Pune also known as the Oxford of the East is a city in Maharashtra that is bustling with life. Considered a paradise for retired people, the many institutes that have turned Pune into an educational hub have brought in colour and youthful vibrancy to the city. Currently, the city has many industries ranging from IT to automobile.
Pune was once the center of power for the Maratha rule, this also explains the many monuments and heritage attractions that are situated in the city's vicinity. Read through our travel guide of Pune to know more on the places to visit in Pune and its key tourist attractions.
Built in 1746 by the Peshwa rulers, the Shaniwar Wada is a fort and palace. Among the popular places to visit in Pune, the fort boasts of an impressive facade. There are four massive gates to the fort. The Dilli Darwaza facing south is an excellent example of strategic military planning. The gates are big enough to allow armoured elephants to pass through. But, they are also protected against enemy elephants that were used to charge gates with the help of 72 sharp needles placed strategically on the door. The inside palace is mostly destroyed, and only the living areas are still available for the observation of travellers. Another interesting feature of the Shaniwar Wada is the Hazari Karanje or the lotus-shaped fountain.
Photo Courtesy: Ashok Bagade
Aga Khan Palace
Among the important places to visit in Pune is the historically significant Aga Khan Palace. Built by Sultan Aga Khan and donated by him to the Gandhian philosophy, the palace has a lot to share. Tourist walking through the well maintained lawns will be mesmerised by the calm the place offers. The palace is also where Mahatma Gandhi and his wife were held as prisoners during the Indian Freedom Movement. At present, the palace that sports spellbinding architecture is the home to the Gandhi National Memorial Society and showcases his philosophy and way of life through the different articles that belonged to him and the freedom movement.
Photo Courtesy: Ramnath Bhat
Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
Among the most famous temples in Pune is the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati temple. Among the interesting features of the temple is the mind-boggling fact that the main Ganesha idol is insured for 10 million rupees! The temple gets its name from the story of sweet-maker or 'halwai' Dagadusheth, who first started worshiping the Ganesha idol located in the temple. It is extremely popular among the Maharastrians and is also usually very crowded. The festival of Ganesh Chathurti is celebrated here with much pomp and glory.
Photo Courtesy: Niraj Suryawanshi
The Pataleshwar Caves or rock-cut temple caves in Pune belong to the 8th century and is a protected monument. The temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva is made from basalt rock in cubical structures. The temple is still attended to by devotees and prayers are conducted regularly. It is especially beautiful during festive times when the complex is lit up with oiled lamps.
Photo Courtesy: Khoj Badami
Another popular temple in Pune is the Chaturshringi temple situated on a small hill. Among the most interesting features of visiting the temple is the rather beautiful climb of 100 stairs to reach the main structure. You will see shops selling flowers to be offered to the gods and the scenic view of surrounding greenery, especially during the monsoons. The main structure is 90 ft tall and houses the idol of Goddess Chaturshringi.
Photo Courtesy: Umesh Kale
Built in honour of the Maratha military leader Mahadji Shinde, the Shinde Chhatri is among the most iconic symbols of the city. Flaunting intricate carvings, beautiful glasswork and a grand entrance, the monument is a beautiful representation of the era of Maratha rule.
Photo Courtesy: Rupeshpjadhav
Among the places to visit in Pune is the beautiful Parvati Hill at an elevation of 2,100 ft. But a trip to the hill is not just to admire the surrounding greenery that is even more enhanced during the monsoons. The hill also has one of the oldest heritage sites in Pune, the Parvati temple built during the reign of the Peshwas. The route leading up the hill has 103 stairs and offers unbeatable views of the city.
Photo Courtesy: Siddhesh Nampurkar
A big dam located on the river Mula, Mulshi dam in Pune is another tourist attraction. The scenic surrounding and walkable trails attract travellers to visit Mulshi dam as a day visit or even stay here. The nearby areas have a few popular resorts and cottages.
Photo Courtesy: Photography@Mihir
Situated 30 km from Pune city, the Sinhagad fort or Lion's fort is a must-visit place. Placed on a lone cliff of the Sahayadri mountains, the cliff is a sight to behold. What is better is the panoramic views that the fort offers of the surrounding areas. During the monsoons, the fort takes on an ethereal look with old stone walls standing in contrast with the vibrant greenery.
Photo Courtesy: Amit Mitkar
The Khadakwasla dam is found 20 km from Pune city and is among the primary sources of water for the city. The waters attract travellers, couples and families to come here for a day-outing or picnic. The surrounding vistas are pleasing and unforgettable during the monsoons.
Photo Courtesy: Vivek Joshi
Gourmet Delights and Stay
Pune is a city to head to for all foodies! There are a vast number of hotels catering to various cuisines and styles. Owing to the student population in the city, many of these restaurants are cost-effective too. Visit the Good Luck Bakery to experience the youthful vibrance of the city combined with the best bun-maska and chai in town! Also try the various offerings of street food in Pune ranging from Kanda Pohe to beef rolls.
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Photo Courtesy: Rashmi Gupta
How to Reach Pune
By Road: Pune is well connected by good roads to major destinations in the country. The Mumbai-Pune expressway is itself popular for the excellent driving scenario it presents.
By Rail: Pune Railway Station is a major junction connecting many destinations in India with direct and regular services. Travel by rail is highly recommended for some scenic routes such as Pune-Goa.
By Air: Located at a short distance from the city the Pune International Airport has regular flights to most major destinations in the country and flights to international destinations as well. For destinations with fewer flights or no service routes, you can head to the Mumbai International Airport for connecting flights.
Photo Courtesy: Vishal Tomar