With well over 1.2 billion people, prolific biodiversity and cultural iterations that stretch back over millennia, it is nigh on impossible to get a handle on India. From the Himalayas to the coastline of Kerala, Thar Desert to the Sundarbans, the subcontinent is defiantly unsurpassable.
All of this necessary hyperbole is just as germane when it comes to urban India. On the one hand you have Mumbai, a showcase alpha metropolis with a global potency that mushrooms by the year. The likes of Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad serve as complimentary sandbags to balance the urban development burden and illustrate India’s ability to compete with China.
Then you have Pune, a city that, as banal as it sounds, looks every bit the part of a poster child for past and future India. India has many cultural capitals but few match the Maharashtra city of 3.5 million people. With that many residents, Pune is far from puny but pales in comparison to big brother Mumbai to the west. In the end, however, it is Pune’s proximity to the behemoth state capital that makes Mumbai so attractive. A mere 2.5 hours from Chowpatty Beach and presto, gems like the Aga Khan Palace, Gandhi National Memorial, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum and Pataleshvara Cave Temple unfurl before you.
Pune's Top 10
10. Peshwa Park is a popular public space in the city.
5. Shaniwar Wada Ruins in the old city are all that remain of this once-majestic palace fortress.
9. Bhimshankar Wildlife Sanctuary is a terrific nature reserve in the hills.
4. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a Pune institution famous for one of the most eclectic collections of random objects in India.
8. Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple is a vital pilgrimage shrine to Ganesh.
3. Pataleshvara Cave Temple is a venerable spiritual landmark.
7. Jangali Maharaj Temple is worth a short detour from Pataleshvara Cave Temple.
2. Gandhi National Memorial pays reverent homage to the national hero.
6. Tribal Culture Museum is under the proverbial tourist radar but deserves a visit.
1. Aga Khan Palace is the primary symbol of Pune.
- Shivneri Fort – Quite famous among tourists because of its famous crossings of seven gates.
- Bhuleshwar Temple – Constructed in Pune in the 13th century as a devotion to Lord Shiva.
- Bhimashankar Temple – Built as a resting place of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology.
- Sinhagad Fort – Overlooking the rest of the landscape at 700m elevation, it is a popular destination for trekking during the dry season.
- Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum – Built by Dr Dinkar G. Kelkar, the museum claims to hold more than 20,000 articles.
Pune Art & Culture
- Dussehra Festival – Commemorated during October and November as a remembrance of the triumph of good over evil.
- Holi – The festival of Holi marks the beginning of spring and people play with colours and water.
- Havi Arts – One of the most famous and most visited art galleries of India.
- Ambedkar Museum – This museum is dedicated to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, who wrote the first constitution of independent India.
- Nehru Memorial Hall – The most famous auditorium of Pune, prominent for holding many cultural and theatrical programs throughout the year.
- Pune Central – The biggest and most famous shopping plaza in Pune.
- Laxmi Road – A traditional Indian market with everything from precious jewellery to delicate and beautiful Indian dresses.
- M.G. Road (Camp) – Quite an amazing place to window shop. Pre-Diwali sales are famous throughout Pune.
- KK Bazaar – Quite a wonderful place if you are shopping for apparel and accessories.
- Chor Bazaar – A haven for cheap stuff and also a place to have fun and a different experience of shopping.
Pune Gay & Lesbian
- Indian society is not entirely receptive to homosexuality as of yet, and the gay and lesbian scene in Pune is underdeveloped. It is advisable for gays and lesbians to exercise discretion and refrain from displaying public acts of affection.
- Celebrity Country Club – Offers a swimming pool, sauna, spa and health club and attracts a gay and bi crowd.
- Citrus Hotel – Have a meal at the rooftop Indian restaurant at this swanky and modern hotel.
- Area 51 – This revolving lounge features striking architecture, a lavish interior and a dance floor.
- 10 Downing Street – This popular disco and dance club is located on the second floor of Gera Plaza.
- Cyclone Nightclub – Dance, have drinks with your friends and enjoy the nightlife of Pune here.
- The Four Fountains Spa – The best and most exquisite spa in all of Pune, famous for its friendly service and a relaxing environment.
- Oh Calcutta! Restaurant – The only restaurant in Pune to have the highest satisfaction ratings.
- Empress Garden – Built before 1838, it is still maintained with its lush green and natural environment to this date.
