When we think of visiting Maharashtra in India, the glittering, sleepless metropolitan city of Mumbai comes to our mind in a jiffy. Yet, there is Pune, the second largest city in the state which by no means deserves any less attention from a traveler. And if you possess an ardent desire for learning history then you must not miss strolling through the best historical places in Pune.
Students from within India and abroad flock to the ‘Oxford of the East’ to study in one of the scores of prestigious institutions of this multifaceted city. I was glad to spend two years in Pune for my studies, and the phase helped me explore the city.
With booming IT sectors, educational institutions, forts, architectures, malls, hill stations, adventure and water parks and lots more, Pune has a glorious past and glitzy present. While the present is exciting, the bygone era of Pune is a treat in itself and worth reminiscing. Walking through the best historical places in Pune is an edifying experience.
Major Historical Places in Pune
Aga Khan Palace
Built in the 19th century by Sultan Aga Khan III, the majestic palace is more known to us as the ‘prison’ used by the British to lock up leaders like Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle. Situated not very far from Pune town, the palace is a must-visit spot for the historic architect lovers. Besides the spacious garden within the palace complex, it houses a museum showcasing significant moments from the life of Mahatma Gandhi and the palace is also the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society.
Shaniwar Wada Palace
The palace now is more popular with The Bollywood film Bajirao Mastani shedding light to its history. It is one of the prominent and famous historical places in Pune. If not for the fire and war destructions, the palace of the Maratha Empire from 1730 to 1818, the Shaniwar Wada built by the Peshwas would have held a prime place in the list of travelers to Pune. It still is embellished with Maratha architectural accomplishments like arches, chandeliers, pillars and structures. Since it is situated within the city, do plan to visit it.
Sinhagad Fort & Lohagad Fort
Though the fort is nearly one hour’s journey from Pune town, the Sinhagad Fort is worth the visit. It being a hilltop structure, trekking to the destination is a good experience for adventure lovers. The 2000-odd years old Fort provides traces of many wars during Mughal-Maratha period. The Fort is also famous for Tanaji Malusare’s final battle, after whom the Fort is named.
Another hilltop structure that is historically popular and scenically beautiful is Lohagad Fort. From Satavahanas to Marathas, Lohagad Fort has had long history of tales to unravel and the cluster of caves to explore. However, now the location is popular among travelers for the activities like trekking, camping and fun rides that are available.
Being hill stations both the locations need considerable amount of time to explore.
Built by Peshwa Baji Rao II in the early 1800s, Vishrambaug Wada was his residence. Even after decades, the mansion continues to amaze the visitors with the excellence of architectural magnificence. Situated within the city, you can cover the mansion within a span of one hour or less. The three-storied structure gives glimpses of the glorious era of Baji Rao.
Other Historical Places in Pune
Nana Wada isone of the oldest heritage structures and prominent historical places in Pune and it is visually striking for the impressive works by the Peshwa dynasty and the colonial influence later on.
Lal Mahal is built by Shivaji’s Father Shahaji Bhosale, for his wife and son in the year 1630 AD. Currently it is a museum where you can admire the oil paintings depicting the significant moments from the life of Shivaji.
David Synagogue is another one of the renowned historical places in Pune. Access to enter inside the Synagogue is restricted to general public, however, it is a treat in itself to marvel at from outside.
Shinde Chhatri is a monument built by Madhavrao Shinde in the 18th century and dedicated to the great Peshwas soldier, Mahadji Shinde. This is one of the most popular and historical places in Pune.
All the above four locations are situated well within the city and need not take much of your time to cover.
With its glorious past, the best historical places in Pune never seem to bore a history-loving traveler. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pataleshwar Cave Temple, Ambareshwari, Ambedkar museum, Parvati temple, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Osho International Meditation resort and the world famous world heritage sites Ajanta and Ellora caves are other spots of prominence.
How to Reach Pune
The international airport is located at a distance of around 12 km from the city center. There are regular flights to all prominent domestic and international destinations.
Pune is one of the busiest railway junctions in the Central railways zone and connects all the major cities of the country.
A well-maintained network of roads connect Pune to the important parts of the state as well as the country. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is hardly 95 KMs.
Best Time to Visit Pune
Climate of Pune is pleasant during winter. Therefore, it is best to plan the visit between October-February. If you can spend a week in Pune for sightseeing, you can do justice to the glorious past the city unravels and the glittering present it offers. The rainy season can be a murky affair and it is better to avoid. Yet, the hill stations are greener during monsoon.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers