In the mind of every Punekars load of attractions starts to evoke when they are being asked to outline the key attractions that knit them to the second largest city of Maharashtra. When you ask about Pune, the city is laid out with ample of attractions to offer besides its imperial heritage and religious sites. Adding one more knoll to the heart-melting landscape of Pune, the city inhabits a moderate climate all round the calendar making the place one of the popular weekend destinations near Mumbai.
Before taking you for a ride to the soul-stirring attractions of Pune, let’s catch a glimpse of the metropolis.
Situated nearly 3 hours aloof from the commercial capital of India and positioned at an elevation of around 560 meters above sea level, Pune is banked beside the Mutha River. Once eminent as Poona, the city used to be the centre of power of the Maratha realm. If you plunge into the saga of Pune, the historic drive of the city was initiated way back during 847 AD. It used to be the first capital of Shivaji. Probably this is why you get to notice various historical monuments in the city at today’s date.
Over the periods of time, the city has witnessed a significant transition in all aspect. Today, the cultural hub of Maharashtra is also popular as the “Oxford of the East”. The reason being, numbers of swanky and result driven academic institutions are set up here in recent past moulding the pride of tomorrow. Nonetheless, Pune is equally a popular getaway for adventure freaks offering them ample of rousing opportunities to experience.
Being the birthplace of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Sant Tukaram, one can observe here a rich variety of culture and customs sustaining the traditions of Maratha roots. Although, the mass community in Pune are Hindu and Marathi, but you can still observe here people from different culture and religions as well. Majority of the population speak here Marathi language. However, Hindi and English are also spoken here with equal gusto.
The inhabitants of Pune are religious by nature and they are relatively generous to guests. Some of the popular festivals in Pune are Chaturshringi and Osho Festival. Apart from these, all other common Hindu festivals like Holi, Navaratri, Diwali, Ganesh Chathurthi and Janmasthami are also celebrated here with equal enthusiasm.
When it comes to the food taste of Pune, the city stands no far offering you some lip-smacking cuisines. Apart from its common Maharashtrian dishes, some of the local foods that you can’t afford to miss in Pune include Puran Poli, Alu chi Vadi, Pithla Bhakri, Amti, Matki Ki Usal etc. One of the significant features of the platter in Pune is that it contains large amount of garlic, green chillies and coconut. Hence, one can expect spice full of platters when in Pune.
Thus, it can be said that to witness the transition in the cultural capital of Maharashtra, you must make it to Pune.
One of the bustling weekend destinations near Mumbai, Pune faces a tropical climate. March to May is known for scorching summers in Pune. During summers the temperature here climbs up to a maximum level of 42°C. Though, gentle breeze at night makes the climate quite soothing for the residents here.
Following the cyclic season, monsoon hits the region in the month of July and it lasts here till September. Pune doesn’t see intense rainfalls during monsoon, but mild drizzle drops down the temperature here to a soothing extent.
After monsoon, winter encircles the city in the month of November and it continues here till February. Entry of winter brings great amount of relief for the Punekars with a minimum temperature up to 10°C.
Best time to visit:
Being the cultural and educational hub, Pune is visited all round the year. However, for a traveller or weekender the best time to rejoice the spectacular attractions of Pune is during winter. Favourable climate that time makes the presence of visitors more blissful and happening.
Places to see:
Starting from historic heritage to audacious activities, Pune has a diverse range of attractions to offer. Here’s the list of some of the major places to see in Pune:
#Aga Khan Palace
If you are a history buff, nothing could be as stunning as visiting the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. Being one of the significant parts of historic Quit India Movement in 1942, the place has witnessed the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi. This is why Aga Khan Palace is also popular as the Gandhi National Museum in Pune. As the name suggests, the palace was built way back in 1892 by Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III.
The Gandhi National Museum on the other hand showcases an array of paintings and photos portraying the life of Mahatama Gandhi. Apart from its historic significance, the Aga Khan Palace also pulls plenty of visitors for its architectural brilliance and a sprawling garden around the palace. This place is open for public from 9AM to 6PM in return of certain entry fees.
Constructed in the reverence of Mahadji Shinde, Shinde Chhatri is one more historic place to explore in Pune. The three-storied monument is constructed in Rajasthani syle alluring the attention of lot many visitors here. You will also find a temple of Lord Shiva, which is said to be built by warrior Mahadji Shinde way back in 1974.
Once you enter the main hall in the Shinde Chhatri, you will get to notice a silver statue of Mahadji, eye-catching carvings, yellow stoned idols of saints, paintings and several photographs of the Scindia family. The best time to visit the Chhatri is from 6AM to 9PM.
