“The most livable city in India”.
Where is Pune?
The city of Pune is also referred to as Poona. Located in the Indian State of Maharashtra, on the Deccan plateau. Sited on the right-hand bank of the Mutha river, 560 metres above sea level. In the 18th century, the city was the seat of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire. Making it one of the most important political centres on the Indian subcontinent.
Our journey from Mumbai to Pune was on the Konark Express train.
During our time in Pune, we chose to stay at the Hotel Centro. Booked through Booking.com. Modern accommodation with a restaurant, private parking, a garden, and a terrace. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The hotel has newspapers for guests. Rooms are equipped with a wardrobe, desk, flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. A continental or a buffet breakfast is included.
Places of interest
Whilst in Pune we visited our Indian friend Raju. He and his lovely wife Alka took us to the major sights. We used local taxis. Because we were with our local friend’s taxi fares were charged at the local rates. Not the highly inflated tourist rates.
A historical fortification in the city. Largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire. The surviving structures are now maintained as a popular tourist site.
The is basically a perimeter wall with the ruins of the fort’s internal buildings inside. Walking the wall allows good views and oversight of the entire fort. Within the fort, there are beautiful gardens.
Via The Dilli Darwaza (Delhi Gate) main gate, which faces north towards Delhi.
This is an impressive gatehouse. Huge doors, large enough to admit elephants. To discourage enemy elephant charges of the gates, sharp twelve-inch steel spikes are mounted on the gates. Approximately the height of the forehead of a battle-elephant.
Even if these main gates were forced open, a charging army would need to turn sharply right, then sharply left. To be able to pass through the gateway and into the main fort. Allowing the defending army the opportunity to repel the invaders.
From 0800 to 1830 hrs every day. An entry fee of 5 Rupees for Indians and 125 Rupees for foreigners is charged.
Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple
Dedicated to the Hindu God Ganesh. This temple is very popular in Maharashtra. Visited by over a hundred thousand pilgrims each year. Because of this, there is always a queue to get in. Luckily it moves quite quickly.
All of the proceedings in the temple, along with the Ganesh idol can be seen from outside. The stunning Ganesh idol measures 2.2 m tall and 1 m wide. Adorned with nearly 40kg of gold. The devotees offer Him gold, money, and heaps of coconuts. The donations received go to one of the richest trusts in Maharashtra. The trust runs an old people’s home and goes towards providing housing and education for destitute children. It also provides ambulance services for the poor and health clinics in tribal belts of Pune District.
Pune has a number of travel options for getting around the city. There is the City bus, the Suburban Railway system, and the metro, neither of which we experienced whilst in the city.
Taxis and auto-rickshaws are the most convenient ways to travel around Pune. The drivers of both will do their very best to overcharge you. They think that because you are a foreigner and travelling thousands of miles away from your home you can afford.
Always travel by the meter no matter what they say. We have been told some amazing stories as to why the meter couldn’t be used. If you are not travelling on the meter, agree to a price before you travel. Don’t be afraid to haggle, but be fair. Of course, it is entirely up to you how much you end up paying. With us, it was the principle of overcharging tourists that we didn’t agree with. We always gave a tip to the genuine and fair drivers, for being just that.
Getting around the larger cities is cheaper using the app-based taxi services of Uber or Ola. Cars and auto-rickshaws can be booked through these. No arguments over the fare and cheaper than ordinary taxis and Auto rickshaws.
The destination is entered at the time of booking so no difficulty trying to explain where you want to go. However, the process of getting one can take a bit longer than just flagging a taxi on the street.
Our primary reason for visiting Pune was for a personal pilgrimage. To see where Tania’s Granny was born and baptised. She was in India as part of the British Raj with her father Robert Douglas Whitehill being a brigadier in the British army. Granny’s baptism