If you’re a traveler or someone who has just moved to Pune wishing to explore the essence of the city, you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket. Really!
Here’s your checklist, start ticking off!
1. Plan a picnic lunch with friends by Mastani Lake
Also known as Mastani Talav, this historic lake on the outskirts of the city is believed to have been constructed by Peshwa Bajirao. It is said to have been a common stop for Bajirao and Mastani to swim in while they went horse-riding.
Pack along some sandwiches and a delicious home-made lunch in a basket and head to the romantic hot-spot. It could be an unconventional lunch date or just a day out with your friends.
The surrounding hills on all three sides of the lake will dramatize your picnic, making it more surreal.
One can also spot the lake from Dive Ghat on the way to Saswad from Pune, and get panoramic views of the city.
2. One Day Trip To Mulshi Or Malshej In State Transport Buses
A serene and scenic hill station dotted with numerous lakes, waterfalls and mountains, Malshej Ghat is a divine getaway from the city's humdrum. Mulshi, on the other hand is an eco-tourism hot-spot, an ideal retreat to the Sahyadri ranges, Koraigadh and Dhangad fort.
Maharashtra State Transport buses ply from all major bus depots in Pune to the hill stations of Malshej and Mulshi and the ticket prices are really low!
Pack up a backpack with basic essentials and lots of home-made snacks, delicious sandwiches, rolls, cakes, chips, and soft drinks. Don’t forget to carry a huge water bottle. You can leave early in the morning and come back by night.
Malshej Ghat is 137 km from Pune and takes roughly 3 hours, while Mulshi is 44 kms and takes around 1 hour 30 mins by road. Buses ply from Swargate Bus stand at frequent intervals during the day.
Cost: One-way ticket in a non-ac ST bus is from 150-250 Rs.
3. Missal Pav Joint-Hopping
Spicy, Tangy, one bite of the Puneri Missal will lead to an explosion of flavours in your mouth. A scrumptious mixture of savouries and sprouts, breakfast, lunch or dinner you can have it at any time of the day.
Pune is famous for it’s delicious and super affordable Missal Pav, each joint has its own unique flavour and no two Missals will ever taste the same! Tantalize your taste-buds by trying out the different kinds of Missal-Pav and Vada-Pav at some of the city’s most acclaimed joints.
Kata Kirr Missal, Gurudatt Snacks, Tapkir Misal , Masti Misal and Newale Misal.
These are just a few to name, there are a plethora of Missal stalls sprinkled all over Pune.
Missal-pav is the common man's dish and is never above 100 Rs In fact, for 120 Rs one can easily fill their tummy with extra pav, a crispy hot vada-pav and also some soothing butter-milk.
Many of these eateries would tell you that you would be charged extra if you eat one missal shared by two people, but the dish is so yummy you won’t wanna share it with anyone.
Tip: Don’t forget to carry a handkerchief because the missal is going to be super spicy and super-hot!
4. Get Lost And Seek Answers At The Osho Gardens
Osho Garden is a Japanese Zen garden founded by the Shunyo foundation. It is open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day.
Binged too much? Shed off the calories with an energizing jog! Or just grab a book, a cup of coffee and try reading out in the tranquility of nature surrounded by greenery and chirping birds. You can also pick up a pair of Osho Chappals - a mat based flip-flop with velvet straps in multiple colours, which were originally sold outside the Osho ashram, thus gaining them the name.
Where: Situated behind the Osho Ashram in Koregaon Park, the Osho Garden spans a total area of whopping 12 acres.
Cost: The park entry is free of cost. The Osho Chappals are for Rs 50.
5. Late Night Street Food Binge.
Owing to its corporate culture and the presence of multiple colleges and universities, Pune has become a city that never sleeps. And, Punekars do not believe in curbing late-night hunger pangs at all.
The city boasts of several street-food stalls that are open till the wee hours, in fact, some cafes and restaurants here are open 24 hours! These stalls serve some delicious and mouth-watering delicacies for really economical rates. foodies, you just cannot miss a late night binge session in this city.
Grab a plate of savoury hot Kanda Poha, a Maharashtrian specialty, from the Poha wala on Karve Road, he opens his shop at 4 am. You can also check other stalls near Swargate bus stand where you get Kanda Pohe and Burji Pav.
Cost: Less than 30 Rs.
Naidu’s Coffee Centre in Pradhikaran opposite Camp Education college is a really small joint. This place serves up lip-smacking Pav Bhaji, Masala Pav and Tava Pulav and is famous for its coffee. It is open until 1:30 am.
