Pune, located 118 km from Mumbai at the convergence of two rivers (Mula and Mutha), is known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Retaining its historic past and embracing modernity at the same time, the city has come a long way from being a ‘pensioners’ paradise’. Often called the Oxford of the East thanks to the presence of several reputed educational institutions, Pune is also home to the National Defence Academy, the elite training school for the armed forces as well as the Armed Forces Medical College, Film and Television Institute of India and the Symbiosis Educational Society as well as the University of Pune (now renamed Savitribai Phule Pune University).
A charming mix of the traditional and contemporary, Pune has several tourist attractions. From the Aga Khan Palace with its Italian arches, salons, suites and spacious lawns where Kasturba Gandhi spent the last years of her life to the Shaniwar Wada, the iconic monument of the Maratha Empire, Pune is a history student’s paradise. Being one of the capitals of the Maratha Empire, Pune’s rich history is reflected in its several wadas (or large houses) and temples like the ones at Saras Baug and atop Parvati Hills.
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The Lal Deval or the Jewish synagogue and the several churches that dot the city as well as the Parsi agiary are just one of the many things that reflect Pune’s cosmopolitan nature. Pune is also home to the Osho International Meditation Ashram as well as the headquarters of the Iyengar Yoga Institute. Famous for adventure activities like camping, rappelling, lake crossing, paragliding and jungle trekking, Pune sees many adventure junkies flocking the city at all times. The Paragliding School and Flying club that functions from October to June barring the monsoon season, is located merely an hours drive from Pune. The Gliding Center in Pune allows you to experience the flight of a birs and gives you an aerial view of Pune at the nominal cost of. With horse riding and bird watching being the icing on the cake, Pune is the place to be for all those looking for an adrenaline rush.
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Festivals in the city are celebrated with great fervor with the Ganesha Chaturthi and the Pune Festival being the highlights. During the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, the city remains completely blocked for over 10 days with more than 2,000 Ganesha mandals pretty much taking over Pune with their celebrations. The NH7 music festival that sees musicians from all over the world visit the city to perform live for thousands of adoring fans is the newest addition to the city’s culture map. While in Pune, make sure to pick up Laxminarayan’s ‘Best Chiwda’, available at most supermarkets and grocery stories as well as Chitale’s Bakarwadi and mango barfi that are the talk of the town. If Pune’s bustle gets to you, head out to the nearby Lonavala, Rajmachi, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Kashid and Phansad that offer a respite from the hectic city life as well as numerous opportunities for adventure sports.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN PUNE
Pune has hotels that will suit every budget — from Taj Vivanta and the Hyatt to the mid-range Ginger and all the way down to local dormitories. Make sure you book yourself as close to the city center as possible since peak time traffic can tend to get very bad.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PUNE
From local Maharashtrian street food like vada pav, misal pav, bhel and bhajjis to the most sophisticated continental food, Pune has it all on offer. But while in Pune make sure to try a typical Pune meal that consists of bhakri-pitla pickles and vegetables. Special foods like soonth panak, puran poli, coconut potali, karanji and chakli are favorites of Maharashtrians during festivals. Mastani, a thick milkshake with dry fruits, and Modak are also the city’s specialty.
Pune Darshan Place List :-
Aga Khan Palace –
The grand Aga Khan Palace is set in a peaceful wooded 6.5-hectare plot northeast of the centre. Built in 1892 by Sultan Aga Khan III, this graceful building was where Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent nationalist leaders were interned by the British following Gandhi’s Quit India campaign in 1942 The main palace now houses the Gandhi National Memorial where you can peek into the room where the Mahatma used to stay. Photos and paintings exhibit moments in his extraordinary life. Both Kasturba Gandhi, the Mahatma’s wife, and Mahadeobhai Desai, his secretary for 35 years, died here in confinement. You’ll find their shrines (containing their ashes) in a quiet garden to the rear.
shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati –
the most endearing deity to devotees. Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati is the epitome of pride and honour to the city of Pune. Devotees from every part of India and the world come to pray to Lord Ganapati here every year. Dagdusheth Halwai Mandir is today, not only one of the most highly revered places of worship in India but a social institution actively engaged in social welfare and cultural development through Dagduseth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganapati Trust.
