahal, Mastani Mahal, Ganesh temple, Chimaji Baug, Treasury, Dancing room and Hammam, are in ruins. To climb up the beguiling Nagarkhana or the Palace of Music, you have to cross stairways. The flare of disparaging fire probably had left this enticement of the palace alone for the pleasure of the tourists. The prominent Jafri architectures on the attractive walls still astonish the batch of tourists. The riveting orchard, covering a rambling 2 hectors of territory, exhibits pretty Hajari Karnaji waterfall. The Bishra Baug is a nearby Maratha palace with excellent carvings and decorations. But, it’s true that the sumptuousness of the palace has diminished now a lot as school, college and court have been set up in the rooms of the palace. The exhibition called Son-et-Lumiere can be enjoyed here in two different languages, Hindi and English. The love stories of Bajirao and his beautiful dancer (Mastani) are nicely exhibited in the show.
The ancient British Cantonment City is located at the eastern side of the captivating palace. Buses regularly ply to the palace from the railway station of Pune.
The Lal Mahal is another nearby attention-grabbing tourists’ spot which can also be accessed by bus from the railway station. Watch the portraits of the different tales of the life of Maharaj here in Lal Mahal.
Spiritual people would be entertained gazing at the appealing Pataleshwar Cave, located at the western side of the city. Cross the Mula River to access this holy temple in Shivajinagar. It is believed that this consecrated temple was carved out of pebbly hill in one night during 8th century during the period of the Rashtrakut dynasty. Climb up the staircase of the temple to watch the hallowed façade of the holy Hindu deity, Shiva. Besides Shiva, other Hindu deities, such as, Lakshmi, Ganesh, Ram, Lakshman and Sita are residing in the sanctified temple. If you get an opportunity to visit this temple, then don’t forget to listen to the tune of the temple bell.
Innumerable wealthy people of Pune are betting on horses which run on the surface of the horse race course of Pune. The best time to witness the race is during June- October on Saturdays.
Explore the glory of Pune at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute catching a glimpse of various singular and distinctive historical collections.
Rajneesh Dham Ashram in Koregaon, about 2 km away towards the eastern side of the Pune railway station, is a hi-tech Ashram, erected by the modern Guru of the world in 1970 namely Bhagwan Rajneesh. It is now more popularly known as The Osho Commune International. He was renowned as one of the greatest incarnations of Gautam Buddha. Even though the Guru is not present anymore in this Universe but along with his memories, his followers regularly assemble on the holy premise of the Ashram of Pune, covering 24 acres of lands. It is also known as the Spiritual Disney Land in the proximity as well. Countless numbers of foreigners regularly congregate here. Their numbers are more as compared to that of the visitors of this country. The entry to the Ashram is restricted to the visitors who purchase tickets spending 15 rupees each.
The contiguous Empress Garden, covering a straggling 24 acres of terrain, is a botanical or mini zoo.
A commemorative on the southern banks of the Mutha River recollects reminiscences of the British imperialism. The Sassoon hospital, built in 1867, depicts a pretty form of the Gothic architectures. The Synagogue, constructed in 1967, is another pleasing evidence of the class-apart Gothic architectural panache on the red bricks. Besides all these appealing attractions of Pune, other coveted and interesting enticements are the St. Paul’s Church (1867), St. Mary’s Church (1825), St. Patrick’s Church, Golf Course and Cantonment.
Witness the lifestyles and items used by tribes in the Tribal Museum at the roadside of the 28th Queen’s Garden, lies 2 km away towards the eastern side of the Pune railway station.
Shaikh Sallah Dargah and 150 meters long Wellesley Bridge (located at the congregation point of Mutha and Mula) are pulling crowds in huge numbers as well.
The appeal of the Oxford of the East Deccan Gymkhana is not immense but the historical Gymkhana, built long back in 1879, situated towards the south- western side of the city, is a noteworthy site to gaze at once. Presently it is popular as the Pune Club. A lot of companies are surrounding the area of the Pune Club.
The Prabhat Studio of Pune has dedicated itself in producing impressive films and talented individuals for the film industries.
To watch the splendor of the Italian Gothic Architectures, you have to mark your way to the Pune University. Snake Park, Memorial museum of Tilak, the excellent sculptural creations of Mahadaji Scindia Chhatri and exhibitions of dramas are drawing attentions of the holiday makers and city dwellers.
Atop the Bhuleshwar hill, about 24 km away towards the south- western corridor of Pune, Singh Garh, recollects the war memories of a number of historical battles. During 1670, the Maratha force had won the control of the city with their clever troop.
The fort is now in ruins. Amidst the bushes, the commemorative of Tanaji, the great fighter, is attracting crowds. The old magazine on the fort premise is a bright memorial of the bygone era.
A pond in the vicinity consists of cool water. The cannon (used by Tanaji), the shrine of Rajaram (1700), ruins of Bhavani temple, TV Tower and few dotted bungalows are other sought after destinations of Singh Garh. The great Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi had met with Lokmanya Tilak in Tilak Bungalow, atop the Garh.
