Not too long ago, Pune was known as a Pensioner’s Paradise and therefore became home to those who had retired and wanted a peaceful life. Today, the city is one of the fastest growing metros in India and is already a hub for the automotive, information technology and engineering industries along with being a seat for quality education. And all this is in addition to it also being the cultural capital of Maharashtra. In fact, if you are looking for a truly vibrant vacation, this is the place to be.
Pune is the seventh-largest metropolis in India and the second-largest in the state of Maharashtra. It is also the administrative headquarters of Pune district and was once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire.
The modern city of Pune was in fact once a small hamlet situated near the confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers. The name Pune is probably derived from the origin Punawadi with the basic word being Punya meaning merit. It is believed that if one bathes in the holy waters at the confluence of the rivers then all the sins are washed out and one gets merit too. Although the authentic epigraphical evidence comes from the 8th century C.E. Rashtrakuta Copper Plate inscription referring to the habitation as Punaka Vishaya (district of Punaka), the earliest habitation remains found in form of stone tools near the confluence of the river date back to at least one lakh years.
During the Yadava period (circa 9th century C.E. to 13th century C.E.), Pune had become a larger township. In the 17th century CE, the formative time of Shivaji’s career was spent here. The city’s most famous connection is with the rule of the Peshwas. In 1720, Baji Rao I was appointed prime minister of the Maratha Empire, ruled by Chhatrapati Shahu of Satara. He chose Pune as his administrative base and ordered the construction of Shaniwar Wada on the right bank of the Mutha. This patronage of the Peshwas helped the city flourish and there came into being several temples and large residential ‘wadas’, some of which continue to exist even today and are considered the pride of the city. Pune is reported to have really prospered during the reign of Nanasaheb Peshwa. He developed Saras Baug, Heera Baug, Parvati Hill and new commercial, trading and residential localities such as Sadashiv Peth, Narayan Peth, Rasta Peth, Raviwar Peth and Nana Peth.
Pune contributed a lot in the freedom struggle as well as in the social reform movements in the country with numerous freedom fighters, thinkers, social reformers living in the city. After independence Pune has become the cultural capital as well as a very important centre of education and industry. Pune has deep spiritual and religious connections, notably because saint-poets like Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram Maharaj were born near Pune. Their link to the city is commemorated with an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur, 300 kilometers away. This is once again an occasion that draws people from outside Pune in huge numbers. The city also carries the pride of being the birthplace of Meher Baba, although his followers usually travel to Meherabad to visit his tomb. Hazrat Babajan, identified by Meher Baba as one of the five ‘perfect masters’, lived the final 25 years of her life in Pune. In fact, the city is known for many such spiritual masters, Bhagwan Rajneesh being one of them. The Osho Ashram, established by him, was one of the biggest attractions a few decades ago. The ISKCON movement too has a presence in the city and it is here that BKS Iyengar, an internationally known yoga master, has an institute.
Pune has the honour of being home to some of the premier institutes of the country. The National Defence Academy which is a centre for excellence and the joint training institution for the Armed Forces, the Film & Television Institute of India, the National Film Archives, the National Chemical Laboratory as also the first and finest establishments dedicated to the study of Archeology and Indology such as the Deccan College, the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and the Bharat Itihaas Sanshodhak Mandal.
In fact, few other cities in India can match the dizzyingly different characteristics of Pune. While it is a cultural capital that witnesses a myriad range of activities in theatre, arts, music, cinema and so on, it is also known for its expertise in engineering and in particular, automotive manufacturing as it is base to some of the biggest OEMs such as Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, General Motors, Bajaj Auto, Force Motors, etc. At the same time, this is the city where the biggest of the IT companies have put up their offices while the best of educational institutions attract students from across the world.
Distance from Mumbai: 180 Kms