Pune - The Cultural Capital of Maharashtra

Posted Date: 04 Apr 2010      Author: Raghav    Member Level: Gold (Rs 150)

Pune also known as 'Punawadi' or 'Punya-Nagari' or Poona, is the eighth largest city in India, and the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra, after Mumbai. Pune is also known as Cultural Capital of Maharashtra. Pune is situated 560 meters above the sea level.

Pune also known as 'Punawadi' or 'Punya-Nagari' or 'Poona', is the eighth largest city in India, and the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra, after Mumbai. Pune is situated 560 meters above the sea level at the Confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers. Pune is the eighth metro city of India and the district head quarters of Pune district in Maharashtra. Pune is popularly known as 'Cultural Capital of Maharashtra'.

Information About Pune City

Pune city has existed as a town since 935 AD itself. Pune was once the capital city of Maratha empire. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who is the founder of Maratha empire once lived in Pune city. Pune city has become an important political center in the year 1730 and it was annexed to British India in 1817 and later on was a 'Monsoon Capital' of Bombay Presidency.

Pune city is surrounding by the Western Ghats known as the Sahyadri Hills. Winter, summer and monsoon are the three seasons that prevail in Pune. Winter sets in by beginning of November and goes on till mid of March. Day temperatures in Pune City are less than 30 degrees and the night temperatures are below 10 degrees. You are likely to experience mild to severe winter.

Today Pune city is famous for great educational facilities, having more than hundred educational institutions and nine universities. “Oxford of the East" is the name given by the academicians to Pune City. Students from other countries also come to Pune for their studies. Pune is also has grown industrially and lot of industries including Software companies are set up at Pune now.

Pune is famous for various cultural activities like Classical Music,Drama, Sports, Spirituality, Literature, Foreign language learning and Administrative, Economics, Social Science studies. These activities and job opportunities attract migrants and students from all over India, and also attract students from Middle-East, Iran, Eastern Europe, South-East Asia which makes for a city of many communities and cultures.

Pune has given great leaders like Shivaji, Tilak to our country. Pune is a hilly city, with its tallest hill, Vetal Hill, rising to 800 m (2,600 ft) above sea level. We can even see the Sinhagad Fort which is at a height of 1300 mtrs.

History of Pune

The name 'Pune' derives from the word 'Punya Nagari'(meaning "City of Virtue" in Sanskrit). The oldest reference for this name is from a Rashtrakuta copper plate during 937 AD.

The Copper plates dated 758 and 768 AD indicate that an agricultural settlement named "Punnaka" existed at the place where Pune city is today. Also the plates indicate that this place was ruled by Rashtrakutas. From 9th century onwards, Pune was under the Yadava empire of Deogiri until the year 1327. Later on Pune was ruled by Nizamshahi sultans. in 1595, Maloji Bhonsale was appointed as the Jahagirdar of Pune by Mughals.

The Maratha Rule

Rango Bapuji Dhadphale was appointed as the administrator of Pune in the year 1625 by Shahaji Bhosale. He was one of the major developers of the Pune town. He was looking after the construction of Kasba, Somwar, Ravivar and Shaniwar peths. Later on the construction of Lal Mahal began by Shahaji's son, Shivaji Bhosale ( later on Chattrapati Shivaji). The construction of Lal Mahal completed in the year 1640.

When Shivaji was crowned as Chhatrapathi in 1674, he further developed the Pune city including the construction of Guruwar, Somwar, Ganesh and Ghorpade peths. Bajirao became the Peshwa of Maratha Empire ruled by Shahaji in the year 1720. The palace of Shaniwar Wada was constructed during the period of Baji Rao on the banks of Mutha river. The Peshwas have constructed many temples and bridges in the city.

The British Rule

A war broke out between the Marathas and the British in 1817. The Peshwas were defeated by the British and Pune city was seized. The Pune city was placed under the administration of Bombay Presidency and constructed a large Military base at Pune ( now used by the Indian Army). Pune city was the 'Monsoon Capital' of the Bombay Presidency. The Pune Muncipality was established in the year 1858.

