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Pune is one of the ‘most livable and populous cities in India’ housing a population of about 7.4 million as of 2020. It is a prominent city and a part of India’s vast Deccan plateau region. Overall, it is a very welcoming places for tourists as well as for people who are planning to settle down. Let’s take a look at different aspects of the city.
- Pune gained its significance when the Bhosle Marathas made it their capital in the 17th century.
- Initially, like several other parts of India, Pune was also controlled by the Mughals.
- But in 1714, the Marathas established their reign over the region.
- The expanding British empire had its eyes on the city. They defeated the Marathas and started ruling in 1817.
- Pune was the seasonal capital of the Bombay presidency.
- Gradually, it emerged as a tourist spot with pleasant weather, interesting history, museums, and cultural attractions.
- Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Pune as the ‘Oxford of India’.
- In the 21st century, with the development of industries, Pune has become an educational and cultural hub.
State/ District/ Capital
- Pune, also known as the Queen of Deccan is a part of Maharashtra state. Mumbai is the capital of the state.
- Pune city in Haveli taluka is the main part of Pune district.
How to reach Pune?
- Pune city has its own airport at a placed named Lohegaon, located on the outskirts of the city.
- It manages maximum domestic flights, so it is easy to travel to Pune from different states within India.
- The airport also ensures the availability of some international flights going to Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, Singapore and some other countries.
- Although the airport is located a little far from the heart of the city, it has some good hotels and residential areas in its vicinity.
- Several major airlines operate here.
- The railway connectivity is also quite smooth.
- Although the city doesn’t have a local train system, it has different trains going to other cities and states.
- Pune Railway station is the main railway station for many express trains and serves as a platform.
- Some other stations include Shivajinagar, Khadki and Pimpri Chinchwad.
- The roads in and around Pune are well developed and excellent for transportation.
- Many bus services operate through the renowned Mumbai-Pune expressway.
- Also, there are two intra city highways in Pune- Old Mumbai Pune highway and the Katraj Dehu Road Bypass.
- This network of roads connects Pune to different parts of Maharashtra as well as the neighboring states and cities.
When to visit Pune?
- Pune is characterized by tropical dry weather. The humidity doesn’t cross a particular limit.
- The climate is quite pleasant in the winter season.
- Anytime between October to February would be the best time to visit Pune, and very ideal for sightseeing.
- Pune is a Maharashtrian city, so the locals speak Marathi.
- However, Pune houses a population which is an amalgamation of different cultures.
- Apart from Marathi, Hindi and English are also spoken widely.
- Summer season- March and June
- Average temperature- 31 to 41°C
- Monsoon season- July to October
- Average temperature- 22 to 33°C
- Winter season- November to February
- Average temperature- 13 to 29°C
Fairs and Festivals in Pune
Pune is a developed city and people living here have a hectic routine balancing their personal lives and jobs. Fairs and festivals are the times when they get to slow down and enjoy the joyful and laidback environment.
It’s a grand festival celebrated in several Maharashtrian cities. Pune city bubbles with excitement when this festival starts approaching. Teens register themselves in bands, elders book clay Ganesh idols, and the ladies in the house look after the ritual preparations. People of all age groups love this festival, they say “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Magal Murty Morya”, a chant dedicated to Lord Ganesh. After the fest, the idols are immersed in rivers. Sadly, this has become an environmental issue.
It marks the birthday of the famous Maratha Emperor Shivaji Maharaj. There is a minor conflict when it comes to the date, some say it’s 19th February while others say it’s 20th March. But it is celebrated with royal pomp and several processions. Some dress up like the emperor and his associates, sing songs of his valor, watch and participate in plays and recall different stories from the history.
‘Janma’ is the Marathi word for birth, so this festival marks the birth of another God named ‘Krishna’. Pune folks are very excited about one special part of this festival, that is Dahi Handi. This particular ritual is a symbol of Lord Krishna’s love for curd. Dahi Handi is a clay pot filled with curd which is hanged from a certain height. Young people and kids create large pyramids and climb on top of each other to reach the pot and break it. The group that is able to achieve this goal first without falling wins.
