If you have only one day in Pune, we recommend you try this tour to discover the city’s history and meet its diverse people. The tour is a combination of car and walking, and covers the central and north-eastern parts of Pune.
What this tour is about:
The district of Poona has a long history stretching back 2000 years, with well-developed industry, trade, agriculture, government and religion. Broadly speaking, there are four periods in Pune's history: the early Hindu Period, the Muslim Period, the Maratha Period and the British Period. These diverse periods under different empires have all left their mark on the city, influencing not only the city's architecture, but also local customs. In this tour, we will go on a cultural exploration of Pune to trace these complex and layered historical influences.
Places we will visit:
Early Hindu Period (90 BC - 1295 AD)
This tour begins with a visit to one of the oldest evidences of Hindu civilisation in Pune - the 8th century Pataleshwar Rock Temple built by the Rashtrakuta dynasty. This dynasty ruled between 760 AD to 973 AD, and built several rock temples including the famous Kailasanatha temple at Ellora.
Muslim Period (1295 – 1720)
The Muslim period was marked by a series of natural droughts, famines and pestilence. In the 17th century, Shivaji spearheaded a major struggle to break free of Muslim rule. The walk takes us past several interesting places associated with this period:
The Dargah of Shaikh Salla, built during the early years of Muslim rule when Islam made its first appearance in Pune.
Lal Mahal, the site where Shivaji lived (the building on the site is a modern construction; we will not enter it).
Kasba Ganpati, a small but very important temple established by Shivaji’s mother (this is now the presiding deity of the city)
Maratha Period (1720 – 1818)
It was not until 1720 that the much weakened Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah II formally acknowledged an independent Maratha empire. After the death of Shivaji’s grandson, the Maratha empire became a loose confederacy of powerful ruling families, under a Peshwa (Prime Minister). We will visit Shaniwar Wada, the fortress built by the first Peshwa Baji Rao I. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and influenced the culture of present-day Pune significantly. We will visit the Kelkar Museum, for fascinating insights on daily Maharashtrian life in the past. We will also visit Tulshi Baug and Jyotiba Phule Market to see Hindu life in present-day Pune.
British Period (1819 – 1947)
Pune fell to the British in 1817. The British established army bases in Pune, and later made it the “monsoon capital” of Bombay Presidency. We will visit the British Cantonment area to see the administrative buildings, military areas and markets that came up during this period. Along with the British, several communities such as the Jews, the Bohras and the Parsis moved to Pune. We will drive past several places associated with these communities. The tour ends with a visit to Aga Khan Palace, where Gandhi spent 21 months under house arrest. The palace houses a small Gandhi museum, as well as memorials to his wife Kasturba and personal secretary Mahadeobhai.
Total Tour Time: 6-8 hours
When: Starts 9:30 a.m., from your hotel
INR 7500 using a small car (can take 2 adults + guide + driver)
INR 9000 using a Toyota Innova car (can take 4 adults + guide + driver)
INR 12500 using a Tempo Traveller small coach (can take 6 or 7 adults + guide + driver)
Includes: Pickup from hotel or home, AC vehicle, driver with cell phone, fuel, parking charges, tolls, knowledgeable guide, bottled water and all taxes.
Excludes: Entrances, meals and tips.
What to wear: There are no restrictions, but it is a good idea to dress modestly and ensure you have adequate sun protection. You have to take off your shoes if you wish to enter places of worship. This is a great tour for those interested in photography.