Pune, located 170 kms. south of Mumbai has been the cultural capital of Maharashtra, since ages. The city was one of the pivotal basesof the 17th century great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was born at the Shivneri Fort here.
Pune became the seat of the enterprising Peshwas, under whom Maratha power rose into a major political force. The Peshwas were renowned patrons of the arts and in their time, enriched the city with temples, gardens and educational institutions.
It was here that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak introduced the principle of Swadeshi during the Freedom Movement.
Today Pune is one of the leading metros in India, with the Film and Television Institute of India and National Defence Academy based here. It is fast becoming one of the major hubs of industry and commerce in the country.
Places To See
The Aga Khan's Palace - Kasturba Gandhi Smriti Mandir
This beautiful building with salons and suites, is a great historical landmark. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress were imprisoned during the 1942 Quit India Movement. Here lies the samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi, the Mahatma's wife.
Presently known as Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, these gardens are situated on the banks of Mula-Mutha River. The bund was constructed by Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy for providing water to the poor.
National Defense Academy
Situated at Khadakvasla, 17 kms. from Pune, the Academy imparts basic training to the cadets of all three branches of the services, Army, Air Force and Navy.
Parvati Hill and Temples
The Parvati Temple was the erstwhile private shrine of the Peshwa rulers. Now it is a popular tourist spot, with the Parvati and Devdeveshwar temples standing atop a hill and also the Parvati Museum which houses replicas of ancient paintings, old manuscripts, weapons and coins.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
This Rajasthani-style building showcases a one-man collection of some of the most fascinating Indian artifacts one can ever get to see. Among 36 sections full of antiques, carved palace doors, miniatures, the 'Mastani Mahal' is particularly famous. Mastani was the mistress of ‘Peshwa Bajirao’, the Prime Minister of Satara. This impressive collection was donated to the Govt of Maharashtra by Shri Dinkar Kelkar and is only displayed by rotation
Built in 1736, this was once the palace of the Peshwa rulers. After the palace was mysteriously destroyed by fire in 1827, only an old fortified wall, the majestically built 'Nagarkhana' and a lotus pool park remain.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Ensconced deep in the heart of the city, at Shivajinagar, is a 8th century rock-cut temple. Reminiscent of Ellora, the temple has been painstakingly hewn from a single rock and houses massive pillars, a Shiva shrine and a Nandi bull.
With pleasant lawns and the famous Ganesh temple built by Madhavrao Peshwa, Saras Baug is a popular evening spot at Pune.
Among the best architectural sights in Pune, this memorial of the great Maratha warrior, Mahadaji Shinde, houses his Chhattri (umbrella) and his portrait in silver.
Lal Deval (Synagogue)
A red brick and trap stone building of English-Gothic style, the Lal Deval was built by the famous David Sassoon in 1867.
12 kms. north of NDA, this beautiful lake is a home to a variety of migratory and residential birds.
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
A premier institute, FTII imparts training in all major branches of film training in all major branches of film making and is known to have produced some of the finest film professionals of the country.
The site of the Pune University, the stately mansion at Ganeshkhind, was the official residence of the Governor of Mumbai during the monsoon season. A large building in Italian-Gothic style built with the local grey trap rock, it is surrounded by a high square tower (30 metres high), a swimming pool and well kept lawns.
The ‘Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute’ directed by Mr B K S Iyengar is an internationally reputed Yoga institution. Courses for short and long durations are conducted here, depending on individual requirements and the availability of time.
Caves - Karla and Bhaja
About 50-60 kms. away from Pune, these rock-cut Buddhist caves date back to 1st and 2nd century B.C. These caves consist of several Viharas (dwelling caves) and Chaityas (chapels) of the Buddhist monks.
Lohagad and Visapur
52 kms. away from Pune, atop an impressive hill, these majestic forts were built in the 18th century. They are separated by a 1 km. ridge and are ideal for trekking.
94.5 kms. away from Pune, is the magnificent Shivneri fort where Shivaji was born. One of the interesting features of this fort is a mosque with two minarets which are joined by a graceful arch.
Named after the lion-hearted general of Shivaji - Tanaji Malusare, this awesome Fortress of the Lion stands at a height of 1290 metres, 25 kms. away from the city. Over 300 years ago, Tanaji, the Maratha warrior, and his army, with the help of ropes and giant lizards (ghorpuds), scaled the sheer precipice and silently stormed the Bijapur citadel at midnight, creating history.
The ‘samadhi’ to Tanaji Malusare stands as a reminder of the bravery and glorious victory of the Marathas. On hearing of the passing away of Tanaji, Shivaji is believed to have said "We have gained the fort but lost the lion". Whereupon the fort got its name ‘Sinha (lion) gad (fort)’.
Dehu - Alandi
Dehu was the birthplace of the greatest Marathi Saint of the 17th century - Tukaram. It is situated on the banks of the river Indrayani. Another pilgrim centre, 22 kms. away from Pune is Alandi, where the 'Samadhi' of the famous saint-poet Dnyaneshwar is situated.
122 kms. from Pune, is the elaborately carved Shiva temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of the country. A fair is held here annually during Mahashivratri.
Jejuri is known for the famous temple of 'Khandoba' and an annual fair held here is attended by Hindus in large numbers.
Water Sport Complex
Panshet - Recently developed by MTDC, Panshet water-sports complex offers sheer fun and enjoyment to the visitor. Speed boats, water scooters, kayaking windsurfing... the resort is packed with various thrilling water-sports.