States of India
Shivaji, the great Maratha leader, was raised in Pune, which was granted to his grandfather in 1599. Later it became the seat of power for the Brahmin Peshwa family until 1817 when it fell to the british and became their alternative capital during the monsoon. Pune (pronounced and often spelt 'Poona') has a rather more pleasant climate than muggy Mumbai.
With fast (but full) express commuter trains connecting Pune to Mumbai in less than four hours, many people who can't afford the sky-high prices of accommodation in Mumbai commute daily between the two cities. As a result, big city influence has rubbed off on Pune, and fashion shops and fast-food outlets are constantly springing up. Pune boast a prestigious university(styling itself as the 'Oxford of the East'), and is a major industrial centre. For many western visitors, the city's major attraction is the Osho Commune International, better known as the ashram of Bhagwan Rajneesh.
Places To See :
Gandhi Memorial Hall
Across the river in Yerwada in this fine memorial set in 6.5 hectares of gardens. Built by Imamsultan Muhammad Sha Aga Khan III in 1892, it was the Aga Khan's palace until 1956 after which it became a school. In 1969 it was donated to India by the Aga Khan IV. After Mahatma Gandhi delivered his momentous Quit India resolution in Bombay in 1942, the British interned him and other leaders of India's independence movement here for nearly two years. Both Kashturba Gandhi, Mahatma's wife, and Mahadoebhai Desai, his secretary for 35 years, died here during this period of imprisonment. Their ashes are kept in memorial tombs (samadhis) in the gardens. A photographics exhibition details some of the highlights of Gandhi's long career, but it is the simple personal effects (including a pair of sandals and a thermos) and the personal tragedies of Mahatma during this period that leave the deepest impression. Films buffs will recognise the building from the movie Gandhi.
Kasturba Gandhi Smriti Mandir
Kasturba Gandhi Smriti Mandir (The Aga Khan's Palace) - The gracious building with salons and suites standing amidst well laid out gardens is more than just a palace. It's a historical landmark. During the 1942 Quit India Movement, Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National Congress were imprisoned here. On the grounds of the site, is the 'samadhi' of Kasturba Gandhi, the Mahatma's wife who died here while in internment.
Just across the river on Jangali Maharaj Rd is wonderful rock-cut Pataleshvara Temple (aka Panchalesvara cave), a small 8th century temple similiar in style to the much grander rock temple at Elephanta but never completed. More importantly, it's an active temple. In front of the excavation is a circular Nandi mandapam (pavilion). Adjacent is the Jangali Maharaj (Lord of the Jungle) temple, dedicated to a Hindu ascetic who died here in 1818.
The ruins of this fortress-like palace stand in the old part of city. Built in 1736, the palace of the Peshwa rulers burnt down in 1828, but the massive walls remain. Today there's an unkempt two hectare garden inside and not a lot to see. There's a small gallery above the main entrance. The sturdy palace doors are studded with spikes designed to dissuade enemies from leaning too heavily against the entrance, and in a nearby street the Peshwa rulers executed offenders by having elephants trample them.
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial ( Yoga Institute )
Despite the pulling power of the Osho Commune, many visitors are drawn to Pune for the more serious study of hatha Yoga under the watchful eye of the legendary BKS Iyengar. In many way Iyengar, author of the book Light on Yoga, revolutionised yoga in the 1950s with his vigorous physical therapies. The institute is about 5 km west of the centre, just off Ganesh Khind Rd in Model Colony. Accommodation must be arranged outside the institute.
Singagad, the Lion Fort, is 24km south-west of Pune and makes an excellent day trip. The nearly ruined fort stands on top of a steep hill, where there are also a number of old bungalows; including one where Gandhi met with the freedom fighter Tilak in 1915.In 1670 Shivaji's general, Tanaji Malusre, led a force who scaled the steep hillside in Legends about this dramatic attack relate that the Maratha forces used trained lizards to carry ropes ropes up the hillside! A road winds up to the fort, but if you come by local bus it's a sweaty one and half to two hour walk to the top. It's a good idea to bring water and food with you. THE Pune city bus No 50 runs frequently to Sinhagad Village (from where you must walk) from 5.25 am until evening. It leaves from the 'Architect College' bus stop oppositeNehru Stadium.
Travel Information :
By Air : The Indian Airline office is at 39 Dr. B Ambedkar Rd, the main road to Mumbai.Air India is at 4 Harmeskunj Mangaldas Rd. Jet Airway has a city office at 243 century Arcade, Naurangi Baug Rd.Indian Airlines files everyday to Delhi, four times a week to Bangalore and three times to Chennai. Jet Airways has two to three flights daily to Mumbai, and daily flight to Bangalore and Delhi. Gujarat Airway files direct to Goa.
By Train : Pune is one of the Deccan's most important train stations and all express and mail trains stop here. The computerised boooking hall is upstairs in the building to the left of the station as you face the entrance.The deccan Queen and Pragati Express are fast commuter trains to Mumbai and are heavily subscribed. Other express take four to five hours. For Matheran, the only express train stopping at Neral is the Sahyadri Express.