Pune – Cultural capital of Maharashtra – India

Pune - Cultural capital of Maharashtra - India
Pune – Maharashtra – India

Pune is a fascinating city with good climate that suits everybody all year round., it is Located in the Sahayadri Hills, near the west coast of India, in Maharashtra Pune is known as the Queen of the Deccan and Oxford of the East. This cultural capital of Maharashtra is among the greenest urban areas in India. Being witnessed the ups and downs of the Maratha Empire and its great ruler Shivaji, Pune has lot to narrate about its historic past.

The city was one of the main bases of the 17th century great Maratha ruler and warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji. Pune became the seat of Peshwas, under whom Maratha power rose as a major political force. The Peshwas were renowned admirers of art and in their time, enriched the city with temples, gardens and educational institutions. Although, still history plays an important part in the city being a tourist attraction but now more and more people visit Pune for its shopping bonanzas and for the food that is offered here. ??Pune offers much to tourists and travelers. For those interested in history and architecture, Shaniwar Wada, Aga Khan Palace and the Parvati temple are a must visit. Today the top attraction of the city is the Osho Commune International. The city has a very good transport system and has several hotels of different price ranges from five stars to moderate motels.

Pune is now a center for Marathi theatre, education, crafts, culture and art. The city has one of the India’s oldest universities that attract students both from India and abroad. which is probably why it is called the Oxford of the East. Pune retains the old-world charm and its many quaint characteristics, including the omnipresent cyclists, rickshaws and a daily siesta hour that is taken very seriously indeed. Pune offers both traditional Maharashtra as well as the up-to-date and lively new look Maharashtra. Enjoy!

Pune is slowly becoming a cosmopolitan city and is now an important commercial centre. The narrow winding roads of the old Pune offer an interesting contrast to the open, spacious new city.

Attractions in Pune

  • Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

Raja Dinkar kelkar Museum was established in 1962 by Baba Dinkar Kelkar and was donated to the Maharashtra government in 1975.The museum has nearly 20,000 collections of objects paintings, handicrafts, armour-suits, musical instruments and many other objects of art and artifacts collected from all over the world. The building has been designed in a Rajasthani-style, but the galleries give a clear depiction of the life and culture of the Marathas    On the ground floor are displayed household vessels (of 18th and 19th century) made of terracotta, brass and                copper and brought from Kerala, Gujrat and Maharashtra.

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum - Pune  - Maharashtra - India
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum – Pune – Maharashtra – India

On another floor, murtis of Shri Ganesha, Shiva and Parvati with paintings showing scenes from Ramayana and paintings in manuscript are on display. Another attraction is armours made of fish scales and crocodile skin, pistols, long barrelled muskets, daggers, shields, swords and small cannons.

For those who want to experience the rich and tasteful lifestyle of maharajas in the 18th century, there is a tambool collection including nut-cutters of different shapes and sizes, betel boxes, lime containers and spittoons. The intrinsic designs are proof of the artistic brilliance of people belonging to that century.

There is a musical gallery with nearly all types of musical instruments on display. The collection also includes personal instruments contributed by the personalities such as Sarinda by P.L. Deshpande, Saarangi of Ustad Kadarbaksh Khan. One can also see a tortoise shaped veena and a gramophone of early 20th century, donated by HMV Co.

There is a room in the museum which almost steals your heart. It is a recreation of the Mastnai Mahal which was erected here in its original form.It has a luxurious setting, colourful paintings and chandeliers, all to give the feel of a palace.

  • Tribal Museum
Tribal Museum Pune
Tribal Museum Pune

It is near the railway line, which is just east to the railway station. Tribal Museum has showcased the life of the Maharashtrian Tribal Communities Maharashtra is a vast state and there are uncountable numbers of tribal in this state. Having different languages, these tribes have their own food habits, taboos, beliefs and culture.. Tribal Museum exhibits the cultures of the tribal communities. It is a place where one can find to get an insight into the lives of the tribal communities of Maharashtra.

