Pune is not a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai, but is a pleasant travel getaway destination to spend a quite holiday. Situated in the southern part of Maharashtra, Pune is a calm and peaceful city. It offers a comfortable respite from the busy life of Mumbai, the capital city of Maharshtra.
This beautiful city has many exotic locales attracting innumerable tourists. Pune is famous for the Osho Commune International, which was the home of Osho Rajneesh. This ashram attracts a large number of people to Pune from around the world to practice Osho's new-age meditation techniques.
Pune is also well-known for its internationally acclaimed educational institutes. There are many reputed institutions here like the Film and Television Institute of India, Armed Forces Medical College, National Defence Academy and Symbiosis Educational Society.
Pune was the capital of Maratha Empire in 1750 during the reign of great Maratha warrior Shivaji. Pune was also under the charge of Nizam of Hyderabad for a short period. Later, the British occupied it in 1817, who tried to develop Pune as the summer capital of Maharashtra and a military cantonment. Today, Pune is known for its natural beauty and rich heritage.
Attractions In Pune
There are many beautiful travel attractions here, which are not very renowned but still have their own charm. One can find many places in Pune having a mark of Maratha Empire. At one point of time Marathas ruled over much of the north and western India and even tried to overpower the might of Mughal Empire as well as that of British.
The Agakhan Palace is one of the major tourist attractions in Pune. This palace is famous due to the fact that the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi along with his wife Karturba Gandhi and Mahadeobhai Desai were imprisoned here in the year 1942, while participating in the "Quit India Movement". Do not forget to visit the marble memorials of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadeobahi Desai who died here.
Shaniwar Wada Palace is another major attraction of Pune. It 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.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
This temple is a quite and an elegant temple that takes you to the world of spirituality. At the entrance of this small underground temple, stands a stone gazebo (Nandi mapandapam). This adds to the charm of this exquisite temple. Definitely, a must visit.
Raja Denkar Kelkar Museum
This museum is a passionate collection of Dr. D.G.Kelkar. The museum has a vast collection of unique and peculiar exhibits. The Raja Denkar Kelkar museum displays the diversity of India's culture in a subtle and delightful way. The elephant-shaped foot scrubber, a brass scorpion that reveals a secret lock and eight images of Lord Ganesha carved on a bean make it a place to see in Pune.
The Raj Bhavan or the Government's House was built in the year 1866. In the summers it housed the government of Bombay Presidency during the colonial times. This spell binding building was designed by James Trubshawe and is situated in Ganeshkhind. It is one of the must visit places in Pune.
Kasturba Samadhi is located near the Aga Khan Palace. It has now been turned into Gandhi National Museum. The samadhi contains the ashes of Kasturba.
Film and Television Institute of India
The famous and reputed Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) is situated in the Law College Street of Pune. It is one of the most prominent film schools in Asia. The institute has produced many famed actors, directors, and technicians for the Hindi Film Industry. This institute is a worth visiting place in Pune.
Osho Commune International
This is an ashram of Osho, also known as Rajnish. It is located in Koregaon Park and is spread over an lush green area of 24-acre. It is described as the "spiritual Disneyland for disaffected First World yuppies" by the Wall Street Journal. Here you may participate in a number of programs with special emphasis on new-age meditation. Do not miss visiting this place.
During the time of Maratha Empire, Pune was the hub of power. The places around this city also represent the strength and laurels of Marathas.
Sinhagad is also known as the Lion Fort and is situated around 25 kilometers southwest of Pune on top of a steep hill. This fort is now almost in a finished condition. It was in the year 1670, that Tanaji Malusre, a general of Shivaji climbed the steep hill in dark with his men and defeated the forces of Bijapur. This is also the place where Mahatma Gandhi met another stalwart of Indian freedom struggle, Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1915 for the first time. Don't forget to visit this excursion destination.
Raigad is situated at a distance of around 126 kilometers from Pune. Shivaji was crowned at Raigad in 1648 and he also died here in 1680. This fort is located on an isolated hilltop, from where you can get a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats.
Bhimashankar is a small travel excursion destination situated around 95 kilometers from Pune. It is rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage with deep forests, temples, rivers and many historical structures. But this place is particularly famous for the temple of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The river Bhim originates from this place. This place is also ideal for trekking, nature watching, and bird watching. So, don't miss visiting this lovely place.
Jejuri is situated around 40 kilometers southeast of Pune towards Phaltan. It is popularly known as Khandobachi Jejuri. There is famous temple of Maharashtra dedicated to Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand, a god worshipped by Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. This temple is situated on a hill and you need walk down 200 steps to reach it.
Events and Festivals
The festivals celebrated at Pune are also a major tourist attraction. Some of the important festivals are the Pune festival, which celebrates classical music, dance and theater. Folk and fine arts are also a part of this internationally recognized festival. Apart from this, there are other festivals also that are celebrated here. Among them Sawai Gandharva festival, Chaturshringi festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, Osho festival and college festivals are the important ones.
By Air : Pune has its own domestic airport which is directly connected to Mumbai (163 km), Chennai, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Mumbai is the nearest International Airport to Pune.
By Rail : Pune is linked with Mumbai (170 km), Nasik (209 km), Aurangabad (230 km), Chennai (1,088 km), Delhi and other major cities of India.
From Mumbai there are regular trains. The Shatabdi also operates from Mumbai to Pune. Another convenient train is the Deccan Queen. Other trains from Mumbai to Pune are Pragati Express and Indrayani Express.
By Road : Pune has an excellent network of roadways connecting it to most of the important cities in Maharashtra and India. The Mumbai-Pune Express Highway offers a safe and fast access between Mumbai and Pune. Pune is also well connected with Goa, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Shirdi, Bangalore, Indore, Hyderabad and Aurangabad through road.