A cosmopolitan city in the making, Pune combines the best of all the metro cities in India. Known as the “Oxford of the East”, students from all over the country migrate here for higher education and businesses thrive in this emerging IT hub. Owing to its largely young population, it is not surprising then that there are a number of places to visit in Pune that offer the best of art, culture, and parties. But other than being an important city in modern India, it has also held a prominent position in the early, medieval and colonial periods. In fact, many of the places to visit in Pune will be of interest to history lovers. And if you are a nature buff, Pune will charm you with its magnificent Western Ghats, where you can enjoy treks and lush green trails.
The city is developing at the speed of light, but it holds dear its many forts, palaces, temples and museums. These incredible places to visit in Pune recount the stories of what shaped the community’s culture and traditions over the years, intriguing travellers from all over the world. Some of the important tourist places in Pune include:
Aga Khan Palace
Built in the 19th century by Sultan Aga Khan III, this grand monument is known for the significance it gained during India’s freedom struggle. Following the Quit India Movement, Mahatma Gandhi, among other important leaders, was imprisoned here. It has now become an unmissable tourist destination in Pune. It also serves as a memorial wherein the ashes of Gandhi’s wife, Kasturia, are enshrined. The Gandhi National Memorial inside the palace also allows tourists to peak into the room Gandhi stayed in, with exhibits of paintings and photographs commemorating moments from his life. Besides its historical importance, the Islamic architecture of the palace makes it an impressive addition to the places to visit in Pune.
Located about 35km from the main city, Sinhagad Fort is one of the most unusual places to visit in Pune. It is nestled on top of a hill and is said to have been there since 2,000 years. An extremely popular getaway spot for locals in Pune, this is an ideal place to unwind amidst nature with a gorgeous panoramic view of the landscape. This is also among the top trekking places to visit in Pune. The ruins of the fort are reminiscent of the Maratha history, with a memorial dedicated to Tanaji Malusare and Rajaram Chhatrapati. This fort is also known for its role during India’s independence struggle. Freedom fighter Gangadhar Tilak would use this fort as a retreat during summer, and this is where he first met Gandhi. Moreover, a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali along with a statue of Lord Hanuman can be found here. The terrain is not very difficult to climb and can be done within 45 to 90 minutes. What makes it interesting is the beautiful view and the warm villagers selling fruits and other local food items that you can devour on your way up. It is best to plan your journey to what is one of the loveliest places to visit in Pune during monsoon. Although public transportation is available to reach this tourist destination in Pune, it is recommended that you bring your own vehicle or rent one as the drive up to Sinhagad is an unmissable experience.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Right in the heart of the city in Shivajinagar, this is one of the ancient religious places to visit in Pune. This monolithic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Nandi is thousands of years old, and local legends say that it was created in only a few hours by Pandavas, heroes of the Indian epic Mahabharata. Statues of Lord Ram, Lakshman, Ganesha and Goddesses Sita and Lakshmi are also placed within the complex. Faith aside, the remarkable architecture of this eighth century temple invites a large number of tourists to see its rotunda structure marked with intricate carvings on the pillars and walls. Interestingly, you can spot similarities between this tourist destination in Pune and the Elephanta caves too. Pataleshwar Cave Temple is also one of the most famous places to visit in Pune for housing a single grain of rice in its museum, which is in the Guiness Book of World Records for being inscribed with 5,000 letters.
Another one of the popular historical places to visit in Pune is Lal Mahal, which is a reconstruction of the palace where the warrior king Shivaji grew up and spent notable years of his life. Although the original palace was reduced to ruins due to several enemy attacks, the Pune Municipal Corporation has tried to preserve an important moment in the history of the region by building it again and providing proper maintenance. Their effort is evident as this palace has secured a spot in the places to visit in Pune. Lal Mahal especially makes it to tourist itineraries of places to visit in Pune also because it is considered to be the site of an encounter between Shivaji and the Mughal army general, Shaista Khan. The latter had seized Pune, and within it Lal Mahal, but faced a massive defeat when Shivaji orchestrated a surprise attack. He took back the palace and cut off Khan’s fingers while he was trying to escape. Located at the centre of the city, the monument consists of many statues and paintings that represent the life of the royal Maratha family.