  • Aga Khan Palace
Aga Khan Palace Pune -  - Maharashtra - India
Aga Khan Palace Pune – – Maharashtra – India

This palace was built in 1892 by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Agakhan III. The palace was later donated to India by Aga Khan IV in 1969 as a mark of respect to Gandhiji and his philosophy. The Agakhan Palace Pune is a national monument of India’s freedom movement. Following the launch of Quit India movement in 1942.Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi, Shri Mahadeobhai Desai, Dr. Sarojini Naidu and others were kept under imprisonment in the Agakhan Palace during 1942- Quit India movement. Shri Mahadeobhai Desai and Kasturba Gandhi breathed their last breath in this Palace. Marble memorials of these two great leaders are there. Agakhan Palace is known for its architectural excellence. Spreading on a 19-acre land, the picturesque beauty of the palace captivates the eye of every onlooker; with its magnificent structure. Mahatma Gandhi’s items like his bed, writing desk, Kasturba’s saree and other clothes; her Chappals (slippers) are maintained properly at their place.

  • Vishrambaug Wada
Vishrambag wada Pune  - Maharashtra - India
Vishrambag wada Pune – Maharashtra – India

This is a three-storyed mansion, known for its beautiful entrance and balcony with carved woodwork typical of the Peshwa period. It was built by the last Peshwa, Bajirao II as his residence at a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. The Wada’s eye-catching wooden facade is memorizing in its beauty, and has beautiful columns carved in the Suru form. On October 31,1880 a surprise fire engulfed the Wada ravaging the entire structure. Vishranbaug Wada was restored to its somewhat original appearance by public subscriptions and municipal contributions. For many years till 1958 it was to serve as the offices of the Poona Corporation. .

  • Bund Garden
Bund Garden - Pune  - Maharashtra - India
Bund Garden – Pune – Maharashtra – India

Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy constructed the Bund Gardens. The Bund gardens, which are next to the river, are just the place for evening strolls on the lush green grass. Boating and rowing facilities are also available over here. There is a Ganesh temple situated in the vicinity of the park too.

  • University Park

Pune University’s premise spreads over 400 acres of sprawling grounds with quiet roads and small open canteens towards the city suburbs. Mr.Woodrew laid out the university garden. Spending a pleasant quiet evening at this garden is refreshing.

Famous Places to visit near Pune

  • Panshet Dam

Tourists can visit Panset Dam for water sports. Here one can try kayaking or wind surfing at the newly developed water sports complex. Special facilities for speedboats and water scooters too are available.

  • Pimpri Chinchwad

Chinchwad is about 15 km away from Pune, Maharashtra. It is an old town, and one can find its references in Shivaji’s and Peshwa’s periods. The Ganesh Temple in Chinchwad is very famous place, and a Yatra takes place in the month of ‘Shravan’. The ‘Moraya Gosavi’ temple is pride for Chinchwad. It is associated with the 14th century Saint

  • Moravi Gosavi

The temple is a well maintained and is very old, and but it is known as Moraya Gosavi Temple. Chinchwad Ganesh Temple is situated on the banks of river ‘Pawana’. The small ghat on the backside of the temple is very pretty and the quiet atmosphere here pleases the mind.

  • Raigad

Raigad was the capital of the Marathas under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Britishers named it ‘Gibralter of the East’ as the well-fortified structure atop a hill that had repeatedly defied attackers. Shivaji built the fort in the 14th century. Chit Darwaja, also known as Jit Darwaja is at the foothills near village Pachad.

  • Khoob Ladha Buruj

It is a strategically located tower, from where any attacker from both the side could be defended. Maha Darwaja is at a distance of nearly a mile ahead after a difficult climb. This 350 years-old main entrance to the fort stands so majestically. Mena Darwaja is a special entrance for the royal ladies and the queens.

Pune Fairs and Festivals

Pune is a city of varied culture and traditions, people from all religions live here and observe different festivals with love and cordiality among each other. The people show their interests in art, music and food especially during the festive seasons. Religious festival like the Ganapati Festival is the most important festival which is celebrated with great enthusiasm.

