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Tourist Places To Visit In Pune
The city of Pune has always been associated with the rule of the mighty Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji who spent his childhood at the Lal Mahal in Pune, said to have been built by his father Shahaji. But Pune’s history also goes back to the reign of the Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Mughals and the British who ruled over the region and left their impressions in the form of historical structures.
With forts, palaces, museums, heritage buildings and temples built during the various reigns, topped by hills, beautiful lakes and gardens, Pune promises to be a place worthy of arousing your sightseeing interest.
We will give you a small list of some of the most attractive places to visit in Pune.
Aga Khan Palace
Built by Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan 111 in 1892, the magnificent Aga Khan Palace gained more prominence after Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu and their secretaries were imprisoned in the palace during the Quit India Movement. The Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai, the secretary of Mahatma Gandhi are found in the Aga Khan Palace.
The palace that was donated to the government of India, now functions as the Gandhi National Memorial and houses an extensive collection of portraits and photos of the freedom struggle movement. Declared by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) as Monument of National Importance, Aga Khan Palace is open to visitors from 9.00 am – 5.30 pm.
Vishrambaug Wada is a majestic mansion that was built in 1811, as a residence of Peshwa Baji Rao II. With ornate teak wood pillars, decorated ceilings and columns, the wada is a fine example of a heritage monument. Only parts of the building are open to visitors, with government offices occupying the other areas, but the mansion is a must see.
Vishrambaug Wada in Sadashiv peth is open on all days from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm.
Shaniwar Wada was a grand fort built by the Peshwas in 1732, with the foundations of stone and seven stories built of brick. The fort was destroyed by a series of fires and now only the stone built ancient structure remains with a beautiful garden in front. A history of a lineage of Peshwas, spiced with stories of ambitions, treachery and a death, with rumours of the Wada being one of the most famous haunted places of India draws tourists to the Shaniwar Wada.
When the fort was built, it was an imposing structure with a Nachacha diwankhana or dance hall, Thora rayancha diwankhana or royal durbar and the megadambhari or royal residence of the Peshwa in the upper floor. Check out the main gate to the fort called the ‘Dilli gate’ and Jambul Darwaja or Narayan Darwaja, the gate used by the concubines and later for the exit of the men along with the corpse of the young Peshwa Narayan Rao.
Shaniwar Wada is at Shaniwar peth and is open on all days from 8.00 am to 6.30 pm.
Shinde Chhatri was built in memory of Mahadji Shinde who was the commander in chief of the Maratha army under the Peshwas. In 1794 Mahadji Shinde built a Shiva temple in Pune. He died the same year and was buried close to the temple and a memorial was built for him. With stain glass windows and stucco work in shades of green and orange and an architecture that combines western and Indian (Rajasthani) styles, the Chhatri is an exquisite architectural attraction and is worth a visit.
Shinde Chhatri is in Wanowri and is open from 9.00 am – 6.00 pm.
Pathaleshwara temple for Shiva is a lovely ancient rock cut monument that is a favourite among pilgrims and tourists. Carved out of a single basalt rock, the 8th century temple has a cube shaped room with a Shiva linga and a circular, pillared Nandi mandapa in front. The whole structure is a rectangular construction with a wide courtyard which has been transformed into a garden. The monument was never completed, probably as the rocks had a fault line deeming further work unsafe. The temple is not crowded, so it gives you a lot of time to explore the place and to contemplate in solitude.
Pathaleshwara Temple is located at Jangli Maharaj Road.
Jangli Maharaj Mandir
Jangli Maharaj was a 19th century saint who is said to have been a disciple of Swami Samarth Maharaj of Akkalkot. He spent years meditating in the Bhamburde jungles of Pune, which earned him the name Jangli Maharaj or King of the jungles. Not much is known about the early years of Jangli Maharaj, but it’s believed that he was a tall, well built man, who was an athlete and had taken part in India’s mutiny of 1857. After the Maharaj attained siddhi in 1890, his disciples built a samadhi for him.
The temple sits in a quiet corner of the busy Jangli Maharaj road in Shivajinagar adjacent to the Pathaleshwara temple.
Jejuri Khandoba Temple
The Khandoba temple at Jejuri is one among the significant Marthanda Bhairava temples of Maharashtra. According to myths, Shiva incarnated as Marthanda Bhairava or Khandoba to annihilate the demons Malla and Mani. There are two Khandoba temples in Jejuri, the ancient Kadepathar atop a hill and the Gad-Kot temple a little lower down.
Lord Khandoba is pictured as a deity with four hands holding a sword and a Bhandara patra or bowl of turmeric. The Bhandara festival celebrated at the ‘Sonyachi or golden Jejuri’ temple is a grand colourful fete, when the air turns a burst of golden yellow as pilgrims throw turmeric powder at one another.
Jejuri is about 50 km from Pune. There are local buses that run from Pune to Jejuri or you could hire a cab from Pune.
Ekvira Devi Temple
According to legends, Ekvira Devi was also known as Renuka Devi, the mother of Sage Parashurama. The Ekvira Devi temple is located near the Buddhist Karla Caves near Lonavala. It’s believed that Ekvira Devi temple was built by the Pandavas during their time of exile, when the goddess appeared before them in a dream and ordered them to build a temple overnight.
Pleased with their devotion, the goddess blessed the Pandavas promising that would remain incognito till the period of their exile was complete.
The temple is located on a hill and you will have to climb up a few hundred steps to reach the shrines. The landscape is quite beautiful and picturesque and offers a sweeping view of the countryside around. Ekvira Devi Temple is about 53 km from Pune.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
The museum was established in the year 1962 by Baba Dinkar Kelkar in memory of his son. At present the museum is under the care of the Government of Maharashtra's Archaeological department.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum has a collection of about 20,000 artefacts from around the world that includes musical instruments, ancient metal and stone ware, pottery, paintings, textiles worn by the royalty, weapons, sculptures going back to the 14th century and antiques. Check out the model of the Mastani Mahal that was built in 1734.
The Museum is at Bajirao Road in Shukrawar peth and is open from 10. 00 am – 5.30 pm.
Shivneri Fort is a citadel built about 1170- 1308 AD near Junnar. The fort was under the control of the Rashtrakutas, the Yadavas and Bahmani Empire, the Mughals and the Marathas. The Shivneri Fort is said to have been the birthplace of Maharaja Chhatrapati Shivaji, who spent his childhood there. After the third Anglo Maratha war in 1820, the Shivneri fort came under the control of the British.
Shivneri Fort is a triangular shaped fort with steep, impregnable walls on all sides, with a number of gates, water tanks and a small temple for Goddess Shivai, idols of a young Shivaji with his mother Jijabai and a room depicting the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj. The fort is a huge, hushed place that transports us to an ancient time in history.
Shivneri Fort is about 93 km from Pune.