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Pune Travel GuidePune, generally known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra and is located 170 kms south of Mumbai. The city was one of the pivotal bases of the 17th century great Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji, who was born at the Shivneri Fort here. Pune became the seat of the enterprising Peshwas, under whom Maratha power rose into a major political force. The Peshwas were renowned patrons of the arts and in their time, enriched the city with temples, gardens and educational institutions.
It was here that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak introduced the principle of Swadeshi during the Freedom Movement. Today Pune is one of the leading metros in India, with the Film and Television Institute of India and National Defence Academy based here. It is fast becoming one of the major hubs of industry and commerce in the country.
Places to visit in Pune
There are lot of places to visit in and around Pune and some major sight seeing spots are provided below.
The Aga Khan's Palace - Kasturba Gandhi Smriti Mandir
This beautiful building with salons and suites is a great historical landmark. It was here that Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress were imprisoned during the 1942 Quit India Movement. Here lies the samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi, the Mahatma's wife.
Presently known as Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, these gardens are situated on the banks of Mula-Mutha River. The bund was constructed by Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy for providing water to the poor.
National Defense Academy
The National Defense Academy is situated at Khadakvasla, 17 kms from Pune, the academy imparts basic training to the cadets of all three branches of the services, Army, Air Force and Navy.
The Parvati Temple
The Peshwa rulers were the people who built the beautiful Parvati shrine which has now become a popular tourist spot. The temple is built on the mountain top along with the Devdeveshwar temples along side. The temple also homes a museum that contains a rare collection of ancient and priceless paintings, old manuscripts, weapons and coins.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
This museum which is built based on a Rajasthani style showcases some of the most beautiful Indian artifacts. There are totally 36 sections filled with antiques, carved palace doors and miniatures. The 'Mastani Mahal' is built in memory of the mistress of Peshwa Bajirao, the Prime Minister of Satara. Shri Dinkar Kelkar donated this wondrous collection to the Govt of Maharashtra which is now displayed at regular intervals.
Once the palace of the Peshwa rulers, it was constructed in 1736. What remains now after a fire in 1827 is a mere fortified wall- 'Nagarkhana' and a lotus pool.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Another famous tourist attraction is the 8th century rock-cut temple which is situated at Shivajinagar. Astonishingly, the whole of the temple is hewn from a single rock with magnificent towering pillars that holds a Shiva shrine and a Nandi bull. This brilliant work of architecture has left the modern engineers and tourists to marvel at the creation.
Surrounded by natural elegance is the beautifully constructed Ganesh temple built by Madhavrao Peshwa which has become another important tourist attraction and a popular evening spot at Pune.
Among all other interesting architectural sights in Pune, this memorial of the great Maratha warrior, Mahadaji Shinde is regarded as a never miss sight for it houses his Chhattri (umbrella) and his portrait in silver.
Lal Deval (Synagogue)
Built by the famous architect and engineer, David Saaaoon in 1867 this building is a wondrous construction totally built using red brick and trap stone eclusively of English-Gothic style.
Located 12 kms north of NDA is the stunning Pashan lake make a wonderful sight for the tourists to experience a cool evening breeze. The lake is home to a variety of migratory and residential birds.
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)
The Film and Television Institute of India is a highly esteemed film institute in the country and is a major visiting place. This institute provides all major film training opportunities in the film making field and is known to have fashioned some of the finest film makers.
University Buildings of Pune
The splendid building of the university at Ganeshkhind was occupied by the Governor of Mumbai during the monsoon season as his official residence. Built in the Indian-Gothic style, the gray trap rock building is large and spacious surrounded by well maintained lawns and a swimming pool.
There is also an internationally reputed Yoga centre, The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute to visit. Mr B K S Iyengar is the director of this institute. The institution offers different courses depending on short and long durations. All the courses are conducted depending on individual requirements and the availability of time.
Places to visit around Pune
Karla and Bhaja Caves
The rocks of Karla and Bhaja dates back to 1st and 2nd century B.C. and is located about 50 to 60 kms away from Pune. The beauty of the cave is that it contains innumerable dwelling caves called as Viharas and many chapels know as the Chaityas particularly of the Buddhist monks.
Major Forts around Pune
Lohagad and Visapur
Located about 52 kms away from Pune, are some of the most touching forts magnificently towering towards the sky. It is recorded that many of these forts were built in the 18th century. Now it serves as a suitable place to go for a trekking experience.
The fort of Shivneri where Shivaji was born is about 94.5 kms away from Pune and is an interesting place to visit. Most fascinating feature of the fort is that it is a mosque with two minarets which are joined by a graceful arch.
The Sinhagad fortress is located about 25 kms away from the city. Named after the lion-hearted general of Shivaji - Tanaji Malusare, this awesome Fortress of the Lion stands at a height of 1290 metres. Its history dates back to a time about three hundred years ago when Tanaji, the Maratha warrior with a large army silently attacked the Bijapur citadel at midnight, creating history. The samadhi erected in memory of the brave Tanaji reflects the bravery and glorious victory of the Marathas. It is believed that Shivaji remarked, "We have gained the fort but lost the lion" as soon as he heard the demise of Tanaji. And thus the fort gets its name Sinha (meaning lion) gad (fort).
Important Temples to Visit
Dehu and Alandi
Tukaram, the greatest Marathi Saint of the 17th century was born in Dehu, a place situated near the banks of the river Indrayani. There is also another place called Alandi which is actually a pilgrim centre just about 22 kms away from Pune where the samadhi of the famous saint-poet Dnyaneshwar is situated.
Around 122 kms from Pune, is the ornately carved Shiva temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of the country. A fair is held here annually during Mahashivratri.
Known for its famous temple 'Khandoba' Jejuri is a nice tourist spot. During the annual fair the temple is crowded with devotees from all over the country.
Map of Pune