About Pune

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About Pune
The heart of the Maratha empire in the days of yore, Pune is the 2nd largest city in Maharashtra and is the also the capital of Pune district.
Located around 120 kilometers from Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, Pune is famous for its educational institutions earning it the sobriquet "Oxford of the East." Education, arts and crafts, and theatre have always enjoyed a pride of place in Pune, home to one of India's oldest universities. With the express highway providing fast connectivity between Pune and Mumbai, Pune's importance has grown by leaps and bounds. Pune represents a fusion of the old and the new, of the traditional and the modern, of quaint old wadas and glitzy malls. Surrounded by greenery and blessed with a salubrious climate, Pune is sure to create a lasting impression in your mind.


How to reach Pune


Traveling within Pune
Pune and its suburbs are well connected by buses, auto rickshaws, private cabs, and air-conditioned taxis called "Cool Cabs". The city has a large number of two wheelers and traffic is quite a problem.


Geography and climate
Pune lies at an altitude of 560 m (1837 ft) above sea level, at the confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers. During summer (March to May), daytime temperatures vary between 35°C to 39°C, while in winter (November to February) daytime temperatures range between 27°C -29°C. Pune district shares borders with Ahmednagar, Satara and Raigarh districts of Maharashtra. There are two municipal corporations, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchawad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). The Pimpri-Chinchawad area includes Akurdi, Pimpri, Chinchwad and Bhosari and is an industrial zone.


Through the pages of history
Pune has a long and rich history. Initially known as Punnaka, this area was under the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century A.D. Thereafter, control over Pune shifted between the Mughals and the Marathas. In 1749 A.D, it became the capital of the Maratha kingdom under the Peshwa rule. The legendary Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji stayed here with his mother. Peshwa Baji Rao I constructed a palace in the early 18th century now known as Shaniwar Wada. The British took over Pune after a war between the Marathas and the British ended in a defeat for the Marathas in 1817. The British built a cantonment area in the city. Pune became the monsoon capital of the Bombay Presidency.Pune was home to several prominent freedom fighters who led the fight for India's independence. Prominent among these include Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mahadev Govind Ranade, R.G Bhandarkar, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule.
After India's independence, Pune acquired the status of an educational and research hub with the establishment of the University of Pune, the National Defence Academy (NDA), National Chemical Laboratory and many other leading institutes.


Economy of Pune
Pune has a booming economy. There are two industrial estates in the outskirts of Pune developed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). This is besides the already bustling industrial hub of Pimpri-Chinchwad. A large number of Indian industry majors and MNC's have set up base in Pune and its suburbs. These include companies like Bajaj Auto, TELCO, Philips India, Kirloskar Cummins, Kalyani Sharp, Bharat Forge, Mahindra And Mahindra, Hindustan Antibiotics, Mercedes Benz India Ltd, Weikfield India, Serum India, Duro Shocks, Kinetic Honda, Whirlpool, LG, Frito Lay, Coca Cola etc. Suburbs of Pune like Baramati, Khed, Mundhwa, Loni, Yerwada, Talegaon, Alandi, Warje, Wadgaon etc. account for a majority of Pune's agricultural produce, though Pune is not an agricultural city. Pune has also emerged as a software industry hub. Many of the leading Indian software companies have their presence in Pune. These include companies like Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Patni, Satyam, Persistent Systems, Geometric Software Solutions Private Limited and others besides many global players. The BPO industry is also booming with many leading Indian names and MNC's registering their presence in Pune.


People and Population
Considered to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune has people from all corners of India including a sizeable population from the states of North India, Karnataka, Gujarat among others. Alongwith Marathi, the local language, English and Hindi are also widely spoken. The population of Pune city was around 31, 57,000 according to the 2001 census.


Sights and Sounds
Pune has a rich past. It abounds with palaces, temples and monuments. Places like the Osho Ashram draw in visitors from around the world.