  • Ganesh Festival
Ganesh festival Pune  - Maharashtra - India
Ganesh festival Pune – Maharashtra – India

This is the most important and biggest festival in Pune. During the month of August or September each year, the city celebrates the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. People buy Ganesh images to keep in their houses as a divine guest for five to ten days. On the day Ganesh Chaturthi, women fast to invoke the blessings of Parvati, Ganesh’s mother. Further, they place homemade delicacies like khir, panchamrit, sweets and modaks in front of the idol as ‘bhog’ and after the ritual worship, they distribute the ‘bhog’ among neighbors as ‘prasad’.The 10th day of the festival the image is then taken out ceremoniously and immersed to the river, sea or well. It is called Visarjan. Keeping the idol after this day is considered inauspicious.

  • Pune Festival

Pune festival is celebrated by the people in Pune during Ganesh Mahotsav. It is one of the biggest celebrated festivals of Pune which goes on with full passion for ten days. It starts with the installation of Lord Ganesha’s idol on the first day of Ganesh Mahotsav till the immersion of the idol on the tenth and final day of the Utsav.

The Pune Festival is a celebration of art and culture, song and dance, custom and tradition. Originally conceived as a localised cultural event, it has evolved into one of the few festivals that has been actively promoted abroad by the government of India, as a major tourist attraction. While Pune Festival has provided a unique platform for exponents of classical music and dance, keeping pace with changing times, it has also helped to promote modern trends in the performing arts, notably the dramatic arts and the traditional art of rangoli. The week-long Pune Festival provides a feast of entertainment for visitors who can participate in traditional and modern sports events, shop for exquisite textiles and handicrafts and rejoice in the colourful customs of Maharashtra.

Pune festival has become the cultural identity of the city of Pune which is known as “Oxford of the East”. It has also become an active medium facilitating the understanding of cultural and social set-up of Pune. Many consider it as a rich learning experience. By giving a new meaning to the cultural fabric and by blossoming a new aspect of cultural diversity, year after year, Pune festival has incredibly shaped Pune as the socio-cultural leader in the country.

  • Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti
Shivaji - Pune  - Maharashtra - IndiaShivaji
Shivaji – Pune – Maharashtra – India

Celebrated as the birthday of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj the great Maratha ruler, well known as the creator of the Maratha nation. In order to honor the Maharaj, every year this festival is celebrated on 19th February . The highlight of the festival is the colorful procession with dancers playing a traditional musical instrument called lezims. A float is taken around the city all the way up to the bronze statue of Chatrapati Shivaji at Kranti Chowk. Large number of people attend the procession with great fervor wearing clothes like Shivaji and his associates. Therefore, Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated on a royal note in Pune with several processions being taken out where people dress themselves up as Shivaji and his associates, various colourful events are organised to remember the achievements of this great Maratha ruler.

  • Bhaubeej

Bhaubeej is also known as Bhai Dooj in other parts of India. On Bhaubeej, sisters pray for their brother’s long and prosperous life while performing tika ceremony. Brothers also bless their sisters and present them with Bhaubeej gifts. And after the rituals are completed, everyone gorges upon delicious Basundi Poori or Shrikhand Poori .

Other festivals celebrated in Pune include Diwali, Id, Gokul Ashtami, Banganga Festival, The Elephanta Festival, Ellora Festival, Dussehra, and Gudi Padwa. These festivals beautifully represent the culture and traditions followed by the diverse city of Pune as well as the whole of Maharashtra.

