Pune is in the state of Maharashtra and is the cultural capital of the state. The most amazing thing about this city is that its people have adapted to a modern life along with maintaining their rich cultural heritage. The immigration of many from Mumbai and the arrival of Osho Rajneesh started the transformation of this once traditional city that had been the seat of the Maratha Empire. It is also a highly preferred place of higher education in academics, technology and management subjects for many, earning it the name Oxford of the East. Pune has several premier institutions like the National Defence Academy, Institute of Military Engineering, the Film and Television Institute, Armed Forces Medical College, and the Deccan College.
Pune is about 190km by train and 160km by road from Mumbai, and at an altitude of 559metres from the sea level. It is surrounded by green-covered hills and has a temperate climate, and is one of the greenest cities in India.
Pune’s history has its origins about 1000 years back, and is said to have derived its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Punyagiri’. It witnessed many episodes from the heroic life of Chhatrapati Shivaji. After the grand Marathas, the Peshwas ruled Pune. Bajirao 1 as Peshwa built the Shaniwar Wada and converted Pune into his army headquarters. In 1820 the British took over Pune and established an Army Cantonment. After independence, Pune remained a sedate town for many years.
However the proximity to Mumbai and the gradual influx of businesses saw the expansion of the city. In the current decade Pune has also developed as an IT destination in addition to housing to more traditional businesses. The city is also a cultural centre and hosts several events in the fields of theatre, music, dance and film.
Places of Interest
Pune offers many avenues for sightseeing that suit every taste. The Lal Deval, Vishram Baug Wada, Shaniwar Wada, Aga Khan Palace and the Yerwada Jail (where Mahatma Gandhi was a prisoner) speak volumes to those interested in history. The Osho Commune International is another place of interest. The National Defence Academy is a must visit as it offers a glimpse into the rigorous training and magnificent lifestyle of the officer trainees for the Indian Armed Forces. Pataleshwar Caves, Tribal Museum and the Bund Garden could also be included in your agenda.
Best time to visit
Pune has a fairly pleasant climate throughout the year, but in summers the daytime temperatures can go as high as 40 degrees. The winters in November, December are chilly and if you are planning to visit Pune during this time, you should carry some warm clothes. Nevertheless, winter is a good time to visit, as you get a taste of the Christmas and New Year celebrations of this city once a haven of the British. September-October and February-March are another highly recommended time.
Where to stay
Pune has several hotels from 5-star deluxe to economy class to suit every budget. In the star category you have Le Meridien, Taj, and the Pride Group etc. The Samrat, The Oakwood and Woodland come in the semi-luxury sector and Hotel Kapila, Panchshil, Ashirwad and Hotel Ritz are available in the economy category.
How to reach
Pune is well connected by air, rail and road to the Indian other cities. You can also choose to fly to Mumbai and then take a road/rail route to Pune as this will give you an excellent view of the picturesque route.