Also known as the ‘Cultural Capital of Maharashtra’, Pune is the second biggest city in the state. Famous for its stunning beauty, history and traditions, this is the city that gave birth to the original form of ‘Marathi Theater’ and promoted the state’s folk music.
Surrounded by hills, rivers, lakes and the Sahyadri Ranges, here, the Western Ghats assume a whole new look! Green landscapes, history, heritage and a wonderfully upbeat atmosphere make up for Pune being one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Maharashtra. And to understand this city better, you must visit all the Pune tourist places that will not only take you across the city, but will also give you an insight of its rich history and culture.
If you are new to Pune and want to experience its beautiful surroundings, here is a detailed list of tourist places in Pune that you must not miss:
1. Aga Khan Palace:
This heritage structure that was hold Mahatma Gandhi captive along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary captive, was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan II. Declared as a monument of national importance by the Archeological Survey of India, this historic palace was later dedicated to the public as a homage to the 'Father of the Nation'.
Located on the Pune-Nagar Road, Aga Khan Palace is adorned with intricate Italian arches and flourishing gardens. Covering a total of 19 acres, its construction took around 5 years and is rated as one of the best amongst all the other Pune tourist places.
2. Pataleshwar Cave Temples:
A relic of an era long gone, this divine structure of the 8th century bears a silent testimony to the architectural and artistic brilliance of the past. Hidden beneath the famous JangliMaharaj Temple in the city centre, the Pataleshwar Cave Temples are adorned with carvings depicting gods, goddesses and the civilisations of the yore.
Legend says that the caves were not completed due to a natural calamity that struck the city unexpectedly; those that stand nonetheless are intricate and beautiful in their appearance. Strong, historic and proud, this is one of those tourist places in Pune that is unknown even to the locals.
3. Osho Ashram:
If you are searching for inner peace, calmness, serenity and tranquility, a visit to the Osho Commune in Koregaon Park will serve all your purpose! Swarming with devotees in Maroon robes, the commune is open to visitors from all the corners of the globe.
With a minimal registration fees, you can become a member of this meditation resort and seek for the ultimate truth of life while following the preaching of Osho. Also, the well preserved gardens, the silent meditation halls and the various programs conducted in this ashram are aesthetically designed to bring out the hidden truth of life.
4. L. Deshpande Gardens:
Stunningly landscaped in the traditional Japanese style, this garden marks the friendship, brotherhood and cordial relations between India and Japan. Modelled on the lines of Japan’s Okayama Gardens, it is one of the most stunning of all Pune tourist places.
Well-manicured, dotted with cute sit-outs and bridge walkways, the garden also sports a children’s play park that serves as a delight for the kids. Located along the Sinhagad Road in Pune, this bright and colourful garden also adds much to the greener aspects of Pune and its stunning beauty.
5. War Museum:
Situated a little outside the main city limits, the National War Memorial Southern Command, holds a special mention in the list of tourist places near Pune. Located on the Ghorpuri lines along the sleepy suburb of Ghorpadi, this memorial is dedicated to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives while safeguarding the country's dignity and honour.
The memorial warrants a position of respect as it is the only war memorial funded by the citizens to exist in South Asia. Housing various relics of India's independence; like the MiG 23 BN used in the Kargil war and a model of INS Trishul which was a part of the fleet of India-Portuguese as well as Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1971, are kept on display here. The beautifully landscaped surroundings and other noteworthy aircraft models in the museum will definitely evoke patriotism and respect for the valorous soldiers.
6. Shaniwar Wada:
Located right in the middle of the bustling old city area of Pune, the Shaniwar Wada is one of the most important landmarks among Pune tourist places. This heritage structure that was once the residence of the Peshwa rulers, is a courageous mélange of Mughal and Indian architectural ethics.
Built solely out of granite, teak and sheeshamfortifications, the foundations of this great monument was laid in 1730 and was completed in 1732. Once a shelter of more than 1000 inhabitants, though many parts of this historic fort was destroyed by a sudden and tragic fire outburst in 1828, it still stands with all its glory and depicts many tales of the bygone era.
- Katraj Snake Park:
A place of wonder and curiosity, the Katraj Snake Park in Katraj has attracted millions of enthusiastic visitors to examine its impressive collection of wildlife and reptiles. Initially housing only snakes, the park has now developed to being a full-fledged wildlife zoo.
Renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, this amazing park is located at the outskirts of the main city on the Pune-Satara Highway near BharatiVidyapeeth University. The impressive menagerie at the park consists of a White Tiger, Bengal Tiger and many other rare mammals and reptiles. Some of these are adopted by the residents, who look after their care and upbringing.
