Pune Tourism and Travel Guide

Pune (IPA: [puɳe] English pronunciation: /ˈpuːnə/;) is the ninth-most populous city in India and the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after the state capital city of Mumbai. Pune is also the 101st largest city in the world, by population.It is situated 560 metres (1,837 feet) above sea level on the Deccan plateau, on the right bank of the Mutha river. Pune city is the administrative headquarters of Pune district and was once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire established by Shivaji Maharaj.In the 18th century, Pune became the political centre of the Indian subcontinent, as the seat of Peshwas who were the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire.Pune is considered the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Since the 1950s and 1960s, Pune has a traditional old-economic base . Most of the old industries continue to grow. The city is also known for its manufacturing and automobiles industries, as well as for research institutes of information technology(IT), education, management and training, which attract migrants, students, and professionals from India, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Pune is also one of the fastest growing cities in the Asia-Pacific region. The ‘Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings’ evaluated local living conditions in more than 440 cities around the world where Pune ranked at 145, second in India after Hyderabad(138). It also highlights Pune among evolving business centers and emerging 9 cities around the world with citation 'Hosts IT and automotive companies'
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Places To Visit Near Pune

Best Time To Visit Pune

One of the most important things to consider before planning a trip is the best time to visit. If you are planning to explore Pune tourism, this is one question you don’t need to dwell on. One can explore Pune tourism throughout the year since the weather is quite pleasant. However, winter in Pune is undoubtedly a great time to explore the city since you can include a number of things in your itinerary.  

Winter is an especially great time to explore Pune tourism if trekking, rafting and camping are on your itinerary. Winter in Pune is not harsh and is very comfortable compared to North India. October marks the onset of winter and you can plan your Pune tourism exploration any time till February. Summer, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable if you want to see the sites within the city but is a great option if you’d like to explore hill stations near Pune.

As we all know, monsoon in Maharashtra is harsh but it also brings out the lushness of the Western Ghats. So if you are someone who enjoys monsoon or wants to explore the vibrant greenery that Pune tourism offers, we recommend planning your trip between May and July.

Top Attractions In Pune

Aga Khan Palace

This is the first attraction that history lovers should tick off their Pune tourism itinerary. Located close to the Bund Garden, the majestic palace is an iconic site in Pune. It was built in 1892 as a shelter for the victims of the Maharashtra famine, and today it serves as the headquarters of Gandhi National Memorial society.

The palace is massive and if you are interested in a tour, it will take you approximately two to three hours to explore the area. Manicured gardens surround the palace and the interiors are absolutely stunning with Italian arches in five halls. Since the hall is dedicated to the Gandhi family, it is filled with photographs, paintings and other personal items from their time in the place.

Aga Khan Palace is an important part of Pune tourism since it is one of the few places that finds a place on all Pune tourism itineraries. It’s best to take the services of a tour guide while exploring this historical site since that will give you insight into the architecture, history and importance of Aga Khan Palace. The historical site is open all on days besides public holidays.


Shaniwar Wada

Another historical site that is on the list of places to visit in Pune is Shaniwar wada. The erstwhile seat of the Peshwa governance, it is a grand structure that is considered to be one of the finest architectural wonders in the city. Built by Peshwa Bajirao I, the palace used to cover most parts of Pune in its glory years. Even today, it retains its grandeur and is a sight to behold. As you enter the historical site, you will be greeted by a grand statue of Bajirao I. There are five main getaways in the complex and a massive garden complex. 

If you are an architecture buff, there is so much to learn and see when you are visiting Shaniwar wada. The gates and walls have undergone renovation but the basic structure remains the same. An unexplained fire had destroyed various parts of the palace decades ago yet timely renovation ensured that the palace doesn’t lose its charm. A few sites that you can particularly take note of are Ganpati Rang Mahal, the Dilli gate, the Mastani gate, a 16-petal lotus-shaped fountain and the walls of that are adorned by paintings depicting the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

You must take out time for the beautiful Ganpati Rang Mahal. The hall was used for all functions and ceremonies during the Peshwa rule. If you want to explore the historical site and do justice to its significance, we recommend keeping aside atleast three to four hours in your Pune tourism itinerary. 

You can also combine a tour of Shaniwar wada with a visit to some of the oldest markets in Pune. The markets are outside the palace and are a delight for shopping enthusiasts exploring Pune tourism. 


Osho Ashram

We have all heard of the renowned spiritual guru Osho and his impact on seekers across the world. In the early part of the 70s, Osho started practising and teaching the art of meditation. In 1974, he opened his first ashram in the quiet city of Pune and over the years it became home to spiritual seekers from India and abroad. 

