What to see

Pune is certainly not one of those cities that one falls in love with at first sight. The many shabby houses mingling with new constructions, hidden slum type housing, the completely haphazard town architecture, which provides no green open spaces and large parks. But most of all the chaotic traffic and the ensuing pollution are hardly attractive to the visitor, making a trip through the city an arduous undertaking.
You should choose the right time of day to go exploring. Avoid the rush hours between 5-7.30 p.m. The ideal mode of transport would be a car, as you would be at the mercy of all the exhaust gases in a rickshaw. The effort, however, is worth it as there are many interesting, wonderful and impressive places to discover in Pune. Take your time and don’t be in a rush.

Parvati Hill and Temple

Parvati is the highest point in Pune and one gets a wonderful panoramic view of the city. The temple and the palace on Parvati Hill are among the oldest historical monuments in Pune and date back to the age of the Peshwa Dynasty in the 18th century. There is also an interesting museum here displaying weapons, coins, manuscripts, clothing, paintings and relics from the Peshwa period. In order to reach the hilltop one has to climb 103 steps – an excellent fitness regime.

Saras Baag

The Saras Baag Garden and Temple lie at the foot of the Parvati Hills and were built by Peshwa Bajirao II. The temple dedicated to the god Ganesha, is built in the middle of a garden and is surrounded by a small lake.

Chaturshringi Temple

On a hillock on a main road of Pune, the Senapati Bapat Road, is the famous Chaturshringi Temple, said to date back to the 17th century. The temple is beautifully situated, surrounded by many trees, and houses a stone image of the Goddess Chaturshringi, who is venerated as the protecting deity of Pune. One has a wonderful view of the city from the temple.

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwarwada was the palace and seat of the government of the Peshwas and lies in the heart of Pune city. The fort was constructed in 1732 and was destroyed by a fire around 100 years later. Only the entrance gateway has been well preserved. Besides that there are just the foundation walls to see.

Pataleshwar Caves

The Pataleshwar Caves are similar to the famous cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora and Karla, but are much smaller and constructed later – in around the 8th century. This places them among the oldest historic monuments of Pune. This stone carved temple with its massive pillars, houses a sanctum of Shiva with a Nandi Bull. The temple is visited even today by pious Hindus who conduct their prayers, meditation and rituals here. It is centrally located on the Jangli Maharaj Road.

Osho Ashram

Pune has an international reputation thanks to the Osho Ashram which was founded in 1974 by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho. Until his death in 1990, Pune was a pilgrimage spot for thousands of his followers. Even today, many of them come to the ashram to take part in the various programs offered by it. The courses, boarding and lodging in the ashram are not exactly cheap and so the number of visitors has gradually depleted. The ashram lies in Koregaon Park and is surrounded by trees. Anyone wishing to enter the ashram has to undergo an aids test. A negative test result is a pre-condition for entry into the resort.

Ashram Homepage

http://www.osho.com/Main.cfm?Area=MedResort&Language=English

Aga Khan Palace

The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III in 1892 and served for a short period during the British time, as an internment camp for Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, who also died here. The sparsely furnished rooms in which they were interned have been retained in their original condition. They are open for viewing along with many of their personal effects. There is also a memorial on the premises. The famous Gandhi film with Ben Kingsley in the lead role was shot partly at this original location. An interesting visit, especially for all those interested in Mahatma Gandhi.

Address:   Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra

Telephone:        020 26681834

Timings: Monday to Saturday. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m..

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

Pune‘s largest museum displays a large variety of items from the last centuries and millennia: 2000 year old earthen jars, traditional lamps, paintings from the 17th century, temple doors, statues, items of everyday life from different epochs. A worthwhile visit.

Museums-Homepage http://www.rajakelkarmuseum.com/

Address:

1377-78, Natu Baug,

Off. Bajirao Road,

Shukrawar Peth,

Pune – 411 002

Maharashtra,

India

Telephone  + 91 20 2448 21 01

+ 91 20 2446 1556

+ 91 20 2447 44 66

E-Mail-Address

sudhanva@rajakelkarmuseum.com

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