India is a place where one can find palaces in all shapes and sizes in different parts of the country. Maharashtra is one such state in the country, which has many forts as well as palaces which adds on to the beauty of the place.
One such beauty is the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. The palace is one amongst the top attractions in Pune.It was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in the year 1892. The palace was originally built to help the poor in the neighbouring regions during the famine.
The palace holds a significant place in the history of India, as the palace was used as prison for Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu after the Quit India Movement in 1942.
Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai passed away here and one can find their tombs in the palace premises.
Best Time To Visit
The palace can be visited anytime throughout the year, as Pune has a very comfortable climate throughout the year.
PC: Ian D. Keating
A Monument Of National Importance
The palace served as a prison to Gandhi, his wife and his associates for two years after the failure of the Quit India Movement. Gandhi was arrested along with his wife Kasturba, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. He was kept in house arrest for nearly two years which began on August 9, 1942 and he was released on May 6, 1944.
The palace today stand as a memorial, which displays the simple life of Gandhi. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai, passed away here, while Gandhi fell sick was released only because he had to undergo an immediate surgery.
The palace is a fine example to show the blend of the Saracenic and European architectural styles. The structure spans across a large area of almost 19 acres of land, which is beautified with French lawns, fountains, Italian arches, long corridors, rose windows and spacious rooms.
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Gandhi National Memorial
The palace has a museum which displays paintings, sculptures, murals, photographs and personal belongings of Gandhi such as his letters, clothes, towels, slippers etc. The rooms which were used by Gandhi, Kasturba, Mahadev bhai and Sarojini Naidu are well-preserved and opened for public display.
The room which was used by Sarojini Naidu, has a poem written by Padma Sethi, which is displayed along with pictures of Indira Gandhi and various other leaders. Sarojini Naidu was released after a short period on health grounds.
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The room occupied by Gandhi is a spacious one which has a huge hall, one will get to see his writing desk, the 'charkha' apart from his sandals and other personal belongings.
The room also has a painting of Gandhi and Kasturba who is seen resting her head on Gandhi's lap. There are many rooms which are opened up for public view such as the dining area.
The palace is also home to the final resting place of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai. It is said that Gandhi himself built the 'samadhi', which was later replaced by the current marble ones designed by Charles Corea.
The entire complex has a total area of 19 acres, of which the palace occupies about 7 acres. The beautiful structure is simply eye-catching from the perspective of its architectural value and would grab the attention of all the visitors. The palace has 5 huge halls, which are preserved and now serve the purpose of a museum.
The palace was donated to the Indian Government by Aga Khan IV as an honour to Gandhi and his philosophy. The palace also houses the ashes and relics of Gandhi, the place witness a lot of footfall on Gandhi Jayanthi as a mark of respect to the Father of the Nation.