One could say that the Osho Ashram generously contributed to the growth of Pune tourism. Also known as Osho Meditation Resort, it is designed to offer one the comforts of modern life while delving into the mysteries of the spiritual realm. While the ashram offers residential programs, you can also opt for a day visit to learn more about the various kinds of programs. The ashram is located in Koregaon Park, which is one of the most popular areas in Pune. To reach the ashram, you have to walk a kilometre from the main road. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is set amidst lush greenery and offers a peaceful escape from the mundane everyday routine. 

The prices for Indian residents and foreign nationals are different and we recommend learning more about the prices and inclusions before you plan a trip here. If you are curious to know more about the activities and programs at Osho ashram, a campus tour might be a good idea.


Pune Okayama Friendship Garden

If you are exploring Pune tourism and want a break from the many monuments and historical sites, you can head to one of the many gardens in Pune and rejuvenate your senses. In fact, a major part of Pune tourism is the gardens and parks that the city is home to. The Okayama Friendship Garden is an integral part of Pune tourism. It is the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan and is popularly referred to as the Pu. La. Deshpande Udyan.

Named after a popular writer and humorist, Pu La Deshpande, the garden is symbolic of the Indo-Japanese relationship. The layout of the garden is inspired by the 300-year old Okayama Korakuen Garden in Japan.

The garden is extremely popular amidst locals and if you are visiting on a weekend, you will find it extremely busy. The layout of the garden aims to strike a balance between manmade structures and natural beauty. While there are man-made ponds and waterfalls, the striking greenery makes up for the artificial structures. If you have an eye for art and aesthetics, you will notice that the garden is a reflection of the Japanese Yin and Yang ethos. There are various parts of the garden that emphasise the importance of opposites. 

The design and structure of the garden are inspired by the Shinto, Buddhist and Taoist ways of creation. The ambience of the garden is extremely calm and you’ll see many people meditating or practising yoga, especially in the mornings. Balance, emptiness and nature are three principles that the garden is based upon and you will notice that the overall design is inspired by Japanese gardens in the 1700s. You can see these elements in the stone lanterns, Japanese bridges, Koi fish and stunning water basins dotting this beautiful garden. We recommend heading here either early morning or late in the afternoon so you can enjoy atleast a couple of hours here.


Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple

Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple devoted to Lord Ganapati is one of the most popular temples in Pune. The temple sees hundreds of visitors everyday and is extremely busy during the festive season. The best time to visit the temple is in the morning and in the evening when the arti is taking place. 

The stunning idol of Lord Ganesha in the temple calls for admiration. It is approximately 2.2 meters high and is adorned with 40 kilos of gold.

During the ganpati festival, the temple is bustling with seekers and celebrations take place through the festive week. If you plan to visit the temple during ganpati puja, it’s best to do so in the morning.

Activities And Things To Do In Pune

Enjoy the nightlife that Pune offers

Over the decades, Pune has become the chosen city for students and a young population of aspiring professionals. This not only gives the city a cosmopolitan vibe but has also given rise to a large number of restaurants and pubs. The city’s nightlife is thriving and whether you are in the mood for pub hopping or relaxing at a restaurant, there is plenty to choose from. 

What makes the nightlife in Pune more interesting is that it caters to all kinds of travellers. Whether you have a small budget or want to shell out money – the city doesn’t disappoint. Some of the popular places that are part of Pune tourism are Hidden Places, Hard Rock Cafe, Bottle Rock and Mi A Mi.


Trek to Sinhagad Fort

One would assume that Pune tourism doesn’t offer too much for adventure buffs, but you’d be surprised at the diversity of Pune tourism. Sinhagad Fort is an integral part of Pune tourism and takes the limelight as one of the best trekking destinations. The fort is a historical site and is known for its splendid architecture. The fort has witnessed many notable battles including the one that gives the fort its name, and it is immensely popular with photographers, trekkers as well as nature lovers. 

The fort is strategically located at a height of 750 meters in the Sahyadri Mountains and there are numerous adventure companies that offer guided treks. It’s best to approach a company that is approved by Pune tourism so that the pricing is authentic.

The fort is also quite popular among locals and you’ll see that it’s quite busy on weekends. Owing to the fort’s historical significance, there are a few rules that travellers need to observe such as, no loud music, no alcohol consumption and no non-vegetarian food.


Paragliding in Kamshet

Over the last few years, tandem paragliding has become very popular in India. If you are on a trip to explore Pune tourism and want to try this thrilling sport, we recommend heading to Kamshet. Located 45 km from Pune, Kamshet is extremely popular for paragliding.  

The small town sees travellers from across Maharashtra owing to its gorgeous views and paragliding opportunities. Since it is a little far from the city, it’s best to schedule your paragliding session before you head out. Paragliding depends on the speed of the wind as well as the direction so it’s best to plan your trip in the winter months. Each session lasts anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the wind speed. While the price varies depending on the company that you have selected, a session typically costs between Rs 1800 to Rs 2500 depending on the season. 

