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Pune
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Shaniwarwada: Once the stately mansion of the Peshwas, this seven-storey structure was almost reduced to ashes by fire. What remains now are the fortifications, five gateways and nine bastions that enclosed the palace. The main gate is Dilli Darwaja, and the other gates are called Mastani or Alibahadur Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja. The walls of the palace are adorned with paintings depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. A 16-petal lotus-shaped fountain stands in the courtyard, an exquisite work of architecture. A light-and-sound show held daily depicts the life and times of the Peshwas. Open from: Light and sound show – 7.15 pm – 8.10 pm (Marathi Show); 8.15 pm – 9.10 pm (English Show) Entry fee - Rs 25 Book tickets between 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm daily Sarasbaug Temple: Located on the foothills od Parvati Hill, this temple houses the idol of Shree Siddhivinayak, manifestation of Lord Ganesha. It is a site of tremendous faith and worship, and receives almost ten thousand visitors daily. In fact, the number coolly increases to almost eighty thousand on Ganesh Chaturthi, as devotee’s line up for His blessings. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum: Established as early as 1962, the museum houses almost 20,000 artifacts, collected over time by Baba Kelkar, the founder. Located on Bajirao Road, the artifacts date to the Mughal and Maratha period and comprise of paintings, nut crackers, Ganpati’s guns, carved doors, pottery and musical instrument. Its highlight is the Mastani Mahal, which is actually a section of the original palace built by Bajirao for Mastani. It is believed that Baba Kelkar discovered this ruined palace and transported its parts to his museum. The carved wooden pillars, colourful paintings, chandeliers, carved ceilings and different musical instruments depict the grandeur of the Peshwa period. The museum also houses household items, including artifacts made of terracotta, copper and brass. Idols of Ganesha, Shiva and Parvati, together with paintings depicting scenes of Ramayana, armours made of fish scales and crocodile skin, daggers, swords and small cannons adorn the first floor. Other marvels include Inkwells made of glass, terracotta, copper and brass, wooden artifacts and temple doors, richly ornamented fabrics and artifacts made of ivory and brass. For music lovers, there is a musical gallery with instruments donated by P.L. Deshpande and Ustad Kadarbaksh Khan. You will also find a tortoise shaped veena and a gramophone belonging to the early 20th century. Open from: 9.00 am-6.00 pm Entry fee: Rs 15 Agakhan Palace: Built by the president of the League of Nations in 1938, this palace witnesses a large number of visitors who pay homage to the samadhis of Mahadevbhai and Kasturba Gandhi. The museum within houses memorabilia depicting Gandhi’s life and times and owing to its close association to the freedom struggle, it celebrates a whole range of functions in their memory. The picture gallery depicts events in the struggle and houses the utensils, clothes, chappals and mala of Gandhi. The rooms used by them for dining, science lessons and the letter written by Gandhiji on the death of his secretary are some of the other attractions. A special cenotaph honours Kasturba Gandhi and a shop nearby sells khadi and cotton handloom garments and textiles. Open from: 9.00 am-6.00 pm (Lunch: 12.30 pm-1.30 pm) Entry fee – Rs 5 adults, Rs 2 children Parvati Hill: This is one of the most scenic locations at a height of 2100 ft offering breathtaking views of the cityscape. This is also the site of several temples dedicated to Parvati, Vishnu, Ganesh, Kartikeya and Devadeshwar. Climb to the top via the 108 steps and catch an aerial view of the city. Besides the temples, there is a museum here, which houses artifacts spanning the Peshwa period, including old manuscripts, ancient paintings, arms and old coins. The Parvati Hill and Temple is said to have housed an idol carved out of pure gold, which was stolen and replaced by a silver idol painted in gold. Close to the museum is the Samadhi Sthan of Shrimant Nanasaheb Peshwa who took his last breath here. Vishrambaug Wada: This 3-storeyed mansion is famous for its exquisite entrance and balcony carved in wood. Once a stately palace, it was ruined in fire, but was somewhat restored by contributions made by the public and government. Osho International Meditation Resort: Pune’s most defining structure, this ashram is located at Koregaon Park. This lush 40-acre