Many of the things to do in Pune are still embedded in the vestiges of the past. The city has not only emerged as a leading city in post-independent India, but it has been demanding significance since the subcontinent’s medieval age. Therefore, while the novelty of modern India has cloaked the city, there are still many things to do in Pune that serve as reminders of its glorious past. If you are a history maven, you will not have to wonder what to do in Pune – there are enough historical sites to keep you busy on your trip. You can plan your journey and things to do in Pune by considering the following places:
This is one of the few places that do not offer many things to do in Pune, but you will find this tourist spot flooded with tourists. Belonging to the celebrated Maratha warrior, Bajirao I, a lot of it has been destroyed by enemy attacks and the ravages of time. Still, people assemble in large numbers to explore the fort as the public’s interest in Maratha history, in particular, this general, was recently piqued by the 2015 Bollywood film Bajirao Mastani. One of the pleasing things to do in Pune is to have a picnic in the fort’s shadowed, historical compound.
Aga Khan Palace
If you had planned things to do in Pune to step into the colonial past of India, this palace should be an essential destination in your itinerary. Its construction dates back to the 19th century, but it is renowned as the place important leaders of the Indian freedom struggle, including Gandhi, were imprisoned. A museum dedicated to him is housed within the palace now where visitors can see Gandhi’s room and relive his life through the exhibits delineating important milestones of his life. You will also find a shrine here dedicated to Gandhi’s wife, Kasturba.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
This is a museum that has come about storing artefacts collected by Dr Dinkar G Kelkar, an optician with a proclivity towards collecting antiques. One of the best things to do in Pune is to walk down the corridors of the museum and observe the marvels of the past put on the exhibition here. Although only about a tenth of Kelkar’s collection can be accessed by the public, the 2,500 items showcased are of different varieties, such as paintings and sculptures based on Hindu mythology, pottery, utensils, instruments and arms and ammunition. The display has exhibits from several locations and ages, emphasizing on the impeccable artisanship across the world. There is no dearth of things to do in Pune but visiting this museum is certainly one of the few enlightening experiences in the city.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple
Going to Pataleshwar Cave Temple, a monolithic temple with a rotunda structure and carved pillars is recommended as one of the top things to do in Pune for history buffs as well as people of faith in search of a Hindu pilgrim site within the bounds of the city. Besides travellers, you will find reverent visitors paying respects to the statues of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, Lord Lakshman and Goddess Lakshmi. This temple from the eighth century is believed to be constructed by the Pandavas, integral champions of Indian mythology. Pataleshwar Cave Temple’s celebrity has also risen among people planning their things to do in Pune itineraries because it has preserved a single grain of rice inscribed with 5000 characters, a feat listed in the Guinness Book of Records as well.
You might tire of things to do in Pune, but it is difficult to get fed up with the numerous cafes in the city, appealing to the aesthetics of locals and travellers alike. They have cropped up in large numbers as a solution to the increasingly trendy young crowd looking for things to do in Pune. Chic, affordable and comfortable – the food joints here definitely check off all the boxes to attract old and new customers regularly. You can intersperse the things to do in Pune on your itinerary with visits to the nearby cafes. The most alluring thing about these places is that you can have a good time with or without company. The delicious food remains the constant, but you can choose to have conversations with loved ones as an add-on or replace it with an engrossing book and the white noise in the cafes. Many of these cafes double up as workspaces for those who have renounced traditional offices. Some of them also host events. Therefore, to get the best of all simple pleasures of life among the things to do in Pune, head to a cafe! A few examples of the best cafes to visit in the city where you can explore several things to do in Pune are mentioned below.
This cafe has been feeding the people of the city and providing them with great ambience for quite a few years. It has acquired the status of a landmark and dining here has become one of the most popular things to do in Pune for tourists. It has two branches – in Koregaon Park and Shivajinagar. The former was under a terrorist attack in 2010 but it rose out of the ashes and continues to invite throngs of old and new customers.
Words and Sips Cafe
Bibliophiles will love this city because one of the things to do in Pune for them is to just curl up with a good read at a book cafe. An example of that is Words and Sips Cafe on Fergusson College Road. It houses an impressive collection of books of different genres and authors and provides a comfortable environment for you to let loose, order some snacks or beverages and spend some quality time with yourself. Since it is near a college, you will find a few students rushing here to do assignments, but overall, the vibe of the cafe will keep you posted at your seat for a couple of hours.