If you are an adventure enthusiast or want to admire a bird’s eye view of the world below, this is a great activity to add to your Pune tourism itinerary.


Visit the ABC Cheese Farm

If your itinerary is usually filled with offbeat experiences then Pune tourism has a fun surprise in store for you. A tour of a cheese factory! One of the lesser-known places of Pune tourism, ABC Farms is slowly gaining popularity amidst travellers and locals alike. The farm is home to a dairy, a cheese factory and five restaurants that offer delish cheese dishes. 

There is an interesting three-hour tour of the factory where you will learn more about where your cheese comes from and how it is prepared. The tour includes a cheese tasting session and you can try everything from cheddar, buffalo mozzarella to blue cheese during your tasting session. The experience is quite different and one that you should tick off from your Pune tourism itinerary. 

Where To Stay In Pune

Since Pune is one of the most popular cities in Maharashtra, there is no dearth of resorts, hotels and homestays in Pune. For those exploring Pune tourism, deciding a place to stay will not be a hassle. Depending on your budget and your itinerary, you can choose from suitable accommodations. 

Luxury hotels in Pune

If you are on a luxury trip to explore Pune tourism, the city offers a range of experiences that will ensure you have a memorable trip. The hotels offer everything from an efficient service, spacious rooms and plenty of information about local places to see. Here are some of the luxury hotels that are part of Pune tourism: 

  • Fazlani Nature's Nest
  • The Corinthians Resort & Club
  • Conrad Pune by Hilton
  • JW Marriott Hotel Pune
  • Amanora The Fern
  • The Westin


Mid-budget hotels in Pune

Typically mid-budget travellers have to settle for a hotel that is either in the budget or luxury category. However, in Pune, this is not the case. There are numerous hotels that are designed for mid-budget travellers and offer a plethora of services. With warm service and clean rooms, you can be assured of a welcoming space to head back to after your tour of Pune city. Here are some mid-budget hotels that are part of Pune tourism:

  • The Orchid Hotel
    The Central Park Hotel
  • Royal Orchid Golden Suites
  • Mantra Resort Pune
  • Ramee Grand Hotel Pune


Budget hotels in Pune

If you are travelling on a budget, it’s best to choose a hotel that is not too expensive so you can invest in experiences. Since the city sees a number of business and leisure travellers, Pune tourism is equipped with budget hotels and guesthouses. Some of the best budget hotels that are part of Pune tourism are:

  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • Tarawade Clarks Inn 
  • Park Central Comfort-e-suites
  • Omate Villa
  • Swaroop Hotel

Cuisine And Best Places To Eat

If you are a food lover planning to explore Pune tourism, you are in for a surprise. Food is a big part of the culture and a crowd puller for Pune tourism. Whether it is street food, bakeries or high-end restaurants, the food that Pune serves becomes a part of your experience.  

Food lovers will be aware that Maharashtrian cuisine is known for distinct flavours that vary between sweet and spicy. This can be observed in the food that Pune offers. Bhel puri, keema bun, kande pohe, misal pav, sabudana vada, vada pav are some of the very popular street food dishes that the city offers. Everyone in Pune has their favourites and you’d be surprised to know that each street food vendor prepares the dishes differently

Pune is one of the few cities in Maharashtra that offers delicious bakery items. Shrewsbury biscuits, mawa cake, butter khari, cheese sticks, oatmeal raisin cookies and Nankhatai are a few items that you should try.

Besan pitla, puran poli, varan bhaat and the very popular Maharashtrian thali are a few main course dishes that all travellers must take out time to try. 

How To Travel In Pune

The city is very well connected by a solid network of roads. Since it is one of the most popular cities in the state, it is connected to other cities by national highways and you can easily move from one place to another. If you are exploring Pune tourism, you can opt for local buses, taxis or auto-rickshaws. 

For attractions outside the city, it’s best to hire a cab for the entire day. If you are planning a tour of the sites within the city, you can hire an auto rickshaw at a pre-decided fare and enjoy what Pune tourism has to offer. While buses ply throughout the day, it’s best to get a schedule from the local Pune tourism office so you don’t lose your way. The cheapest means of transport are state-run buses while cabs are the most convenient. Travelling in the city can cost you anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 1,000 per day depending on the mode of transport you choose.

Typical Costs In Pune

It’s important to know the typical per day cost in the city you are exploring since it helps greatly in planning your trip. Pune welcomes all kinds of travellers and that makes it quite easy to plan your trip to explore Pune tourism. There are numerous places to see within the city as well as outside so it’s best to keep this in mind when you are planning your Pune tourism itinerary and henceforth your budget.