meditation resort is beautifully created in white marble, complete with pathways, black buildings, lush foliage and a huge swimming pool. An ideal retreat for those who wish to relax and meditate, it is visited by people from across the world. The institute holds trainings in Osho Active Meditations and imparts training in techniques to relieve stress, bodywork and massages. Open from: 5.30 am onwards Entry fee – Full day meditation pass Rs 475 Mahatma Phule Wada: The former residence of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, today it has been converted to a museum housing photographs of Mahatma Phule and his wife. The wada has a well inside, which is said to be open to all, irrespective of class and creed. The courtyard also has a statue of Mahatma and is well-shaded by lush trees. Katraj Snake Park: Located in Katraj, this is home to a number of snakes and reptiles of different shapes and sizes. Before proceeding to the park, you can glean all possible information about the reptiles from the library inside. A recently created zoo makes it particularly interesting for children. The park also hosts festivals and special programs for spreading awareness about these species. Especially at Nagpanchami, events are held for providing information about them. Open from: 10.30 am-6.00 pm (Wednesday closed) Entry fee - Rs 3 Film and Television Institute of India: Located in the spacious garden of the former Prabhat Studios, it is made of a number of buildings. The Institute offers courses in direction, editing, screenplay, photography and music. This institute was established by the Indian government for imparting training in the art and techniques of film making. Some of the known personalities who have completed film courses are Mani Kaul, Shabana Azmi, Feroz Chinoi, Subhash Ghai, Jaya Bachchan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Note - If you are not a student, please obtain prior permission to visit the campus Konark Park: Located on the outskirts of Pune, this hosts the private collection of Dr. Suhas Jog, collected over 30 years from across the world. This aviary-cum-birds research centre will overwhelm you by the exotic collection. It includes species like the Bare-eyed Cockatoo from Australia, Yellow Golden Pheasant from China, Ring Oiet Pheasant from Kenya and the Ostrich and Emu. For children, there is a playground and a pond with ducks. Remember, photography is not allowed inside the park. Open from: 10.00 am-10.00 pm National Defence Academy: Situated in Khadakwasala, this is a joint services academy, where the cadets of three wings, Army, Navy & Air Force undergo training before they depart for their respective academies. The three-year compulsory program includes all subjects required for a University Degree and also the basic training of fundamental military sciences. Permission is required to visit the institution, which us set is lush greenery and which hosts the sailing championships in the Peacock Bay. Note - It is open for visits only on Sundays. Guided tours may also be provided for a large group Pataleshwar Caves: Located on Jungli Maharaj Road, these 8th century caves temples are dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar, Lord of the Underworld. It is believed to have been cut out of a single rock and is adorned with massive pillars. Shrines are also dedicated to Shiva and the Nandi Bull. The caves also house grand statues of Sita, Ram, Lakshman, Ganesh, Lakshmi and a huge Shivlingam. There is a museum next to it, which houses a wondrous exhibit – a grain of rice engraved with almost 5000 characters! Open from: 8.00 am-5.30 pm Tribal Museum: Located near Don Bosco Bridge, this is the best place to catch a view of the life and times of Maharashtrian Tribal Communities. The museum houses excellent documentation as photographs and artifacts of the life and customs of the tribal people of Maharashtra. Open from: 10.00 am-5.00 pm Bund Garden: Located on the banks of the Mula-Mutha Rivers, these gardens are home to the migratory birds in winter. Boat rides are also available in the river and a jogging track enables people to view these are leisure. Shinde Chatri: This is home to the samadhi of Shrimant Mahadji Shinde. Also located in the courtyard is a Shiv mandir, which is designed beautifully with intricate carvings. Open from: 6.00 am-9.00 pm Entry fee - Rs 2 Chaturshringi Temple: Located atop the hill overlooking the city, the temple is dedicated to Chaturshringi, a manifestation of Goddess Durga. The temple is 90 ft high and 125 ft wide and hosts the Navratri festival in October or November.
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