Pune is a city located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, a fascinating city with a healthy climate all the year round. Pune is one of the biggest industrial towns of Maharashtra, and known as the automobile city as many big automobile companies have their headquarters here. Pune is also famous for education and Osho Communes in the Rajneesh Ashram located here.
It was founded by Ahmed Nizam Shah and has a 400 year old fort, which witnessed many battles. Later on, freedom-fighters were imprisoned here. Other attractions are Chandbibi Mahal or Salabatjang’s Tomb and Farah Bagh.
The pilgrim centre on the banks of river Indrayani is famous for the sacred Samadhi of the Saint Dnyaneshwar, who wrote Dnyaneshwari, a Marathi commentary on the Bhagawad Gita. Two fairs are held here annually one on Ashadhi Ekadashi and the other on kartik Ekadashi. Other attraction is the temple of Vithoba Rakhumai.
Bhatghar Dam (40km)
The dam on the river Velvandi is one of the highest dams I India. It is also a good holiday resort and picnic spot.
The beautiful Shiva temple here was built by Nana Phadnis, an eminent statesman. It enshrines one of the 5 jyothirlangas of Maharashtra. A large fair is held on Shivaratri. The town is also noted for its scenic beauty and bracing climate. Other places worth visiting are – Bobay Point, Gupta Bhimashankar (the originating point of Bhima river), Hanuman tank and Nagphani Point etc.
The pilgrim centre is famous for the temple of Lord Khandoba, the family deity of many Maharashtrians. A large fair is held her during the month of Magashirsha.
The famous Buddhist rock cut cave shrines in the Western Ghats have a large collection of Chaitya halls adorned with intricate carvings. The caves were excavated between 2nd century BC and 7th century AD and are considered to be as beautiful as the world famous Ajanta-Ellora. A 45 metres long Chaitya hall here is considered to be the most perfect of its kind. An inscription at the entrance attributes its excavation to Bhutapal of Vaijayanti. The caves with Viharas were excavated for the Buddhist monks, who used to gather here during the monsoons.
While at Karla, the Bhaja and Bedsa caves are worth a detour. The Bhaja Caves set in a lush valley are as old as the karla caves and its Cave No. 12 a large Chaitya hall resembles to the one at Karla. Another cave has a magnificent stilted vault. Thelast cave is a treasure house of rich carvings. To the south of the main cave is an amazing group of 14 Stupas. The Bedsa Caves are antoher set of excellent rock cut caves. One of them has a fine Chaitya hall with ribbed roof, supported by 26 octagonal pillars.
The 18th century Lohagad and Visapur forts are located just 6km from Karla. Another attraction nearby are the hill resorts of Lonavala (10km) and Khandala (14km) Mumbai is 114km from Karla.
The beautiful hill resort on the Mumbai – Pune road lies 104km from Mumbai and is easily accessible by road and rail. The must visit sites are the Lonavala Lake, Bushi Dam, Tiger’s Leap, Barometer Hill, Valvan dam, Tungarli Lake etc. Lonavala is also famous for its chikki, a local sweet.
Khandala the charming hill resort just 5 km from Lonavala. The famous points here are Rajmachi Point and the Duke’s Nose, named after the Duke of Wellington, for its uncanny resemblance to his nose. The Kune Point, located midway between Khandala and Lonavala affords picturesque views of the surroundings. It is a convenient base for visitng karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves.
Mahabaleshwar, the ‘Queen of the Ghats’ is one of the best known and the highest hill resort of Western India. It was developed by Sir John Malcolm in 1828. The beautiful hill station teems with orchids, lilies and luscious strawberries and has three silvery falls Dhobi Falls, Chinaman Falls and Lingmala Falls. Excellent viewpoints like Wilson Point, Babington Point, Kate Point, Elphinstone Point, Bombay Point and Arthur’s Seat provide great views of the Krishna and Koyna valleys. The old village of mahabaleshwar is held sacred by the Hindus and is known for the panchganga temple, said to contain five streams including the river Krishna.
This small and attractive hill resort is situated along a ridge atop the Parasni Ghat. The picturesque resort overlooks the scenic Krishna valley and is endowed with rich floral wealth. There are also a number of excellent educational institutions.
