Once the capital of the Maratha Empire, Pune, literally meaning “virtue” leads as ‘veritable heartland’ of Maharashtra. It is the second largest state of Maharashtra after Mumbai and largest in Western Ghats and one of the most important IT hubs in India. Today, Pune is known for its educational facilities and relative prosperity. Being the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune has well-established manufacturing, and forging industries since the 1950-60s. The city is also known for its various cultural activities and job opportunities that migrants and students from all over India and abroad. This makes Pune a city of many cultures and communities.
History of Pune
The history of PUne can be traced back to 1000 years. According to the archeological evidence, Rashtrkootas dynasty ruled Pune at about 758-768 A.D. later, Pune was ruled by Yadav’s. With the emergence of the great Marathi warrior king Shivaji, Pune acquired its cultural and architectural importance. It was Shivaji who built his empire from Pune.
Geographical Facts about Pune
- Area: About 140 sq km.
- Population: More than 3.8 million.
- Climate: Average temperature ranges around 15°C to 35°C
- Rainfall: 68 cm (annual)
- Altitude: 559 m above mean sea level
- Transportation: Local as well as private transport available easily.
- Festivals: The Pune Festival, The Shaniwarwada Dance Festival, Ganesh Chaturti.
- Languages Spoken: Marathi, Hindi, English.
- Best Time to Visit: October to March
- Religions: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikhs, Parsis and Sindhis
- Major Festivals: Diwali, Navratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Janamashtami, Deep Dewali, Gudhi Padwa, Holi, Nag Panchami, Raksha Bandhan and Ratha Saptami
- STD Code: 020
- Local time -GMT plus five-and-half hours
One of the leading cities in India today, Pune is a blend of rich culture, heritage and modernization. Pune also boasts several education institutes in India such as National Defense Academy, IUCAA, NCL, FTII and has also earned the fame as a leading centre of IT companies like Infosys, Satyam, IBM, Wipro, etc. favorable climate and proximity to Mumbai makes Pune an ideal choice of living and business. The city has also the largest green coverage among any other city in India. Pune’s largest festival, The Ganapati festival celebrated yearly, has made the city’s mark on the tourist map of India. Pune is one of the major IT hubs of India, and a home to many web design companies. Pune has experienced a major software growth from Rs. 80 million in 1994-95 to more than Rs. 15,000 million in 2008.
Rich with geographical splendor and history dating back to the age of royalty, Pune also boasts of great architecture with various tourist attractions from forts to gardens and museums. A tour to the Pune city of India is incomplete without a visit to these great feats of architectural wonder. They serve as a reminder of the history as well as culture of the city. Pune is also a great gateway to several other tourist destinations. The city of Pune is frequented not just by vacationers, but also those on business and educational tours and Pune has enough to amaze all.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Pune
- Sinhagad and Khadakwasala
- Aga Khan Palace
- Raj Bhavan
- NDA Academy
- Empress Garden
- Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum,
- Saras Baug
- St Mary’s Church
- Parvati Hill temples
- Pune University
- Pataleshwar Caves
- Bund Garden
- Bhimshankar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Katraj snake park
Pune is a great place to eat. Fergusson College Road is full of budget eateries serving delicious hot food at nominal charges. For a range of multi-cuisine restaurants, you can visit the Koregaon Park, which houses the city’s best restaurants. You can have varied range of restaurants, snacks bar, pizza huts, burger centers serving almost any type of breakfast to snacks, and main course to dessert items you can name of. Restaurant and bars in the city stay open till at least midnight.
Top 5 restaurants in Pune
- Barberque Nation
- Le Meridien
- Kabab Factory
- Taj Blue Diamond
- Oh Calcutta
Pune has earned the reputation of “The Oxford of the East”. Pune attracts students from all over the world. ”. It has several reputed educational institutes that provide quality education to Indians as well as foreign students. The educational institutions in Pune are greatly contributing to the building of future generations. Schools in Pune are renowned for their standard they have set in the field of education. They are either run by the PMC, and called public schools, or privately by trusts and individuals. Private schools have been preferred by a majority of city residents because of better facilities and for the use of English language as the medium of instruction. A number of regional language ‘Marathi’ medium schools also exists in the city and are century old. Distinguished among them include Huzurpaga girls’ school and New English School, which was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. All schools are affiliated either with the Maharashtra state SSC board or the all-India Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), CBSE or NIOS boards.
Pune is much more friendly and relaxed than average Bombayite. Puneites are touchy about Pune. The most outstanding aspect of Pune and its people is the sound balance they have maintained between modernity and their age-old rich culture and tradition. No wonder, it’s called the ‘Cultural Capital of Maharashtra’ as well as ‘The Oxford of the East’.
Pune Fast Facts
City Facts & Figures
- Area -138 square kilometers
- Green Cover -40 per cent of area (more than any other Indian urban area)
- Language -Marathi is the official language of the state of Maharashtra of which Pune is a major city. Marathi and Hindi are the two main languages spoken. English is widely spoken and understood. Gujarati, and other Indian languages are also used by the largely cosmopolitan population.
- Local Transport – Pune has a very good transport system. There are trains, yellow-and-black auto-rickshaws, buses and also private taxis for sightseeing.
- Where to stay – Pune has several hotels of different price range from 5-star deluxe to moderate motels
- Information/Tourist offices – The MTDC tourist office is in the government offices known as Central Buildings. (+91-20-628169)
For foreigners visiting India
- Visa -The Foreigners’ Registration Office on Dr Dadabhoy Naoroji Road, Mumbai 400001, handles visa extensions (up to the maximum stay of six months). Phone +91-22-2620446 Customs (India)
- Visitors may bring in the following free of duty: 2000 cigarettes; 400 cigars; 2kg tobacco; a reasonable quantity of perfume, up to a maximum of 2 liters of spirits and 2 liters of wine. Currency
- The Indian Rupee is the local currency. 1 USD = 46.6 Rupees (approximately) in November 2000.
- Money exchange – Money can be exchanged at banks and most hotels. There are a number of money exchange centres offering competitive rates.
- Credit cards – American Express, Diners, Visa, Access, Mastercard and other major cards are accepted at leading establishments
- International dialing code – ++91 Local area code for Pune -20
International direct dialing is available to most countries in the world. Fax, telex and Internet services are excellent.
Winter: Mid Nov – mid Feb. Dry, cold nights, pleasantly warm days.
Spring: Mid-Feb to end-March. Warm days and pleasant nights
Summer: Early-April to late-May. Hot days and warm nights
Monsoon: Early June – early October. Rains. Warm and humid. Rain coat, plastic shoes or small boots advisable.
Post-Monsoon:Early Oct – early Nov. A little rain, but still warm.
Rainfall 68 cm (annual average)
Clothing- Light cottons in summer (March to October), Lightweight jacket or pullovers in winter.