Nestled in the Western Ghats and known as the Oxford of the East, lays the beautiful and lush green city of Pune. Although Pune is the second most populous city of Maharashtra, yet a visit to this city will have you spellbound. It is one of the most vibrant cities that you would ever visit. Moreover, Pune has numerous tourists’ spots ranging from historical places to breathtaking natural beauty. Similarly, if you are keen on participating in adventure sports, then you can plan a visit to Pune.
Tourists often prefer visiting Pune during the Monsoon season, because the Western Ghats become all the more green and beautiful during this season. Then again, there are museums, forts, zoological gardens, and parks in the city that will keep you occupied even if you wish to explore the city alone. Similarly, if you are planning to go on a gastronomically satisfying journey through the city, then you can be assured that the city will not disappoint you. Pune has numerous eateries known for its excellent dishes and culinary expertise. Here you will get food made from locally sourced ingredients. Hence, a visit to Pune will be an entirely satisfactory one, irrespective of whether you are just a tourist or an adventure-seeker. Moreover, there are several places to see in Pune, and you can make an itinerary as per the choices of the individual members of your tour group. You can plan a pilgrimage tour for the elderly members of your family, while a short adventure trip like hiking in the same tour plan for the younger members of the tour group. All you need to do to ensure that members of your group enjoy their trip to Pune is plan. Some of the places that you must visit during your trip to Pune have been discussed below.
1. Shivneri Fort
This engineering marvel is a rock-cut fort that is hewed into the mountain. Legend has it that the famous warrior and king Chatrapati Shivaji was born in this Fort on 19 February 1630. If you visit the Fort, you will find that the history of the Fort dates back to first century AD when the early Buddhist settlers made this region their home. The location and positioning of the Fort are such that it was often considered to be unconquerable. You should visit the Fort to marvel at the Engineering wit and intelligence of our ancestors.
Moreover, the cave architecture in the Fort is a reminder of the early settlers of this region. The Shivneri Fort is one of the most famous places in Pune because it is from here that Shivaji laid the design for a Hindu Swarajya. The Fort has also stood witness to the famous Anglo-Maratha wars and laid the foundation of the Maratha rule for the centuries to come. When you climb to the top of the Fort, you will be surprised by the breathtaking view of the beautiful green countryside surrounding the structure. When you visit the Shivneri Fort, take a walk to the center of the structure. Here you will see a pond known as the Badami Talav. This pond forms the central feature of this triangular shaped Fort. So make sure you pay a visit to this famous Fort when you go to Pune.
Things to do in Shivneri Fort
- Explore the Fort grounds
- Climb to the top of the Fort to see the beautiful landscape surrounding the Fort
Thus, a visit to the Shivneri Fort will leave you amazed by the intelligence and the engineering abilities of our ancestors.
2. Agha Khan Palace
Amongst the many tourist places in Pune, the one that sees that the highest number of footfall is Agha Khan’s Palace. The primary reason for this is that it is rich in history. This Palace stands witness to India’s struggle for freedom because it was here that once Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu were held, prisoners. The famous monument was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in the year 1892. The Palace itself is an architectural splendor. It covers an area of over nineteen acres of land. This Palace was also used by the Sultan to help the people living in the region to provide them with aid during the famine, which hit India during the early nineteenth century. The Palace is now a national heritage spot all more because the ashes of Gandhi remains buried on the grounds of the Palace. The Palace itself is a memorial dedicated to the Mahatma, and it houses many of his personal belongings. When you visit the Palace, make sure you take time to pay your respects and visit the museum, which forms the central attraction of the Palace.
Things to do in Agha Khan Palace
- Explore the palace grounds, to imbibe the historical importance of the place
- As the palace ground spreads over nineteen acres, it will take you a long time to explore the entire area. But, you should take time to do so because of the rich historical heritage of Agha Khan Palace.
- As the headquarters of the Gandhi Memorial Society, you can see the manufacturing of Khadi on the Palace grounds. This will be a new and unique experience for you.
Thus, a visit to Agha Khan Palace will give an insight into India’s history and the importance of Khadi. For any history enthusiast, a visit to Agha Khan Palace is a must.
