As Pune is a city of Historical background and importance we can find many Historic
places in Pune, and around Pune.
Parvati Hill and Temples
The 'Nagarkhana' drum house, the imposing temple of Parvati and Devdeveshwar are
the main structures on the hill. The Parvati museum houses portraits of heroes of
the Peshwa dynasty, besides old manuscripts, weapons and coins. A group of beautiful
temples of Ganapati and Kartikeya make Parvati add to Parvati's attractions. According
to the records, the main idol was carved out of gold by craftsmen from Karnataka.
After this was stolen in 1932, it was replaced by silver idols plated with gold.
The 108 step climb to the 17th century temple located on top, the hill is also the
favorite haunt of fitness fans.
The historic palace of the Peshwa rulers became the seat of political power during
Bajirao-I’s region and became so conspicuous that to this date the palace has become
the symbol of the city and its culture. Shaniwar Wada was once the palace of the
great Peshwa rulers. The wada (Fort) was destroyed by a major fire in 1827, the
cause of the fire till today remains a mystery. Shaniwar Wada is situated in Shaniwar
Peth, near the railway station of Pune. It is a fort, whose foundation was laid
down by Peshwa Baji Rao in the year 1729-30. It took two years to complete the fort
and later, many additions were also made to it by the successors of Baji Rao. The
amazing architecture of the fort speaks volumes about the competence of the Peshwas
in the field of town planning. The entire complex of the Shaniwar Wada comprises
of fountains, courtyards, blooming gardens, offices, audience halls and residential
A fire engulfed the fort in 1827 A.D.and lasted for approximately 15 days. The devastating
fire led to the destruction of the beauty of the palace, along with all of its artifacts.
All one can see now is the huge gate of the fort, with its outer stonewalls, bastions
and small gates. The main gate is known as the Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate), while
the other gates are known as Mastani or Alibahadur Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh
Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja. However, Shaniwarwada Fort still counts amongst the
major attractions of the Pune city of India. The city center inside the Shaniwar
Wada of Pune serves as a reflection of how the fort originally looked like, before
the fire broke out. On the walls of the fort, one can see paintings depicting scenes
from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The sixteen-petal lotus-shaped fountain
standing inside the Shaniwar Wada stands as a proof of the exquisite craftsmanship
of those times.
Situated on Moledina Road, the Ohel David Synagogue is popularly known as the Lal
Deval or ‘Red Temple’. Built in Neo-Gothic style with red bricks and stone, the
synagogue is also the largest one in Asia. It was built in 1863 – 67 by the late
David Sassoon who also built the Sassoon Hospital in Pune along with other such
philanthropic projects. He escaped from the persecution of the Pashas and fled to
India in 1828. Sassoon then along with his large family of eight children established
an international empire of trade and commerce. He also provided a lot of support
to the scholars from Pune. The educational, religious and charitable institutions
which were built by him and his sons greatly benefited the Jewish community in Mumbai
and Pune. Among these are the David Sassoon Hospital, an infirmary and leper asylum
and the Ohel David Synagogue in Pune. The synagogue caters to the Jewish community
of the city. The mausoleum of the late David Sassoon is housed in the precincts
of the synagogue. There is also a “Mikvah” in the synagogue compound which was used
for the ritual immersions but is not operational at the moment. Prayers are conducted
on Saturdays and a “Hazaan” from Mumbai comes to conduct services for Shabbath prayers.
When we talk about architecture, the Ohel David Synagogue has an enchanting appearance.
As you walk through the gates you are mesmerized by the majestic structure. Built
in red stones, its 90 feet spire has made the synagogue a prominent landmark in
the city of Pune. The main hall features numerous narrow stained-glass windows which
blend well with the overall design. It is believed that the interiors are just as
stunning as the outer architecture but can only be accessed by the members of the
The synagogue looks especially beautiful in the soft glow of the setting sun and
hence is flocked by tourists during the evening. If you wish to explore the synagogue
it is advisable to call and speak to David Solomon, the caretaker and organize a
visit as the synagogue cannot be accessed without prior appointment for security
Samadhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar
Alandi is a small city, situated in the Pune district of Maharashtra. It lies at
a distance of approximately 25 km from the Pune city. The town is mainly famous
for being home to the Samadhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar. Dnyaneshwar was a very popular
saint of Maharashtra, who spent some of the years of his life in the Alandi town
also. It is said that he was the one who inspired the people of the state to worship
Lord Panduranga. The Samadhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar is situated in a temple at Alandi,
which is dedicated to the saint only. Devotees come from various parts of India
to pay homage to the saint. Apart from being revered by the local people of the
