About Pune

Pune: (Marathi pronunciation: [puɳe]; English: /ˈpuːnə/ also called Poona , the official name until 1978), is the second largest city in the Indian state of Maharashtra after Mumbai (Earlier Bombay). Local language is Marathi and majority population is also fluent in Hindi and English.
It is the ninth most populous city in India with an estimated population of over 3.13 million. Along with its extended city limits Pimpri Chinchwad and the three cantonment towns of Pune, Khadki and Dehu Road, Pune forms the urban core of the eponymous Pune Metropolitan Region(PMR).  
According to the 2011 census, the urban area has a combined population of 5.05 million while the population of the metropolitan region is estimated at 7.27 million. Situated 560 metres (1,837 feet) above mean sea level on the Deccan plateau on the banks of the Mutha and Mula rivers, Pune is also the administrative headquarters of its namesake district.
In the 18th century, the city was the seat of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire and so was one of the most important political centres on the Indian subcontinent. Pune is ranked the number one city in India in the ease of living ranking index.
The city is considered to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It has been traditionally an epicentre of Marathi literature
It is known by many sobriquets - a few popular being
  • Oxford of the East: because of a huge number of educational institutes,
  • Detroit of India: because of a large number of automobile manufacturers,
  • Queen of the Deccan: because in earlier days Pune or Poona was a salubrious green city with a "Hill station like atmosphere” and was hence the best city on the Deccan Plateau.
The city has emerged as a major educational hub in recent decades, with nearly half of the total international students in the country studying in Pune. Research institutes of information technology, education, management and training attract students and professionals from India and overseas. Several colleges in Pune have student-exchange programmes with colleges in Europe.
Pune today is a blend of rich heritage and modernization. Pune boasts of a number of educational institutes in India like the National Defence Academy, IUCAA, NCL, FTII, and is a host to Leading software companies like Infosys, Satyam, IBM and Wipro. Pune's proximity to Mumbai, coupled with its temperate climate, make Pune an ideal choice for living and business. Pune city has the largest green coverage of about 40% among any Indian city.
The Ganapati or Ganesh (God with the elephant head) Festival celebrated yearly, has made its mark on the tourist map of India.
Pune is one of the major IT hubs of India, and a home to many web design companies. That makes Pune one of the leading Software exporters in India.
Pune city has experienced tremendous developments related to physical infrastructure, with improved roads, transportation has become safer for pedestrians, cyclists and differently abled.
  (Ref: Various sources from the Internet)


Some of the major scenic and touristic attractions in and around Pune are :

Aga Khan Palace

The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in Pune, India. Built in 1892, it is one of the biggest landmarks in Indian history. The palace was an act of charity by the Sultan who wanted to help the poor in the neighbouring areas of Pune, who were drastically hit by famine. Aga Khan Palace is a majestic building and is considered to be one of the greatest marvels of India.The palace is closely linked to the Indian freedom movement as it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. It is also the place where Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died. In 2003, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) declared the place as a monument of national importance.

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwarwada is an 18th-century fortification in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1732, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818, when the Peshwas lost control to the East India Company after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the center of Indian politics in the 18th century. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site.

Sinhgad

Sinhagad, Sinhgarh, or Sinhgad (The Lion's Fort), is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Pune, India. Previously called Kondhana the fort has been the site of many important battles, most notably the Battle of Sinhagad in 1671. It was also strategically located at the centre of a string of other forts such as Rajgad, Purandar and Torna. Perched on an isolated cliff of the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, it is situated on a hill rising some 760 metres above ground level and 1,312 metres above mean sea level.[citation needed] Given natural protection by its very steep slopes, the walls and bastions were constructed at only key places; it has two gates – the Kalyan Darwaza in the south-east and the Pune Darwaza in the north-east.

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is in Pune, Maharashtra, India. It contains the collection of Dr. Dinkar G. Kelkar (1896–1990), dedicated to the memory of his only son, Raja.The three-storey building houses various sculptures dating back to the 14th century.[citation needed] There are also ornaments made of ivory, silver and gold, musical instruments (a particularly fine collection)[citation needed], war weapons and vessels. The collection was started around 1920 and by 1960 it contained around 15,000 objects. In 1962, Dr. Kelkar handed his collection to the Department of Archaeology within the Government of Maharashtra.

Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple

Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune is dedicated to the Hindu God Ganesh. The temple is popular in Maharashtra and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Devotees of the temple include celebrities and Chief Ministers of Maharashtra who visit during the annual ten-day Ganeshotsav festival. The main Ganesh idol is insured for sum of Rs.10 million (US 150,000).

Pataleshwar

The Pataleshwar Cave Temple (also called Panchaleshvara or Bamburde) is a rock-cut cave temple, carved out in the 8th century in the Rashtrakuta period. It is located in what is now Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, India. It was originally situated outside the town, but the city limits have expanded so that it is now located on the downtown Jangli Maharaj Road. It has been declared as a protected monument by the government. The temple, made of basalt rock, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The sanctum - a cube-shaped room about 3–4 metres on each side - houses a linga - the symbol of Shiva and there are two smaller cells on each side. In front of the cave is a circular Nandi mandapa, its umbrella shaped canopy supported by massive square pillars. This mandapa is one of the peculiar structures of Pataleshwar.