Raised as a dedication to the gutsy eighteenth century military pioneer MahadjiShinde, the sergeant of the Maratha armed force from 1760 to 1780, ShindeChhatri is situated at Wanowarie and mirrors an uncommon Anglo Rajasthani mélange of architectural design. The Shiva Temple on the grounds was taken care of in 1794 by MahadjiShinde himself who passed away that same year; his last ceremonies were performed here. The sanctuary ground including the Samadhi was later constructed by MadhavraoSindhia in 1965. The premises are quiet and peaceful untouched by any jumble or unsettling influence.
This is the palace where the great ShivajiMaharaj spent the early years of his childhood. The site of a great historic moment, it was here that the king cut off the fingers of the Mughal leader Shaiste Khan as he was trying to escape imprisonment. The original palace had been razed to the ground with little historical records; however, its reconstruction was undertaken by the government in 1984. Located close to the Shanivar Wada, the LalMahal also has a play area for kids where they can enjoy. One of the most important historical Pune tourist places, it deserves a special mention in this list.
- Raja DinkarKelkar Museum:
A gorgeous collection of artefacts, utensils and earthen ware waits to greet you if you decide to visit the famous Raja DinkarKelkar Museum! Located in the older part of the city;ShanivarPeth, it houses an extensive collection of antiques like musical instruments, lamps, paintings, weapons and ivory artefacts, collected from all over the country.
However, most noteworthy is the recreated MastaniMahal, which is based on the palace that BajiraoPeshva created for his concubine and danseuse, Mastani. Legend has it, that her beauty was so mesmerizing that he felt she needed nothing less than a palace all to herself. Of all the historical tourist places in Pune, this is perhaps the most astounding!
- DagdushethHalwaiGanpati Temple:
Famous all over Maharashtra for its prosperous and beauteous idol of Lord Ganesh, the ShrimantDagdushethHalwai Temple has attracted thousands of devotees to its pious halls for many years since its inception. Not only is the temple an active place of devotion and worship, but is also a highly active public trust, that carries out welfare work.
Resources tell us, that the temple and its deity were instituted by DagdushetHalwai and his wife LaxmiBai after they lost their only son to plague. The temple houses a beautiful idol and the premises are peaceful despite being in the midst of city’s foremost market areas.
- Joshi Rail Museum:
A collection of the whims of a collector, Joshi Railway Museum is a place that houses miniature railways of all shapes and sizes, the product of a collection curated by Mr B.S. Joshi; the museum’s aim is not just to attract viewers to visit the museum, but also to create inquisitiveness and interest amongst young and old alike.
The pioneer of this place wishes to propagate railway modelling as a hobby, as he believes that is takes into consideration all different branches of science as well as architecture. Located in the busy region of Karve Road, the Railway Museum is operated under the aegis of SoudaminiInstruments.
- Mulshi Lake and Dam:
Located just an hour’s drive from the main city, the drive to MulshiLake and dam itself passes through scenic Tamhini Ghats. The catchment areas and surrounding mountains are delightful to witness, especially so in the Monsoons. The Mulshi Lake and Dam are actually catchment areas of the Mulshi Dam built for the Tata power project.
The beauty of the dam, backwaters and surrounding forests can be witnessed in its entirety from a few plateaus, hills and some vantage points like the Devil’s Canyon. The beauty of these scenic tourist places near Pune truly comes alive during the monsoons as the surrounding areas deck up in sights of natural beauty.
Khadakwasla Dam is a catchment situated on the Mutha River, which is located around 20km away from the main city. A must visit tourist place near Pune, this expansive water stretch is always filled with revellers, holidaymakers and families over the weekend. The dam is actually one of the primary ways in which the city obtains its water supply, the other being VarasgaonDam.
A little ahead around the shores of the catchment area, there is also a place called Peacock’s Bay, where one can see the royal bird, especially during the monsoons. On the shores of the Khadakwasla Lake, you can enjoy a delicious street side fare, ranging from ‘bhelpuri’ to roasted corn on the cob; do not forget this pretty sight on your list of Pune tourist places!
- Laxmi Road:
A major bustling market area which is a part of the main city, Laxmi Road, is one of the major hubs in Pune. Famous for its silk, cotton, chiffon and exquisite jewellery stores, this overwhelming marketplace witnesses a large number of shopaholics during the day.
A place that has something for everyone, it is a hot favourite among the Punekars and caters to all their needs and requirements. Be it a wedding, birthday, anniversary or any other celebration, this is also one of its kind tourist places in Pune that cannot be missed while in the city!
- Mahatma PhuleMandai :
Originally called the ‘Lord Reay Market’, this heritage structure in Pune is over 125 years old. Named after and inaugurated by the then governor of Mumbai, it was later renamed as MahtmaPhuleMandai in 1938.
