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- Picturesque Pune, the ‘Queen of the Deccan’ nestles in the scenic Sahayadri ranges, on the edge of the Deccan plains.
- This ‘Cultural Capital of Maharashtra’ was once the glorious capital of the Maratha 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 Gazetteer, 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 Aurangzeb 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.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Pune Airport (PNQ), Pune, 12 kms away from Pune city centre.
- Rail: Pune Railway Station, Pune, 2.5 kms away from Pune city centre.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE:
|FORT & MONUMENTS
- Aga Khan Palace - Kasturba Gandhi Memorial
- Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
- Shanwarwada Palace
- Shindyanchi Chhatri
- Vishrambaug Wada
- Sinhagad (Lion Fort)
- Khunya Murlidhar Temple
- Parvati Hill & Temple
- Shree Kshetra Mahuli
- The Asht Vinayaka Darshan Yatra
- Parvati Hill & Temple
|PARK & GARDENS
- Bund Gardens or Mahatama Gandhi Udyan
- Peshwe Udyan (Zoo)
|MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
- Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
- Mahatma Phule Museum
- Parvati Hill & Temple
- Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
- Tilak Smarak (Mandir)
- Tribal Museum
ATTRACTIONS OF PUNE
Aga Khan Palace - Kasturba Gandhi Memorial:
- It was built in 1908, by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, the spiritual head of the Ismailia Khoj community.
- Mahatama Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his private secretary Mahadeobhai Desai were imprisoned here during the Quit India Movement in 1942.
- Mahadeobhai Desai died on 15th August 1942 and Kasturba Gandhi died on 22nd February 1944.
- Their bodies were cremated here and later two marble Samadhi’s were built in their memory.
- Khadi or cotton handloom garments and textiles can be purchase from here.
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute:
- It is housed in a beautiful oriental style building.
- It 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.
- Famous Kesari newspaper was started here by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who advocated ‘Self Rule’.
- The Ganapati festival was started in the courtyard of the Wada by Tilak.
Khunya Murlidhar Temple:
- This temple of Lord Krishna (Murlidhar) at Sadashiv Peth was built in 1797, 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.
- 8th century rock-cut cave temples at Sivajinagar on the Jungli Maharaj Road.
- It is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwara (Shiva), the God of the nether world.
- 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 5,000 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 Bajirao Road and is one of the major attractions of Pune.
- The museum is housed in a quaint Rajasthani-style building with façade of red stone and its galleries bear the stamp of the Maratha period.
- It exhibits historical and everyday artefacts collected over a period of 60 years by Shri Dinkar 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 the 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 evening at 1915 hrs.to 2010 hrs.in Marathi and 2015 hrs. to 2110 hrs.in English.
- 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 Bal Gangadhar 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.
- Kirti Mandir museum here showcases the glorious history of Pune.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND PUNE
- 120 kms away from Pune city.
- It was founded by Ahmed Nizam Shah and has a 400 years old fort, which witnessed many battles.
- Later on, freedom-fighters were imprisoned here.
- Other attractions are Chandbibi Mahal or Salabatjang’s Tomb and Farah Bagh.
- Pilgrim centre on the banks of river Indrayani, 21 kms away from Pune city.
- It is famous for the sacred Samadhi of the Saint Dnyaneshwar, who wrote Dnyaneshwari, a Marathi commentary on the Bhagawad Gita.
- Two fairs are held here annually – one on Ashadhi Ekadashi and the other on Kartik Ekadashi.
- Other attraction is the temple of Vithoba – Rakhumai.
- 40 kms away from Pune city.
- The dam on the river Velvandi is one of the highest dams in India.
- It is also a good holiday resort and picnic spot.
- 95 kms away from Pune city.
- Beautiful Shiva temple here was built by Nana Phadnis, an eminent statesman.
- It enshrines one of the 5 jyotirlingas of Maharashtra.
- A large fair is held on Shivratri.
- The town is also noted for its scenic beauty and bracing climate.
- Other places worth visiting are – Bombay Point, Gupta Bhimashanker(the originating point of Bhima River), Hanuman tank and Nagphani point etc.
- 50 kms away from Pune city.
- Pilgrim centre is famous for the temple of Lord Khandoba, the family deity of many Maharashtrians.
- A large fair is held here during the month of Magashirsha.
- 66 kms away from Pune city.
- Famous Buddhist rock cut cave shrines in the Western Ghats have a large collection of Chaitya halls adorned with intricate carvings.
- The caves were excavated between 2nd century B.C. and 7th century A.D. and are considered to be as beautiful as the world famous Ajanta-Ellora.
- A 45 metres long Chaitya hall here is considered to be the most perfect of its kind.
- An inscription at the entrance attributes its excavation to Bhutapal of Vaijayanti.
- The caves with Viharas were excavated from the Buddhist monks, who used to gather here during the monsoons.
- While at Karla, the Bhaja and Bedsa caves are worth a detour.
- The Bhaja Caves set in a lush valley are as old as the Karla caves and its Cave No. 12, a large Chaitya hall resembles to the one at Karla.
- Another cave has a magnificent stilted vault.
