Truly a city of virtue according to its name Punyanagri (Pune) is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It is not only famous for the education it offers, but also is renowned for the history and delicacies from street to five star restaurants that it greets its visitors with. Situated just besides the bustling metropolis of Mumbai on the Deccan plateau, the city of Pune is no less a busy place. With moderate humid climate you will find the weather of this place perfectly pleasant for outings and shopping. The city of Pune boasts a rich history and has various landmarks as the evidence of the same. Being the first capital of the Maratha Empire, Pune has always held an important position politically. It was also the abode of the great Maratha ruler Shivaji Raje Bhosale. With several forts and museums for exhibit, there is a lot to roam around and observe in the city. Apart from its well held historical backgrounds and architectures, it also has some modernized constructions and developments which attract herds of people to the city. The IT hub of Maharashtra, this city has seen vast expansion in the past few decades. Also known as the Oxford of the East, the city homes a number of academic institutions in fields from engineering to hotel management; no field remains untaught here!
Ride through the olden times
Standing strong till date, the forts from Maratha rule and the buildings from the British rule are famous in their own way. The forts and palaces built during the reign of various rulers can be seen here. Singhagad, Lal Mahal etc. where built during the rule of Shivaji Raje Bhosale while Vishram Baug Wada, Shaniwarwada etc. where the prized palaces of the Peshwas. Having a story of their own to narrate, these magnificent monuments show you the struggle, intelligence and the power of the rulers just through their site. The forts are open for visit and the entry is mostly free of cost. The museums here depict the minute details of the golden era that the city saw during its olden times. The Raja DInkar Kelkar museum being the famous of all, it hosts a variety of artifacts from the 17th century. Dinkar Kelkar, who had collected these flamboyant pieces of artworks as well as the daily wares of those times, donated his collection to the Government. With utensils, combs, hookahs, musical items, lamps and many more items from the olden times, it offers you 36 sections of beautiful artistry in the objects of daily use. The city also has a small museum of trains which not many people know about. Thoroughly enchanting, the Joshi museum in Kothrud has miniature trains and their evolution to modern day trains on display. The city also has a Tribal museum which documents the culture of people from Gondwana and Sahyadri region.
It also has a number of temples from these times which include the Pataleshwar Temple. Built in a single rock, this temple was built as a tribute to Lord Shiva and also shelters a statue of Nandi (the vehicle of Lord Shiva). Another temple from the times of Peshwa is the Ganesh temple. Located at the center of a lake on a small hillock, the temple was the prime place of worship and was also known as the gramdevata (the supreme deity of the city). Now encompassed by a garden the temple is visited daily by huge crowds. The Dagdusheth temple definitely is a sure shot must when you visit the city.
Aga Khan Palace also finds its roots in the historical pages during the freedom struggle. It is the same place where Mahatma Gandhi was under house arrest and his wife, Kasturba Gandhi, took her last breath. It houses the things used by Gandhi during his stay and also the memorial of Kasturba Gandhi and is open for visits. The Shinde Chhatri, a memorial built for Mahadji Shinde is also a magnificent piece of architecture to view. The buildings of Pune University, College of Engineering and many more demarcate the typical stone architecture from the British times. The Osho asharam, built for the followers of Bhagwan Rajneesh is popular amongst the foreigners and is exquisitely made as the Meditation and Yoga center.
Apart from education and history you will find absolute lip-smacking delicacies in the city. Be it street food or restaurant food, it is sure to leave you wanting for more. The cultural and traditional favorite being Puranpoli and Varan Bhat, Punekars (citizen of Pune) are known for their unity in diversity when it comes to food. You will find places serving all types of cuisines from Chinese to Thai, Mexican and Italian. The street food here is an altogether different concept for the people. The snack joints on the road will never be empty especially during the evenings when the people crowd around the stall for a cup of tea and the famous Vada Pav. Not a single street in Pune has evidenced the lack of a food joint or a place where you can satiate your stomach, tongue as well as your wallet. Misal paav also is one of the specialties the city offers the people who indulge in the spicy varieties of preparations.
Obviously, the famous Chitale Bandhu baakharwadi cannot be missed out on if you are visiting Pune. Notorious for its stringent timings of opening and closing, the sweet shop is always packed with people carrying kilos and kilos of baakharwadi, shrikhand, pedhas and many other food items. The city is also flooded with stalls that serve you the astounding blasts of flavors through chaats like panipuri, bhelpuri etc. Vaishali cannot go without a mention where you get the best South Indian snacks throughout the day and throughout the year. The Laxminarayan chiwda, which is now famous all over, finds its origin in the city of Pune.
The city also shelters a number of gardens. With Saras Baug and Peshwe Park being the renowned ones, Rajiv Gandhi Park in Katraj is also an attraction for the different species of reptiles, birds and the nine feet long Cobra it exhibits. The Japanese garden which has been recently developed in the city is also gracefully designed for evening strolls and one day outings. Filled with culture, style, elegance and ethics the city of Pune takes your heart away. With just a few visits to the city, it compels you to fall for the variety of experiences it has in store and keep coming back for more.