- Snake Park – Famous as a residence of a nine-foot-long king cobra and holds more than 160 species of snakes.
- Bund Garden – Also known as Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, this popular garden is located on the Mula-Mutha River.
- Enjoy rock climbing in the beautiful landscapes of Pune.
- Glide through skies at the Pune paragliding club.
- Hurtle down in a rubber raft and feel the excitement of river rafting.
- Dive deep into the sea with Pune's snorkelling facilities.
- Witness the mighty Indian Cricket Team in action at the Nehru Stadium.
- Osho Meditation Resort and Ashram (17, Koregaon Park)
- Aga Khan Palace/Mahatma Gandhi National Memorial near River Mula
- Tribal Museum, east of the Pune Railway Station
- Go pedal-boating around Bund Gardens
- See 200 species of serpents at the Pune Snake Park
- Spot feathered beauties in the densely wooded Malshej Ghat
Pune has a tropical climate with average temperatures between 20°C and 28°C. The best time for a visit is between November and February, when the weather is pleasant and cool. The city receives over 28.4 inches of rain annually, while summer temperatures (March to May) range between 30°C and 38°C.
Getting There & Around
Pune can be easily accessed from all parts of the country by air, rail and road. The International Airport is a mere 10 km ride from central Pune and offers multiple domestic flight connections to all major cities across India. Numerous trains connect the city to other regions, as do several state and private luxury buses.
Once in Pune, visitors have the luxury of many intra-city public transportation options. These include buses, taxis and the perennial favourite, auto rickshaws. Cars and taxis can also be hired.
A massive festival in honour of Ganesh takes place in Pune every August or September.
Sawai Gandharva Music Festival pays tribute to classical music in all its many forms over three days every December.
Pune is the centre of Marathi theatre and contains many venues dedicated to the artform.
The Pune International Cricket Centre is the headquarters of the Maharashtra state team.
The Pune Warriors play in the Indian Premier League of cricket.
Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex was the site of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games.
When To Go
Pune has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Overall annual precipitation is rather low but most of the rainfall occurs in the months of June, July, August and September.
Though March, April and May are relatively dry, midday temperatures can soar as high as 102°F (39°C). The one bonus is Pune’s elevation, which makes for much cooler nights.
On the whole, the most comfortable months to visit are December, January and February, when temperatures range from 52°F (11°C) to 89°F (32°C).
Pune (pronounced “poonay”) is the second-largest city in the Indian state of Maharashtra and a major educational and industrial hub. Known for its diverse cultural activities, Pune offers visitors everything from colourful festivals, ancient forts, palaces and temples to mega-malls, multi-cuisine food courts and more.
More Info On Getting Around
Pune International Airport is a vital hub in the state of Maharashtra, with service to a host of major destinations
45 hotels in Pune, IN
Hyatt Regency Pune Hotel offers visitors the comfort and convenience of home. The hotel is an ideal place for business and leisure travellers. This property provides quality accommodation and... More
Best Western The Pride Hotel Pune is the perfect accommodation for business as well as leisure travellers to experience tranquil stays in the city. This luxurious hotel is set amidst many local... More
Hyatt Pune boasts of modern and upscale accommodations adjacent to the famous Aga Khan Palace. Guests at this Pune hotel can visit the India landmark or venture some kilometres to the city centre... More
Vacationers looking for tranquil retreat in this side of India find ideal base at the secluded and contemporary accommodations of Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa. This spa property in Pune is... More
With accommodations that seamlessly meld old-world grandeur and modern comforts, Le Meridien Pune creates a suitable base for sophisticated travellers looking to explore this heritage-rich and... More
Near Giga Space, Opposite Inorbit Mall, Viman Nagar Map
Hotel Parc Estique Pune gives savvy business and leisure travellers convenience with its location and comfort with is well-furnished accommodations. This Pune concept hotel places corporate... More
Golden Nest, Opp. The Cerebrum IT Park,Kalyaninagar Map
Whether guests are visiting Pune for a leisurely vacation or for a demanding corporate schedule, Royal Orchid Golden Suites Pune with its spectacular accommodations and services takes care of all... More
Centrally Air Conditioned Rooms with individual temperature control, Banquet Facilities for 10 to 300 persons, Complimentary Buffet Breakfast, Cable TV, Computer/Internet Connectivity in rooms,... More