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Pune

An erstwhile bastion of the all-powerful Maratha Empire of yore, the city of Pune, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, stands at the confluence of the Mutha and Mula River, surrounded by hills and having pleasant climate. Pune may not be a cosmopolitan city as its upstart cousin on the cost, Mumbai, but it is a pleasant getaway for all those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Pune has a calm atmosphere, non-confronting people, and is certainly much more relaxed and peaceful than Mumbai. Pune is a significant milestone in the history of India. And if you consider Maharashtra as a Marathi speaking state of India, then Pune can undoubtedly be called its capital, with its glorious past and high concentration of Marathi speaking people.

For many years Pune was the pulse of the Maratha land and has given India some of its most memorable personalities. Pune was the early home of great Maratha warrior Shivaji and became the Maratha capital in 1750. For a brief period, the city was under the control of Nizam of Hyderabad and later came under the British rule in 1817. The British tried to develop the city as the summer capital of Maharashtra and a military cantonment. Today, the city has lost much of its grandeur of Maratha period but the places around here are quite rich in heritage and natural beauty.

In the recent times the city of Pune became famous for being home to the Osho Commune International, a must-visit place for tourists on vacations in Oune. The ashram attracts a large number of people from around the world to practice Osho's new-age meditation techniques. Pune is also an internationally renowned educational centre, being home to many institutions of repute like Film and Television Institute of India, Armed Forces Medical College, National Defence Academy and Symbiosis Educational Society.

 Attractions

Though Big-Brother Mumbai plays host to a larger chunk of tourist inflow in the state, Pune is not much behind as a popular tourist destination. Tours in Pune are highly recommended for an insight into the great Maratha heritage

Pune might not have some great names to boost in terms of tourist attractions, but these attractions have their own qualities that can be experienced only after seeing them. Most of the attractions are related to the Marathas, who at one point of time controlled much of the north and western India and challenged the might of Mughal Empire as well as that of British.

Here one can have a look at the remnants of foundations and outer walls of multi-storey Shaniwar Wada that was burnt down in 1827. Pataleshwar Cave Temple is a welcome respite from the general bustle and crowds at most of the other temples. Raja Denkar Kelkar Museum is one place in Pune that should never be missed as the more than 17,000 art objects exhibited here are the example of how curiosity of a single man can create wonders.

The Shaniwar Wada, now mostly in ruins, was once the multi-storey home of the mighty Peshwas. The Raj Bhavan, built in 1866, housed the government of Bombay Presidency during the colonial times in the summers. The Saras Baug is a popular evening spot in Pune. The Kasturba Samadhi contains the ashes of Kasturba Gandhi.

The Film and Television Institute of India, situated in Law College Street, is one of the prominent film schools in Asia. The Sassoon Hospital is a Gothic-style building located near the railway station. South of the hospital lies the St Mary's Church which was consecrated by Bishop Heber. The Synagogue, also known as Lal Dewal, was built in 1867 by Sir David Sasoon. The Empress Garden has a fine collection of tropical trees besides housing a small zoo.

The Osho Meditation Resort is recent attraction in Pune's tourism map. Described as the "spiritual Disneyland for disaffected First World yuppies" by the Wall Street Journal, the resort is situated in the pleasant residential area of Koregaon Park. This lush contemporary 40-acre campus is a tropical oasis where nature and the 21st Century blend seamlessly, both within and without. A number of programs with special emphasis on new-age meditation are conducted here. A place worth a visit during your vacations in Pune.

Weekend Getaways

There are a number of places to see around Pune that will make interesting weekend getaways during your vacations in Pune.

The Lion Fort or Sinhagad , situated around 25 kilometres south-west of Pune is atop a steep hill. This hilltop fort is the epitome of bravery and cleverness of Maratha warriors. This is also the place where Mahatma Gandhi met another stalwart of Indian freedom struggle, Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1915 for the first time. A pleasant day trip to this place should not be missed.

Raigad is the place where Shivaji was crowned in 1648 and died in 1680. From the fort located on an isolated hilltop, you can get a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats. To reach the hilltop, you need to ascend the steep climb. Raigad is situated at a distance of around 126 kilometres from Pune.

Bhimashankar is a little picturesque spot situated around 95 kilometres from Pune. The place has everything to attract the visitors - deep forests, temples, rivers and all other things that give you a feeling of being in a paradise. More than anything else the place is famous for the temple of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The place is also the point of origin of river Bhim. A must visit if you are interested in trekking, nature watching, and bird watching.

Popularly known as Khandobachi Jejuri, Jejuri is a famous temple of Maharashtra. The temple is dedicated to Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand, a god worshipped by Dhangars, one of the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. The temple is situated on a hill and you need to negotiate 200 steps to reach it. Jejuri is situated around 40 kilometres south-east of Pune towards Phaltan.

