Pune or Poona is one of the cosmopolitan cities in the state of Maharashtra. It is the second most important city in Maharashtra after Mumbai. Mumbai is called the financial capital of India whereas Pune is known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. The city is an emerging IT hub and a renowned educational centre, which also gives it a nickname - the Oxford of the East.
In ancient times, Pune was the land of Peshwas and Marathas who had ruled almost about one third of the country. The culture here is cosmopolitan and at the same time, it also has some traditional elements too. For those interested in history and architecture, Pune offers you a mix of the modern and the old. You will see an old fort in the heart of the city and modern buildings surrounding the very same city.
Today, Pune is a city with a large population which comprises of students and young professionals who are from various parts of the country as well as abroad. For those coming to Pune on a short visit, here are the top 8 things you can do in Pune.
Stroll Through Koregaon Park And Osho Ashram
The most happening area in the city is the Koregaon Park, popularly known as KP. Most of the people in this region are of foreign origin. The most popular attraction which brings the foreign nationals here is the Osho Commune International or Osho Ashram as it is unanimously known.
Rajneesh Chandra Mohan or Osho founded the ashram. It is a resort for meditation and yoga, based on the ideologies and teachings of Osho. His techniques offer the practice of meditation to get rid of stress and strain of worldly life.
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Shop At MG Road
If you are a shopper by heart, then there is nothing you cannot find here if you have the perfect eye for it. The city is a blend of Indian and Western cultures; hence, you will find here from branded goods to handicrafts. It is a paradise for all kinds of shoppers and caters to each and every individual.
MG Road, popularly known as Camp and Main Street serves not only as a shopper's haven but also is a perfect place for window shopping. A very recent attraction here is the walking plaza on the weekends where the roads are closed for vehicles and are instead occupied by food stalls, stalls for entertainment and, of course, more scope for shopping.
The Shaniwarwada Palace which belonged to the Maratha Dynasty lies at the heart of the city. Spread across almost 7 acres in central Pune, it was constructed in 1732 and was the seat of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire and it was also the political capital of the empire until its annihilation.
While the palace was destroyed by a fire in 1827, its mammoth walls survived the fire. Shaniwarwada is a true example of the Maratha culture and the architectural design shows the influence of Mughal style along with the Maratha style.
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Head To The Three Lakes
Pune lies on the leeward side of the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri Mountain Ranges. It is a catchment area which provides water to three fresh water lakes around the city. The closest lake to the city is the Khadakwasla lake which is situated approximately around 20 km from Pune. Khadakwasla is a small calm and quiet place with a dam built across it which also is the main water resource of the entire city.
About 50 km southwest of the city is the Panshet Lake and Dam which has lush green hills streaked with numerous waterfalls making it a great picnic spot. The third lake is the Mulshi Lake which is formed by the catchment area of the Mulshi Dam, which is around 55 km from the city. The lake has a scenic surrounding of unexploited Sahyadri hilly terrains and luscious green dense forests.
Visit The Caves Of Karla And Bhaja
The caves of Karla and Bhaja are just around 40 km away from the city of Pune. The Karla and Bhaja are Buddhist caves that house some fine sculptures carved on its walls and ceilings. The caves are about 2000 years old and lie at a very close proximity to the Malavali station.
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Visit The Aga Khan Palace
The Aga Khan Palace is also known as the Gandhi National Museum. It served as a prison for national leaders like Gandhi during the Quit India Movement in 1942.
The Aga Khan Palace was donated to India by Aga Khan IV during 1969. The museum also serves as a memorial wherein the mortal remains of Gandhi's wife, Kasturba are kept. The palace was built in the year 1892 by Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III.
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Trek Up Sinhagad Fort
One of the prime attractions of Pune are the hills and the forts around it. The most popular fort is the Sinhagad Fort of Shivaji. Sinhagad when translated means the Lion's Fort and is located at a distance of about 25 km away from the city.
The fort is perched up on a steep hill at a height of 700 m. The 17th century fort, most of which is in ruins, but parts of which still remain, offer some breathtaking views of the surroundings.
For the adventurous lot, there is a trekking path which you can take from the base of the hillock to all the way up to the fort.
Katraj Snake Farm
Here one can get a chance to hold a snake in one's hands or roll it around the neck and get a picture clicked. The farm had about 160 species of snakes. Along with it is a zoo which houses a variety of birds and other reptiles.