Pune is in Maharashtra
. It is second largest city in the state and is considered the state's cultural capital. The city contains the headquarters of an administrative division officially known as the Pune division
. The large student population in the city makes for a lively nightlife and vibrant atmosphere. Pune also houses fantastic restaurants, good museums and is well known for its surrounding hill forts which offer panoramic bird's-eye views.
View of Pune from Parvati Hill
Pune has a glorious history of nearly 1600 years. Pataleshwar caves (Near Jangli Maharaj Road) from the 5th century is an evidence to Pune's old settlements. Rashtrakut Kings had built a beautiful temple of Shiva called Punyeshwar, which was unfortunately destroyed during Sultan's attack on city in 13th century. Since Pune is in the state of Maharashtra, most of the residents are Marathis (or Maharashtrians).
There is a lot to be said about Pune being called "Oxford of the East". Simply put, Pune is a bona fide, one hundred percent university town. Although town it isn't, it seems too much to call it a University city. There are colleges and institutes galore here. From engineering (COEP) to medicne (BJ), arts (FC) to science (SP), Pune has everything. And it has the single most variety of students in India; Besides, there are students from outside India. What this all means is that in Pune, you're always young. The vibrancy is tremendous; for example just stroll along Fergusson road on a Saturday evening. It's full, crowded and thriving and extremely lively. Or go to Durga Coffee House on Paud Road near MIT College in early December or early June at about 12 midnight. You will see a massive crowd of students gulping down hot coffee in an attempt to stay awake for their examinations.
Osho Garden, Pune
The climate of Pune is quite pleasant. Pune has three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Summers are typically hot with maximum temperatures ranging from 35 to 42°C. The warmest month in Pune is generally April as compared to the rest of the Deccan Plateau where it is May.
Pune does not get very hot, even during peak summer the air is cool and even standing under a tree can give respite form the heat. However, as sunlight can be intense leading to skin tan and sun-burn, be sure to carry and use sunscreens (above SPF-30). The nights in Pune are significantly cooler than most other parts in this region owing to its high altitude.
The average rainfall is approx 550mm. The city often receives local and heavy thundershowers with heavy downpours in May, which brings down the temperature. The rainy season can sometimes be gloomy, with cloud cover for days together. In winter, day temperatures can be as low as 24 – 28°C and temperatures at night as low as 5 – 8°C. Winters are generally dry. Normally, the climate in Pune is pleasant during the month of November.
Osho Ashram, Pune
Pune is a fairly cosmopolitan city. Although Marathi
is the official language of the city and also the most common language spoken on the streets, most people also speak Hindi
along with English.
Pune, despite being considered a small city, is growing very fast. Some its prominent areas are:
Baner The fastest developing suburb in the city nowdays located in western region. This area is close to Hinjewadi IT park and Shree Chatrapati Sports complex. Most convienient gateway to catch Mumabai e-way from the city.
Deccan refers to the area around the Gymkhana by the same name. It is the cultural district and houses numerous theaters, art galleries and cinema halls.
Shivaji Nagar has a central bus stand and rail stop. The E-Square Multiplex is located here.
Camp is the area which refers to Central Pune. At the center of Camp lies Bund Garden, Pune's largest green patch. Most of the corporate offices and upmarket shopping malls are located here. B T Kawade Road is centrally located residential area located near camp (Eastern Pune).
Koregaon Park is located north-east of the Camp area. It is considered to be the poshest suburb and houses the city's best restaurants. Osho Ashram is here and one finds the maximum number of foreigners here.
The Peths are a cluster of little neighborhoods that constitute the old part of town. Most of the lanes in this part of the city are narrow and one can find many street vendors sell snacks on the sidewalk.
Kothrud surrounds both sides of Karve Road and the adjoining Paud Road. It has the highest density of residential complexes in Pune. It houses quality restaurants as well as shopping complexes and also has many well known Schools & Engineering Colleges. Chandni Chowk located at extreme west of Kothrud hosts a number of well known restaurants and pubs – including a 24X7 cafe. The City Pride Multiplex and the Yeshwant Rao Natyagruh are located in this region.
