Pune – the Oxford of east got its name from Punya Nagri which means the sacred city. Colleges, corporates, recreation hubs, & religious centers, this teeming metropolis has everything under its hood. Gone are the days when it used to live under the shadow of its glitzy cousin, Mumbai. Enveloped by serene Sahyadri Mountain ranges, it’s one of the largest cities in the Western Ghat & has been inspiring travellers and poets from ages. Let’s have a look at places that make Pune the cultural capital of the state & an ideal destination to unwind.
Surrounded by luxuriant mountains, Lavasa is India’s most frequented planned hill station near Pune inspired by the Italian town of Portofino. It’s quite close to Varasgaon dam & climate remains relatively cool throughout the year. It’s famous for adventure sports ranging from rappelling, rock climbing, kayaking, & jet skiing.
Aga Khan Palace:
Built in the year 1892, Aga Khan Palace is an architectural prodigy. This heritage structure has a special place in Pune’s history for the fact that Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned here along with his wife during the freedom struggle. It is one of the popular tourist destinations that boasts an extensive garden for the visitors to wander around.
Dagdusheth Halwai Temple:
Out of all the religious centres in Pune, Dagduseth Halwai is one of the most popular places. It was built in the memory of Dagduseth Halwai’s son who fell prey to an epidemic of plague. Known for its affluent and generous Lord Ganesh idol, this temple is an epitome of devotion & unconditional love. It’s been enticing believers to its pious halls since inception.
National War Museum:
Backed by the residents of Pune, this 25 feet tall structure was built in the memory of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India’s independence. It is has several artefacts on display including a MiG aircraft.
Shaniwar Wada Palace:
An ideal blend of both Maratha architecture & Mughal craftsmanship this palace was once a royal residence of Peshwa Rulers. A major fire broke in early 19th century and devastated much of its structure.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum:
Get a glimpse of cultural relics from across the country at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum that exhibits an antique yet eclectic collection of artefacts including exclusive art pieces collected by Dr Kelkar. Also explore recreated Mastani mahal, chief attraction of this museum. This place is an ultimate delight for civilization enthusiasts as it has items from earthenware to paintings, lamps to textiles, & musical instruments to weaponry.
This is a biographical museum built to familiarise the visitors with the mission and preaching of scholar Sadhu Vasvani. It’s famous for the light and sound show that uses interactive technology to engage with the audiences.
Drift back in time with Jadhavgad, an 18 century fort named after a brave & dedicated Maratha general in the Peshwa Army. This regal property with a small museum and a Ganesha temple now has a five star hotel functioning on its premises. Its famous for its gazhal nights scheduled every Saturday night.
Go paragliding at this scenic hill-town of Pune or Head on Vadivali lake which is just 12 kms away. Surrounding villages and prehistoric temples make this medieval fortress a great getaway. Its quiet famous for adventure camps & ideal for activities like trekking, rock climbing & rappelling.
Founded by a spiritual leader named Rajneesh, Osho Ashram is a meditation centre frequented by tourists from across the world. Apart from exploring the entire ashram, one can enrol for a meditation session to experience the power of peace. Do stop by a lush green garden named Osho Teerth, an ideal place to unwind.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple:
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pataleshwar Cave Temple stands right in the heart of the city. It is believed that this 8th century monument was carved out of one single rock & resembles Ellora caves. It’s a sacred place for Hindus and has several statues of Hindu Gods & Goddesses.
Singhgad fort is where every Puneker would head to for a trek or a night out. Located on the Bhuleshwar range of Sahyadri Mountains, this fort was used as a tactical battleground some two thousand years ago. Its scenic landscapes and high elevation makes it the most sought after getaways.
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