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Pune In MaharashtraFamily Vacations

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Fast Facts
Location : 150 kms east of Mumbai, Maharashtra
Attractions :Osho Commune International, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Shaniwarwada Palace, Aga Khan Palace, Panchalesvara Cave, Tribal Museum etc.
Best Time To Visit : October to April

Introducing Pune
Shaniwarwada PalacePune also called Poona is a city located in the west Indian state of Maharahstra. The second largest city in Maharashtra after Mumbai, Pune is about 150 km east of Mumbai. Situated at the eastern edge of the Western Ghats, Pune is bordered on the north by the river Mula and to the west by the rive Mutha. Considered as the cultural capital of Marathi speaking people, Pune has its connection with the great Maratha leader, Shivaji. Over the last couple of decades, Pune has bee transformed from a quaint, sleepy town to one of the most happening cities in India.

Pune is also called the 'Oxford of the East, due to the presence of several esteemed colleges and educational institutions. One of the country's prestigious centres for education, Pune is also emerging as major IT centre and now home to many software and IT companies. Of course Pune is a modern city, but it still retains its old world charm and refused to get caught in the fast pace of bigger cities. Usually the afternoons in Pune are laid back with shopping centres remain close between 1 pm to 4 pm. On the other hand, the nights are active and the bars and nightclubs attract people from far and near. So, visit the charming city of Pune for enjoying a peaceful holiday, amidst the pleasant environs far from the chaos of the big city.
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How to Reach Pune
By Air : Pune has its own airport which is approximately 10 km away from downtown . Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines connect Pune to various cities with regular flights. From the airport taxis and auto-rickshaws are available for various parts of the city.

By Train : Pune railway station is an important railway station of Western railway. Express and super-fast trains are available to Pune from Mumbai, Nasik, Aurangabad, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and other major cities of India. Regular trains ply between Pune and Mumbai. Shatabdi Express, Deccan Queen, Pragati Express and Indrayani Express are convenient trains from Mumbai to Pune.

By Bus : National and State Highways connect Pune to rest of the Maharasthra and neigbouring states. There is an eight-lane expressway of international standards between Mumbai and Pune. MSRTC buses and private buses ply from Pune to important destinations of Maharashtra. Regular buses are available from Pune to Mumbai, Bangalore, Nasik, Nagpur, Goa and several other cities. Road distances of some of the important cities from Pune are Mumbai (170 km), Nasik (209 km) and Aurangabad (230 km).

Local Transport : You can hire private taxis or cabs to travel within and outside Pune. Auto-rickshaws are also available as a mode of local transport in Pune.

Places Where You Can Stay
Pune is dotted with a number of hotels that include luxury, deluxe and standard hotels. Opt any of the hotel of the city according to your budget and requirements. All the hotels in Pune offer a comfortable stay to guests. Some of the popular hotels of Pune are :

Luxury Hotels : Le Meridien, The Central Park and Aurora Towers.

Deluxe Hotels : Taj Blue Diamond, Sun-N-Sand and Best Western the Pride.

Standard Hotels : Hotel Sagar Plaza, Hotel Woodland and Hotel Srimaan.

Tourist Attractions in Pune
Rajneesh Ashram or Osho Commune Interntaional : Pune is the headquarters of the Bhagwan Rajneesh's non-religious Osho Commune International. Rajneesh Ashram is located in Koregoan Park, a relatively spacious superb of Pune, 2 km east of railway station. Shree Rajneesh is both one of the most popular 'export gurus' of India and also the most controversial. Every day you will find around 5,000 followers in Pune, about 1,000 live in the ashram. About 90 percent of his followers are westerners and the Germans constitutes the biggest single group. Rajneesh Ashram is neat and clean, and modern with neat little touches. With a daily income of around $68,000 the commune has transformed the twenty acres area of ashram into an exclusive playground with cafes, swimming pool, clinics and a shop selling books, videos and cassettes of Osho.

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum : Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is one of the real delights of Pune city. Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar (1896 - 1990), apart from being a renowned Marathi poet, spent much of life travelling and collection arts and crafts from all over India. In 1975, Dinkar donated his collection to the state government as a permanent museum dedicated to his son, Raja, who died at the age of twelve. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is housed in a magnificent red and green Rajasthan style building. The museum has a wonderful collection of artifacts and objects of daily usage. Here you will see the Peshwa and other miniatures, a coat of armour made of fish scales, an impressive collection of musical instruments, carved doors and windows, hookah pipes, strange locks, oil lamps and a wonderful collection of betel nut cutters. The museum is open daily from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm.
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Shaniwarwada Palace : Shaniwarwada Palace stands in the centre of the old part of the town where narrow and winding streets form a maze. Constructed in 1736 by the Peshwa ruler Bajirao I, the massive palace was the chief residence of the Peshwas until the British arrived in 1817. Shaniwarwada Palace was also burnt down by fires in 1791, 1812 and 1828 and now only the imposing high walls survive. Inside the palace there is a beautiful garden and small signs proclaiming the rooms used to stand there. Shaniwawada Palace is open every day from 8 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm.
Aga Khan Palace and Gandhi Memorial : Aga Khan Palace is set in a tranquil gardens, across the River Mula, 5 km northeast of the city centre. In the year 1942, Mahatma Gandhi his wife Kasturba Gandhi and other noted freedom fighters were interned at the Aga Khan Palace. In 1969 Aga Khan donated this palace to the state and now it is a small museum houses captioned photos and rooms occupied by the freedom fighters. A small Khadi shop in the memorial sells handloom cloth and products made by local villagers. Aga Khan Palace is open daily from 9 am to 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm to 6 pm.