Gudi Padwa occurs in April or sometimes even march end. It celebrates the beginning of the Hindu new year, the first day of the first month ‘Chaitra’. Many families make and worship a ‘Gudi’ as a ritual. A gudi is made by attaching a copper ‘tamba’ at the end of a wooden sticks. It’s decorated with leaves and flowers and kept somewhere near the window sill. If you take a walk down the street of some residential area, you’d see many Gudis in the balconies of houses.
It is celebrated two weeks or almost 15 days before the famous festival of Diwali. Like many other cities across the nation, the Pune locals celebrate this festival with full energy. As Dusshera symbolizes Ravana’s defeat, huge statues of Ravana with ten heads are made and destroyed. People tell many mythological stories through plays and staged theatrical performances on this day.
Transportation/ Stay to prefer
- Most of the roads in and around Pune are well developed.
- The sector of the municipal corporation responsible for transportation has designed and implemented numerous policies for the betterment of roads.
- The inner-city roads are connected to Expressive ways, District roads, State Highways, and National highways.
- This complex road network ensures good connectivity.
- Many locals prefer to drive two-wheelers because they are convenient when it comes to traffic and crowded roads.
- People traveling long-distance everyday use cars.
- Auto rickshaw and cab services are also quite efficient in Pune. Plus, they are also available on Ola and Uber apps.
Stay to prefer
- Pune has a lot to offer when it comes to culture, tourism and exploration.
- Although it is a tech and education hub, there are many interesting things and spots in Pune every tourist should visit.
- Life in Pune can be hectic at times, especially as a tourist.
- Hence it is advisable to stay at least 3 or 4 days in the city, to enjoy and understand its charms.
Places to visit in Pune
Shaniwar Wada is a historical stately mansion. It used to be the dwelling of Peshwas back in 1700s and 1800s. Peshwa Bajirao I was the one who built this grand mansion, the residence of the future Peshwas. It is a large Wada which expands over an area of over 625 acres. The entrance of the mansion greets every visitor with a statue of Baji Rao I.
Aga Khan Palace
Visitors appreciate the architectural grandeur of the Aga Khan Palace. In 1892, Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III built this majestic palace. It has also been instrumental in marking many moments of India’s freedom struggle and independence.
It’s located in the vicinity of Shaniwar Wada. This historical monument has an undulating story. It was built some time in the 16th century but crumbled due to many attacks. Shivaji Maharaj’s father Shahaji restored the monument in 1630s as a family home. The red colored construction becomes its uniqueness.
It is famous for the wonderfully made wooden facades. A magnificent mansion with three floors built in the 1800s. Peshwa Bajirao constructed it. Some highlighting qualities of the architecture are intricately carved pillars, decorated ceilings and cypress columns.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
One of the wonderous Rajasthani style museums, which was built in 1962. It is near the city center, so definitely worth a visit for a tourist in Pune. This museum houses a mind-blowing collection of ancient collectibles. They range right from lamps and musical instruments to minerals and paintings.
It is a wonderful landmark in Pune with absolutely stunning natural beauty. The tourists as well as locals love to spend their early mornings and evenings here. This hill is fit for hiking, nature photography and overall a great hangout spot.
Pune Okayama Friendship Garden
Interesting fact- It is the largest Japanese style garden out of Japan in the Asian continent. It’s a living and beautifully maintained symbol of Indo- Japan relations. Tourists enjoy the mesmerizing beauty and the enchanting atmosphere of this place.
Katraj Snake Park
It’s a great green park that houses some of the rare species of snakes in the world. Adding to it, the park is particularly famous for King Cobra and Brown Palm Civet.
A green beauty perfect for an early morning hike. Sometimes even the locals of Pune, like an occasional trek here. It’s a perfect site for tourists to explore, enjoy some ‘bhaji’ and click photographs.
Sir Jamshedji built this garden on the banks of Mula-Mutha river. Bund garden’s scenic beauty offers a disconnect from the hustle-bustle of the city. Tourists would love the peace and glory of this garden.
It is a renowned temple dedicated to the Lord Ganesh. This temple has a large Ganesh idol which is more than 2 meters high, 1 meter wide. Apart from this, this majestic idol is made of gold, which weighs over 40 kilograms.
