Pune General Information
- Area 146.11 sq. km
- Population 1,566,651
- Altitude 560 m above the sea level
- Languages Marathi, Hindi, English
- Best time to visit October- May
- STD code 020
Introduction to Pune
Pune may not be a cosmopolitan city as its upstart cousin on the cost, Mumbai, but it is a pleasant getaway for all those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The city has a calm atmosphere, non-confronting people, and is certainly much more relaxed and peaceful than Mumbai. If you consider Maharashtra as a Marathi speaking state of India, then Pune can undoubtedly be called its capital, with its glorious past and high concentration of Marathi speaking people. The place was early home of great Maratha warrior Shivaji and became the Maratha capital in 1750. For a brief period, the city was under the control of Nizam of Hyderabad and later came under the British rule in 1817. The British tried to develop the city as the summer capital of Maharashtra and a military cantonment. Today, the city has lost much of its grandeur of Maratha period but the places around here are quite rich in heritage and natural beauty. In the recent times the city of Pune became famous for being home to the Osho Commune International. The ashram attracts a large number of people from around the world to practice Osho’s new-age meditation techniques. Pune is also an internationally renowned educational centre, being home to many institutions of repute like Film and Television Institute of India, Armed Forces Medical College, National Defence Academy and Symbiosis Educational Society.
Places of Interest:
Shaniwar Wada Palace was built by Balaji Rao, the grandfather of the last Peshwa in 1736. Today, only the massive outer wall of the Palace is left as the rest of it was burnt down in 1827. During its glorious days, the palace used to be the multi-storey home of mighty Peshwas. The main entrance to this place is through iron-spiked Delhi Gate. The nearby street was used to punish people by getting them crushed by elephants. The gardens here were irrigated by Hazari Karanje (thousand jet fountain), though there were only 97 jets to irrigate.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
A marvelous respite from the bustle in Pune, Pataleshwar Cave Temple is quite elegant and exudes spirituality. Adding to the tranquility and beauty of the site is the circular stone gazebo (Nandi mapandapam) standing by the entrance of this small underground temple.
Raja Denkar Kelkar Museum
Creation of the passionate efforts of a single person, Dr. D.G.Kelkar, the museum has a vast collection of unique and peculiar exhibits. The collection is eclectic and exceptional. In a pleasant change from the other well-known museums of India, the Raja Denkar Kelkar museum exhibits the diversity of India’s culture in a subtle and delightful way. Some of the interesting objects exhibited here are an elephant-shaped foot scrubber, a brass scorpion that reveals a secret lock and eight images of Lord Ganesha carved on a bean.
Kasturba Samadhi is located near the Aga Khan Palace, now Gandhi National Museum. Kasturba was the wife of Mahatma Gandhi. She died at Aga Khan Palace, which was used to imprison Gandhi by the British. The samadhi contains the ashes of Kasturba.
Aga Khan Palace
True to its name this place boasts of Italianate arches and spacious lawns, an unlikely place for a prison but the Britishers interned Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi here.The architecture of the palace wil take you down memory lane, reminding you of the illustrations from fairy tale houses.
Amongst the architectural prides of Pune, the memorial to the great warrior Mahadji Shinde, the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army, between the years 1760 to 1780 under the mighty Peshwas. The temple adorned with Rajasthani architecture is an imposing edifice situated at Wanowrie
Bhimashankar is a little picturesque spot situated around 95 kilometres. The place has everything to attract the visitors deep forests, temples,rivers and all other things that give you a feeling of being in a paradise. More than anything else the place is famous for the temple of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The place is also the point of origin of river Bhim. A must visit if you are interested in trekking, nature watching, and bird watching.
Popularly known as Khandobachi Jejuri, Jejuri is a famous temple of Maharashtra. The temple is dedicated to Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand, a god worshipped by Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. The temple is situated on a hill and you need to negotiate 200 steps to reach it. Jejuri is situated around 40 kilometres south-east of Pune towards Phaltan.
Raigad is the place where Shivaji was crowned in 1648 and died in 1680. From the fort located on an isolated hilltop, you can get a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats. To reach the hilltop, you need to ascend the steep climb. Raigad is situated at a distance of around 126 kilometers away.
The Lion Fort or Sinhagad, situated around 25 kilometers south-west of this city is atop a steep hill. Now almost ruined, the fort has a interesting history. It was in the year 1670, that Tanaji Malusre, a general of Shivaji scaled the steep hill in dark with his men and defeated the forces of Bijapur. According to legends, the Maratha forces used trained lizards to carry the ropes up the hillside. This is also the place where Mahatma Gandhi met another stalwart of Indian freedom struggle, Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1915 for the first time. A pleasant day trip to this place should not be missed.