All Attractions

Aga Khan Palace/Gandhi National Memorial

Occupying an area of about 19 acre, this palatial mansion was once used as a prison by the British for Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadeo Desai, as well as Miraben, Pyarelal Nair, Sarojini Naidu and Dr Sushila Nayar. Though imprisoned during the Quit India movement, both Ba (as Kasturba Gandhi was fondly known) and Desai died of a heart attack in these premises. Their memorials, made of marble, still stand here. With Italian architecture and sculpted lawns, this grand building is now the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society. It was Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III who built this palace in 1892 as an act of charity for those who were drastically affected by the famine that had hit Pune at the time. Khadi, the handwoven natural fibre that Gandhiji used to spin on his charkha, is still made here. The 2.5-m-long circular corridor is well-known, running the periphery of the palace. There are several photographs and portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders of the freedom movement housed here; one of the most impressive and moving of these is a tableau of the Mahatma leading a protest march against the British. Visitors can also take a gander at Gandhiji’s work at the Sewagram, located 8 km in the in the village of Wardha. Other highlights of the palace that are open to public viewing are the room in which he stayed with Kasturba Gandhi, as well as his charkha, sandals and other personal belongings. It has now been taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad, literally means Lion’s Fort, is about 30 kilometres southwest of  Pune. It was previously called Kondana and was also important because of its strategic location, perched on an isolated cliff in the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, 1,312 meters above sea level. The fort is ‘naturally’ protected due to its very steep slopes. Walls and bastions were constructed at only key places. A good motorable road leads right up to the top of the fort. Apart from the excellent views of the city and the Sahaydri Mountains, the fort is also a popular hangout because of the vendors who sell a local delicacy called ‘pithlabhakari’ and curds. On a clear day one gets to see the forts of Torna, Rajgad and Purandar from Sinhagad Fort.One of the most famous battles on Sinhgad was fought by Tanaji Malusare, a general of Chhatrapati Shivaji of the Maratha Empire in order to recapture the fort in March 1670A steep cliff leading to the fort was scaled in the dead of the night with the help of a tamed monitor lizard named "Yashwanti", colloquially known as a ghorpad. Thereafter, a fierce battle ensued between Tanaji and his men versus the Mughal army headed by Udaybhan Singh Rathod. Tanaji Malusare lost his life. There is an anecdote that upon hearing of Tanaji's death, Chhatrapati Shivaji expressed his remorse with the words, "Gad aala, pan Sinha gela" - "The Fort is captured, but the Lion is lost" and so the name Sinhagad.A bust of Tanaji Malusare was constructed on the Fort in memory of his fierce resistance of the Mughal forces in the battle. 

Jejuri

Jejuri, is the main centre of worship of Khandoba, also known as Malhari Martanda, and is the   deity of many warrior, farming, herding and priest families of Maharashtra and the Deccan region. Jejuri is situated on a 758-meter high hillock about 80 kilometres away from Pune in the administrative district of Purandar. Located at a distance of 50 kilometres from Pune, Jejuri is famous for its Bhandara festival, which draws close to six lakh devotees when the temple town erupts in celebrations.Amidst riotous showers of haldi or turmeric popularly called ‘bhandara’  devotees make their way up a steep hill to the top. The entire stretch of the winding path becomes yellow-tinted during the journey. By the time the hundredth step to the temple comes into view, Khandoba’s pilgrims have showered turmeric on every passing person and idol.  The bhandara festival takes place almost three times each year. Known locally as ‘sonyachi Jejuri’ or golden Jejuri, the festival begins with the ‘yatra’ of the idol and culminates in its immersion in the nearby Karha river.  The hilltop on which the temple stands is called Jejurigad and its history can be dated back to 1688. One has to cross seven arches and descend several steps to reach the temple whose very extensive courtyard has walled compounds within which are 63 verandas (roofed porches). This style of architecture is probably the main reason why villagers refer to it as a ‘kot’ or fort. It has three entrance gates and devotees have to approach the temple from the northern gate.

Raja Dinakar Kelkar Museum

A fascinating largest one-man collection in the world; the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune is famous for its curios and artefacts, ranging from beautifully embroidered textiles to sculptures and antique copper vessels to the swords of the Peshwas. History literally comes alive as you walk through its various sections. The museum came into being because of the passion of Dr.Dinkar Kelkar (1896 – 1990) who toured some of the remotest parts of the country to add to his collection. In fact, this visually enticing foray into the past begins right from the entrance with the imposing presence of a galloping horse in wood, believed to be from the 19th century. Further ahead is the Gujarat Gallery which has a wooden facade typical to houses of Gujarat as well as other utility items from the region. A striking Meenakshi statue from the 18th century holds court in one corner of the gallery with a large antique mirror reflecting the details on the back of the statue. Some of the other things on display include a collection of musical instruments. There also is a unique gallery of lamps reflecting mythological themes. In addition to vessels, textiles, spice boxes and puppets, there is an ivory dice set which is example of superb craftsmanship. However, one of the biggest attractions here is a ‘Peshwai’ room that has its link with the romance of Peshwa Bajirao for Mastani, daughter of Raja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand.. Bajirao fell in love with her while on a campaign and brought her to Pune where he built a palace for her called ‘Mastani Mahal’.