One O Eight Lifestyle Cafe
A minimalist aesthetic cafe that will grab your attention with the very first step you take inside it, this cafe is most people’s first choice for a place to hang out. You can do many leisurely things to do in Pune right here – have a delectable meal, read a book, chat with friends or just cosy up and enjoy the ambient music. If you need to work, you can cosy up and stay here as long as you want and receive nothing short of warmth and courtesy from the staff.
For some, being utterly languid implies being surrounded by nature. If you are of a similar nature, one of the things to do in Pune you must partake in is camping near Pawna Lake. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the camping area from the centre of the city. This is one of the things to do in Pune that not only travellers enjoy, but so do the locals with full force. Considering that it is a lake brimming with clear water all year long set in a dream-like setting full of greenery and hills, there is hardly a bad day here. However, since this is an outdoor activity it is recommended to not go during monsoons. This is one of the things to do in Pune that can be best experienced in winter, which lasts from November to March. Summer is slightly warmer, but the weather and ambience are pleasant enough to spend a day rejuvenating in nature’s lap. There are many organisations in this area that offer multifarious convivial activities at their campsite that you can add to your things to do in Pune itinerary.
A few things to do in Pune on your wishlist can be best enjoyed only away from the city. For example, at Pawna Lake, you can pitch your tent, light a bonfire, roast some snacks, play some music, spend your night staring at the starry sky as the brisk breeze reminds you to enjoy the moment at this delightful place. Other things to do in Pune that you can indulge in here are swimming in the natural lake, play board games as well as sports such as cricket, football, volleyball and badminton, try your hand at archery, go ziplining and explore the nearby valley. If you have space for some downtime in your schedule, checking out the things to do in Pune at Pawna Lake is great for a day or two.
What sets this Maharashtrian city apart from other Tier-1 cities of the country is its affinity towards nature and effort to foster greenery within its bounds. The outskirts are bordered by serene green belts that are home to diverse flora and fauna, but you can do a number of things to do in Pune in the impressive parks and gardens sprawled across the city. These spots are ideal to revive your spirits in the fresh environment. You can go on picnics, morning and evening strolls or excursions for meditation. Some places that stand out and are well-known sites for relaxing things to do in Pune are listed below.
Osho Teerth Park
Next to Osho International Meditation Resort is the Osho Teerth Park, a site of lush greenery smack in the middle of a city going through rapid urbanization. It was not always untouched though. As development carried on, consumption rocketed and led to a massive toll on the environment. This plot of land was a wasteland, but the Osho management took it upon themselves to transform it. Now, the beautiful garden full of life stands as an example of the possibility of reversing our damage if we take responsibility. A place as calm as this is not the centre of many things to do in Pune, but it is a great location for taking a relaxing stroll amidst nature.
Pune Okayama Friendship Garden
Pune Okayama Friendship Garden referred to as Pu La Deshpande Udyan as well, is one of the top places to visit where you can enjoy some peaceful things to do in Pune. It is on the way to Sinhagad Fort and makes for an agreeable pitstop. As you enter the park, you will be greeted with a soothing verdant view. The intricately designed park with its tall trees and bushes bearing blossoming flowers is also accompanied by a waterfall. If having an intimate picnic with your travel companions in a beautiful setting is one of the things to do in Pune that sounds good to you, this garden is a perfect place to make it happen.
Mulshi dam is at a distance of about 40 kilometres from the city, but it is still one of the top things to see in Pune. A lake set up with green hills in the backdrop and blue sky with clouds like cotton – this is truly one of the most vibrant places that you can visit on your trip to Pune. You can delight yourself with several things to do in Pune that are found here, such as bird-watching, camping and trekking. As the place is located on the outskirts, people prefer staying at the lodges and resorts here, away from the busy city life. A number of the accommodations here are splendid and organise amusing things to do in Pune.
There are many fun things to do in Pune like any other urban sprawl. However, you can also indulge in thrilling things to do in Pune, such as paragliding. There are a number of agencies that offer this activity. Temple Pilots, the first paragliding school of Pune, is a commendable place that will help you tick this item off your bucket list. Based in Kamshet, the outskirts of the city, Temple Pilots – an organisation certified by the Association of Professional Pilots and Instructors, Switzerland – offer you individual flight sessions as well as in-depth courses for beginners. You can be assured to get personalised attention from the highly trained instructors. Once in the air, you get the pleasure of gazing at a sweeping view of the city of Pune and the lovely Western Ghats.
