The birthplace of the famous leader and ruler of the Marathas Chattrapati Shivaji, Pune was the citadel of power with those in rule constantly contributing to its cultural and scholastic traditions. Today, Pune is a much sought after destination for students not only from different parts of the country but also from all over the world. Pune is also home to the Film and Television Institute and the well stocked National Film Archives. It is also the place where Rajneesh chose to open the now world famous Osho Ashram.
Pubs and pool parlours, cultural festivals and theatres also make Pune a city of great variety and truly cosmopolitan. If what you are looking for is a place that will offer your senses a break from stress and everyday demands, do what the Mumbaiites do over the weekends- head for Pune.
Population: About 2,540,069
Climate: Pune is given to no extremes and enjoys an equable climate throughout the year. Summers peak at 40°C and the winter highs reach 29°C at the most. The monsoons are lovely and do not disrupt life.
Main Language(s): Marathi, Hindi and English Time Zone: GMT + 05:30 Phone Area Code: 020
Best Time To Visit: Go ahead and visit Pune anytime you want to - it is great through the year, though winters from November to March are cold and delightful.
Airport Distance from City Center: 12 kms Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Taxi service available at 200 to city centre.
St Mary's Church
The first of its kind in Pune, this Church was built in 1825 and was inspired by the famous building of Martin-in-the-Field, at Trafalgar Square, London. A protestant church, it has stayed an outstanding example of typical colonial architecture.
Fascinating and quite lovely, this old synagogue was consecrated in 1867. Built by David Sasoon, this synagogue has colourful stained glass paintings which are quite a sight when light streams through and forms interesting patterns on the walls. There is the sombre atmosphere, which gives one an insight, however small, into a religion that is both old and closed. Locally known as the 'Lal Deval', one of the features that is worth paying attention in this striking red brick building is the 90-ft clock-tower topped by a spire.
Erected in 1779,this memorial commemorates India's victory over an invading army of Englishmen in the same year. Raised by the Express-Nagarik Wadgaon Vijaystambh Pratisthan at the Morwada Gardens, the names of 1,080 martyrs from all three wings of the armed forces who laid down their lives in the service of the nation since Independence are inscribed here.
Osho Commune International
Still insisting that the enigmatic founder of the place, Osho Rajneesh has not died but just passed on since he was only 'visiting' earth in the first place, this spiritual health club has been the subject of many a discussion over the years. Beautiful surroundings with programmes designed to get one in touch with their inner selves, the Osho Ashram attracts people from all over the world. State of the art facilities including a swimming pool, a sauna, a five-hectare Zen garden and Bistro along with assorted sports facilities makes the Ashram a must visit. One can see people meditating with the voice of Osho in the background at the Buddha Hall and others engaged in other programmes around the Ashram.
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute
A little more ancient form of self-actualisation -yoga is what this place is all about. Founded by B K S Iyengar, the amazing science of Yoga has been given a home here as early as the 1950s. Believing that a healthy and body are inseparable, there are programmes here to fit every individual need. A little more on the expensive side, this six classes a week for a month programme along with the therapeutics sessions come highly recommended.
Raja Kelkar Museum
A beautiful place to spend an afternoon or evening is the museum of the late collector, Sri Dinkar Gangadhar. Rare collections of over 17,000 artworks and curios include Peshwa miniatures, carved doors and windows, quaint musical instruments, ornate betel-nut cutters, combs and much, much more. The place is delightful and makes for an interesting tour into the past.
This partially completed 8th century rock-cut temple may not be as impressive as the Elephanta Caves, on which it is modelled, but is a must see nevertheless. There is beauty in stone and the fact that it is incomplete inspires curiosity in the visitor and lends the place a charm all its own. The shrine of Jangli Maharaj (Lord of the Jungle) is adjacent to the temple and is dedicated to a Hindu ascetic who died in 1818.
Aga Khan Palace-Gandhi National Memorial
Palace of the erstwhile Imamsultan Muhammad Sha Aga Khan, it was built in 1892 and is set in 6.5 hectares of landscaped gardens. Donated to India after the death of Aga Khan IV, this is where Mahatma Gandhi spent time after his famous Quit India Resolution in 1942. His wife Kasturba Gandhi and secretary Mahadoebhai Desai died here during a 2-year imprisonment term and their ashes are preserved in the gardens.
Film and Television Institute of India
Mired in controversy, this 36-year-old FTII has been plagued with problems for sometime now with dissatisfied students protesting the decisions of the Management. A member of CILCET (International Liaison Centre of Schools of Cinema and Television) - an organisation of the world's leading film and television schools, FTII is one of Asia's premier institutes. Students from the world over come to avail of the course as also the well liked Film Appreciation course. The campus is beautiful and the facilities are comparable to the best in the world.
A small distance away from the city is Sinhagad, a word that translates into the Lion Fort. The fost is testimony to the battle of 1670, where Shivaji and his brave troops defeated the forces of Bijapur. Story has it that the war resulted in the death of Shivaji's general Tanaji Malusre. On hearing news of his General's death, it is quoted that Shivaji said "we have gained the gad (fort), but have lost the sinha (lion)" - thus the name Sinhagad. Located on top of a 1,270 m hill, the ramparts of the fortress are great places to sit down and enjoy the view.
;Food in Pune is not just a delight but is available at every nook and corner. The local food comprises dishes that are normally spicy with generous sprinklings of coconut, green chillies and pungent garlic. There are a variety of dishes, snacks and sweets that tease the palate and then effectively satiate it. Scrumptious eats like chewda, bhakerwadi and pedas are just some of the snacks that you will not be able to get enough of. Pune is also famous for its Shewsbury biscuits, which is not just a must-eat but also a must-take home. Pune offers the eater a variety of cuisine since the crowd it caters to is not just national but international.
Dorabjee & Sons
Pune Festival - Held annually, this cultural extravaganza should be experienced to be believed. Artistes and performers from the country congregate here to make it a truly memorable event. Classical music, dance and poetry are only some of the events on the agenda.
Held for a span of 10 days, the Pune Festival resounds with a celebration of the arts. The Maharashtrian dance, the Lavni is energetically performed by some of the state's best troupes and is foot tapping and a sight to see. The biggest names in art come together to make this a festival that lingers in the memory and leaves one asking for more.
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