Osho Meditation Resort

The Osho Meditation Resort is recent attraction in Pune's tourism map. Described as the "spiritual Disneyland for disaffected First World yuppies" by the Wall Street Journal, the resort is one of the main attractions for tourists on vacation in Pune.

A place worth a visit during your vacations in Pune, the Osho Meditation Resort is situated in the pleasant residential area of Koregaon Park. This lush contemporary 40-acre campus is a tropical oasis where nature and the 21st Century blend seamlessly, both within and without. With its white marble pathways, elegant black buildings, abundant foliage and Olympic-sized swimming pool, it is the perfect setting to take time out for yourself during your vacations.

This is a place where you can simply relax and where you can also enjoy the company of visitors of all ages from over 100 countries. You can choose if you want to do something, or if you just want to rest, swim, meditate - or just to be.

You can learn simple Osho Active Meditations, techniques specifically designed for the contemporary over-charged mind and stress-impacted body. You may like to nourish your body-mind-soul with a stunning selection of individual sessions, like bodywork and massage, and longer workshops and courses - all designed to help you become more aware of yourself. Or perhaps experiment by learning new life skills and acquiring tools to take home, that will help you remain relaxed even in the busiest of workaday environments.

Every year thousands of people come for vacations to the Osho Resort in Pune. A very comfortable paradise where you can stay a long time, with low-budget hotels nearby and very good food in the commune, with free meditations.

Location & Climate

Location

Plan your vacations in Pune, the erstwhile bastion of the all-powerful Maratha Empire of yore. The city of Pune is located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and stands at the confluence of the Mutha and Mula River, surrounded by hills. Situated near the western coast of India, approximately 115 miles south-east of Mumbai, Pune is one of the many cities situated on the Deccan plateau. The Deccan, is a plateau forming the triangular portion of India, below the Tropic of Cancer. The east and west coasts of southern India comprise of tall mountain ranges; the Eastern and Western Ghats respectively.

Pune is located 1850 feet above sea level. The old city of Pune and the cantonment area are situated on the right bank of Mutha river. The extension of the left bank area is beautifully developed and is known as Deccan Gymkhana.

Climate

The distance of Pune from the coast is deceiving with respect to its climate and its height above sea level. This height owed to the fact that between Mumbai and Pune, lies the Sahyadri mountain range, also known as the Western Ghats. Pune has three distinct annual seasons; summer, monsoons and winter. Owing to the Sahyadri range, the city is saved from the heavy coastal monsoons, since itd lies in the 'rain-shadow' area. The city's annual rainfall therefore averages 29". Being at a height of 1500ft., Pune's summer, which lasts from April to June, features the mercury soaring to 82 F to 104 F. The beginning of summer is characterized by easterly thunderstorms and sporadic, conventional showers in the afternoon.

The monsoons begin in the second week of June and continue into September, causing the temperatures to dip a little bit. Although the south-west monsoons end in September, the North-east retreating monsoons touch the city marginally, leading to the 'October heat' effect. The North-east monsoons increase the humidity in the air, making the weather sultry and humid. This causes a rise in the temperature, supplemented by the heat of the Sun, which is at the Equator then. Winter is greeted with a sigh of relief in November and continues into March. In winter the air smells clean, as temperatures range between 42 F and 72 F. Although it is pleasant and temperate throughout the year, the best time for vacation in Pune is during winter.

How to Reach

Although Pune does not attract as much tourist traffic as Mumbai, but tourists are suitably rewarded with some of the most enchanting relics of the Maratha kingdom during their vacations in Pune. For tourists planning to go on vacations to Pune, reaching the city is easy as it is conveniently connected to all the major cities of India. Pune is well connected with Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra. Pune is 163 km. from Mumbai and is accessible through almost all the means of communication.

Air : Flights available to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Ahmedabad from Pune Airport itself. Mumbai is the nearest International Airport to Pune.

Rail : Pune is linked with Mumbai (170 km), Nasik (209 km), Aurangabad (230 km), Chennai (1,088 km), Delhi and other major cities of India.

From Mumbai there are regular trains. The Shatabdi Express also operates from Mumbai to Pune. Another convenient train is the Deccan Queen. Other trains from Mumbai to Pune are Pragati Express and Indrayani Express.

Road: The excellent road network connects Pune with most of the important cities in Maharashtra and India. The Mumbai-Pune Express Highway offers a safe and fast access between Mumbai and Pune. Pune is also well connected with Goa, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Shirdi, Bangalore, Indore, Hyderabad and Aurangabad through road.

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