The temple speaks of a long and glorious history. The deity of Lord Ganesha was incepted by Shri Dagdusheth Halwai and his wife Lakshmibai way back, when they lost their only son to the plague epidemic. Every year the Ganapati festival was celebrated with deep faith and enthusiasm not only by Dagdusheth’s family but the entire neighbourhood.
The Shinde Chhatri –
is a memorial constructed for the Maratha leader, Mahadji Shinde. The memorial is situated in Wanowrie and holds great importance for the Scindia (Shinde) people. It has a hall that happens to be the cremation spot of Mahadji Shinde and was built on 12th February 1974. The memorial has a painted silver likeness of the warrior covered with a flame colored turban and a shawl. Prayer vessels are also kept at his feet and are used to please the Lord every morning.
It is said that the warrior Mahadji Shinde also built a temple for Lord Shiva inside the hall in 1974. The carvings and idols of saints in the temple are made of yellow stone and the sanctum has been constructed of black stone. The memorial bears an Anglo-Rajasthani style and showcases fine regional culture.
The Chhatri or hall has carvings and painting along with a gallery in it. It consists of paintings and photographs of the Scindia family. It is considered as an insult to the Maratha Lord if opens an umbrella within the memorial.
Osho Ashram International –
To calm the restless mind, seek inner peace and meditate in tranquillity, the premises of the famous Osho Ahsram in Koregaon Park, is absolutely apt. The cool aura, calm ambience, burbling waters and the angelic sound of birds add to this blissful experience. As the brainchild of Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Osho Ashram reverberates the teachings and philosophy of Osho.
Sprawling across 32 acre of land, the ashram includes a beautifully-maintained park known as Nulla Park or Osho Teerth. The Osho Ashram offers courses like Osho Nataraj meditation, Osho dynamic meditation, Osho Nadabrahma meditation and Osho Kundalini meditation. Although the courses are chargeable yet they offer a great spiritual and peaceful experience.
Before entering the Ashram one has to fill out an application form, submit two passport-sized photographs, pass an on-the-spot HIV test and purchase special tunics.
The ashram can be reached by an auto-rickshaw and it is recommended to book your visits in advance.
It has a swimming pool, sauna, spa, jacuzzi, gym, tennis court and a boutique guest house.
Daily program timings: 06:00am to 06:40pm in the world’s largest meditation hall, Osho Auditorium.
Registration (passport required) + medical test: Rs.1400
Two robes (one maroon, one white): Rs.500 to Rs.700 per robe
Meditation- Indians: Rs.760
Foreigners: Rs.1560 per day
Basho Spa- Rs.280
Timings for Nulla Park: 06:00 a.m. to 09:00 a.m.
07:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Photography is prohibited.
Meditation in Osho Samadhi alongwith parties, cinema and theatre can be enjoyed.
Shaniwar Wada –
Bajirao Peshwa built the Shaniwar Wada in 1736. It is a seven storied mansion and served as a seat of political power during its time. It acclaimed tremendous importance and is the city’s main attraction till date.
The Shaniwar Wada was largely destroyed by mysterious fires in 1827 which continued to rise during the 19th century and led to the destruction of the entire palace leaving just the mirror hall intact. When visiting the palace, one can still get a view of the leftover plinths, the fortification walls with five gateways, and nine bastions that enclosed the whole complex.
The elaborate foundations of the original palace along with the nagarkhana showcasing the wooden pillars and lattice work add up to the beauty of the mansion. The sturdy doors were designed to be protected from the enemy.
Open: Every day
Visiting Timing: 0800 HRS to 1830 HRS
Visiting Charges: Indian – 5 INR Foreigner – 125 INR
Sound and Light Show: 25 INR per person
Visit Duration:1 Hour.
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