History and historic tales encircles the entire city of Pune. Hence, you can expect a wide variety of historic heritage while holidaying here. Nestled near the Mula-Mutha River, Shaniwar Wada was constructed decades back in 1736 by Bajirao Peshwa. Although, a massive part of the Shaniwar Wada was destroyed by severe fire in 1827, still one can catch a picturesque vista of the remnants here. There are five gateways and nine bastions in the Shaniwar Wada. One of the alluring parts of Shaniwar Wada is its unique blend of Maratha craftsmanship and Mughal architecture. You can visit here from 8AM to 5PM throughout the week. However, entering Shaniwar Wada incurs INR 5 for Indian visitors and INR 125 for foreigners.
If visiting a renowned meditation resort is something you are waiting for long, Osho Ashram may be the place for you. One of the world-famed meditation resorts Osho Ashram offers you some life time solace of meditation along theatres, massages, workshops and group of visitors coming here from more than hundred countries. The Ashram premise is sprawled over 35 acre land and there lies a beautiful park as well in the ashram complex. The name of the park is Nulla Park, where the entire ambiance is filled with mesmerising sounds of burbling waters, birds and gentle breeze. You can also go here for pursuing different meditation courses. So all you can say about the place is that it is one of the fabulous sites that you must visit in Pune.
#Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
Located at Bajirao Road in Pune, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a great place to witness some implausible art and crafts. It is said that these vibrant art and crafts were collected here by late Shri Dinkar Kelkar. There are more than 35 sections in the museum showcasing an array of antiques even from the time of 17th century. Some of the wide range collections that you come to explore here include hookah pipes, pottery, musical instruments, bronzes, textile, coins, paintings, Sculptures and several other items from the Mughal and Maratha period. You can visit Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum from 9.30AM to 5.30PM; and the entry fees for kids and adults are INR 5 and INR 20 respectively. On the other hand for foreign visitors, the entry fee is INR 200.
#National War Museum
Built in the heartfelt tribute to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation, National War Museum is a prestigious place to visit in true essence. Spread with 25 feet of land, the pillar made museum is one of the major tourist pullers in Pune. This museum was incorporated in 1997 exhibiting some of the exhilarating war equipments like MIG 23 BN Jet Fighter, arms, uniforms etc. that were used during the Kargil War. In addition, it also showcases some personal souvenirs that were presided over the British Army as scottish contribution. National War Museum, Pune can be visited every day from 9AM to 5.30PM.
#Pataleshwar Cave Temples
Well, apart from historic monuments, Pune has several religious sites to explore as well. Situated across the river in Shivaji Nagar, Pataleshwar Cave Temples carries its long lasting existence since 8th century. The temples here are built devoted to Lord Pataleshwar and Shiva. Hence, you will come to notice Nandi Bull and Shiva Linga here. Besides, some eye-catching carvings on the black rocks and towering pillars are two other attractions at Pataleshwar Cave Temples. Plenty of Hindu devotees pay a regular visit here to show their great reverence to the Lord Shiva. However, one of the most phenomenal attractions of this place is a museum built inside the complex. This museum was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for boasting the grain of rice that has 5000 characters inscribed on it.
# Parvati Hill
Perched at an elevation of nearly 2100 ft in the southern end of Pune, Parvati Hill is a worth visiting site. This hill offers some thrilling scopes of trekking and climbing to the adventure buffs. Apart from adventure, what allures most the visitors here at Parvati Hill is the blend of four religious temples of Lord Ganesh, Kartikeya, Vishnu and Shiva. There is also a Parvati Temple, which is visited by many worshipers. To reach atop the temple and catch a glimpse of these sacred temples, one needs to climbs 108 unpaved stone steps. There is a museum as well showcasing various art crafts from the tenure of Maratha.
# Bund Garden
Looking for some offbeat location to explore in Pune? Here comes it. Located merely 2 Kms from the city centre; Bund Garden is the place of interest that may add some variety to your voyage. This is an absolute paradise for a nature lover. Colourful flowers and lush meadows around the garden serve you a perfect ambience filled with tranquillity and romance. Bund Garden is also visited by family and lovebirds for picnicking and laze around. In addition, melodious sounds of vibrant birds and joyful boat riding may add more spice to your presence here.
# Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park
Holyday turns more happening when you feel the thrill around the place you visit. Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park or Katraj Snake Park is one such delight in Pune. Earlier, this park used to be an abode to various snakes and reptiles. However, with times the park has been turned to a sheer zoo housing different wildlife in it. Some of the major wild attractions in the midst of the lush bush here include tiger, deer, elephants, sloth bear etc. A round of boating in the Katraj Lake may bring sure shot smile to your family members and children. Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park is open from 9.30AM to 5PM.
Taking a ride in the west of the city takes you to one more spectacular site in Pune. The key attraction here is a lake, which is formed utilising the water of water of Mulshi Dam. Considering the growing interests among the visitors, several breathtaking resorts are set up here from time-to-time. Stepping into the Mulshi Dam is a wonderful idea for nature buffs and love birds. A leisure walk around the lake may offer you some remarkable moments in Pune. If you are here with beloved buddy, do pay a visit to Mulshi Dam.