Till 1966, it served as the headquarters for the Municipal Coproration, but in the modern times, it is frequented by more than 500 vegetable and fruit sellers. To see the market in its full glory, one really has to go as early as 04:00 in the morning when the actual activity around the place flags off in full swing with the transport and unloading of fresh vegetables and other wares.
- Juna Bazaar:
Coming across as a surprising feature of the city the Juna Bazaar which translates to mean ‘Old Market’ is one of the busiest flea markets of the city. Lined up on the GhorpadiPeth area near Pune Cantonment, you can witness the charm and aura of this bazaar on every Wednesday and Sunday.
However, do not be fooled by the name! The bazaar is actually a very well organized and segregated affair where you can find everything from hardware tools to big machinery, from kitchen essentials to artistic pieces and even furniture and furnishings. There is also a separate section for shoes, vegetables and accessories for your wardrobe; visit this bustling tourist place in Pune and take home quirky souvenirs!
- Vishrambaag Wada:
Located centrally on the ThoraleBajirao Road, this exquisite residence of PeshwaBajirao II is another historic landmark of Pune. Built as an alternative to Shaniwar Wada, this 3-storied monument was built in 1807AD and took around 3 years to complete.
Though times has changed, Vishrambaag Wada has endured its charm and grandeur. Housing over a multiple governmental offices, it now serves as an important landmark to Pune.
- Khadki War Cemetry:
Kirkee or the Khadki War Cemetry is located on the northern end of Pune along the banks of the scenic Mula River. A reminiscent of the past, this cemetery has been serving as the final abode of several hundred British soldiers who laid down their lives during the World War II.
Located beside this historic site, is the Kirkee Memorial that has around 1,800 cemeteries of the World War I soldiers. As the years passed, it started gaining popularity among the visitors and is now counted among the best Pune tourist places. Visit this historic site, pay your homage to the each of the graves that tells its story in its own ways.
A stunning hill station in Pune, Lonavala is also among the must visit places in the vicinity. Located around 64km from the limits of Pune and around 96km from Mumbai, it can be reached through the Mumbai-Pune or Mumbai-Chennai Highways.
Reaching an astounding height of 622m above the sea level, Lonavala promises pleasant climate, promising views and splendid moments throughout the year. While visiting this magnificent hill station, you can also visit some of the ancient caves like Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves.
Another picturesque hill station in Pune, Khandala shot to fame after the popular song 'AtikyaKhandala...' from Hindi flick 'Ghulam' was aired. Perched at a height of 625m above the sea level, it sits graciously on the Western Ghats and entices a large number of visitors every year.
Located around 3km from Lonavala, Khandala serves as an important communication link between Mumbai and Pune. Tiger's Leap, Amrutanjan Point, Duke's Nose, Karla &Bhaja Caves and Bhushi Lake are some of the attraction points in Khandala.
One of the richest biodiversity regions in Maharashtra, Maval, a quaint village, is also an important tourist place near Pune. With the stunning Sahyadri Ranges adding more to its beauty and appeal, it also offers a wide range of activities to its visitors.
While in Maval, you can participate in enthralling water activities like kayaking, river swimming and crossing. And for the hard-core adventure enthusiasts, they can opt for activities like Tarzan swing, skywalk, net climbing, tunnel crawl, commando walk and several others.
Located around 100km from Pune and Mumbai, Durshet is yet another charismatic tourist destination in Maharashtra. Bestowed with the scenic Sahyadri Ranges, this picture-perfect destination boasts of its evergreen beauty and bountiful nature.
Home to several exotic ranges of flora and fauna, it is an ideal destination for bird watching, nature walk and other similar activities. For the adventure junkies, they can also enjoy trekking, kayaking, ziplining, tag hunt and others in Durshet.
This rustic village in the Sahyadri Range of Maharashtra is known for its rugged beauty and appeal. A popular adventure destination among the thrill seekers, it is the home to the historic Rajmachi Fort that has the Shrivardhan and Manaranjan forts within its defensive walls.
Visit this gorgeous hamlet in Pune and embark on an enthralling trek of around 15km to the fort. Hike through the scenic trails of Rajmachi and witness its rich and opulent beauty!
Well connected with other popular destinations like Lonavala and Khandala, this city is cossetted by the enchanting beauty of Mother Nature. Around 45km from the city limits of Pune, it is also the home to several rustic villages that still hold the essence and roots of Marathi cultures alive!
The geographical location and the pleasant climate in Kamshet makes it an ideal destination for adventure activities like paragliding and trekking. During a visit to this pictorial city, you can also indulge in farm stays and other activities that will offer you a memorable experience of country life!