PUNE, the Cultural Capital of Maharashtra, is the second-largest city in Maharashtra and the seventh most populous city in India. It is also known as the “OXFORD of the EAST” due to the presence of numerous famous educational institutions and is one of the leading Information Technology (IT) Hubs of the nation. This blog will introduce and guide you through the top 20 places to visit in Pune.
Pune, which was once the seat of the Peshwas, the prime minister of the Maratha Empire, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Once known as “Punavadi“, this city situated on the Deccan Plateau displays great variety be it culture, history, sports, patriotism, nature, or wildlife in spite of the urbanization factor. Let me take you on a tour of the places to visit in Pune or “Punyanagari” – a city that has managed to have a perfect semblance between the old and new world.
Places to Visit in Pune: An Overview
|Places to visit in Pune for first-timers Shaniwarwada, Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Sarasbaug Ganesh Temple, Parvati Hill
|Places of Historic importance Shaniwarwada, Sinhagad Fort, Lal Mahal, Aga Khan Palace, Vishrambaug Wada
|Spiritual places Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple, Sarasbaug Ganesh Temple, Pataleshwar Cave Temple, Shinde Chatri, Chatushrungi Temple, Darshan – A Life-Changing Experience
|Places to visit in Pune for Cricket lovers Blades of Glory Cricket Museum
|Must visit Parks / Gardens for Kids Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Yashwantrao Chavan Udyan, Pu La Deshpande Udyan, Gram Sanskruti Udyan
|Must visit Museums Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, National War Museum, Joshi’s Museum of Miniature Railways, Blades of Glory Cricket Museum
Shaniwarwada, a historical fort is a must-visit place in Pune. It was built in the year 1732 and was seat to the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire until 1818 when they lost to the British East India Company after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. The Shaniwar Wada was originally the seven-storied capital building. In 1773, Narayanrao, who was the fifth and ruling Peshwa then, was murdered by guards on orders of his uncle Raghunathrao and aunt Anandibai. A popular rumor says that Narayanrao’s ghost still calls for help – “Kaka mala vachwa“(Uncle save me) on full moon nights. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire but the remains are now maintained as a tourist attraction now.
Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune is dedicated to the Hindu God Ganesh. The temple is quite popular in Maharashtra. Lakhs of pilgrims visit the temple every year, especially during the 10 Day Ganesh Festival. A Lingayat trader and Sweet maker – Dagdusheth Halwai (Gadve) constructed the temple. The temple is a beautiful construction and boasts a rich history of over 125 years. It is built such that one can view the proceedings in the temple and the idol from outside as well. The idol is adorned with nearly 40 kilos of gold.
Timings: 8 AM – 6:30 PM daily
Sarasbaug Ganesh Temple
The Sarasbaug Temple houses the idol of Shri Siddhivinayak Gajanana (God who fulfills all the wishes). It was built by Shrimant Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa in 1784. A sacred ground of faith for millions of devotees in Pune and around the world, on average the Sarasbaug temple is visited by about ten thousand devotees a day. A lake filled with beautifully blossomed lotuses surrounds the main shrine. The lake is bordered by lush green lawns on all sides which adds to the attraction of this place.
Timings: 5:30 AM – 8 PM daily
Image Source: https://www.thrillophilia.com/attractions/parvati-hill
Parvati Hill is one of the most scenic locations in Pune. It is situated at a height of 2100 feet above sea level. The temples on Parvati hill are the oldest heritage structures in Pune and reminiscent of the Peshwa dynasty. It offers an aerial view of the city and for the Punekars, it is a respite from the noise and pollution of city life. One has to climb 103 steps to reach the top of the hill. There is one Devdeveshwar temple on the hill and other temples of Lord Kartikeya, Vishnu, and Vitthal. Located on this hill is an interesting museum that commemorates the Peshwa rule. Near the museum is situated the Samadhi Sthan of Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa who took his last breath here.
Timings: 5 AM – 8 PM daily
The Lal Mahal (Red Palace) of Pune is one of the most famous monuments. In the year 1630 AD, Shivaji Maharaj‘s Father Shahaji Bhosale, established the Lal Mahal for his wife Jijabai, and son. Shivaji grew up here and stayed in the Lal Mahal till he captured the Torna fort in 1645. The Lal Mahal is famous for an encounter between Shivaji and Shaistekhan of the Mughal Army, where Shivaji cut off the later’s fingers when he was trying to escape from the window of the Lal Mahal. The current Lal Mahal is a memorial holding a collection of large-size oil paintings based on the significant events in the life of Shivaji, a statue of Rajmata Jijabai, a carving depicting Shivaji using a gold plough along with Rajmata Jijabai, a fiber model of Raigad with horsemen and a huge map of Maharashtra indicating the forts of Shivaji.
Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM
Entry Fees: Rs. 3/- per head
Sinhagad is a fort located at a distance of 35 km from Pune. The fort is at a height of 4320 feet above sea level. It was initially known as “Kondhana” after sage Kaundinya. There have been many battles fought at Sinhagad with the one fought in March 1670 being the most famous one. Tanaji Malusare, a Koli general of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj of the Maratha Empire, scaled a steep cliff leading to the fort in the dead of the night with the help of a tamed monitor lizard known as Ghorpad. Tanaji lost his life after fighting a valiant battle and helped the Marathas recapture the fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj expressed his remorse with the words, “Gad aala, pan Sinha gela” – “The Fort is conquered, but the Lion was lost“.
Sinhagad is a popular weekend destination among the people living in and around Pune especially the trekking fraternity during the monsoon. A number of other mesmerizing mountain ranges surround the fort with a distinctive beautiful view of the Khadakwasla dam. Though the fort is in ruins today one can still experience its extensiveness of the once standing grandeur. You can enjoy the famous Pithla-Bhakari (hot and spicy chickpea flour porridge served with hot jowar / rice bread), Kanda Bhaji (deep fried onion fritters made with gram flour and spices), and yummy curd – all prepared by locals from nearby villages.
Timings: 5 AM to 6 PM daily