Pune was the seat of power during Peshwa rule in the 18th and 19th century. It is still the second biggest city in Maharastra. A few years ago Pune was a popular option among retired people due to its pleasant weather throughout the year. Pune has grown a lot in the last couple of decades and now it is a modern city where several IT companies have their offices. Somehow Pune was never a popular tourist destination in India. I also visited Pune during my trip to Mahableshwar and Lonavala & Khandala. I traveled to Pune from Delhi and kept one day to explore the city. There are some interesting places to visit in Pune for a 1-day trip and decided to visit as many as possible before traveling.
How to travel to Pune
Pune is well connected with all major Indian cities by train and air network. There are several trains and flights from different parts of India to Pune.
I traveled to Pune by air from Delhi. Pune airport is an airforce base and photography is prohibited here.
Mumbai to Pune
Mumbai to Pune is 150 Km and takes about 2 hours 45 minutes. The drive on Mumbai Pune expressway is smooth and fast but it takes a lot of time when you are in city limits of Mumbai or Pune. The drive on the expressway is scenic with hills and tunnels. If you happen to travel during or just after the monsoon it is an amazing experience.
The train route is also scenic and it passes through popular hill station of Lonavala.
There are several buses and train between Mumbai and Pune throughout the day. Even shared taxis are available for budget travel.
Places to visit in Pune with friends in one day
Pune is a perfect amalgamation of old with new. Though there are no grand monuments in Pune still there are some interesting places to visit in a day.
This mansion was built by Peshwa Bajirao in 1736. The Shanivaar Wada has Mughal influence in its architecture. The 21 feet tall main door is the most prominent feature of Shaniwar Wada.
A major fire broke out in 1827 and the entire place was destroyed in it except the Mirror hall. Now only the fortification walls with five gates, nine bastions which enclose the entire complex, platforms and foundations have remained at Shaniwar Wada. It is considered as the most haunted place in Pune and people interested in ghosts or haunted places come here on full moon nights.
The Shaniwaar Wada is in the middle of the city at a busy junction. It is quite popular among families as well as couples. Shanivaar Wada increased the curiosity of masses after the famous movie named “Bajirao Mastani”.
The light and sound show at the Shaniwar Wada is conducted in English and Marathi. The Marathi Show runs from 7:15 PM to 8:10 PM and English show from 8:15 PM to 9:10 PM. The show remains suspended in months of monsoon.
Timing and tickets for Shaniwaar Wada
It remains open from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM on all days.
The entry fee for Indians is 5 INR and 125 INR for Foreigners.
Light and sound ticket costs 25 INR
Aga Khan Palace
This is the most iconic palace in Pune and holds great significance in India’s independence history.
It was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III. Like many other palaces in India, this was built as an act of humanity. He built this palace as an act of charity because he wanted to help the poor people in the neighboring areas, who were badly hit by famine.
The palace has a beautiful building which is surrounded by manicured gardens. The rooms inside the palace are converted into a museum.
As I mentioned earlier this palace holds great significance in Indian history. Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai were kept in house arrest at this palace from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944, after the launch of Quit India Movement. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai passed during their captivity period in the palace and their Samadhis were built in the palace complex. Later on, a memorial was built for Mahatma Gandhi near the Kasturba Gandhi’s samadhi in the same complex. The ashes of Mahatama Gandhi are kept in the memorial in the palace complex. This is one of the must-visit places if you are in Pune for one day.
In 1969, Aga Khan IV donated the Aga Khan Palace to the Indian people as a mark of respect to Gandhi and his philosophy. The Aga Khan Palace is now one of the memorial and museum which is dedicated to Mahatama Gandhi.
Timing and ticket for Aga Khan Palace
It remains open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM on all days. Palace remains closed for a lunch break from 12.30 PM to 1:30 PM
Entry ticket for Indians and Saarc nationals is 25 INR and 300 INR for foreign travelers.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
This museum has a collection of Dr. Dinkar G. Kelkar and he dedicated this to the memory of his only son, Raja. This three-story museum houses several sculptures dating back to the 14th century. The main attractions are ornaments made of ivory, silver and gold, a large collection of musical instruments, war weapons, and vessels.