In case of unavailability of direct bus to the foothill (Donaje) of Singh Garh, you can hire a car to the fort. The tough road of Singh Garh fort can be accessed through undulating road and steep staircase. Singh Garh is located at an elevation of 700 meters. Not many shops are there on the hill. Hence, it is always suggested to carry foods alongside.
Only one bus directly travels to the hill top from Pune. Hiring a car to climb up the hill would be an apt option.
Hotels like Sinhagad Lodge, Panshet Lake Resort are there around the bus stand, at the lower side of the hill.
It’s not a bad idea to travel to the National Defense Academy, one of the prime institutes of learning the art of battle in Khadakvasala, about 18 km away from Pune. An eleven feet tall idol, made up of marbles, of Dronacharya is positioned at the entrance of the Academy. You can watch the delightful sights of a number of Lakes on the way to the Academy. The best season to watch plenty of known and unknown migratory birds around these Lakes is winter. The Khadakwasla Lake was excavated due to the installation of the dam in 1879. Besides the Khadakwasla Lake, Pakhal Lake is another charming tourists’ spot.
The hilly Torna fort was won by Shivaji and since then it is one of the prime tourists’ attractions of Pune. The geographical position of this fort was a big cause of worry for Shivaji, therefore he had later on shifted his kingdom to the 869 meters tall Raigarh. But, due to the inconvenience of transportation British used to call this as Gibraltar. The panoramic sight from the Raigarh fort is fabulous. A delightful Lake, atop the Raigarh hill, is worth watching as well.
About 94.5 km away from Pune, located at an altitude of 300 meters, Shivneri, is famous for a historical fort. Shivaji, the great and brave leader, was born in Junna, a nearby spot of Shivneri. A holy mosque, a consecrated temple and more than 50 divine Buddha mosques are scattered around the territory of the Shivneri fort.
About 95 km away from Pune, Bhimashankar, the famous Shiva pilgrimage, is regularly accessed by huge numbers of devotees every year. Bhimashankar is a Yotirlingam.
1034 meters tall Sahyadri hill is situated at the place where the River Bhima, the tributary of Krishna River, has originated from. A number of tribal communities are staying here. The five-faced idol of the God on the Jyotir Lingam is a laudable attraction to the swarms of pilgrims. Also look for the gupt (hidden) Bhimashankar, hidden under a stream. The deity is also known as the God of Bhil tribes. A righteous temple was also erected for the deity by the people of the Bhil community. Plenty of substances of 18th century are visible in this temple. The class-apart carvings of the temple, erected by black marbles, look awe-inspiring for the wonderful Nagara architectures. The festival of Shiva Ratri here is celebrated with lot of joy and excitement.
Apart from the praiseworthy temple, other notable temples of Bhimashankar are the holy Shanti temple and Bandebata temple. To watch each and every enticement of Bhimashankar, you have to take a walk to every different corner of the city. Gaze at the ambling denizens while strolling on the valley of Bhimshankar. A wild Life Sanctuary, formed in Bhimshankar, entertains innumerable nature lovers who assemble here to feel the divinity of Bhimashankar.
Bhimashankar is well connected to Mumbai and Pune by bus.
Mansarovar Motel, Yat Niwas of the temple, Government Rest House and PWD Bungalow are the places where tourists can stay at
Watching the splendor of the temple and shrine of Tukaram (saint and poet) and Dnyaneshwar temple in Alandi, placed on the banks of the Indrani River would be an enticing experience for all.
Nearby Margao, lies 64 km off Pune, houses the holy Hindu God, Ganesh.
Malshej Ghat, about 164 km away from Pune, is another crowd puller. The entire valley is covered up with well stretched out greeneries. The valley, placed at an altitude of 700 meters, is delimited by towering mountains. Hilly water stream of the waterfall marks its way through the green trunk of the stunning valley. Wild animals and colorful birds make this place a must visit destination. Maverick birds called Flamingo fly in from their homelands to take pleasure in the astounding nature during August- September. It’s truly a mesmerizing sight to look at.
It can be accessed from Mumbai, Ahmednagar and Pune by bus. Tourists, who prefer to travel by train, have to get down at the Kalyan railway station which can easily be reached by bus from Ahmednagar, Shivneri, Bhimashankar and Malshej Ghat.
It’s wise to stay here overnight to enjoy the grandeur properly. It would be apt to book a room well in advance in the Holiday Resort of MTDC or in Flamingo Hill Resort.
How to reach Pune: Pune is a prime Indian destination and hence it is connected to almost all the parts of India by railway networks. Pune is accessible regularly by trains from Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Coimbatore, Ajmer, Gandhidham, Nagercoil, Thiruvanathapuram, Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Madurai and many more Indian cities. The city is also connected to metropolitan cities and other prime cities by air. Buses also ply to Pune from Singh Garh, Purandara, Shivpur, Baneshwar, Morgao, Shivaji Nagar, Ahmednagar and plenty of other destinations of same and other states.
Where to stay at Pune: Badshahi Lodge, Shree Mathura Lodge, Hotel Jinna Mansion, Green Hotel, Hotel Satkar, Hotel Alankar, Hotel Sundervan, Hotel Sagar Plaza, Hotel Blue Diamond, Hotel Pathik and Hotel Ashiyana. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.
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