Pune, one of the largest urban agglomerations of India, is located in western Indian State of Maharashtra. The city is one of the biggest industrial towns in India and an important educational, industrial, and cultural center. Pune hosts several universities and well-known institutions, and research organizations. The city also houses large number of industries in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), automobile, electrical, electronics, forging, foundries and other engineering Industries. More than one hundred thousand skilled engineering professionals are working in and around the city. The strength of students studying in various disciplines in the city exceeds two hundred thousand.
More information about Pune can be found at:
Pune’ s oldest education institute is the Pune University formed in 1948. The university has many affiliated education institutes and colleges from all parts of Maharashtra — research institutes such as the National Chemical Laboratories, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, National Institute of Virology (NIV) are just to name few. The IUCAA, one of the pioneering institutes for research in astronomy, is located in the lush green environment of Pune University, and is headed by a world renown mathematician, Dr Jayant Naralikar.
Pune University is located on 400 acres of sprawling grounds with quiet roads and small open canteens towards the city limits. It was once the official residence of the Governor of Mumbai during the monsoons, the Pune University is now a stately mansion at Ganeshkhind. A large building in the Italian Gothic style, built with local grey tap rock, it has a square tower 40 m high and well-maintained lawns. One can spend a pleasent evening here.
Built in 1736, Shaniwar Wada was once the palace of the Peshwa rulers. This historic seven-storied palace was built by Bajirao Peshwa I. During his days, it became the seat of political power and achieved tremendous importance. To this date, Shaniwar Wada has been the city’s main landmark. Within easy reach from all parts of the city, Shaniwar Wada was mysteriously destroyed in a fire in 1827. Mysterious fires continued to raze down portions of Shaniwar Wada in the early 19th century, and the entire palace –barring its Mirror Hall was burnt in the fire that broke out for about a fortnight.What now remains of this once palatial Wada are only the plinths, the fortification walls with five gateways, and nine bastions that enclosed the whole complex, elaborate foundations of the original palace and the nagarkhana with its fine wooden pillars and lattice work. One enters the palace through sturdy doors designed to dissuade enemy attacks. This palace is located in the narrow winding old part of the city. The palace is open from 8 am to 6.30 pm. This site is covered in the Pune city tour.
Architecturally amongst the best, just about a couple of kms from the Pune racecourse is the memorial of the great Maratha nobleman Mahadji Shinde. You can see the warrior’s painted silver likeness, swathed in a flame-colored turban and elaborate shawl. At his feet are the original prayer vessels, used to propitiate the family deity each morning.
A sign asks you not to open an umbrella within the Chhatri’s precincts, as it would be an insult to the warrior’s memory.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
A must see, this quaint building houses a fascinating collection of Indian artifacts collected by the late Shree Dinkar Kelkar. The 36 sections of the museum are used to display a wealth of antiques, carved palace doors, pottery, 17th century miniatures, a priceless collection of nut crackers, lamps, musical items, hookah pipes, hair drying combs and other such items from the Mughal and Maratha period.This collection was donated to the government of Maharashtra by Shree Dinkar Kelkar and is only displayed by rotation — giving you another excuse to return to Pune. The museum is open from 8.30 pm to 5.30 pm daily. The museum is covered in the Pune city tour.
Pataleshwar Cave Temples
Hidden in the heart of the city in the Shivajinagar area is this 8thcentury rock-cut temple. Still in use, this temple, similar to the Caves at Ellora, has been painstakingly hewn from a single rock and includes massive pillars, a Shiva shrine and a Nandi bull.
The Tribal Museum documents the cultures of Maharashtrian communities, particularly those from the Sahyadri and Gondawana regions. It is open weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm. The city tours do not halt at this site.
Gandhi National Memorial / Aga Khan Palace
The gracious buildings with salons and suites that you see standing amidst well laid out gardens is more that just a palace. It is a historical landmark. It was donated to India by the Aga Khan IV in 1969. During the 1942 Quit India Movement, Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned here. On the grounds are the remains (samadhi) of Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s wife, who died here while in internment. The memorial is open from 9 am to 5.45 pm. The city tour makes a stop here.
This is a three-storied mansion, known for its beautiful entrance and balcony with carved woodwork typical of the Peshwa period. The 260 ft long and 815 ft broad Teen-Chowki Wada was built by the last Peshwa, Bajirao II as his residence at a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. The Wada’s eye-catching wooden facade is memorizing in its beauty, and has beautiful columns carved in the Suru form. On October 31,1880 a surprise fire engulfed the Wada ravaging the entire structure. Vishranbaug Wada was restored to its somewhat original appearance by public subscriptions and municipal contributions. For many years till 1958 it was to serve as the offices of the Poona Corporation. Today it houses assorted offices: a strange fate for what was once a king’s abode.
Bund Garden is located on the right bank of the Mula Mutha river, only a couple of kms north-east of Pune railway station. A stroll in the breeze and a cool evening boat ride in the back waters created by the ‘Bund’ on the river attracts many fun lovers.
Evenings are best for a stroll through this beautiful garden that houses the famous Ganesh Temple on the top of a small hillock in the center. The temple was formerly surrounded by a lake, which has been fully reclaimed in the form of an open park, now a popular public place in Pune.
This famous landmark is located on the southern end of the city. A climb of 108 wide stone steps rewards you with a beautiful round view of the city and an invigorating draught of cool, fresh air. It also takes you to the group of four temples of Shiva, Ganesh, Vishnu and Kartikeya. The Parvati Temple used to be the private shrine of the Peshwa rulers. Also take a look at the Parvati Museum, which houses replicas of ancient paintings, old manuscripts,
A zoo maintained by the Pune Municipal Corporation. It houses a variety of species of wild animals. The zoo offers a toy-train ride — a very special attraction for children, and boating facilities for the family.
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.
Bhagwan Rajneesh’s famous ashram is located at 17 Koregoan Park, a green and elite suburb of Pune. This site attracts thousands of visitors. The Ashram offers a variety of expensive courses on meditation. All that is required is filling out of an application form (with 2 passport photographs) and an on-the-spot HIV negative test and purchase of special tunics.Accommodation needs to be arranged outside the ashram. Casual visitors can view a 45 minute video presentation and take a tour (Rs. 60) at 10.00 am and 2.30 pm daily.Please book ahead. You can easily reach this place by auto-rickshaw. The nearby Nulla Park also called Osho Teerth, is a beautifully maintained garden, transformed from a swamp, open for public from 6 to 9 am and 7 to 10 pm.