The Western Ghats, or Sahyadri ranges, encompass the city of Pune and lend an abundance of flora and fauna to the settlement there. Whether it is exploring lush forests, spotting exotic birds and animals or trekking up hills for a mesmerizing view of valleys with tall swaying trees – the best of things to do in Pune can be experienced at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You cannot help but be mesmerized by the glorious hills on your way to Tamhini Ghat, Bhimashankar, Lohagadh, Panshet Backwater and other spots on the highlands. While driving through the scenic routes along the hills from Pune is surely a good way to revel in the magnificence of the Western Ghats, delving into it and exploring on foot makes for a superior experience for many. These are some of the well-known places for a thrilling time in the hills.
Looking for an adventure steeped in history? Head to Sinhagad Fort. It has been atop a hill for about 2,000 years and is a site for a variety of things to do in Pune. This fort is an important relic of the Maratha past as well as the Indian freedom struggle. Many people are drawn to this ancient edifice. The trek is moderate and you can reach the fort and the Kali temple there in an hour and a half. Enjoying the view as you make your way up and taking breaks to interact with locals and gorge on the local snacks they are selling proves to be a highlight for most.
Nature lovers find trekking up Kalsubai Peak, the highest in Maharashtra, to be the best of all things to do in Pune. The trek starts in Bari village. Although the destination is at a distance from the city and takes up at least two days of your trip, this is one of the most frequently recommended things to do in Pune. From the base, it can take you five to six hours to reach the pinnacle, depending on your speed. The sight is truly bewitching – you may run out of breath by the time you arrive at the top, but you will not run out of words to appreciate the beauty that your eyes will behold. Although you can find numerous places for things to do in Pune such as photography and sightseeing, this is a unique spot. From here, you can marvel at some famous architecture such as Harihargad, Harishchandragad, Alang-Madan-Kulang and Ratangad Fort. The icing on the cake will always be the compelling view of Bhandardara Dam.
Residents of the city, after getting their share of things to do in Pune, often wind up taking road trips every chance they get. Strategically located in Maharashtra, Pune is well-connected to many important and beautiful destinations by road. The drive is always refreshing and as pretty as a picture, urging you to look out of your vehicle at the gorgeous landscape the whole trip. You could choose to go in your own vehicle, rent a car or bike, book a cab or take public transport. Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation ply basic, semi-luxury and air-conditioned buses, so you can opt for one that fits your comfort and budget. After engaging with other things to do in Pune, you could leave town and enjoy the viridescent landscapes and invigorating winds of the road. A lot of these places will also have similar experiences like the things to do in Pune. You can go on a road trip to the following popular locations near Pune:
Koregaon Park is among the top areas in the city, offering many things to do in Pune. One of the highly rated experiences and things to do in Pune is to spend some time at the Osho Resort. It is a distinct and secluded location to detox and rejuvenate your mind and soul. The one in Pune is the first and largest centre of Osho. It is often mistaken to be an ashram and hence associated with following a meagre lifestyle. In reality, the management stands by an opposite school of thought and believe in abundance and calls the place a meditation resort where you can stay after making a required payment. The registration for the program is not too easy though – you need to present a valid ID card and passport-sized photographs. Then ensues an HIV test, which you have to clear to be enrolled in the program. One of the prerequisites to enter the resort are the characteristic maroon and white robes that you can purchase for Rs.500. The maroon robes are inspired by Tibetan culture, as the colour has been integral for meditation for thousands of years. Complementing that, the white robes signify purity and are soothing to the eye. After you don the prescribed attire, you can carry on to participate in the calming things to do in Pune available exclusively at this resort. The facilities provided here are of the highest calibre, such as a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a gym, tennis courts and a spa. As you take respite by adopting a stress-free, simple way of life here, you will be able to access your spiritual side more easily. If you have limited time for things to do in Pune, you can plan a shorter stay that entails a few sessions. For people with more time on their hands, there is an option to join the Osho Multiversity too, which is a residential program that lasts seven, fourteen or thirty days. The daily activities comprise of twelve sessions that start at 06:00 am and go on till 10:30 pm. People have mixed feelings about this place and Osho himself, but we recommend going there and seeing for yourself. Nevertheless, it remains one of the top things to do in Pune.