An impressive fort here was built by Shivaji, to command the route from the Deccan. The Afzal Buruz tower in the fort marks the spot where the spot where the Mughal general Afzal Khan was killed by Shivaji. There is a famous Bhavani temple in the fort. An equestrian statue of Shivaji has been erected in the fort.
Purandar was the capital of Marathas for a brief period and has a magnificent fort of Chhatrapati Shivaji, set atop a hill. It is also the location of national Cadet Corps (NCC) Academy. Buses are available from Pune and Saswad.
The hilltop fortress here was almost impregnable capital of Shivaji for over 15 years. Shivaji was crowned and also died here. Within the fort are the Samadhi of Shivaji and the remains of his palace. There is also a large lake amidst scenic surroundings.
This capital of the Marathas witnessed the most glorious chapter of Maratha history during 1707 to 1749, under Chhtrapati Shahu Maharaj. The palace, fort and museums here display the relics of the golden era.
ShreeKshetra Mahuli (112km)
The pilgrim centre is near the confluence of the rivers Krishna and Venna is known for the temples of Yavateshwar, Mangalai Devi and other Hindu deities.
Chhatrapati Shivaji was born here at the seen-tiered fort atop a hillock. On the sides of the hill are about 50 Buddhist caves.
Sinhagad (Lion Fort) (24km)
It was one of the most impregnable forts of Western India. Shivaji captured it in 1670, but lost his ablest commander Tanaji Malusare over here. The fort is built at the edgeof a sheer precipice, which was scaled by Shivaji’s men with the help of iguanas and ropes.
The famous pilgrim centre is associated with goddess Bhavani (Durga), the family deity of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the Marathas.
Wai, one of the most important pilgrim and cultural centres of Maharashtra is set on the banks of river Krishna and is famous for the Maha Ganpati temple. There are many other old temples on the banks of Krishna. The famous Sanskrit Pradnya Path Shala and the headquarters for Vishvakosh Publication are located here. Some attractions around Wai are the Buddhist caves of Lonara (7km) a dam across the Krishna at Dhom (9km).
Shaniwarwada was the stately mansion originally built as the residence of the Peshwas. The foundation of the mansion was laid by Bajirao I in the year 1730 AD and the construction was completed in 1732AD. The walls in the palace were painted with scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. A sixteen petal lotus-shaped fountain stands reminiscent of the exquisite work of those times. This historical structure stands as an important chapter in the history of the Maratha Empire.
This is a three-storied mansion, known for its beautiful entrance and balcony with carved woodwork typical of the Peshwa Period. The 260ft long and 815ft broad the last Peshwa, Bajirao II as his residence, built Teen-Chowki Wada. The Wada's eye-catching wooden façade is memorizing in its bauty, and has beautiful columns carved in the Suru Form. On October 31, 1880 a surprise fire engulfed the Wada ravaging the entire structure. Vishrambaug Wada was resored to its somewhat original appearance by public subscriptions and municipal contribution.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Pataleshwar Cave Temples lies in the heart of the city, at Shivaji Nagar on Jangali Maharaj Road. This 8th century rock-cut temple, hewn from a massive single rock, has huge pillars, a Shiva shrine and a Nandi bull. Nearby, is the Jangali Maharaj Temple dedicated to a Hindu asetic.
Parvati Hill and Temple
This 17th century Parvati temple lies on the southern outskirts of the town on a hilltop. The Parvati museum houses portraits of heroes of the Peshwa dynasty, besides old manuscripts, weapons and coins. There are also temples of Ganapati and Kartikeya.
Aga Khan Palace
Built by Imamsultan Muhammad Shah Agakhan IIIin 1892, the palace with its Italian arches is remarkable. In 1969, Agakhan IV donated it to India. The British interned Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and other leaders here for nearly two years after Gandhi delivered his Quit India Resolution.
Bhagwan Rajneesh's famous ashram is located at 17 Koregoan Park, a green and elite suburb of Pune. This site attracts thousands of visitors. The ashram offers a variety of expensive courses on meditation. All that is required is filling out of a application form (with passport Photographs) and an on-the-spot, HIV negative test with the purchase of special tunics. Accommodation needs to be arranged outside the ashram. The nearby Nulla Park also called the Osho Teerth, is a beautifully maintained garden, transformed from a swamp.