- The last cave is a treasure house of rich carvings.
- To the south of the main cave is an amazing group of 14 Stupas.
- The Bedsa Caves are another set of excellent rock cut caves.
- One of them has a fine Chaitya hall with ribbed roof, supported by 26 octagonal pillars.
- 18th century Lohagad and Visapur forts are located just 6 kms from Karla.
- Another attraction nearby are the hill resorts of Lonavala (10 kms) and Khandala (14 kms) from Karla.
- Beautiful hill resort on the Mumbai – Pune road lies 66 kms from Pune and 104 kms from Mumbai.
- Must visit sites are – the Lonavala Lake, Bushi Dam, Tiger’s Leap, Barometer Hill, Valvan dam, Tungarli Lake etc.
- Lonavala is also famous for its chikki, a local sweet.
- The charming hill resort 5 kms from Lonavala.
- Famous points here are – Rajmachi Point and the Duke’s Nose, named after the Duke of Wellington, for its uncanny resemblance to his nose.
- The Kune Point, located midway between Khandala and Lonavala affords picturesque views of the surroundings.
- It is a convenient base for visiting Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves.
- 120 kms away from Pune city.
- The ‘Queen of the Ghats’ is one of the best known and the highest hill resort of Western India.
- It was developed by Sir Johan Malcolm in 1828.
- Beautiful hill station teems with orchids, lilies and luscious strawberries and has three silvery falls and Lingmala Falls.
- Excellent view point, Babington Point, Kate Point, Elphinstone Point, Bombay Point and Arthur’s Seat provide great views of the Krishna and Koyna valleys.
- The old village of Mahabaleshwar is held sacred by the Hindus and is known for the Panchganga temple, said to contain five streams including the River Krishna.
- 98 kms away from Pune city.
- Small and attractive hill resort is situated along a ridge atop the Parasni Ghat.
- Picturesque resort overlooks the scenic Krishna valley and is endowed with rich floral wealth.
- There are also a number of excellent educational institutions.
- 137 kms away from Pune city.
- An impressive fort here was built by Shivaji, to command the route from the Deccan.
- Afzal Buruz tower in the fort marks the spot where the Mughal general Afzal Khanwas killed by Shivaji.
- There is a famous Bhavani temple in the fort.
- An equestrian statue of Shivaji has been erected in the fort.
- 38 kms away from Pune city.
- Purandar was the capital of Marathas for a brief period and has a magnificent fort of Chhatrapati Shivaji, set atop a hill.
- It is also the location of National Cadet Corps (NCC) Academy.
- 126 kms away from Pune city.
- Hilltop fortress here was almost impregnable capital of Shivaji for over 15 years.
- Shivaji was crowned and also died here.
- Within the fort is the Samadhi of Shivaji and the remains of his palace.
- There is also a large lake amidst scenic surroundings.
- 106 kms away from Pune city.
- This capital of the Marathas witnessed the most glorious chapter of Maratha history during 1707 to 1749, under Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj.
- The palace, fort and museums here display the relics of the golden era.
Shree Kshetra Mahuli:
- 112 kms away from Pune city.
- Pilgrim centre is near the confluence of the river Krishna and river Venna is known for the temples of Yavateshwar, Mangalai Devi and other Hindu deities.
- 93 kms away from Pune city.
- Chhatrapati Shivaji was born here at the seven-tiered fort atop a hillock.
- On the sides of the hill are about 50 Buddhist caves.
Sinhagad (Lion Fort):
- 24 kms away from Pune city.
- It was one of the most impregnable forts of Western India.
- Shivaji captured it in 1670, but lost his ablest commander Tanaji Malusare over here.
- The fort is built at the edge of a sheer precipice, which was scaled by Shivaji’s men with the help of iguanas and ropes.
- 280 kms away from Pune city.
- Famous pilgrim centre is associated with goddess Bhavani (Durga), the family deity of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the Marathas.
- 74 kms away from Pune city.
- One of the most important pilgrim and cultural centres of Maharashtra is set on the banks of river Krishna and is famous for the Maha Ganpati temple.
- There are many other old temples on the banks of Krishna.
- The famous Sanskrit Pradnya Path Shala and the headquarters for Vishvakosh Publication are located here.
- Some attractions around Wai are the Buddhist caves of Lonara (7 kms) a dam across the Krishna River at Dhom dam (9 kms).
The Asht Vinayaka Darshan Yatra:
- The Asht Vinayaka sites are as follows (all distance approx. from Pune).
- Shree Chintamani Shrine, Theur (25 kms).
- Shree Moreshwar, Morgaon (65 kms).
- Shree Siddhivinayak, Siddhatek (99 kms).
- Shree Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon (53 kms).
- Shree Vighneshwar, Ojhar (75 kms).
- Shree Girijatmak, Lenyadri (90 kms).
- Shree Varadavinayak, Madh (75 kms).
- Shree Ballaleshwar, Pali (80 kms).
- These sacred eight places around Pune are known for swayambhu or naturally – formed idols of Lord Ganesha.
- Special buses ply between Pune and Ashta Vinayaka Shrines.