Aundh is in the north western part of Pune. It is a fast growing locality attracting IT and BPO companies. It is also the most convenient residential area for people working in Hinjewadi IT park.
Pashanis in the western region of Pune and only 4 km away from the Pune University. It is an extremely beautiful and pleasant part of the town on account being surrounded by hills. The Pashan lake in this region is very beautiful – especially in rainy season. Being a pleasant, calm and quiet area, it is highly suitable for residential puposes. Pashan also houses the Natioanl Chemical Laboratory (NCL), The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Necklace Park and the Balaji temple.
Kalyani Nagar is a fairly new and upcoming area located close to Koregaon Park having a multiplex and posh residential buildings.
Kharadi is an upcoming area. You can see this suburb on your left side while coming to Pune from Ahmednagar. Once a sleepy village, construction is now going on in a big way here. This area is 9 KM from the Pune railway station and about 7 KM from the airport. Zensar Technologies is in Kharadi.
Viman Nagar is another part of Pune developing extremely quickly. It is mostly a residential area with a handful of good restaurants. Some IT companies have come up in this area recently due to the development of the Gigaspace IT Park.Phoenic Market City Pune ,Pune's Biggest Mall with Worlds Leading Brands and has one of best Food Courts in the city.
Lohegaon is a suburb of Pune. The airport is located here. It is connected to Viman Nagar and Kalyani Nagar via the newly constructed VIP road.
Hadapsar is the eastern suburb of Pune. It is a fast growing locality attracting IT and BPO companies. It is also endorsed by the world bank for its developemnt activities. Hadapsar is connected to the central city by the Pune-Nagar Highway. Hadapsar is also famous as the excellent location for the adventures paragliding. Thousands of national and international tourists come here, every year to experience he paragliding.
Mundhwa is an upcoming area. The famous Magarpatta Township is just adjoining this village.
Magarpatta City is the largest IT park SEZ located in Hadapsar. It is home to companies like IBM, Amdocs, Avaya, eInfochips, Cerillion, JohnDeere, 'Sybase an SAP Company', EXL Service, Aviva, EDS, Principal Finance, Mellon, Patni, Honeywell, ADP, Accenture,Capita, Reflexis, SAS, Teradeta, Zensar, Synechron, BNY Mellon and Mphasis.
Pimpri Chinchwad is an upcoming township at the outskirts of the city. It is at a distance of 18 KM from Pune railway station. A proposal to call it "New Pune" was struck down due to a large number of controversies. With its quick access to Hinjewadi (IT hub of Pune) and Talawade (upcoming IT hub of Pune), most of the IT professionals prefer to stay in this area.
Places of Interest
Aga Khan PalacePune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. The Marathi film industry is also based here.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum- The museum is housed in a Rajasthani style building situated close to the hustle and bustle of the busy Bajirao Road. It holds a collection of the most fascinating Indian arts and crafts that you would have ever seen. Mastani Mahal which was brought and erected as it was from its original form is a masterpiece amongst it's other exhibits. It has 36 sections which include carved palace and temple doors, 2,000 year old pottery, traditional Indian lamps and 17th century paintings.
Tribal Museum – Located off Koregaon Road to the east of Pune City Stn, this unique museum houses interesting artifacts from the Sahyadri and Gondhwa regions of Maharashtra.
Mahatma Phule Museum - You can see various industrial products, agricultural and handicraft articles in this museum, which was established in 1890. It is situated on Ghole Road, in Shivaji Nagar.
National War Museum – The idea of the National War Memorial was first put forth in 1996. The citizens of Pune, under the sponsorship of the Express Citizens' Forum, set up the War Memorial fund. The committee asked the citizens of the city to contribute to the fund. From the ordinary common citizen to the big corporates, everyone decided to contribute whole-heartedly for the museum. The Foundation was laid in November 1997 and inaugurated in October 1998. The memorial is a 25-foot stone pillar.
Shaniwar Wada – This palace was built by the successors of Shivaji, the Peshwas in 1736. A massive fire destroyed the building in 1827. Most of the palace interiors also got destroyed and all that remains is the old fortified wall. But of course the impressive brass studded gates and lotus pools have also withstood the ravages of time. This palace is situated in the heart of the city next to Deccan Gymkhana, Shivajinagar, and Laxmi Road. It has become the symbol of Pune culture. There is an impressive 'Light & Sound Show' in three languages (Marathi, Hindi and English) every evening at the wada. It details the history of the Maratha empire and the significance of the Shaniwar wada in that history.