Temples in Pune

  • Srimant Shree Dagdu Sheth Halvai Ganpati
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple - Pune - Maharashtra - India
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple -Pune – Maharashtra – India
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple - Pune - Maharashtra - India
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple – Pune – Maharashtra – India

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh temple near the famous historical monument Shaniwar Wada boasts of a history of nearly 100 years. This the most famous in whole of India. It is the richest Ganesh idol. It is covered with gold ornaments on it and its crown has diamonds on it. The temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh, is the most famous and must visit shrine of the city. The seven and a half feet tall idol of Ganesha is decorated with flowers, coconuts, colors and lights. This was built by Bhim Giriji Gosavi during 1754 to 1770. Here is a shrine of a lord Ganesh sitting on a Peacock. Lot of people come during the Ganesh festival to seek blessings from this place.

  • Omkareshwar Temple
Omkareshwar Mandir- Pune - Maharashtra - India
Omkareshwar Mandir- Pune – Maharashtra – India

Omkareshwar is one of the many names of the Hindu Lord, Shiva. Lord Shiva is one of the three main deities in Hindu mythology: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (another name of Lord Shiva)The Omkareshwar temple of Pune was constructed on the banks of Mutha river during the tenure of Sadashiv Bhau. The temple dates back 250 years from now, and provides an exotic view with its columns and architectural design. The temple has an old world charm of ancient India, i.e. the Omkareshwar temple of the 17th century is reminiscent of the art and architecture prevalent in India during that point of time.

  • Chaturshringi Temple
Chaturshringi Temple - Pune - Maharashtra - India
Chaturshringi Temple – Pune – Maharashtra – India

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. Chaturshringi Temple is a small hillock dedicated to Goddess The temple is, located on a hillock near Senapati Bapat Road, and is one of the famous temples in Pune, which dates back to the majestic supremacy of Chatrapati Shivaji. Situated on tranquil surroundings, the temple boasts of an interesting legend. It is said that Goddess Chatshrungee came in the dreams of an humble trader and asked him to unearth the deity of her which is apparently the same idol that adorns the temple.

  • Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Pataleshwar cave complex, Pune - Maharashtra - India
Pataleshwar cave complex, Pune – Maharashtra – India

Pataleshwar Cave Temple is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar, The rock cut temple is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar- the God of Underwater and Lord Shiva.Located on Jangali Maharaj Road in Shivaji Nagar, the temple serves as the heritage centre of Pune. The temple comes under the protected monuments category of Pune. One of the major highlights of this temple is Shiva Linga Pooja which is performed with much ardour and fervour. Thousands of devotees throng this temple on that particular day to offer their prayers and take part in the celebrations.

  • Parvati Hill and Temple
Parvati Hill Temple - Pune - Maharashtra - India.
Parvati Hill Temple – Pune – Maharashtra – India.

Parvati Hill and Temple, a temple dedicated to the Hindu deities namely, Parvati, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Devadeshwar, is situated in the southern part of Pune from where one can get a beautiful glance of the city. The third Peshwa, Balaji Bajirao alias Nana Saheb built the temple, in 1749. It is a good example of the Maratha style of temple architecture.

  • Other temples

Nageshwar Temple
Fire Temple
Kasba Ganpati Temple

How to reach Pune

Air –  Air India and other private airlines are providing regular flights to Pune from Delhi and other metro city. Private cabs, auto rickshaws or city-airport shuttle buses will cover the distance from the airport to the city centre.

Rail – Pune is one of the most important rail junctions in the Central railways zone of Indian Railways. Plenty of trains connect it to major destinations in the south, north and west of the country by mail, express and superfast trains. The Deccan Queen and Shatabdi Express are fast commuter trains from/to Mumbai, with travelling time of three-and-a-half hours approximately..

Road – Pune is easily accessible by bus from any of the major cities of Maharashtra. Government and private buses run regularly between Mumbai and Pune. Tourists can also hire taxis.

Maharashtra state roadways buses and buses operated by private companies connect the different places in the state to Pune as well as destinations in the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.

Most people travelling to Pune from Mumbai, Nasik or Aurangabad prefer to do so by road as the distance between Mumbai-Pune is 170 km, Nashik-Pune 209 km and Aurangabad-Pune is 230 km. The roads are well maintained with conveniently located motels and service stations enroute.

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