Picturesque Pune, the ‘Queen of the Deccan’ nestles in thescenic Sahayadri ranges, on the edge of the Deccan plains. This ‘Cultural Capital of Maharashtra’ was once the glorious capital of the Martha Empire and the centre of the Maratha awakening. It booms with all corollaries of modernisation and also retains the rich cultural heritage. According to the Pune Gazetter, the word Pune is derived from ‘Punya’ or a holy place, as the city stands on the sacred a confluence (Sangama) of two rivers. Pune became the base of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the great Maratha emperor, whose exploits against the Bijapur army and Mughal king Aurangazeb are legendary. The Maratha emperors were followed by the peshwas. In 1818, the British captured the city after the battle of Koregaon. The city also played an important role in the freedom struggle and was the nerve centre of national politics during the lifetime of Lokmanya Tilak. Pune is also known as the ‘Oxford of India’ for its world renowned educational and research institutions.
Pune is located at 18° 31' 22.45" North and 73° 52' 32.69" East, near the western margin of the Deccan Plateau.
Pune, a city where people didn't even use fans earlier has summer temperatures which average between 26°C to 40°C and have been known to go as far up as 44°C in May. The monsoon brings desperately needed rains that cool the city in the months of June, July, August and September with average rainfall around 70cm. The winter months of late October, November, December and February are very pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 29°C to 10°C.
Pune started out as 'Punnaka' an agricultural settlement in the 8th century. The earliest evidence (copper plates dating 758AD and 768AD) reveals that the Rashtrakutas ruled this region. In the 17th century, the great Maratha leader, Shivaji grew up in this city and established Pune making the capital of the Maratha Empire. After Shivaji's death, his heirs could not hold his empire together and so their dynasty declined and the power passed to the Peshwas, the first of a long line of professional administrators. Under the Peshwas, Pune acquired great political importance and became well-known as a centre of learning and culture. Pune remained the seat of the Maratha fiefdom till the British ousted them in 1817 after the historic third battle of Panipat.
Aga Khan Palace – kasturba Gandhi Memorial
It was built in 1908, by Imam Sultan Muhammad ShahAga Khan III, the spiritual head of the Ismailiah Khoja community. Mahatama Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and private secretary Mahadeobhai Desai were imprisoned here during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Mahadeobhai Desai died on 15th August 1942 and Kasturba Gandhi passed away on 22nd February 1944. Their bodies were cremated here and later on two marble samadhis were built in their memory. Khadi or cotton handloom garments and textiles can purchase at a shop here.
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
It is housed in a beautiful oriental style building and has over 20,000 manuscripts from the collection of Bolhar, Kielhorn and Bhandarkar.
Bund Gardens or Mahatama Gandhi Udyan
The well laid out gardens on the right bank of the Mula-Mutha Rivers is a popular evening spot. It has boating facilities and has a well-designed jogging track.
The famous Kesari newspaper was started here by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who advocated ‘Self Rule’. The Ganapati festival was started in the countryard of the Wada by Tilak.
Khunya Murlidhar Temple
This temple of Lord Krishna (Muralidhar) at Sadashiv peth ws built in 1794, by Sadashiv Raghunath or Dada Gadre, a famous merchant.
Mahatma Phule Museum
This unique museum at Ghole Road, Shivaji Nagar was established in 1890. It showcases industrial, agricultural and handicraft articles. There are also specimens of the body structures of different animal species.
Parvati Hill & Temple
Parvati hill located in the south-east corner of Pune has the historic temple of goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva (Devadevesvara). It can be reached through a flight of 108 steeply rising steps.
The Parvati museum here displays portraits of Peshwas, old manuscripts, weapons and coins. The hill affords a panoramic view of the Pune city.
The 8th century rock-cut cave temple at Sivajinagar on the Jungli Maharaj Road are dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar (Shiva0, the God of the neither world. The exquisitely carved caves have a shrine of Shiva in the centre, with a huge lingam and the Nandi bull in front under a circular canopy. There is a small museum near the caves. A grain of rice exhibited here is engraved with about 5000 characters and finds place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Peshwe Udyan (zoo)
It located near Saras Baug and has a rich variety of wild animals. Other attractions are, a toy-train ride, an elephant ride and boating.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
It lies at Shukarwar Peth on the Bjirao Road and is one of the major attractions of Pune. The museum is housed in a quaint Rajasthani-style building with faced of red stone and its galleries bear the stamp of the Maratha period. It exhibits historical and everyday artefacts collected over a perid of 60 years by Shri Dinakar Ganghadhar Kelkar from all over the country.
This bastion of Peshwa power is an icon of Pune and its rich culture. It was built in 1736 and became the seat of political power under Bajirao-I Within the massive walls of the wada (fort) is th magnificent palace of Peshwas, which was destroyed by a major fire in 1827. There are well laid out gardens with impressive fountains. A fine statue of Bajirao Peshwa-I in front of the wada is quite impressive. A light and Sound show is held here in the evenings.
The imposing structure at Wanawadi was built in the memory of great Maratha nobleman mahadji Shinde, the commander of the Maratha army from 1760-80 under the Peshwas.
Tilak Smarak Mandir
It commemorates Lokmanya Tilak, the great freedom fighter and social reformer. A small museum on the ground floor is dedicated to Tilak.
This unique museum near the Don Bosco Bridge provides an interesting insight into the life of tribal communities of Maharashtra.
The three storied mansion of the Peshwas in the heart of the city is an icon of Pune’s rich culture and heritage. The Kirti Mandir museum here showcases the glorious history of Pune.
Other places of interest in Pune are – Bal Gandharv mandir, Bharat Itihas Samshodak Manda, Dr. Ambedkar Museum, Film & Television Institute (FTII), National film Archives of India, lal Deval (ynagogue), Museum of Arthropoda, National War Museum, Omkareshwar Temple, PUne Ved Pathshala, Osho Ashram etc.
Katraj Snake Park
Started in 1986, with the help of the Pune Municipal Corporation, the Katraj Snake Park is situated on the Pune-Satara Highway near Bharati Vidyapeeth Campus. The straight road emanating from Swargate takes you to the desired destination. The park today has a collection of wonderful reptiles, birds, a baby leopard, crocodiles and others. The prize collection is of course the six-year-old, nine feet long King Cobra.
Situated in the outskirts of Pune, ahead of Ambrosia and around 5km from pasha is this beautiful bird sanctuary. It is a private collection of birds of Dr. Suhas Jog. Dr. Jog has collected the birds here over a period of 30 years from different parts of the world.
Ganapati (Ganesha) Festival
During the month of August or September each year, the city celebrates the Hindu festival of Ganesha Chaurthi. Almost every neighborhood puts up a pandal with an idol of Lord Ganesha, often amidst a mythological setting, complete with decorative lights and festive music. The 10-day festival culminates in a carnival-like procession along the busy thoroughfares of the city, with every pandal leading the idol on a float to finally immerse (visarjan) it in the local rivers.
Sawai Gandharva Music Festival
In the month of December, Pune host the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival. It is dedicated to the classical forms of music both Hindustani and Carnatic. Many renowned performers perform through three consecutive nights creating a hype unique to this city. It is one of the most eagerly awaited festivals of the city.
Pune Distance Guide