  • Shaniwarwada: Originally built as the residence of the Peshwas, Bajirao I laid the foundation of the magnificent mansion in the year 1730 AD. A fire gutted this massive structure and now only the remains can be seen. The main gate is called Dilli Darwaja, the rest are Mastani or Alibahadur Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja.

  • Aga Khan Palace: Built in 1892, this palace was donated by the Aga Khan IV in 1969 as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi. This palace occupies a very important place in the annals of the Indian freedom struggle. Gandhiji together with his wife Kasturba and secretary Mahadevbhai Desai were interned at the palace from August 9, 1942 to May 6, 1944. Mahadevbhai and Kasturba passed away at the Agakhan palace while in captivity

  • Parvati hills & temple: Perched at a height of 2100 feet, the temples on Parvati hill built by the Peshwas offer a bird's eye view of Pune.It is the highest point in Pune. This temple complex has temples dedicated to Devdeveshwar, Lord Kartikeya, Vishnu and Vitthal. It also houses a museum dedicated to the Peshwas and the samadhi of Nanasaheb Peshwa who passed away here.

  • Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum: Established in 1962 by Baba Dinkar Kelkar and donated to the Maharashtra government in 1975, the museum has about 20,000 articles belonging to his personal collection. The museum houses the entire collection of Baba Kelkar, a replica of the Mastani Mahal, research facilities and the Institute of Musicology and fine arts.

  • Osho International Meditation Resort: Located in Koregaon Park, Pune, the 40-acre meditation resort is famous for its tranquil setting with a perfect blend of natural and man-made structures. People from the world over visit this resort to rejuvenate their body and soul. It provides courses and workshops on massage, meditation, dance etc. It holds live theater events and houses an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

  • Mahatma Phule Wada: The residence of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, it dates back to 1852. Located in Ganj Peth, the house has been converted into a museum and houses a statue of Mahatma Phule in the courtyard.

  • FTII (Film And Television Institute Of India): Established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India in 1960, the Film And Television Institute Of India offers courses in direction, editing, photography, screenplay, and music. Regular courses were started from 1961. The Institute has provided some outstanding names to the Indian film industry.

  • Pataleshwar caves: The Pataleshwar Caves in the heart of the city are 8th century cave temples dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar, God of the Underworld. These caves are held to have been cut out from a single rock. It has statues dedicated to Nandi, Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Ganesh, Lakshmi and a shivalingam.


Getaways from Pune
Once you are through with the sights and sounds of Pune, you can get set for exploring the hinterland of Pune. The majestic hills, forts and caves around Pune, together with World Heritage sites will make your visit an unforgettable experience.

  • Sinhagad: Located 25 kilometers from Pune, Sinhagad (the Lion Fort) is undoubtedly one of the main attractions around Pune. Earlier known as Kondhana, it was here that Shivaji's General Tanaji Malasure, while sacrificing his life, won the fort for Shivaji.

  • Matheran: Matheran meaning "wooded head" is located 120 kms from Pune. The specialty of Matheran lies in the fact that it is Asia's only vehicle-free hill station. There are many walkways for the intrepid traveler to explore the beauty of Matheran. A toy train runs up to Matheran, which affords breathtaking views of the plains below. There are many vantage points with interesting names from which you can take in the beauty of the Western Ghats.

  • Lonavla and Khandala: Just 70 kms from Pune, Lonavla and Khandala are two popular hill stations. Especially bewitching during the rains, they are connected by train as well as by road. Khandala has many rainwater-fed waterfalls while Lonavla acts as the base for exploring the Karla & Bhaja caves that date back to the 2nd century B.C.

  • Mahabaleshwar: Located 120 kilometers from Pune, the hill town of Mahabaleshwar, situated at an altitude of 4500 feet above sea level is a quaint hill station offering boating and golf facilities, fishing spots, trekking trails, waterfalls, strawberry plantations and plenty of lookout points. The old British buildings and cemeteries lend a romantic aura to this hill resort. While in Mahabaleshwar, don't miss out on chikki(jaggery and groundnut paste), channas, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries & mulberries. Mahabaleshwar served as a jail for Chinese & Malay convicts from 1834 to 1864. Bird-watching is another popular attraction in Mahabaleshwar.

