Nestled along the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri Hills, Pune takes pride in being a throbbing cultural city with tinges of modernity imbued in her every vein. Whether you refer to the city as the "Cultural Capital of Maharashtra" or the "Oxford of the East" the Punya Nagari pulsates with a rich history and is fast developing into India's greatest educational hub. This is the city which saw the birth and rise of the great Maratha chieftain Shivaji whose evidence is well borne out through the innumerable forts and palaces that are situated in and around. Dotted by lush hills and clean lakes and with a climate that remains pleasant almost throughout the year, unlike its sister city and financial capital of India, Mumbai, Pune attracts tourists to its lap because of the sheer aura and the laid-back spirit that it carries along with it. From historical edifices that echo its vibrant past to the several top-notch educational institutions which attract students both from within the country as well as abroad, Pune reverberates with an irresistible charm and energy of its own.
Best Time to Visit Pune
Tucked along the Western Ghats, Pune witnesses a favorable climate almost all through the year. However, recent urbanization has led to many changes in the weather with summers seeing the city reeling under scorching heat of the sun and temperatures ranging from about 22degrees Celsius to 44 degrees Celsius. The advent of the monsoons in July brings a whole lot of relief while the winters are welcomed with their pleasant mornings and cool nights. The best time to visit the city is indubitably between the months of October to February when the climate is at its best. The month of December finds the city dressed up in sprightly garbs for Christmas and New Year celebrations indulging in rocking parties and pulsating music. Those desiring to witness the city's main festival Ganesh Chaturthi may well take a trip during the month of September when Pune dons a zesty and zealous garb.
Hotspots in Pune- Aga Khan Palace
Built under the patronage of the Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Agakhan III in 1892, the Aga Khan Palace is indubitably one of Pune's iconic edifices and among the country's top national monuments. The Palace bears memorabilia of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi along with Mahadevbhai Desai who were all interned here by the British post the Quit India Movement in 1942. Mahadevbhai and Kasturba Gandhi passed away during their captivity period and their ashes have been preserved within their shrines that are found at the tranquil garden at the rear end of the palace. The museum displays things used by Gandhi as well as paintings and pictures which mark the significant events in the national leader's life. There is a small shop as well which deals with all things handloom and khadi in the honor of the great leader's principles.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum:
A quirky collection of exhibits gathered from all across India's plethora of states and communities and used in daily life is found in this unique museum. The exhibits had been collected with much dedication and care by Dinkar kelkar and embrace things like kitchen utensils, hookah pipes, toys, textiles, windows and doors, furniture, pottery and what not. Some of the museum highlights comprise Gujarat's Dabado, terracotta utensils, brass and copper utensils from Kerala,Maharashtra and Gujarat, and a variety of weapons including armors carved out of the scales of fish and skin of crocodiles.
Osho International Meditation Resort:
A pristine pure ashram nestled amidst the serene, lush and leafy premises which are situated in a contrastingly bustling, upscale suburb of Pune the Osho International Meditation Resort is a must-visit spot for peace-seekers. A coveted haunt of the Westerners the ashram houses a tempting swimming pool, basketball and 'zennis' courts, massage parlor and spa, a sauna and a plush boutique-styled guesthouse. A number of meditation courses are on offer for those who visit the ashram which maintains absolute tranquility and is done through registration and payment of the charges.Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple:
: Built in close proximity to the famous palace at Shaniwar Wada this temple is a must-visit site for every tourist to Pune. The temple has been there for over a century and is dedicated to the Elephant God Lord Ganesha whose seven and a half feet idol sits beautifully decked up in flowers, gold and other ornaments illuminated with bright lights.
An international theme park the Adlabs Imagica is a fun family park situated at some distance from Pune. The first-of-its-kind in India, Imagica boasts of over 21 thrilling rides and attractions, themed restaurants and sections, live performances, world cuisines and fun shows making it an amusement park on the lines of the Disney World.
University of Pune:
The lush green surroundings and serene ambience around the University of Pune attract not only students but tourists and locals as well to its lap to muse and relax. A heritage edifice founded in 1948, the campus sprawls across 400 acres of land and houses 40 educational departments offering myriad courses and programs to the students flocking here from all parts of the globe for higher learning and research.
Camp and MG Road:
The heart of Pune Camp embraces the central area of the city and is an upscale region with world-class hotels, shopping malls and corporate offices. Its throbbing shopper's destination MG Road offers shopaholics a wide spectrum of branded products as well as handicraft items tingling the tastes of every shopper. Weekends sees the street turn into a lively place with kaleidoscopic array of stores, gourmet stalls, and entertainment paraphernalia springing up in sprightly spirit even as the whole arena is made into a walk-only avenue.
Travel back to the ricj historical past of the city with a visit to one of the oldest places in Pune Shaniwar Wada. The major attraction of this place is the Shaniwar Wada Palace Fort of the Marathas which stands with its gargantuan structure amidst the bustling and crowded lanes that make up the area. The Delhi Darwaza standing at 21 feet tall and the impressive architecture around the edifice well bear the influence of the Mughals which finely exists with the artistic splendor of the Marathas. Much of this majestic mansion had been destroyed due to a fire but what remains is enough to depict the power and potential that this fortification endowed the ruling dynasty with during those days of yore.
How to Reach Pune-By Air:
Pune's International Airport is situated at Lohegaon and is served by both national as well as international carriers which link the city to the myriad other major cities of India as well as those abroad. Lufthansa and Air India are two of the major international carriers which operate daily flights to Frankfurt, Dubai and other destinations across the globe. A larger international airport around the areas of Shiroli and Chandus is on the cards to give way to greater accessibility to the city which is fast becoming a hotspot for students from over the globe.
Pune is well-connected with the major cities of the nation through its rail system with several express and daily trains plying to and from the city and linking it to the metropolitans as well as the towns.
The city is formidably connected with several other cities around via the national highways as well as the recently built expressway which connects it to Mumbai as well as other towns like Kolhapur, Goa and others. Buses, and outstation cabs ply daily across the national highways to connect it to Mumbai, Goa, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolhapur as well as Bangalore among other surrounding cities.