Pune was known as a Pensioner’s Paradise – home to those who had retired and wanted a peaceful life
in a salubrious environment. Now of course Pune has grown into a vibrant metro, a hub of
education, industry, information technology, entertainment, and so on. But what makes Pune
still more significant is that it is a place from where you can plan several exciting trips
to hill-stations, forts, and places of pilgrimage, not to forget an adventurous package too. Apart
from the many interesting places just beyond the city limits of Pune, such as the Sinhagad
Fort or the backwaters of the Khadakvasla Dam, tourists always make it a point to visit the
twin hill-stations of Lonavala and Khandala for its bracing weather and the wonderful views
you get of the valley and the snaking highway that leads to Mumbai. Lonavla is about 64
kilometers away from Pune and has several ‘points’ that offer breathtaking views of nature at
Aga Khan Palace
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
An absolute delight awaits nature lovers in this part of the world, which has been bestowed
with ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ status. Misty mountains, dense forests, breathtaking
valleys, wide range of flowers and almost everything that nature could give are here for
view. You would be amazed to find countless number of waterfalls as you travel through
the ghats. If you would like to enjoy the beauty of Western Ghats to the fullest, visit
this place during monsoon. Adventurers can have a great time here as there is excellent
scope for hiking, trekking and rock climbing.
Shivneri Fort was the birthplace of Shivaji, the great Maratha emperor. It was here that
he got his early training to get him ready for his future role as the undisputed king of
the Maratha dynasty. The fort is situated on a hill that is 300 meter tall. One has to
cross seven gates to reach the fort, which highlights how well the fort was guarded. Inside
the fort, you will find a big lake named Badami Talav and besides it a statue of Shivaji
along with his mother Jijabai. Once here, you could visit other forts nearby in Shivneri
hill including Bhairavgad, Chavand Jeevdhan and Jumnar. If you love trekking and history,
you are in for double delight.
Aga Khan Palace
Contrary to its name, Aga Khan Palace functioned as a prison to Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba
Gandhi and Mahadev Bhai Desai, secretary of Gandhi between August 1942 and May 1944. Aga
Khan Palace, though, had other purposes when Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III built it
in the year 1892. It was built with a view to help those in neighborhood who suffered the
worst effects of famine. Aga Khan the Fourth donated this palace to the people of the
country as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi. A fine specimen for architectural excellence
with lush greenery around, the palace is frequented by tourists to visit Gandhi’s memorial
and memorials of Kasturba and Gandhi’s secretary who breathed their last here.
Parvati Hill, a famous landmark in the city, is home to ancient temples that date back to
the 17th century. The four temples here are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh and
Kartikeya. At 2100 feet above sea level, the views from top of the hill are spectacular.
Parvati Museum on the hill has a good collection of old manuscripts, swords, guns, coins
and paintings. Portraits of rulers of Peshwa are seen in the museum.
At a height of 4600 feet stands Rajgad fort, which served as Shivaji’s capital for more
than 25 years. Trekking Rajgad can be a memorable experience as it is highly adventurous.
The views from the top are stunning. To do justice to yourself and the fort after having
trekked so high, it would be a better idea to camp here overnight so that you can
thoroughly explore the fort the following morning. The fort houses two temples where
camping facilities are provided. The fort had been a witness to many historical events
and if you have a strong memory where history is concerned, the place should impress upon
Located at the heart of the city, Lal Mahal, the red brick structure appeals to you the
moment you set your eyes on it. The impressive palace was constructed in 1643 AD by
Dadaji, father of emperor Shivaji, for his wife and son. This is where Shivaji lived
until he won over the first fort. The place is a witness to the incident when Shivaji
cut the fingers of Shaistekhan. The walls of the palace are decorated with paintings
that depict some of the important events in the life of Shivaji.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum reflects the spirit of the sole man behind the overwhelming
number of collections of artworks from various parts of India. Dr. D.G. Kelkar, the man
behind it, dedicated the museum to the memory of Raja, his only son, who had died tragically.
This is the second largest museum in the country if you go by the numbers of museums that
have been established and contributed to by individuals. The 21000 plus collections here
represent various eras, races, cultures and traditions in the country. Musical instruments,
wooden objects, writing materials, paintings, coins, textiles, arms, sculptures, ivory
items and various other collections give you a glimpse into the past and at the same time
you cannot but applaud the relentless efforts of the collector.
How would you love to view the earth from 4300 feet above sea level and particularly if you
happened to be by a formidable fort? If the prospect is inviting, visit Sinhagad Fort
on Sahyadri Hills from where you can have a stunning view of lush greenery, beautiful
waterfalls and enjoy the tranquility. It was here in this fort where Rajaram, the younger
son of Shivaji, passed away. The fort has a lot to narrate; however, you will be astounded
by the captivating beauty of nature that you might for sometime leave history behind.
Peshwa Udyan Zoo
The greenery rich Peshwa Udyan Zoo is a perfect destination for the entire family. There are
varieties of birds, animals and reptiles here. It is not just home to wildlife but it
also has play area for children and temple inside the premises. The 17th century
temple here is dedicated to god Ganesh. The scenic garden is mesmerizing. Toy train
is yet another attraction here.