Parvati Hill Temple
As the name suggests, Parvati is a small hill that has a temple at the top. Even though there are many stairs leading up to the top, even old people climb to the peak to visit the temple. Back in Peshwa days, the temple used to be a private shrine.
Pataleshwar Cave temple
A rock-carved cave temple which dates back to the eighth century. It has a nice Shivalingam and Nandi Mandapa dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The passage inside is marked by beautiful stone-carved pillars.
Cuisines to taste in Pune
This is a classic snack item extremely popular in Pune. Missal could be a spicy and curry-like mixture of either ‘matki’ or different pulses. The curry barring all the solids is called ‘tarri’. Missal recipes are quite variable. People prefer to customize it in their own ways. Some people prefer to add ‘farsan’ to their missal, while others mix some ‘poha’ (another Maharashtrian dish) with it. some also love their missal with some onion, potatoes, and tomatoes. At the end, ‘shev’ is sprinkled on any mixture you prepare per your wishes.
It’s a namkeen and Pune city is sort of incomplete without it. A ‘namkeen’ could be a sweet yet spicy item. It’s a taste changer snack item. Bakarwadi comes in numerous sizes but the flavour is typically the identical. a tough flour coating is filled with a mix of various spices. The smaller bakarwadis are called mini bakarwadis. The locals of Pune are big fans of bakarwadi, therefore the tourists should try it too.
Usually, many roadside eateries or food joints serve shev pav with a cup of tea or coffee. Shev pav can be enjoyed at a reasonable price, so it’s easy on your pocket. The name is kind of self-explanatory, shev put within the pav. The chef cuts a piece of fluffy pav and stuffs it with plenty of masala shev. Green chutney, onions, and mayonnaise also boost the taste. some people also prefer to add ketchup to the current recipe.
Chicken Kathi Rolls
Chicken Kathi rolls are especially popular among teenagers as they hangout a lot at the roadside food joints. These Kathi rolls also are cheap, going easy on your pockets. Chicken Kathi rolls are basically small pieces of chicken stuffed in a thin wheat coating. The chicken is sometimes minced or chopped into pieces. These pieces are marinated or coated with a mixture of red chili powder and spices.
Poha may be a signature breakfast item across the town. Many restaurants and street food joints offer a plate stuffed with hot poha. Basically, poha could be a flattened version of rice. This kind of rice is cooked with a mixture of spices like turmeric, cloves, and mustard seeds.
Things to do in Pune
There are many things a tourist can do in a city as diverse as Pune.
- Cycling up the winding roads of Khadakwasla dam.
- Camping at the Pawana Lakeside.
- Hanging out at Cafe Paashh.
- Discovering the wonders of meditation and peace at the Osho Ashram.
- Walking through the heart of the city- The Peth area.
- Experience the charms of Empress Garden.
- Spending an evening at the Saras Baug.
- Enjoying the scenic beauty of Pashan Lake.
- Riding roller coasters at Adlabs Imagica.
- LIve the nightlife of Koregaon Park (KP).
- Watching a gig at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Souvenirs to buy in Pune
Hong Kong lane is a perfect place for shopaholics. Especially, locals as well as tourists love to shop for different types of bags here. The variety is mesmerizing and the price is quite reasonable.
Mahatma Phule Mandai offers a collection of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are perishable items, so if you’re a tourist buy them on your last day to take them home. Morning visits are usually considered ideal’
Shopping at the Fashion Street. This place offers almost all fashionable wears under the umbrella. It’s a small lane cluttered with colorful shops welcoming young customers. You might even be able to redesign your entire wardrobe with the clothes you buy from Fashion Street at a reasonable price.
Ready made garments
Tulsi Baug is a super famous place for readymade garments. There is a huge variety, people of almost all ages can shop here. Ready-made clothing might not satisfy all customers, so these shops also offer a service which would alter the fitting.
Juna Bazar, also called as Old Bazar or Chor Bazar is a place where people shop for exclusive antiques. Accessories, delicate jewelry, attractive hardware attract the tourists to this place. They can get some gifts and souvenirs for their loved ones here.
The famous Fergusson College road is particularly famous for its wonderful footwear. The shops here are always keeping up with the trend since the young crowd is the primary target. Apart from footwear, the shops also have a good collection of clothes, accessories, earrings, bracelets and bands.