Although not the most exciting destination, compared to other places to visit in Pune, throngs of tourists still line up outside Shaniwar Wada fort to make a visit. Constructed by the Maratha Peshwas, it was home to the famous general of the empire, Bajirao I. Although it has largely been destroyed by military attacks, the remnants of the great fort still hold the interest of tourists in the city. The complex is great to picnic as well. Some also believe that the fort is one of the most haunted places to visit in Pune, which thrills a number of youngsters and encourages them to visit it to check the veracity of these claims. A lot of people have also started going to this tourist destination in Pune since Bollywood film Bajirao Mastani memorialized Bajirao and his life. While you are here, you could find your own reason for visiting it.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
This museum is one of the most frequented places to visit in Pune by travellers as it has thousands of historical artefacts on display, some even dating back to the 14th century. Put together by an optician with a penchant for rare antiquities, Dr Dinkar G Kelkar’s collection consists of over 20,000 items from places near and far, though only 2,500 of these have been put on display for the public. This comprises paintings, sculptures, utensils, weapons, musical instruments among others from the diverse range of precious remnants at the museum representing the collective past. Some of the well-known exhibits here include lamps from the Mughal period, mythological paintings on Ramayana, statues of different Hindu gods, pottery items and carved frames of palace doors. The evolution of craftsmanship can be truly marveled at here once you see the wonderful things made of stone, clay, wood, ivory, fabric and metal by people across ages and locations. This is surely one of the most interesting places to visit in Pune to get a glimpse into the past. It is managed by the Department of Archaeology now, but Kelkar’s grandson has stated that he wants to continue this legacy into the more tech-savvy world by making the artefacts accessible in the digital space. Hence, travellers can expect an improvement of the museum and a probable expansion for it to become one of the bigger places to visit in Pune in the future.
Pune is adored by its residents not only because they get to enjoy the perks of a growing metropolitan but also due to its proximity to natural spots. As a traveller, you can enjoy the best of both worlds during your trip too! Some of the top natural places to see in Pune are as follows:
The Sahyadri Ranges, or the Western Ghats, spread across the edge of the Deccan Plateau constitute a hotspot of biodiversity. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites comprising of numerous hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries and waterfalls. You can embark on several road trips to places to visit near Pune to enjoy the beauty of the ghats that border the city. A drive from Pune towards Mulshi Dam, Tamhini Ghat, Panshet Backwater, Lohagadh, and Bhimashankar among other destinations are excellent routes to experience the glorious Sahyadri Ranges, which are lush green during monsoon.
Osho Teerth Park
Like a forest in the middle of the city, Osho Teerth Park is one of the most relaxing places to visit in Pune amidst nature. Situated in Koregaon Park, it used to be a wasteland created by the city’s rapid urbanization. Osho’s ashram management took responsibility to transform what was once a desolate patch of land with sewage water flowing beside it. Now it is a calm, rejuvenating park, ideal for a picnic or a stroll amidst by lush greenery. Apart from other natural places to visit in Pune, its unique story and simple accessibility makes it deserving of a visit as well.
One of the verdant places to visit in Pune, Mulshi Dam is perfect to spend some quality time with your travel partners. Approximately 30 kilometres from the main city centre, Mulshi Dam is set in a landscape out of a postcard. The clear lake reflecting the blue sky spotted with fluffy clouds and the Sahyadris in the backdrop makes the destination a dream for photographers. You can also visit the Tamhini Ghats from here. As this area is growing in popularity among the places to visit in Pune, a number of lodges and resorts have set up shop here for travellers as well as locals looking for an escape from the bustling city life. You can also enjoy activities such as trekking, camping and bird-watching here.
Pune Okayama Friendship Garden
One of the beautiful places to visit in Pune is the Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden (also known as Pu La Deshpande Udyan). One of the largest parks in the region, it was built after taking inspiration from a 300-year old japanese park. It is great for a leisurely walk with a soothing view of nature. Adding to the landscape is a small waterfall with a stream in the middle of the park that is home to luminescent fish. Families with children can have a good time here on a picnic and enjoy the swings. It is well-maintained and clean, enhancing your experience of the park. Since it is located on Sinhagad Road on the way to the fort, it is a fun place to take a break from your drive and explore the Japanese-inspired garden.