state, the temple also boasts of picturesque beauty. In fact, the temple stands
encircled amidst blooming greens and is a sight to behold. The ghat serving as the
backdrop of the Sant Dnyaneshwar Temple adds to its splendor. Apart from the being
home to the temple, Alandi city also serves as the venue of the Palakhi festival,
celebrated every year in the month of Ashadh. People from all over the state as
well as the country come to take part in this festival. The other tourist attractions
of Alandi city, situated on the banks of Indrayani River, comprise of Muktai temple,
Ram temple, Krishna Temple, Math of Swami Hariharendra, Vitthal-Rakhumai temple,
etc. For those who are religiously inclined, Alandi is definitely a place worth
Sinhagad Fort lies at a distance of 25 km from the Pune city. Sinhagad is situated
on a hill, at a height 700 m above the surrounding landscape. Due to its height,
the fort also serves as a popular trekking destination for the people of Pune. The
trek from Katraj to Sinhagad is especially very famous. Today, Sinhagad fort stands
mostly in ruins. However, it was once the venue of the historic battle where Tanaji
Malusare, a general in Shivaji's army, recaptured the fort. The Samadhi of Tanaji
Malusare along with that of Rajaram, Shivaji's younger son, can still be seen inside
Sinhagad Fort, near Pune. The bungalows of Lokmanya Tilak, a great freedom fighter
and G.D. Madgulkar, a famous Marathi Poet are also located atop the fort. One can
get an amazing view of the Panshet, Khadakwasla and Varasgaon dams as well as the
Torana fort from Sinhagad. A popular weekend destination, the fort is also used
by the National Defense Academy for training purposes. Singhgad Fort is one the
favorite picnic spot among Puneits. It is not only famous for picnic, but also
a good trekking place. Here on Singhgad, you get sweet curd, buttermilk, and kanda
bhaji and pithala bhakari which are famous among tourists. On the way back to Pune,
you can also stop at Khadakwasla Dam.
Lohgad Fort is around 55 km away from Pune. Lohgad has historical importance. It
is one of the strongholds of Shivaji Maharaja. There are four doors to Lohagad.
they are Narayan Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja, Maha Darwaja and Hanuman Darwaja. You
can also see Pawana dam from Lohgad. There is another fort called Visapur fort which
is15 km away from Lohgad.
Purandar fort is about 40 km away from Pune near Saswad. This fort is at height
of 1350 meter. In the era of Shivaji Maharaj, Purandar fort was a capital of Maratha
Empire for many years. Purandar fort now holds National Cadet Corps Academy. From
Purandar Fort you can see Kedareshwar mandir, Sawai Madharao Peshwe Mandir, Purandareshwar
mandir, Statue of Murarbaji Deshpande and Sar Darwaja.
Shivneri fort is one of the most magnificent as well as historically rich forts
of India. It is situated at a distance of approximately 90 km from the Pune city
of Maharashtra. The fort dates back to the time period when Shivaji was not even
born yet. It is the birth place of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja. This place is famous
for trekking. There is small temple of Shivani Devi (goddess) on the way to Shivneri.
One has to cross seven doors to reach Shivneri fort. Shivneri Fort is the place
where Shivaji Maharaja spent his childhood. There is pond of water called ‘Badami
Talav’ on Shivneri fort along with statue of Shivaji Maharaj and Jijabai (Shivaji
Maharaja’s mother). Other nearby places where you can visit are Nane ghat and Jivdhan.
Torna fort also called as Prachand gad (Huge fort), is located 55 km away from Pune
near Velhe village. This is the first fort that Shivaji Maharaja had conquered at
the age of 16. From this victory, he went on building Maratha Empire. Torna fort
is also popular among the trekkers. September to December (after monsoon) is the
best time to visit Torna Fort. There are many important places within the fort.
They are konkan darwaja, bini darwaja, kothi darwaja, menghai Devi temple, tornai
temple, budhla machi, zunjar machi and sadar.
Rajmachi fort is famous for trekking. The beautiful place has exotic natural locations
as well as it is a historic site. Rajmachi can be reached via town of Lonavla along
the Khandala plateau. Lonavla is an important train station on the Indian rail network.
It is most convenient to start the trekking from the morning itself at around 11
am. Near Kalbhairavnath Temple, there is some space that can be used as a campsite.
Those who do not want to stay outside can stay inside the temple. There is a tank,
which is 100m away on a path to the left of the temple, water is available here.
One has to cook his own food or buy some village-made food of Bhakri and Chutney.
Once the trekkers reach the fort, one will realize that the climb was really meaningful.
Opposite to Kalbhairavnath Temple, there is another fort called Shreevardhan. The
fort has lots of secret tunnels leading to battlements. There is a place called
Manranjan behind the temple that gives one a nice view of the plains. Trekkers who
want to explore the area can go to the base of Manranjan where there are some simple
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar God of the Underworld, dates back to
the 18th century. It is situated on the Jangali Maharaj Road in Shivaji Nagar. One
of the major attractions of the Pataleshwar Cave Temple of Pune is its exquisite
rock-cut architecture. The cave temple was modeled on the rock temple of Elephant.