# Lohagarh Fort
Located nearly 57 Kms aloof the main city, Lohagarh Fort is one more site in Pune that carries its historic significance from the decree of Peshwa. Though the fort is now on its relics, but one can’t deny the hidden grandeur lies within. Lohagarh Fort is an absolute delight for photographers. A true history lover can’t leave Pune without exploring the inner magnificence of Lohagarh Fort.
# Vetal Hill
Hill always adds more thrill to the journey of a traveller. In a city like Pune where most of the visitors flock to witness the historic heritage, Vetal Hill offers them a choice with variety. Lush bush environs and picturesque vista drives you to a new height of excursion at Vetal Hill. Perched at an elevation of nearly 2,600 ft, Vetal Hill is the highest point in the entire city of Pune. This hill is also popular as Vetal Tekdi amongst the local travellers. Scaling atop the pinnacle offers you some breathtaking panorama of surrounding terrain. Vetal Hill is an absolute hideout for trekkers, hikers and rock climbers.
#Pu La Garden
Exploring a garden may serve you a blend of freshness and solace. Inspired by the Japanese Okayama’s Kōraku-en Garden, Pu La Garden is a must visit in Pune. This garden is also known as the Pune-Okayama Friendship garden. On entering the garden you get to know the reason why this is something beyond just a garden. Pu La Garden houses an array of exotic flowers, vibrant plants and charismatic landscape making this garden a worth visiting site in Pune. The lush lawn in the midst of the garden offers some great space for children’s hangout. Natural abundance and serenity is the key attributes that pulls plenty of visitors at Pu La Garden in Pune. The best time to visit here from 6AM to 10.30AM and again from 4PM to 8 PM. Photography is not allowed at Pu La Garden and the garden incurs entry fees as well.
Well, there is lot more than the above cited attractions that one can explore in Pune. Some of other leading attractions that you can’t miss in Pune are Vishrambaug Wada, Chaturshringi Temple, Saras Baug, Khadakwasla Dam, Peshwa Udyan, Darshan Museum etc.
In addition, the place also offers you a wide range of opportunities for practicing some outdoor activities like trekking, camping, paragliding, bike riding and mounts climbing. If you want to taste and pack some sickly bakery items, MG Road is the right place for you to explore. Pune also boasts various luxurious malls and flea markets for shopaholics.
It seems quite difficult to portray each and every sites of Pune with appropriate words. The best delight can be felt once you plan your weekend trip and visit this popular weekend destinations near Mumbai.
How to Go:
For weekenders near Mumbai, Pune is merely few hours aloof. However, for travellers outside Mumbai and Maharashtra, Pune can be reached quite conveniently by train and flights. Let’s take a look on the following means of commutation to reach Pune:
By Air: Located nearly 10 Kms from the main city, Pune Airport is the nearest airport for air travellers. Global flyers can also reach Pune via Mumbai International Airport. There are various popular carriers that ply between Pune and many other major destinations in India. From Pune airport, one can easily hire a cab or get into a bus to travel further in the city.
By Train: For railway commuters, Pune has its own railhead connecting the city to various major parts of the country. If you are travelling from Mumbai, numbers of trains you will find to reach Pune. Total travel time from Mumbai by train is around 3 hours 10 minutes. However, depending on the train you board the travel time may vary. Some of the important trains to reach Pune are Udyan Express, Deccan Express, Indrayani Express, Intercity Express etc.
By Road: Probably the most comfortable and convenient ways to reach Pune from Mumbai is by road. There are frequent state transport buses for Pune that ply from Mumbai. In addition, one can also hire a cab or drive a car to reach Pune by road. The travel time by bus between these two places is nearly 3 hours 15 minutes. On the other hand by car the distance can be travelled in less than 3 hours.
Places to stay:
For visitors finding a comfortable accommodation in Pune is not a challenging task. The city is laid out various budget and luxury hotels catering all basic amenities to visitors. By spending an amount of INR 650 to INR 3500, one can avail different comfy places to stay in Pune.
Here are some of the comfortable hotels that you may refer while holidaying here:
#Hotel Rathi Residency
Diagonal Mall, Raje Shivajinagar,
Sector 16, Plot No 1, Ayush Garden,
Spine Road, Chikhali,
Chinchwad Pune, India 411019
454/5, Mitramandal Chowk, Near Sarasbaug,
Swargate, Pune, India 411009
Sadhu Vaswani Circle, Near Poona Railway Station,
Pune, India 411001
#The O Hotel
North Main Road, Koregaon Park,
Pune, India 411001
#Keys Prima Hotel
Parc Estique Opposite Inorbit Mall,
Viman Nagar, Pune, India 411014
Just few hours ride from Mumbai and you get reach your favourite weekend destination. So, this weekend plan a short weekend trip to Pune and take home some eternal reminiscences from the second largest city in Maharashtra. Pune, a city with cultural, adventurous and historic eminence makes you look no further that spending a blustering weekend near Mumbai.