I saw Pune as a city that seems to be two cities rolled into one; it has the character of its colourful past, combined with the new cosmopolitanism. But, some things never change and indeed the afternoon siesta is still sacrosanct. So, whether for a shop or a private home, it maybe off limits between 2 and 4 pm.
Here is a sample of what Pune offers – a little something for everyone.
In the Peshwa Vestige, though there is nothing much to see in Shaniwarwada, the once magnificent 18th-century palace of the Peshwas, burnt down in a fire in 1827, yet an enduring symbol of city’s past. Rather more interesting is its mixture of Indian and European architectural styles, is Shinde’s Chhatri at Wanawadi – built by great Maratha nobleman Mahadji Scindia and still tended by Scindia family.
Next up is the imposing Aga Khan Palace on Nagar Road at the other end of Pune, which houses the Gandhi National Memorial. It was here that the Mahatma and other leaders of the Quit India Movement were interned and in this very picturesque settings also lies the samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi.
The Osho’s Cornerv backtrack a little to Osho Commune in Koregaon Park. Its still a good example of well-planned community living and has a beautiful landscaped Nalla Park. You can take short term and long term courses in a variety of spiritual exercises. The place also abounds in an amazing variety of restaurants.
For some airborne adventure. there’s paragliding at Hadaspur where Flying Safari (affiliated to the United India Paragliding Association) conducts learners’ and advanced courses throughout the year except during the rains.
Ah, now to get down to the best reason to visit Pune. Laxmi Road is still the approved venue for those in search of the traditional Maharashtrian nauvari (nine-yard) cotton sari and its swankier cousins, the Narayenpeth and Paithani. Canny sari-wallahs in other parts of the city, including Kala Niketan on Jangli Maharaja Road and the Poona Sari Centre in the Wonderland on MG Road.
Pune offers a complete weekend package, a great getaway for those working in Mumbai and nearby cities of Maharashtra.