Luxury travellers can expect to spend anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 per day on their stay, travel and food. If you are staying at a luxury property, this amount may increase depending on the package. 

Pune tourism offers a plethora of options for mid-budget travellers. From reasonably-priced hotels to mid-budget restaurants, there are a ton of options if you are exploring Pune tourism on a mid-range budget. We recommend making your bookings well in advance. Mid budget travellers can expect to spend between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 per day.

Budget travellers, on the other hand, should be mindful of the transport they choose. If you are opting for a Pune tour package,  it’s important to note the inclusions before booking. Per day costs for budget travellers exploring Pune tourism can be anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.


How many days do I need to explore Pune?

Pune tourism offers travellers a plethora of activities and places to see. If you are planning to explore Pune tourism, you need at least 3 to 5 days. If you are planning to explore tourist attractions near Pune, it’s best to keep an extra day.


What are the things I should pack for a trip to Pune?

Pune is blessed with moderate climate and you don’t need to pack anything special on your trip to explore the city. However, if you plan to include camping and trekking on your trip to explore Pune tourism, we recommend packing your trekking essentials as well as prescription medicines. 


Suggest three tips for planning a trip to Pune.

The cultural capital of Maharashtra is a delight for travellers. There is much to see and do. But that also implies that you need to have a well-planned itinerary, especially if you want to visit places near Pune. Here are three tips for your Pune holiday:

  1. Do your research before you plan your holiday so you know which places to include in your Pune tourism itinerary. The distance between the tourist attractions is also important to help you plan travel.
  2. If you are travelling during the festive season, remember that hotel prices will be high and it’s best to book in advance.
  3. If you want to enjoy a leisure trip in Pune, we recommend looking for Pune tour packages that offer a variety of activities and places to see.

Which are the lesser-known places to visit in Pune?

While popular tourist attractions are part of all itineraries, it’s the offbeat places that have our attention. Pune tourism has a plethora of these places and they should be a part of your itinerary for a fulfilling trip. Some of the most recommended lesser-known places in Pune are Tamhini Ghat, Sandhan Valley, Shirota Lake, Devkund Waterfall, Tunga Fort, Naneghat and Chikhaldara.

Which are the popular forts near Pune?

Pune is surrounded by forts that have historical significance and were, at one time, extremely important to the city. If you are a history buff, the forts around the city should be on your Pune tourism itinerary. Considering the distance from the main city, you may have to plan your transport and itinerary accordingly. Some of the popular forts that are part of Pune tourism are Sinhagad Fort, Raigarh Fort, Tikona Fort, Shivneri Fort, Lohagad Fort and Tung Fort.

Which are the popular beaches near Pune?

One of the best things about exploring Pune tourism is its proximity to beaches, forts and trekking sites. Whether you are a nature lover, a beach lover or an adventure enthusiast, there is so much to explore. Some of the popular beaches that are part of Pune tourism are Aksa beach, Alibag beach and Murud beach. It’s important to note that a visit to one of the beaches near Pune will take an entire day owing to the distance from the city.

Where can one go shopping in Pune?

Shopping is a big part of Pune tourism especially for travellers visiting the city for the first time. There are numerous street markets that offer everything from clothes, stationery, jewellery, accessories and home decor. Bargaining is certainly recommended as is browsing a few shops for more variety. Some of the popular shopping places that are part of Pune tourism are Honk Kong Lane, Laxmi Road, Fashion Street, Fergusson College Road, Juna bazaar, Clover Centre. 

Which are the famous hill stations near Pune?

One of the reasons that Pune tourism is so popular with travellers is owing to its proximity to hill stations, beaches and trekking sites. If you are in the mood to explore a few hill stations that are a part of Pune tourism, there are plenty of options. Some of the most popular are Lonavala, Lavassa, Matheran, Khandala, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar.

What are the things that I can shop for in Pune?

Shopping is an integral part of Pune tourism. There is a large variety of markets that offer everything from clothes, accessories, home decor to namkeen and Osho merchandise. You can shop for junk jewellery from Hong Kong lane, vintage artefacts from Juna bazaar, clothes and footwear from F.C. Road and jutis, backpacks from Clover Centre.

Which are the most popular temples in Pune?

We have all heard of the vibrant Ganpati Puja that takes place annually in Maharashtra. Ganpati is worshipped widely and this is no different for Pune. If you want to include a few temples in your Pune tourism itinerary, we recommend including Bhuleshwar temple, Sarasbaug Ganpati Temple, Chaturshringi Mandir, Sri Balaji Mandir and Pataleshwar Cave Temple.

Written by Kirat Sodhi. She is a proud mom of three cats and lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.