Panchalesvara Cave : Panchalesvara cave lies to the west of the city, just across the river Mula. Hewn from rock just like other caves in Maharashtra, the Panchalesvara cave dates from the Rashtrakuta period (8th and 9th centuries). The roughly excavated cave has broad, square, unfinished pillars, bearing numerous chisel marks and even today appears to have been in use for a 1,000 years. You can see locals or devotees at prayer at most time of the day. The principal shrine contains a shivalingam, while the subsidiary cells hold images of Ganesha, Lakshmi, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana.

Tribal Museum : Run by the Tribal Research and Training Institute, the Tribal Museum is dedicated to the protection and documentation of the surviving culture of tribal groups of Maharashtra. Tribal museum's collection of photos, costumes and artifacts provide an introduction to the little-known world of tribals. Highlight of the museum is the fantastic collections of dance masks and Worli wedding paintings. Located 2 km east of the railway station, the museum is open from 8 am to 5.30 pm daily.

Temples and Gardens : Visit the Empress Gardens which has fine tropical trees and a small zoo nearby. The Empress Gardens also has a moated Ganesh temple in the middle. Take an evening stroll in the Bund Gardens, located on the banks of the river. The Parvati Temple is situated on the outskirts of the town atop a hill. From the temple you will good view of the city. The rock cut Panchaleshwar temple, another interesting temple of Pune. Built in 8th century AD, the temple resembles in style to the rock temples of Ellora. Just close to Panchaleshwar temple there is a fine equestrian statue of Shivaji.

Tourist Attractions Around Pune
Sinhagad : Sinhagad or the 'Lion Fort' is 25 km south-west of Pune atop an almost perpendicular cliff in the Bhuleshwar mountains. Originally known as Kandana, the ruined fort of Sinhagad can easily be visited in a day trip from Pune. In 1647 Shivaji, on hearing that his general Tanaji had died after defeating the unprepared forces of Bijapur. Shivaji said "I have won the fort, but lost the lion", to commemorate Tanaji's heroism, the fort was renamed as Sinhagad. Surprisingly, even today you will find a few families live in small houses within its 12 m high walls.

Mahabaleshwar : Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station of Maharashtra located 120 km north-east of Pune. Set at an altitude of 1,372 mts above sea level, Mahabaleswar boasts of the network of marked hiking trails through the woods and assorted vantage points, with views over the peaks and down to the plains. You can also enjoy boating on the central Yenna Lake and shop for locally made jams and honey in the lively market.

Pratapgarh : An hour's bus ride takes you to the 17 th century fort of Pratapgarh, 24 kms away from Mahabaleshwar. Reached by a climb of 500 steps, the fort is connected with one of the most notable feats in Maratha chieftain, Shivaji's dramatic life. At Pratapgarh you can see Afzal Khan's tomb, a Mughal general and a memorial to Shivaji. Also enjoy the superb views of the surrounding hills.

Panchgani : Just 19 km from Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani or 'Five Hill's is also a popular hill station of Maharashtra. Panchangani is situated at a height of 1,334 mts above sea level and known for its pleasant climate.

Shopping in Pune
For shopper's Pune is paradise and it offers a plethora of interesting items. From the traditional to the contemporary, you will find everything in the markets of Pune. Some of the best buy of Pune include the Maharashtrian saree known for its distinctive borders, glass bangles, silver jewelleries, leather and pottery. Also buy the famous strawberry biscuits and chevda. Laxmi road in the old city is famous for traditional sarees and glass bangles in every hue and colour. Visit Commercial Street's main market for bangles and buy silver jewellery at Centre Street near Hanuman Mandir. For Pune sarees visit Wonderland Complex at MG Road, and Hanuman Mandir area for leather, handcrafted Kolhapuri chappals. Opposite Blue Diamond Hotel there is a group of five stores which are worth a visit. The atmosphere of the shopping centre caters to discerning shoppers. Don't miss the pottery shop and also visit the departmental stores offering branded items.

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