Timing and tickets
It remains open from 10.00 AM to 5:30 PM
Tickets for Indians is 20 INR and 200 INR for foreign travelers
This memorial is dedicated to the 18th-century military leader Mahadji Shinde. He served as the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army under the Peshwas from 1760 to 1780. It is located in Wanawadi away from the hustle and bustle of Pune. His samadhi is in the main hall, where he was cremated on 12 February 1794.
This small monument is built in Anglo-Rajasthani style.
There is no ticket but caretaker asks you to leave some money.
There is a small temple dedicated to goddess Parvati on the hill. Visit here in early morning or evening and see the overview of Pune city from the hill. I could not go there due to time constraints but if you have time do visit.
This grand building was built by Nana Phadanwis and he stayed here all his life. Now, this building is used as a high school. You can not explore this place like a monument but it is an interesting building to see while driving past.
These caves are situated in the heart of the Pune city. Pataleshwar Cave Temple has been carved out from a single rock and looks quite interesting.
The temple’s construction was not completed due to some unknown reasons and that’s why there is no proper entry gate. This place is frequented by tourists as well as locals who are looking for some peaceful place.
There were very few people during the week but I came to know that on the weekend it remains crowded.
Credit: Wiki Commons
Places to eat in Pune
There are a wide variety of restaurants and small eating joints in Pune. It is easy to get traditional Maharashtrian food as well as continental food in Pune. During my travels, I prefer to taste local dishes or special flavors from the area. Here are some of the best things and places to eat when in Pune.
This small shop is on a congested road and it remains open from 7.00 AM. There is limited sitting space but no one complains about it. The most famous dish is Misal, which is served with white bread. The Misal is a sweet and spicy gravy dish.
Garden vada pav
This is the most iconic place in Pune for Vada pav.
This place is must visit for Keema pav and Bun omelet lovers.
This place is popular for its tandoori chicken and Chicken & mutton pulao.
This is one of the most popular food places in Pune. The Shrewsbury biscuits are the most popular thing on their menu, you can carry these biscuits back home. Some of the varieties of biscuits and the mava cakes are so popular that they get sold out in minutes when they open at 8.00 AM.
If you have a sweet tooth then this is the place to eat natural and vegetarian ice-creams. Their special Mastani mango milkshake is most popular which is served with ice cream and dry fruits.
The German Bakery
This place is quite popular in Pune but I didn’t visit it because I was more interested in local delicacy during my short trip to Pune. It is close to Osho ashram, which I didn’t visit.
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Places to stay in Pune
There are hotels for all budget options and most of them are tuned to serve the business travelers because Pune has offices of several IT companies.
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Why I didn’t visit Osho Ashram
My friends asked why I didn’t visit the famous Osho ashram, it is the most well-known place in Pune. I did my research before traveling to Pune and decided that I am not going to visit Osho Ashram. I have not found a single reason, which can convince me. Here are some of the reasons, which I found on the internet at different websites.
* It looks like a commercial place where everything has a price tag. The price is 5 star but the quality is low.
** They have developed a system and everything is focused on making money.
* The short tour to see the place is just a waste of time because you don’t visit an ashram to see, it is not like doing sightseeing.
** There were several reviews and complains that they have discrimination towards Indians.
* They play loud music in common area, which is their way of meditation. Come on, how can a person supposed to meditate if there is no peace.
To be honest, I didn’t come across a good review or feedback from several websites I researched. Osho ashram seems to be a hyped-up place or maybe their sex with meditation is too attractive or mysterious for some people.
There are several good places and ashrams in India where you can learn how to meditate. You will get a great spiritual experience without a price tag to it. I had a peaceful experience during my trip to Satkhol Himalayan Ashram. A good ashram will never ask you to pay for everything, if there is a price tag for spirituality or meditation it means they are running a business. I simply stay away from those places.
After my visit to Pune, I can say that if you are visiting nearby places then come to Pune for a day or two at least.