The Old City Charm is Still Alive at the Peth Areas of Pune
Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, is located at a distance of 120 kms away from Mumbai, the capital city of the state. Pune is one of the favorite hot spot for tourists around the world. It is famous as the safest metropolis of India. The beauty of the city dazzles all the visitors who visit India and Pune. It is clean, it is green and it is beautiful. Worth to mention is the tourist attractions like Osho international commune, Koregaon Park, Pune Museums, Shopping malls of Pune and Pune restaurants.
Before becoming a popular tourist destination, Pune was an old city. About 50 years ago, Pune was different is looks and demographics. Old Pune was very small in size as compared to the New Pune. That time it was limited to 18 peth areas which are now the just a small part of the whole Pune. These peth areas were the social and residential centers of the city.
Mostly these Peth areas were named after the days of the week. However, some were named after the founders. Not many of us know about the origin and foundation of these Peths. Pune was a very small place then, and majority of the population lived near Shaniwar Wada and Mahatama Phule Mandai region. Subsequent increase in population led the expansion of boundaries of Pune. Today’s popular areas of Pune like Pashan, Baner, Aundh, Deccan Gymkhana, Kothrud and Karve Nagar are the newly developed regions of Pune City. The Eastern part of Pune is the old Pune i.e. the other side of the river.
Establishing a Peth in ancient time was the responsibility of a person who was referred as ‘Mahajan’. He was the whole and sole responsible to provide all facilities to the residents of the Peth. He was the one who was responsible to collect tax from the residents of these areas and was then submitted to the Government.
Following is a list of Peths of Pune
The first Peth founded in Pune was Kasba Peth. It is the oldest region of the city established somewhere around 14th century. Kasba peth is famous for the renowned Kasba Ganpati the Gram Daivat temple, which was built Shivaji’s rule. There is a story behind the Kasba Ganpati, “some children had brought cows for grazing over there. These children found an idol of Ganapati at this place. Then they colored this idol and started worshipping it. Shivaji Maharaja’s mother Jijabai also visited there whenever she came to Lal Mahal. Hence Dadoji Konddeo built a pendol in front of the idol, this is where today’s Kasba Ganpati Temple.” If you visit this area now, you will still find various old structured houses called wada. The area is densely populated and is also known as Kumhar wada.
Sadashiv Peth is one of the central region of eastern Pune. It was in ancient times a residential base for Military soldiers. This Peth is named after Sadashivrao Bhau, who lost his life during war of Panipat 1761. Today it is a place popular for various institutions like Bharat Ithihas Sanshodan Mandal, Raja Kelkar Vastu Sangrahalaya, Nehru Stadium, Sir Parshurambhau Mahavidhyalay, Bharat Natya Mandir, Tilak Smarak Mandir, Maratha Chambers of Commerce and many more. Today it is one of the popular tourist attractions in Pune popular for attractions like Khunya Murlidhar, Vishrambag Vada, Saras Baug, Nehru Stadium, Bhikardas Maruti and well known Talayatalya Ganapati.
Today Narayan Peth is a market popular for its stationary and Book shops. It is also has various libraries and printing presses. Narayanrao Peshwa, who was the man in power then, founded this place in 1773. This Peth is also famous for its Kesari Wada, which was founded by Lokmanya Tilak. Kesari was the daily newspaper published at Kesari wada. Today various exhibitions takes place here and display various items used by Lokmanya Tilak.
Mangalwar peth was the place where Shaiste Khan stayed when he was in Pune. He had come to Pune with an intention to defeat Shivaji Maharaj and conquer Pune. During his stay he named the place as ‘Shaistepura’, which was later re-named as Mangalwar Peth. The whole area was once destroyed because of the massive flood caused by Panshet Lake’s overflowed water.
It was a business hub in ancient times, when Sardar Nana Phadanvisan gave permission to do business in this area. It soon became a commercial hub of the city. The residents of this area build up a Bhavani Temple here in 1763. They then named this place as Bhavani Peth. Today it has a large timber, hardware and steel market. Some of the famous places over here are Shri Bhavani Mata Mandir and Timbar market.
Ganj peth was a commercial center dominated by traders and weaver. Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa inhabited it in 1769. Then it was known as ‘Muzaffarjang’, which was later renamed as ‘Ganj Peth’. A very famous personality named Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, who fought for the education rights for women and backward class people, used to stay in Ganj Peth. During that era, women and backward class people were not allowed to get any kind of education. His fight for education started at this place. His wife Savitribai Phule joined him to fight for women education.