Vishrambaug Wada – The remains of this palace stand in the heart of the old city. It was built during the 18th century by a descendant of Shivaji the Peshwa. It is well known for its elaborate wooden facade.
Saras Baug – A Ganesh Temple stands in the middle of the garden in lake. It was built by Peshwa Bajirao II.
Aga Khan Palace,  – A gracious building having Italian arches, salons, suites and spacious lawns. The place is a historical landmark. During the 1942 Quit India Movement, the British interned Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi here. The palace belonged to Aga Khan, prince and head of Khoja sect who later donated the palace in order to erect a memorial , in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba (who died in this palace). Must see is a photographic exibition of various epochs in the freedom movement. You can see very rare B&W photos as well as paintings. The place is full of tranquility and solace. Also visit samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi which is in the backyard.
Parvati Hill temples – Standing atop this hillock you get a vertical glimpse of Pune. A steep flight of 108 narrow steps leads to the hill top temple built by Balaji Baji Rao. 'Nagarkjana' drum house is the imposing temple of Parvati and Devdeveshwar. This was once the private shrine of the Peshwas. It is also the final resting place of Nana Saheb Peshwa. The Parvati museum houses portraits of Peshwas, old manuscripts, coins etc.
Pune University – The site of Poona University, stately mansions at Ganeshkhind built in Italian-Gothic style was the official residence of the Governor of Mumbai during the monsoon season. The 300m high tower beckons to all these who come here in the pursuit of higher education. It is one of the oldest universities of India.
Fergusson College – Built in 1885,the College has beautiful tree-lined campus with smooth rolling hills in the background.
Katraj – A famous Jain Temple and a Snake Park are located here.
Chatushrungi Mata Temple – Senapati Bapat Road.
Pataleshwar Caves – This 8th century rock cut temple is hidden in the heart of the city, in the midst of modern high rise structures and developments, at Shivajinagar. Reminiscent of Ellora, the temple has been carved out of a single boulder of awe inspiring size which includes massive pillars, a Shiva shrine and a Nandi bull. The temple is used by worshippers even today.
Bund Garden – This garden is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Udyan. It was built by Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, on the right bank of the Mula-Mutha to provide the poor with water during summer. Main attraction here is the evening boat rides, horse rides etc. The garden is famous for Bhel-Puri and Pani-Puri. It is situated on the Airport road and very close to the Camp area.
Sinhagad and Khadakwasala – This is a fort nearby which is a beautiful place to see. This is also a historic place in King Shivaji era. Khadakwasala has a dam and this place is famous for natural beauty around. A lot of folks flock here during rainy season.
Bhimshankar Wildlife Sanctuary – It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1974 and situated at an altitude of 2100 feet to 3800 feet, spread over three districts of Pune, Raigad and Thane. Bhimashankar wildlife's vegetation comprises of semi-evergreen forests as well as western tropical hill forests. Two major Tributaries of Krishna River named Bhim and Ghod, originate from this area.
Alliance Francaise de Pune, 270/D, Patrakar Nagar Rd.
Goethe Institut, 14/3B, Dhole Patil Rd.
Pune Music Cultural Centre, 459/1, Sadashiv Peth.
Fortune Art Gallery, 86/1, Erandwana, Deccan Gymkhana.
Baneshwar, Pune-Satara Rd. A favorite picnicking spot.
Shirgaon, Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Chateau Indage Winery, Narayangaon. A pleasant 80 km drive through toll roads and ghats. The Chateau has a good restaurant as well.
Shirdi, Pune-Nashik Highway. Shirdi famous for Sai baba temple. Also residence of Sai baba.
NDA (National Defence Acadamy),
Pune has a full calendar of events, ranging from Classical Music to Rock Concerts. However, Pune's most famous festival is the Pune Festival, which is held during the Ganesha Mahotsav.
