Sitting at an altitude of 598m close to the Sahyadri hills on the edge of the Deccan plains, Pune is located in the state of Maharashtra. Capital of the Marathas sovereign state in the 16th century, cool and dry Pune was later chosen by the British in 1820 as an alternative headquarters for the neighbouring Bombay presidency. A legacy of these times is a number of British buildings and also a military cantonment now used by the Indian army.
To many outsiders, particularly foreigners, Pune is known as the home of the Osho International Meditation Resort (or ashram) founded in 1970 by the charismatic and controversial Bhagwan Rajneesh, or Osho (1931-1990). Rajneesh used a curious blend of Californian pop psychology and Indian mysticism to ensnare and motivate his followers. The centre still thrives today and is open for visitation.
Further draws in Pune include the awesome Raja Kelkar Museum which houses an eclectic collection of artworks and curios, Shaniwar Wada – a 17th century ruined fortress-like palace, the 8th century Pataleshvara Temple, the Tribal Cultural Museum and the Empress Botanical Gardens. Pune also houses the Gandhi National Memorial. After Gandhi delivered his momentous Quit India resolution in Bombay in 1942, he was interred with other leaders of India’s independence movement in Pune for nearly two years at the Aga Khan Palace. His wife Kasturba and also his secretary of 35 years, Mahadoebhai Desai died here during their imprisonment.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...