Parvati Hill

Parvati Hill is a hillock in Pune, India. The hillock rises to 2,100 feet (640 m) above sea level (It includes Punes MSL which is 560m from sea level, so effecitvely it's 80m(263 feet) from ground base). Atop the hillock is the Parvati Temple, one of the most scenic locations in Pune. The temple is the oldest heritage structure in Pune and was built during the rule of the Peshwa dynasty. For visitors, Parvati hill is also an observation point that offers a panoramic view of Pune. It is the second highest point in Pune (after Vetal Hill). The hill has 103 steps leading to the top of the hill where the temple is situated. The main temple, Devdeveshwara, is made of blackstone. It was completed under Balaji Baji Rao, in 1749. Other temples are dedicated to Vitthal and Rukmini, Vishnu, and Kartikeya.

Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park

The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, commonly known as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoo, is located in Katraj near the city of Pune in India. It is managed by the Pune Municipal Corporation. The 130-acre (53 ha) zoo is divided into three parts: an animal orphanage, a snake park, and a zoo, and includes the 42-acre (17 ha) Katraj Lake.

Chaturshringi Temple

The Chaturshringi Temple also spelt as Chaturshrungi Temple is a Hindu temple in the city of Pune in Maharashtra state of India. The temple is located on the slope of a hill on Senapati Bapat Road. It is said to have been built during the reign of the Maratha king Shivaji. The temple is looked after by Chaturshringi Devasthan (Temple) trustees. Chaturshringi (Chatur means four) is a mountain with four peaks. The Chaturshringi temple is 90 feet high and 125 feet wide and is a symbol of power and faith. One has to climb more than 100 steps to reach the shrine of Goddess Chaturshringi. In the temple premises there are also temples of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesh. This includes eight miniature idols of Ashtavinayaka. These small temples are located on the four separate hillocks.Also includes the temple of vetal maharaj at the baner pashan end.

Shinde Chhatri

Shinde Chhatri located in Wanawadi, a well known place in Pune, India, is a memorial dedicated to the 18th century military leader Mahadji Shinde who served as the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army under the Peshwas from 1760 to 1780. It is one of the most significant landmarks in the city and is reminiscent of the Maratha rule. It is a hall that marks the spot of Mahadji Shinde's cremation on 12 February 1794. The exterior is captivating and has intricate and detailed carvings. In 1794, the complex of the memorial only had a temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which was built by Mahadji Shinde himself. In 1965, a samadhi (memorial) was constructed outside the sanctum of the Shiva temple, in memory of Mahadji Shinde, exactly where he was cremated. Madhavrao Scindia was responsible for the building of the complex, along with the memorial of Mahadji Shinde.

Saras Baug

Saras Baug is a major landmark in the city of Pune in India. The place where the park now stands was once occupied by a small lake. However, the lake dried up and was later developed into Saras Baug. The whole 25-acre (10 ha) complex is known as Saras Baug. The Ganesh temple in Saras Baug is also known as Talyatla Ganpati.

Khadakwasla Dam

Khadakwasla Dam is a dam on the Mutha River 20 km from the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. This dam across the river Mutha created an attractive lake, now known as Khadakwasla Lake. This lake is the main source of water for Pune and its suburbs. The largest lake in the area is Mulshi Lake, some 50 km northwest of Khadakwasla, which has a rather large dam confining it. It releases water into the Mula River, which meanders some 75 km before reaching Pune District near Dapodi and meets up with the Mutha River in Central Pune at the Sangam Bridges and continuing Eastwards via Bund Garden to Daund before joining the River Bhima. Though there is a Water Supply set-up near Holkar Bridge, next to Bombay Engineering Group and Centre (BEG), there is very little water in the hyacinth-choked Mula River, except during the monsoons.

Bund Garden, Pune

Just 2 km from the Pune Railway Station lies this popular retreat for people of all ages. Known today as the "Mahatma Gandhi Udyan" a reference to the existing bridge that leads to the Gandhi National Memorial, Bund Garden, was originally envisaged as a mini dam. Built by Phiroze Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, one of the longest serving members of the Bombay Stock Exchange, it served as a source of irrigation water for the under-privileged.Avid joggers throng the area during the early mornings, for whom an exclusive jogging track has been added in the vicinity. Take a boat ride, while enjoying the splendid view of the garden. Sit down under the shades of a tree with a book in your hand. For the kids, the Park has a separate section replete with see-saws and swings. Frequently, magic shows and horse rides are arranged within the premises to keep both the kids and their parents entertained.

Lohagad Fort

Lohagad is one of the many hill forts of Maharashtra state in India. Situated close to the hill station Lonavala and 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Pune, Lohagad rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level. The fort is connected to the neighboring Visapur fort by a small range. The fort was under the Maratha empire for the majority of time, with a short period of 5 years under the Mughal empire.

Mulshi Dam

Mulshi is the name of a major dam on the Mula river in India. It is located in the Mulshi taluka administrative division of the Pune district of Maharashtra State. Water from the dam is used for irrigation as well as for producing electricity at the Bhira hydroelectric power plant, operated by Tata Power. The station operates six 25MW Pelton turbines established in 1927 and one 150MW Pumped Storage Unit.In 1920-21, during the construction of the dam and power station, Pandurang Mahadev Bapat led Mulshi Satyagrah, a movement to represent farmers whose land had been taken to build the project. He was dubbed Senapati (commander) in recognition of his leadership.

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church is located in the gaon of Ghorpuri in Pune, Maharashtra state, India. It is the oldest church in the Deccan region and thus is known as the "mother church of the Deccan". The church was built to meet the spiritual needs of the British soldiers stationed in and around Pune. The church was built by Lieutenant Nash of the East India Company's Engineers. The foundations of the building were laid by Bishop Reginald Heber, the Bishop of Calcutta, in 1825. He described the church to be a large building but in bad architectural taste.[citation needed] A 1,500-member congregation worships there every Sunday, and the church currently is under the jurisdiction of the Church of North India.

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