3. Rajgad Fort
This Fort is an ideal spot for history, nature, and adventure enthusiasts. Situated nearly fifty-four kilometers from central Pune, the Rajgad Fort is a perfect spot for trekking and hiking. The Fort itself is located atop a mountain, and you can reach it only by trekking across a narrow path hewn on the mountainside. The Fort itself lies at the height of one thousand four hundred meters above sea level. Hence, the trek itself is not for the faint-hearted! The
Rajgad Fort is divided into four parts:
- Sanjeevani Machi, which lies on the southwest part of the Fort and is a more leisurely trek, because it is the outermost fortification
- Suvela Machi, which has a narrow strip leading to the fortified part of the Fort. Here you will find the famous Hanuman Mandir of the Fort
- Padmavati Machi, which has all the residential buildings, military bases, and lakes of the Fort
- Balekilla, which is the highest part of the Fort and the most extended trek. There are several routes that you can take to reach the Balekilla, but all of these routes are equally dangerous and adventurous. None of the roads are shorter than three kilometers and will take you around four hours to reach Balekilla. So if you want to enjoy the beauty of nature and want to go on a hiking adventure, then consider taking a trek to Balekilla.
Things to do on a trek to Rajgad Fort
The smaller treks to Rajgad Fort are more straightforward, and you do not need to take many provisions with you. But if you wish to go for a longer trek, then there are certain factors that you must take into consideration and some of these are as follows:
- It is essential to go on the trek in a group, and you should take a guide with you.
- Select and plan out the route carefully.
- Carry sufficient food, water, and rations, because it is at least a day’s trip to reach Balekilla and back.
- Take a camera because the view from Rajgad Fort is incredible.
If you are a history enthusiast, then to the Rajgad Fort will not disappoint you, because this Fort was the capital of the erstwhile Maratha Empire during the rule of Chatrapati Shivaji. Legend also has it that the famous freedom fighter Afzal Khan’s head is buried in Rajgad Fort. Hence, a visit to Pune is incomplete without a visit to the Fort.
4. Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
The Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple of Pune attracts thousands of devotees every year. It is one of the significant pilgrimages in Pune and India. The main Ganapati idol is adorned with forty kilograms of gold and forms the central deity of the Temple. The icon itself is of a height of 2.2 metres and has a width of 1 metre. The Temple has a rich history and is nearly one hundred and twenty-five years old. It is said that Lokmanya Tilak, who was a close friend of Govindseth, the progeny of Dagadusheth, decided to revive the Ganapati festival on seeing Govindseth’s devotion. Thus, the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple has a role to play in the religious history of India as well. The best time to visit the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple is during the ten-day Ganpati Festival that is celebrated with great pomp throughout Maharashtra.
Things to do when you visit Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
- Make an offering of coconuts to the main deity
- Participate and attend in the daily Puja, Abhishek, and Aarti of Lord Ganesha
- Listen to the music, bhajans, and concert organized by the Temple
Thus, a visit to the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple will be a spiritually uplifting and historically enriching experience.
4. Osho Ashram
This is one of the best places in Pune to visit if you are in search of some peace and tranquillity. Although the Ashram is always open to members, a non-member can enjoy the green calmness of the Osho Ashram by purchasing a single day’s pass. The Ashram was built in 1974, to incorporate amongst visitors and members the importance of adhering to principle of meditation and calmness in life. The greenery surrounding the Ashram is so extraordinary that it becomes hard to believe that you are in a throbbing city like Pune. The Osho Ashram has a calming and soothing effect on all visitors. There are small waterfalls and quiet water bodies within the Ashram, which add to the calmness of the place. Non-members who have visited the Osho Ashram have returned with a better perspective about life. Many say that they would like to return to learn the Osho way of life. A visit to the Osho Ashram is going to be a revelation for both, the youngsters and older people in the tour group.
Things to do when you visit Osho Ashram
- Participate in a dynamic meditation session, Vipassana or Nababramha meditation session
- Participate in a therapy session to learn about mind control
- Learn about Sanyas and renunciation
Hence, if you visit the Osho Ashram, it will be a different experience and one that can completely change your way of thinking.
5. Pataleshwar Cave Temple
The Pataleshwar Cave Temple, located about three kilometers from the Pune Railway Station, is a unique temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a rock-cut temple built on the lines of the Ellora temple. The Temple is one of the best places to see in Pune and is protected by both the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Maharashtra Government. This Temple is also known as Panchaleshvara or Bamburde Temple and dates back to the 8th century AD when the Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled the region. The Temple is not only rich in history but is an architectural marvel as well. The entire Temple is a rock-cut cave. The inner sanctum of the Temple has a canopy that is held up by perfectly square pillars. This is a unique feature of the Temple. The beauty of the Temple also lies in the fact that the inner sanctum and the Sanctorum have been cut out of the rock. Due to the existence of a fault line, the further expansion of the Temple was abandoned. However, the present temple houses numerous Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The central deity of the Temple is Lord Shiva, and the Temple also includes his bull Nandi.