Many aesthetic cafes have cropped up in the last few years in Pune, serving as great hang-out spots. Adding them to your list of places to visit in Pune would make your trip a lot more interesting as well as relaxing. Here, you can relish multiple cuisines while lounging about with your travel partners, tuck yourself into a cosy corner to read a book, or even interact with other travellers or locals. The following are a few of the most popular places to visit in Pune for great food and ambience:
A cafe serving locals and tourists for decades, German Bakery has become one of the prominent places to visit in Pune. The two branches of the cafe are located in Koregaon Park and Shivajinagar. The warm, lively ambience at both cafes accompanied by the hospitality of the staff and the delicious food will keep you glued to your seats for hours. It is slightly overpriced but the renowned bakery is sewn into the fabric of the city and must be included in your itinerary. The branch in Koregaon Park gained popularity due to the bomb attack it endured in 2010, but it has soldiered on and continues to be on local and tourists’ list of places to visit in Pune for a bite. A few of the most ordered items on the menu are its omelettes, pao, fish and chips, salads, masala chai, frozen hot chocolate, coffee, juices, and of course a variety of desserts.
One O Eight Lifestyle Cafe
A cafe that will have you reaching for your camera every time you enter, it is one of the most popular places to visit in Pune for a scrumptious meal. The beautiful interior and homely vibe of the cafe will make even solo coffee breaks seem fun. The staff is attentive and will make your time here worthwhile. This is an all-vegetarian cafe but the flavourful food will keep you satisfied. You cannot go wrong with one of their pastas or meal bowls. The risotto pancakes here are especially good and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea from their great selection. This is one of the best places to visit in Pune that also offers free WiFi and allows you to sit here for as long as you like to do some work or catch up on some reading.
Waari Book Cafe
This is among the few places to visit in Pune that will make you want to settle here permanently. Situated in Karishma Chowk, this cafe is a wonderland for bibliophiles and houses over 3,000 books from a variety of genres and authors. It keeps adding dishes to the menu, thus offering something new to its guests often. The staff even allows you to bring your own food if you are there only for the books and the lovely atmosphere. Since there is no limit on the time or money spent here, it does have a cover charge of ₹50, but this is redeemable. This is one of the places to visit in Pune that consistently attracts loyal customers who have nothing to complain about and are happy to spend their days reading classics in the cafe’s warm ambient lighting, while having an excellent hot cup of coffee.
Shisha Jazz Cafe
This cafe in Koregaon Park is one of the most established places to visit in Pune to have a fun evening. With some soft jazz music, dim yellow lighting and comfortable seating, this cafe has a laid-back environment which is perfect to unwind after a long day at work. It is a great addition to the most sociable places to visit in Pune serving cuisines such as Indian, Iranian and Continental, as well as numerous cocktails to grease your conversations. A few of the appetizing dishes you can get here are the Iranian kebab platter, hummus platter, paneer tikka masala and chicken lasagne. What makes this cafe special is also the weekly live music performances it hosts to entertain its guests, so be sure to check out the schedule before planning a dinner here. It also arranges for valet parking and outdoor seating. Although this is among the most classy and elegant places to visit in Pune, it is very pocket-friendly!
Written by Shruti Mishra, an in-house Tripoto writer.
Tourist Places in Pune offer an interesting mix of sightseeing attractions, lake places, historical places and some of the country’s best offerings in food and nightlife. The Torna Fort, as it is called, is full of surprises and the list of places to visit in Pune is bursting to the seams.
Some of the most talked about tourist attractions in Pune include the Pawna Lake, which is among the best and most visited in the country. Historical sightseeing on Rajgad Fort and ice-cream in Sujata Mastani are among the most popular activities to experience the best the city has to offer.
Sightseeing in Pune would include museums to celebrated temples, Pune offers a range of options for all types of travellers, be it families, couples or solo travellers. Eclectic and vibrant, the city is both cosmopolitan and yet full of traditional flavours and nuance. There’s never a shortage of places to visit in Pune.
Pune is well-connected to all major cities in India by air and all modes of public transportation. The best way to get around the city is on public transportation and taxis.
The best time to visit most places in Pune the months between July-March, when the weather is cool and perfect to experience all the top tourist attractions in Pune.
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