Pune is a vibrant city located in the western state of Maharashtra in India. It is the second-largest city in the state and is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. From ancient forts to modern museums, Pune has a lot to offer to its visitors. Here are some of the best places to visit in Pune.
1. Shanivar Wada
Shaniwar Wada is a historical fortification located in the heart of Pune city in Maharashtra, India. It was built by the Peshwa Baji Rao I in 1732 and served as the residence of the Peshwas until 1818, when the British East India Company took over control of the fort.
The fort has a rich history and played a significant role in the Maratha Empire. It was the center of political power in Pune and was the site of many important events, such as royal weddings, receptions, and other celebrations.
Shaniwar Wada is known for its intricate architecture and was designed as a seven-story building with a stone base and wooden upper floors. The fort was also equipped with elaborate defenses, such as 21 bastions and giant iron gates, to protect against enemy attacks.
However, the fort was largely destroyed by a fire in 1828 and now only a few structures remain, including the massive entrance gate (Dilli Darwaza), the palace ruins, and the outer walls. The ruins of Shaniwar Wada are a popular tourist destination in Pune, attracting visitors who are interested in history and architecture.
In addition to its historical significance, Shaniwar Wada is also famous for the legend of the “Bajirao Mastani” love story, which is said to have taken place within its walls. The story tells of the love affair between Peshwa Baji Rao I and his second wife, Mastani, who was a Muslim princess. Today, the fort is also known for its light and sound show that depicts the story of the Maratha Empire and the life of the Peshwas.
Overall, Shaniwar Wada is a must-visit destination for history buffs and those interested in Indian architecture and culture.
2. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad Fort is a hilltop fortress located 25 km southwest of Pune. It is situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. The fort was originally built in the 17th century and has been the site of many important battles in Indian history. The trek to the fort is quite challenging, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. The fort is surrounded by lush greenery and is a popular destination for trekking and hiking enthusiasts.
3. Aga Khan Palace
Aga Khan Palace is a historic monument located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in 1892 as an act of charity to provide employment for famine-stricken locals. The palace served as a temporary residence for the Aga Khan and his family, who were British subjects at the time.
The palace is significant for its association with the Indian independence movement. In 1942, during the Quit India Movement, several prominent leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, and Sarojini Naidu were imprisoned at Aga Khan Palace. The palace was later converted into a museum to honor the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife.
The palace has beautiful Italian arches and spacious lawns and houses several rooms that display rare photographs, paintings, and personal items belonging to Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. Visitors can also see the room where Kasturba Gandhi passed away, and the samadhis (memorials) of both Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi. The palace also has a section dedicated to the Indian freedom struggle, with photographs and documents highlighting the country’s fight for independence.
Today, Aga Khan Palace is a popular tourist destination in Pune, attracting visitors who are interested in history, architecture, and the Indian independence movement. The palace is open to the public and guided tours are available. The lush green lawns surrounding the palace provide a peaceful and relaxing environment for visitors to spend some time in nature. The palace is a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and his contributions to India’s independence struggle.
4. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a museum that houses a collection of over 20,000 artifacts, including Indian musical instruments, weapons, and sculptures. The museum was founded by Raja Dinkar Kelkar, a collector of Indian art and artifacts, and is housed in a beautiful building with traditional architecture. The museum is a great place to learn about Indian culture and history and is a must-visit for anyone interested in art and artifacts.
5. Osho Ashram
The Osho Ashram is a spiritual center and meditation retreat known for its tranquil gardens and serene atmosphere. The ashram was founded by the spiritual teacher Osho, who attracted followers from all over the world. Visitors can attend meditation sessions and workshops, or simply relax in the beautiful gardens. The ashram is a great place to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
6. Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple is a prominent Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, located in the heart of Pune city in Maharashtra, India. The temple was established in 1893 by a rich sweetmeat seller named Dagdusheth Halwai, who lost his son and decided to build the temple in honor of Lord Ganesha.
The temple is known for its grandeur and is one of the most famous and revered temples in Maharashtra. The temple’s main idol of Lord Ganesha is adorned with several kilograms of gold and is believed to be one of the wealthiest temples in India. The temple is also known for its impressive architecture, with ornate carvings and sculptures that depict various stories from Hindu mythology.
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple is particularly famous for its annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. The festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and is celebrated with colorful processions, devotional songs, and grand feasts.
The temple attracts millions of devotees every year, and it is said that praying at the temple can bring blessings of prosperity, success, and good fortune. The temple also has a tradition of giving back to the community, with several charitable initiatives being undertaken by the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Trust, which manages the temple.
Visitors to the temple can witness the grandeur of the idol of Lord Ganesha and experience the peaceful ambiance of the temple. The temple also has several smaller shrines dedicated to other Hindu deities, such as Lord Hanuman and Goddess Durga. Overall, Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple is a must-visit destination for devotees of Lord Ganesha and those interested in Hindu mythology and culture.
7. Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Pataleshwar Cave Temple is a rock-cut temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located in the heart of the city and is believed to date back to the 8th century. The temple has a unique architecture, with a Nandi bull statue and a Shiva lingam inside the cave. The temple is a great place to learn about ancient Indian architecture and is a must-visit for history buffs.
8. Mulshi Dam
Mulshi Dam is a beautiful spot located about 40 km west of Pune. It is situated in the Western Ghats and offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and forests. The dam is a popular picnic spot and is also great for boating and camping. Visitors can take a scenic drive to the dam and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.
9. Saint Mary’s Church
Saint Mary’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Pune and is located in the Camp area of the city. The church was established in 1825 by the British East India Company, and it is said to be one of the few churches in India that was built entirely by British troops.
The church has a beautiful Gothic architecture and a serene ambiance, making it a popular place of worship and a tourist attraction. The interiors of the church are adorned with stained glass windows and exquisite wooden carvings. The altar of the church is made of marble and has a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Saint Mary’s Church has a rich history and has witnessed many significant events over the years. During the Indian War of Independence in 1857, the church was used as a military hospital. Later, in 1920, Mahatma Gandhi visited the church and gave a speech on non-violence and communal harmony.
Today, Saint Mary’s Church is an important landmark in Pune and continues to be a place of worship for the local Christian community. Visitors are welcome to attend the services and admire the beauty of the church’s architecture and history.
Lavasa is a planned hill city located about 65 km from Pune. It is designed to look like a European town, with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. The city is situated around a lake and offers stunning views of the surrounding hills. Visitors can enjoy activities like boating, cycling, and trekking, or simply relax in the many cafes and restaurants in the city. Lavasa is a great place to escape the city and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Other attractions in Pune include Koregaon Park, a trendy neighborhood with upscale shops, restaurants, and cafes; Parvati Hill, a scenic hilltop with ancient temples and beautiful views; Pashan Lake, a bird sanctuary and nature reserve with a peaceful walking trail; and Shinde Chhatri, a memorial to a Maratha warrior, with impressive architecture and beautiful gardens.
In conclusion, Pune is a city with many attractions for tourists, from historical forts and museums to spiritual centers and beautiful gardens. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or nature, Pune has something to offer. I hope this article has inspired you to explore Pune and its many attractions.