Things to do on visiting the Pataleshwar Cave Temple
- Explore the entire temple grounds
- Visit the main worship area, where there are the idols of Ram, Sita, Laxman, and other gods and goddesses
- Visit the museum attached to the Temple. The museum has been enlisted in the Guinness Book of Records. The highlight of the collection in the museum is a grain of rice on which five thousand characters have been inscribed.
The best time to visit the Pataleshwar Temple is on the occasion of Tripuri Pournima, i.e., the full moon day of the Kartik month, because on that day, the entire complex of the Temple is lit with oil lamps and it is indeed a sight to behold. Thus, a visit to the Pataleshwar Temple would be one that would make your trip to Pune complete.
6. Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park or Katraj Snake Park
Although it was initially thought to have been a reptile park, the Katraj Snake Park was expanded to become a Zoological Park housing other animals as well. The Pune Municipal Corporation started planning the park around the Katraj Lake in 1953 and created a seven-acre Peshwe Park the same year. The zoo was opened for the public in the year 1999 and renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park & Wildlife Research Centre. The park initially had a separate section for reptiles and also housed sambhars, spotted deer, and monkeys. Presently the zoo houses nearly 362 animals, amongst which 147 have been classified as endangered species. The park also has an extensive collection of birds and reptiles. Here you can see 22 different species of snakes and even a thirteen-foot long cobra. Thus, a visit to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park & Wildlife Research Centre will be one of the most exciting trips for the children in your tour group.
7. Khadakwasla Dam
Khadakwasla Dam is a beautiful spot located in Khadakwasla village in Pune district of Maharashtra. The place is indeed one of the most picturesque places in India because the Dam itself is surrounded by beautiful green mountains. It is slowly becoming one of the favorite picnic spots amongst the locals. So if you are planning to take your spouse on a short trip, then you can plan a trip to the Khadakwasla Dam. It might sound a bit offbeat, but you will be surprised by the tranquillity of the backwaters and the Mutha River. You can take a boat ride on the river. Locals living in the area say that the beauty of the Dam, the river, and the surrounding area increases manifold during the monsoon season. So if you want to enjoy the lush green beauty of nature, then you could consider visiting the Khadakwasla Dam.
Things to do around Khadakwasla Dam
- Organize a picnic with friends and family
- Enjoy the food on the Chowpatty
The trip to Khadakwasla Dam will be only a day-long outing, so you should make the plan keeping it in view.
8. Panshet Dam
If you are looking for offbeat places to visit in Pune for couples, then a visit to the Panshet Dam is a must. This Dam is built on the Ambi River and is designed to provide water for irrigation and drinking water to the city of Pune. However, after the Dam was built, the tourism industry soon discovered it to be a suitable spot to be developed into an adventure sports spot. Panshet Dam is the best place if you want to pursue water sports like rafting and boating. Other than that, the entire Dam is surrounded by lush green nature. So if you want to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature, then this is the place. Couples are also rediscovering the Panshet Dam as the best place to leave behind their active lives and spend some quality time together. This is the best place for a weekend getaway, where you can be with nature and be surrounded by beautiful greenery and lovely waterfalls. The water in the Dam only adds to the overall atmosphere of the place and makes it all the more incredible.
Things to do in Panshet Dam
- Participate in adventure sports. But ensure that you do so with proper guidance
- Go for picnics
- Spend some time going for short hikes in the mountains surrounding the Dam
There are not many activities that you can do around the Panshet Dam. So it is the best place to go if you are looking to rest, relax, and enjoy the nature around you.
9. Vetal Tekdi
Vetal Tekdi is a hill which is at an elevation of 2600ft from sea level and houses the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). The mountain is covered with deciduous vegetation and is home to various birds and animals. People trekking on the Vetal Tekdi have often sighted wild peacocks, especially during the monsoon season. Fitness enthusiasts living around the region are often seen running and jogging on the tracks on the lower regions of the hill. Tekdi has also become a favorite amongst tourists. On top of the hill is a temple known as the Chatushrungi Temple. Trekkers often say that from on a clear day, one can see the city of Pune from the Tekdi.
Things to do on Vetal Tekdi
- For trekking enthusiasts, this is the best place to go for a long and adventurous trek
- If you enjoy taking a brisk jog or walk, then too you can do so on the lower reaches of the hill
- If you a keen bird watcher then you can do so during your trip to Vetal Tekdi
Thus, Vetal Tekdi has something for everyone. Moreover, Pune as a whole has something for everyone from the nature lover, the devotee, the history enthusiast to the adventurer. So plan your trip to Pune right away and make sure you take your family and friends with you.