Nanasaheb Peshwa who was the adopted son of the last Peshwa rose against the British rule in 1857. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi helped him. But they were defeated by British. Pune city was an important place for social and religious reforms of the 19th century. Many social reformers and freedom fighters lived in Pune including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Maharishi Vitthal Ramji Shinde, and Jyotirao Phule.

Pune City After Independence

Pune City saw a lot of development after Independence of India. The prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) was established after Independence. National Chemical Laboratory was also established at Pune. Lot of Industrial development started during 1950-60 at Hadapsar, Bhosari, Pimpri and Parvati. The automotive sector also developed at Pune. In the year 1990, Pune city started attracting foreign capital, in the field of IT and Engineering. The work on Six-Lane Mumbai-Pune highway started in the year 1998 and completed in 2001. A number of IT parks were set up during the 2000s at Aundh, Hinjawadi, and Nagar road. The Common wealth youth games took place in the year 2008 which encouraged additional development in north-west region of Pune city. The one and only Army Medical college in India, AFMC is at Pune.

Pune Major Attractions of Tourism Interest

Pune is an important city of Maharashtra which has a number of attractions of tourism interest. Pune is famous for its rich culture and heritage. There are many places of tourism attraction at Pune city but the major portion of them comprise of Museums and temples. Pune has earned a great name in the tourism industry of Maharashtra and this city is also an important gateway to reach other important places of tourism interest like Shirdi, Nasik, Lonawala, Khandala, and Mahabaleshwar. Some of the major tourism attractions that a tourist should not miss are :

* Raja Dinakar Kelkar Museum:
Raja Dinakar Kelkar Museum is one of the important museums of Pune city and is located in a Rajasthani building in Bajorao Road. We can see a wide range of arts and crafts in this museum. This museum is divided into 36 sections that include carved palace and temple doors, exquisite pottery works, traditional Indian lamps and paintings belonging to 17th century.

* Tribal Museum:
This museum houses interesting artifacts that were excavated from the Sahyadri and Gondhwa regions of Maharashtra. This museum will surely be an amazing one for the archaeologists.

* Aga Khan Palace:
The Agha Khan Palace is another important tourism attraction of Pune city. This palace has beautiful arches, gracious buildings having saloons, suites and spacious lawns. The Agha Khan palace has a great historical importance because Mahatma and his wife Kasturba Gandhi were placed under house arrest in this building during Quit India movement. A tourist must not miss this palace when he visit Pune.

* The Bund Garden:
The Bund Garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pune and is also known as Mahatma Gandhi Udhayan. It is located on the right bank of the Mula-Mutha Rivers and was built by Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy to provide the poor with water during hot months of the summers. The tourists who are adventerous can involve in the boat rides and horse rides at this place.

* Shaniwar Wada:
This impressive palace of Shaniwar Wada was constructed by the Peshwas in the year 1736. The brass studded gates and lotus pools are the only major attractions left out in this palace as it was destroyed in a huge fire in the year 1827. The Shaniwar Wada is one of the major tourist attractions of Pune city and recognized as the symbol of Pune culture. A 'Light & Sound Show' is held in this palace every evening. A tourist should not miss out this show.

* Parvati Hill temples:
This temple is also a major attraction of Pune city. This splendid temple was built by Balaji Baji Rao and occupies a significant place for the pilgrims visiting Pune. You need to climb 108 steep and narrow steps in order to reach the hill top temple. Formerly it was the private shrine of the Peshwas. It also has Parvati museum featuring portraits of Peshwas, ancient manuscripts and coins. From the top of the temple you can get a nice view of the Pune city.

How to reach Pune By Air, Train and Road

By Air:
Pune has an international airport that provides the services of almost all the domestic careers. The Pune international air port is located at Lohegaon and is operated by Airports Authority of India. Major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai are directly connected to Pune by Air. Apart from these domestic flights, Pune air port serves international direct flights to Dubai, Singapore and to Frankfurt. The major air lines providing services to Pune are Jet Airways, Indian, Air Sahara, Air Deccan, Kingfisher, Indigo, Air India and SpiceJet.

