Updated: Aug 15
Pune is known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra state, and there is no wonder we at HillTrotters had keen interest in visiting and exploring Pune city. We got the chance to visit Pune in the First week of March'2019, to celebrate one of our friend's birthday who is settled in Pune, and we decided to make it a weekend of Travel, so that we can get a glimpse of Pune.
Travelling from Mumbai to Pune is one of the well known travel route and there are plenty of modes of travel by which you can reach Pune.
We opted for Train journey from Thane to Pune in the early morning, and it was peaceful journey of 3 hours in the AC Chair car. We had yumm breakfast at 'Sambar' restaurant in Viman Nagar, close to our pre-planned stay. After the customary birthday celebration, we planned to visit some iconic places in Pune city with our Guide cum Birthday Girl.
Since we had our guide already booked in advance :P, we went straight to the closest place in our bucket list which was Agha Khan palace.
1. Agha Khan Palace:
We had no idea what this place was and what history it holds in its chest, until we visited this beautiful palace to begin our Pune city tour.
The palace was built by Sultan Muhammad Shah Agha khan in 1892. The legend is that, the Sultan built this palace so that the famine hit villagers get the employment opportunity inside the palace compound to revive their lives.
The palace had rich history especially of India independence struggle, as Agha khan palace served as the prison for Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi and their secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu from 1942 - 1944 during Quit India Movement. This is here, where Kasturba Gnadhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi breathed her last, and the Agha Khan palace has her tomb along with their secretary Mahadev Desai samadhi as well.
The palace is extremely well maintained and there is a entry fee of 10/- rupees and the lawn around the palace is beautiful and offers great pictures.
2. Shanivarwada Fort:
The iconic struture of Pune city is argueably the highest visited place in Pune. The fort was built around 1730's and it was main fort of Peshwas of Maratha Empire at that time, post British took control over the fort, it was at center of India's freedom struggle in the 19th century. The fort has an iconic statue of Bajirao 1, one of the Peshwa leaders at that time. The fort consists of huge entrance gate known as Dilli Darwaza, it also has large fountain and a huge exapanse of a mughal style garden at the center, which is a main attaraction to visitors.
The fort has towers all around which is now place for couples to spend some quiet time. The first floor of the fort palace has a darbar hall, which is enormous in size and main place for all the photo lovers.
The entry ticket costs 25/- rupees per head and its really worth spending at least an hour inside the Shanivarwada fort.
3. Dhagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple:
One of the most visited temples of Pune, and always a crowded one. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Ganesha and the main Ganesha idol, is insured for up to 10 million rupees. The temple was built and completed on 1892 and is celebrating 125 years of its existence.
4. Parvati Hill:
This hillock in the middle of Pune city offers panoramic view of the city and a perfect place to enjoy the sunset from. The parvati hill hosts the Parvati temple which is a oldest heritage site in Pune built under Peshwa dynasty. The hill can be climbed after peddling your foot for over 100 steps which makes it a short trek in itself, that makes it worth the effort and enjoy the view of Sunset after reaching to the top.
5. Sinhagad Fort:
One of the best things to do when you are in Pune which is surrounded by Sahyadri's is to go on trek early morning. And that's exactly what we did, and planned to visit Sinhagad fort to watch the sunrise. We were awestruck to see the sunrise and explored the fort thoroughly. The wind point, which is known for gusty winds on the top of the fort near a view point was the best place to be inside fort. The walk up to the fort entrance Pune Darwajah and from the other side, the Kalyan Darwaja was thrilling and we were as excited as others who were out to enjoy the morning sunrise at Sinhagad.
Sinhagad fort is at 40 kms away from Pune and can be reached by two-wheeler or 4-wheeler within 1:30 hours which makes it a hot selling travel itinerary around Pune.
This fort is believed to be as old as 2000 years. The fort is located on the cliff of Bhuleshwar range in the Sahyadri's and famous for the battle of Sinhagad 1670 AD between Maratha warriors led by Tanaji and Mughal Empire, which was won eventually by the Maratha warriors.
6. National War Museum - South Western command:
The museum is located very close to Ghorpuri lines railway station and the entry is free for all. It is open for general public 9:30 am to 7 pm.
One of the best War Museum with Rich informative texts/rare photos of Indian War history. It also hosts weapons and tactical gear/items used in the war/battle as relics for general public to have a look at. One of the best organized Museum in the region.
How to Reach Pune/How to commute within the city:
The best way to get around Pune city is by Auto rides which run on Meter, or else you have OLA/Uber for AC/Laid back city rides or for outstation rides. The metro work is in progress through out the city, which will be a headache for next couple of years with the increased traffic.
The ambience of Viman Nagar was really good with lots of residential apartments and plenty of restaurants/eateries/malls around.
There are plenty of cuisine options/Restaurants serving Traditional Maharastrian food in Pune. We could try only a few depending upon our liking, and in the midst of Bheeshan Garmi of Pune.
Food and HillTrotters in Pune:
We tried the age old Good Luck Cafe (Irani Cafe) near iconic Deccan Gymkhana.
This restaurant is famous for its legendary Bun Maska with Irani chai and it was above average, but worth the visit, since it has such a rich heritage.
The Sambar restaruant in Viman Nagar was really serving some yumm breakfast Idli Vada along with rich tasty sambar.
We also got to taste the Pithyala Bhakri with Baaji on top of Sinhagad fort in a village setup by the locals.
The evening sunset from Parvati hilltop and the sunrise as seen from the Sinhagad fort along with yumm Pithyala Bhakri were the highlights of the entire journey.
The HillTrotters recommend visiting Pune at least for a weekend and plan a trek on a Sunday morning to the nearest fort or hill for the sunrise view.
Photo Gallery of Pune:
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