The Ganesh Mahotsav initiated by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, today is celebrated with great enthusiasm, as city interiors almost remain blocked for ten days. Pune has more than 2000 mandals with Dagdusheth Halwai being the biggest and most famous one.
Sawai Gandharva, which started back in the 1960s, has had every Indian and international artist perform and has given rise to a number of budding ones too. It is held in the months of December from dawn to dusk over three days.
The Osho Festival is another international crowd puller in Pune. Held in the Osho Aashram in Koregaon Park, disciples and followers of Bhagwaan Rajneesh make it a point to attend this festival.
The Chaturshringi Fair is an annual event. It is held overnight on Navratri at Senapati Bapat Road. Giant-wheels are the main attractions but the food sold at the stalls is delicious too.
The Pune International Film Festival – takes place annually and attracts some splendid films from around the world. This festival which generally takes place in January, lasts for a week and is a treat for film lovers in the city.
A number of College festivals have become very commercialised, but still attract big crowds and a very high degree of competition from colleges all over Pune. Verve organised by Express Youth Forum is the biggest inter-collegiate cultural festival in India while Concepts organized by the Pune Institute of Computer Technology (PICT) is a very popular engineering (technical) event. So all year round, there is enough excitement to keep Puneites and tourists on their toes!
Pune is a city where you will find an excellent range of streetside shops as well as a few outstanding malls. Pune is a good place to pick up some Indian slippers made of rubber. Kolhapuri chappals can also be bought off the pavement. They tend to be soft and comfortable, and are manufactured in the Maharashtrian town of Kolhapur a few hundred miles south of Pune.
All the places listed here are places where you can bargain hard and get some good stuff off the pavement for rock-bottom prices.
M.G. Road.Any items such as shoes, clothing, pots, pans, electronics, stationary, furniture, kitchen sinks etc. can be found at Mahatma Gandhi Road, known to locals simply as M.G. Road.
Laxmi Road.A very huge market selling gold jewelry and clothes.
Tulshi Baug.Located on the Bajirao Road, near Maharashtra Bank. It is a must visit and also a favourite middle-class family market. Very cheap ladies garments, footwear and other items required for daily use are available at low prices.
Fashion Street.Located in the Pune Camp Area near M.G. Road. A special market where you can easily bargain your way to lots of inexpensive readymade garments, footwear, leather items and fashion accessories.
Juna Bazar.Located near the Pune Railway Station (en route to the Pune Municipal Corporation). The market is held every Wednesday and Sunday on the street. It is sort of a flea market and you could get your hands on a variety of interesting objects for throw-away prices including old rare coins, gramophone records and other such unique paraphernalia.
Hongkong Lane.Located in Deccan near the Garware Bridge,the lane has a blink-and-you-will-miss-it entrance. You will be surprised to find all that this tiny lane has to offer, including some very good bargains on bags,clothes,accessories,books and footwear.
Vishram Baug Wada, there is a shop inside Vishram baug wada where you get variety of decorative as well as daily use items. the highlight of this shop is all the goods are created by small groups of women (Mahila Bachat Gata). Most of the items are handmade and exclusive variety. We must support such groups of women who are fighting against all odds to become independent.
Koregaon Park, One of the several boutiques on North Main Road and its by lanes in Koregaon Park. These are small exclusive boutiques and have a good collection, so expect to pay for your clothes, but you may find the occasional great bargain.
Puneites are crazy about books. This shows in the number of excellent bookshops scattered throughout the city. The area known as 'Appa Balwant Chowk' is famous for various big and small book shops. Some of them specialize in special subjects like Law books, management books, religious books, computer books, music books etc.
Birds of Pune available from Centre for Environment Education and Kalpavriksh
Ajit Law Book Depot – Appa Balwant Chowk.
The Crossword chain of bookshops has 8 branches in Pune.
The WORD bookshop, Boottee St, Camp.
Book World, Basement, Sagar Arcade, FC Road.
Book Space, Ganesh Peth.
Landmark , SGS Mall, Molendina Rd.
Manney's Book Centre, Molendina Rd, Pune Camp Area.
Popular Book Shop, Deccan Gymkhana.
Utkarsh Book Depot, Deccan Gymkhana, Near Garware Bridge.