  • Panchgani: Panchgani gets its name from the five hills on which it is built. Just 100 km away from Pune, at a height of 1000 metres, Panchgani is another popular hill station in Pune's vicinity. It is famous for its lookout spots, strawberry plantations and fine boarding schools. It rains here heavily during the monsoons.

  • Pratapgadh: The Pratapgadh fort is located 25 kms from Mahabaleshwar. This is where the mighty Maratha ruler Shivaji killed Afzalkhan, the ruler of Ahmednagar. There is a temple of Bhavani Mata and a statue of Shivaji inside the fort.

  • Aurangabad: Located at a distance of 214 km from Pune, Aurangabad is the gateway to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora. Named after the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, the city lies on the banks of the Kham River. There are three famous museums here showcasing precious and historical artifacts. Besides, the Bani Begum Gardens are another attraction.

  • Nashik: Located 220 km from Pune, Nashik has earned the sobriquets "Wine Capital of India" or "the Grape City". Sitting on the banks of the Godavari river and located in the Western Ghats, Nashik is one of the four cities in India that host the Kumbh Mela every twelve years.


Shopping in Pune
Laxmi Road is a favorite shopping destination in Pune offering a variety of choices. M.G.Road, popularly known as Camp is quite popular with the young crowd. Dhole Patil road, Koregaon Park and Fergusson College roads are also popular with shoppers. If you are looking for curios, you would do well to pay a visit to the Chor Bazaar and Hong Kong lane.


Accommodation in Pune
Pune is a throbbing commercial center of Maharashtra and nay, entire India. There is a range of accommodation options in Pune to suit your budget. There are top-end hotels like Le Meridian, Hotel Taj Blue Diamond, Sun N Sand. Four-star hotels include Central Park, Hotel Sagar Plaza, Hotel Oakwood, Hotel Aurora Towers. Besides, there are economy hotels like Baron Lakeside Resort, Central Lodge, Comfort Inn, The Coronet Hotel, Hotel Choice, Green Gate Resort, Gordon House Hotel, Hotel Dreamland, Hotel Pearl,Hotel Parkview, Hotel Natraj and Maurya Residency

Catch more info on cheap hotels in Pune


Entertainment in Pune
Pune has several entertainment options. There are movie halls like Alka, Alankar, Apollo, Victory, Vijay, Jaihind, Deccan, West End , Prabhat, Neelayam, Gunjan, Laxmi Narayan and others wherein you can enjoy Bollywood and Hollywood flicks besides local Marathi movies. Pune also has go-karting tracks and pool joints for the young crowd. The Pune crowd sure knows how to have a rollicking time-it seems their motto is "work hard and party harder".


Restaurants
Pune has a wide array of restaurants to cater to your taste-buds. Since Pune has a sizeable population of residents belong to various parts of the country, there are restaurants dishing out a plethora of cuisines. Whether you are looking for Indian food, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican or Thai cuisine, Pune has something to offer everybody. While at Pune, you can definitely tickle your taste buds. Some of the restaurants to look out for in Pune include Zen , Chopsticks , China Park, Banjara Hills, Garden Court,Green Pavillion, Sanskruti, Abhiruchi and Ambrosia.


Travel Tips
  • Wear light cotton clothes, carry a jacket and/or half sweater for mornings and evenings
  • Be careful if you are driving on Pune's congested roads
  • Drink only bottled water. Where bottled water is not available, drink boiled water.
  • Cover your face when riding a two-wheeler as most Punekars do to avoid the heat and dust.
  • Carry a torch, batteries and a radio for weather information and news

Pune is one the cities which is reflective of the new India-young, dynamic and throbbing with life. One of the leading I-T cities in India alongwith cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi and others, Pune with its cosmopolitan population has still managed to retain the essence and glory of its past. A visit to this pulsating city should definitely be on your agenda.

Last Updated on 23 May 2013

 
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