Cost: Coffee for Rs 50, Pav Bhaji for Rs 150.
Mad Momos is known for its variety of luscious and succulent momos, it also serves burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas. They have outlets all over the city, in Viman Nagar, Vishranthwadi, Kalyani Nagar, Koregaon Park etc. The eatery is open till 4 am in the morning.
Cost: One plate of veg Momos is for 70 Rs.
Jaishree Pav Bhaji on Sambhaji Park road, is known for its buttery Pav Baji among other dishes and is open till 1:30 am.
Cost: 300 Rs for two people.
6. Watch the Pune Silhouette from Parvati Hill
One of the most scenic places of Pune and the second highest point, Parvati Hill was purchased by the Peshwa from a Patil. The Devi of the temple was believed to have cured Kashibai’s injuries who was the Peshwa’s mother.
Climb the steep flight of 103 steps marked by specialized stone architectural works of Maratha style, to find an ancient rock-cut temple. On reaching the top a cool breeze will revitalize and welcome you. Besides the panoramic view of the city, the sunsets here are something really worth witnessing!
Parvati hill rests 640 meters above sea level at the southern end of Pune city.
Pune can be called the trekking capital because it has so many starting points nearby. There are plenty of treks and hikes to the nearby ancient Maratha forts, temples and hill-tops that are picturesque and historically-rich at the same time.
You can plan one-day treks from Pune to a lot of scenic places and all you need is a back-pack with some food and water. You can leave completely energized the morning and be back by night. (crazy tired, of course!)
Sinhagad Fort is located in the Southwest of Pune and is at a distance of 32 km. This fort was renamed by Chatrapathi Shivaji after he conquered it.
Rajgad trek has been a chosen spot for trekkers. 60 km from Pune, the fort is opened from morning 6 am to 6 pm and the trek distance is approximately 3.5 km.
Irshalgad is also one of the most frequented trekking places of Pune. This is one of the easiest treks and can be covered in about 2 hours approximately and has to be started from Karja village from the railway station. It is 115 kms from Pune.
The treks are free of cost. It may cost you 150-200 Rs to reach the base camps by buses, depending on the frequency of State Transport (MSRTC) buses or you can also share a cab.
8. Curl up with a book at Gyaan Adab Centre
Snuggled in a corner of Kalyani Nagar, Gyaan Adab offers a warm and conducive space where readers can engage with a reading of their choice.
The centre has a well-stocked library and reading room where people of all ages can read, engage in a dialogue and share the exciting experience of literature. From book readings to heartfelt discussions on art, music, and theatre, they conduct various workshops from time to time. You can find books in four Indian languages besides English.
3C, Bungalow 30, Lane, Off, Vithalrao Vandekar Rd, Kalyani Nagar, Pune. Timing : 10.00am to 6.30pm. It is closed on 2nd and 4th Mondays
Cost: The library fees is Rs 250 per month.
9. Try Pune’s Legendary Baakarwadi
It won’t be wrong to call the people at Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale the creators of the Baakarwadi as we know it - the crispy, spicy, sweet and sour, a deep-fried snack that has now received popularity globally.
Established in 1950, the famous store in Pune closes for the afternoon between 1 pm -4 pm and you’ll find plenty of tales of customers being turned away at 1:01. The shutter goes down ruthlessly even if you are a minute late, Punekars line-up outside the store from early morning.
Head to the iconic Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale to taste Baakarwadi and try the snack in it’s most authentic form right at its origin.
They have many branches now all over the city. You can ask anyone for Chitale’s in Pune and you’ll find your way.
Cost: Rs 240 per kg
10. Join A 'Dhol Pathak' for Ganesh Utsav
This one is possible if you’re going to spend a longer duration in Pune. Ganesh Utsav in Pune is a celebration like none other. The experience of being a part of the Dhol Pathak (the bands that play Dhol and Tasha during the welcome and Visarjan of Lord Ganesha) and playing the different instruments is surreal and immensely exhilarating. Hundreds of youngsters in Pune join the bands and perform every year.
The practice sessions start right in July. You can check out their videos on YouTube and contact them or you can visit any Pathak directly at the time of practice but remember you should visit the Pathak one month before the Ganesh festival.
Some places where you can directly spot the bands practicing are - River Road From Pune Municipal corporation to Z Bridge or DP road near Mahtre bridge. You can also check out hoardings in Sadashiv Peth area of Pune or ads on Facebook.