However, the construction of the temple never got fully completed and the resemblance
remained partial only. There is a cave in the vicinity of the temple, the reason
for the temple getting its name as the 'Pataleshwar Cave Temple'. The cave temple
also comprises of a shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The rocks of the cave, cut
into pillars, seating areas and akin rooms, are as old as 700-800 A.D. The Shiva
lingam is situated in a cube-shaped room, located in the middle of the Pataleshwar
Temple of Puna, India. Adorned with ornate carvings, the temple also houses the
idols of Lord Rama, Sita, Laxmana, Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi. The brass bell
hanging outside the basalt entryway of the temple adds to its magnificence.
Vishram Bagh Wada
The great old palace marked its presence in grand olden times, is presently in ruins.
This majestic palace was constructed by Peshwa during the 18th century. The palace
was renowned for the attractive facades made in good quality wood. Presently only
some remains of the palace are seen in the city of Pune. The remains of this majestic
palace are specimens of great old Maratha architectural beauty and style. The tourists
who are fond of archeological and historical sites should not miss this place.
Aga Khan Palace
Aga Khan Palace is one of the most magnificent monuments of Pune, situated in the
Yerawada area. The palace dates back to the year 1892 and was constructed under
the patronage of Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III. There was a noble cause behind
its construction. In the decade around 1890s, the area around Pune was hit by a
severe famine. Sultan Mohammed Shah ordered the construction of this palace, in
order to provide employment to the drought-hit people. In the year 1969, Prince
Karim El Husseni, Aga Khan IV, donated Agakhan Palace to the Government of India.
He intended it to be used by the Government in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy.
Today, the palace houses the Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi (wife of Mahatma Gandhi)
and Mahadev Desai (a long time aid of Mahatma Gandhi). It is because of the reason
that both the individuals left for the holy abode, in the palace itself. After their
death, Charles Correa got their Samadhi built in the palace grounds. Even the ashes
of Mahatma Gandhi have been interred at Aga Khan Palace. Since the palace is so
closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi, it is often known by the name of Gandhi
National Memorial also. It serves as the venue of exhibitions, depicting the life
and career of Mahatma Gandhi, on a frequent basis. Agakhan Palace was also one of
the shooting locations of the famous movie 'Gandhi', based on the life of Bapu.
A museum is also situated inside the premises of the palace.
Depicted inside the museum, is a rich and a very wide collection of pictures, which
represent almost each and every significant happening in the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
One can also see a number of items displayed here, which were used by Gandhji when
he was alive. These include his utensils, clothes, mala, chappals (slippers), etc.
The management of the museum, Samadhi and campus of the Agakhan Palace is being
looked after the Gandhi Memorial Society, since the year 1980.
Tribal Museum is situated on the Queens Road, in the Pune city of India. The museum
is dedicated to the various tribes living in the state of Maharashtra. It endeavors
to showcase the lifestyle as well as the cultures of the tribal people, with special
emphasis on the tribal communities that belong to the Sahyadri and Gondhavana regions
of the state. A trip to the Tribal Museum of Pune will provide you the perfect opportunity
to get a glimpse into the tribal life of the state. This is one of the main reasons
why it is also visited by researchers and analysts. The museum remains open to the
visitors only for 7 hours i.e. between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. The efforts of the
museum authorities have resulted in it being able to assimilate an outstanding documentation
on the tribal communities of Maharashtra. Today, you can see an amazing compilation
of items at the Tribal Museum, which can serve as you window to the customs and
traditions followed by the tribal communities in the region. This collection comprises
of items like pictures and artifacts, which belong to the tribal people. So, next
time you visit Pune, make sure to pay a visit to the Tribal Museum and explore the
tribal culture of Maharashtra.
Mahatma Phule Museum
Mahatma Phule Museum of Pune dates back to the year 1890, when it was established
by the name of 'Lord Ray Museum'. It is located in the Shivaji Nagar of the city,
on the Ghole Road. In the 19th century, India was gripped by a museum culture, in
which a large number of new museums were set up throughout its length and breadth.
During this time, the foundation of Lord Ray Museum was also laid down.
When the country gained independence, in the year 1947, it was noticed that though
there were a lot of museums in India, a handful of them were under the control of
the Government. Amongst them were the Prince of Wales Museum of Mumbai and the Lord
Ray Industrial Museum of Pune. The latter one of the two was under the ownership
and management of the Bombay Government. It was then decided to rename Lord Ray
Museum as Mahatma Phule Museum. However, the government never interfered in its
day-to-day governance and a board of trustees was formed to look after its management
and control. The museum houses an amazing collection of industrial products, agricultural
articles and handicraft items, etc. A very unique aspect of the Mahatma Phule Museum
is that its collection comprises of the body samples of a large number of animals,
right from elephants to seal fishes.
Today, the museum is almost 117 years old. Still it retains its original charm and
attractions. Making up its rich compilation are items related to arms and armory,
forestry, geology, natural history, textiles, etc. Amongst the other attractions
of Mahatma Phule Museum of Pune, you can count brassware, stone carvings, marble
statues and oil paintings. Whenever you visit Pune, make sure to visit this museum
and get acquainted with the rich history of India.