By Train:
Pune city is well connected to other major cities of India by Rail Transport and there are frequent services to Mumbai. There are local trains (EMU) connecting Pune to the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad and the hill station of Lonawala. The major trains by which you can access Pune by rail are Azad Hind, Goa Exp, Deccan Queen Express, Intercity Express, Azad Hind Express, Hutatma Express, Dadar - Chennai Central Express, Shatabdi Express, Nagercoil Express and Coimbatore Express. Pune city has two railway stations, one in the city and the other at Shivaji Nagar. All the railway lines to Pune are broad gauge.

By Road:
Reaching Pune by Road is a real fun and fantastic experience due to the presence of three national highways (NH) and an expressway. You can reach Pune from Mumbai by the Pune-Mumbai Express Highway. Both the private and state owned companies provide the service of luxury buses. You can also use NH 4 in order to reach Pune from Mumbai. The cities of Solapur, Homnabad, Hyderabad and Vijaywada are linked to Pune through NH 9. You can reach Pune from Nashik on the NH 50.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (ST) runs buses from Shivaji Nagar, Pune Railway Station, and Swar Gate to all major cities in Maharashtra and also to some cities in neighbouring states. Private companies also run buses to major cities throughout India.

The recently constructed Mumbai-Pune Expressway is the India's first six-lane high speed express high way has reduced the travel time between Pune and Mumabai to almost two hours.

Military Establishments at Pune

During the British Rule, Pune city was the largest military base for the British. The majority of the Cantonment area in Pune is now occupied by the Army for housing of its officers. The southern command of Indian Army has its head quarters at Pune. The Lohegaon air port was primarily built for military fighter air crafts. We can see the National Defence Academy which is an integrated military training center. NDA provides education upto graduation level and a joint training for cadets of Army, Navy and Air force. The total area of NDA is 8000 acres.

Cheap Hotels and Accommodations at Pune

The most sough-after category of Hotels in Pune is Five Star Hotels in Pune. These hotels are provide excellent services and facilities. A stay at any of these hotels is certainly going to be full of luxury and relaxation. The famous hotels in this category are Le Meridien Hotel, Dreamz Villa and Hotel Taj Blue Diamond.

You can also stay in Four Star hotels at Pune. These Four star hotels are the next best options for accommodation after the five star hotels. Some of the famous Four star hotels at Pune are otel Oakwood, Hotel Sagar Plaza, Central Park and Hotel Kohinoor Executive.

All the tourists cannot afford the luxury of five and four star hotels. Pune offers options of accommodations for these kind of tourists too. For them there are many lodging options that are available among the Pune hotels such as Hotel Dreamland, Hotel Mayur, Hotel Pearl, Hotel Shalimar, Hotel Natraj and Maurya Residency. These hotels would provide you the basic facilities and personalized services to make your stay a memorable one.

Climate of Pune

Pune is surrounded by Western Ghats and is at an altitude of 559 mtrs. from sea level. The temperatures of Pune are moderate. We can see the three seasons of Summer, Winter and the Monsoon seasons.

Summers in Pune:
The Summer season at Pune begin from early March and ends in July. The temperature here is not as hot as northern part of India. The day times in summer at Pune are very sunny and with dry heat. Early mornings in summer are very pleasant and we get a cool breeze in the evening after six. The temperatures during summer season range from 38°C to 20°C.

Monsoon season in Pune:
Pune has a good three months of rainy season from July-August to October. We can see the clear skies in the mornings and it rains in the evenings. The umbrellas and rain coats are a must for the people during the monsoon season. The temperatures during the monsoon season range from 18-19 degrees to 30 degrees.

Winter in Pune:
The winter season in Pune starts in November and ends in January. During day time light woolen clothes are a must and more clothing is required in early mornings and nights as it is very chill. The lowest temperature recorded was 6°C.

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