Pune

Pune (formerly spelt Poona) is in Maharashtra, India. It is considered the state's cultural capital and is the second largest city in the state.

Pune is known for its educational tourism and has a blend of cultural, business, health, cuisine tourism background. The large student population in the city makes for a lively nightlife and vibrant atmosphere. Pune also houses fantastic restaurants, good museums, and hill forts which offer panoramic views.

Understand

Pu La Deshpande Garden

Since Pune is in the state of Maharashtra, most of the residents are Marathis (or Maharashtrians). The city contains the headquarters of an administrative division officially known as the Pune division. Pune has history that stretches back nearly 1600 years. Pataleshwar caves (Near Jangli Maharaj Road) from the 5th century are evidence to Pune’s old settlements.

Pune is a gateway to knowledge about the past with opportunities to learn from the help of forts, monuments, museums and higher-learning institutions. From the medieval Maratha history of King Shivaji to a visit to Aga Khan Palace to learn about Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent freedom struggle, there is much to learn here. If the quote "Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!" sounds interesting, make a visit to Gayakwadwada museum. If interested in ancient Indian history or Indology, then Deccan college, Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute are the places of research and learning and house their own museums as well.

Pune has been called the "Oxford of the East". It is a university town. There are numerous colleges and institutes here that offer everything from engineering to fine arts. These establishments boast a large number of foreign students in addition to locals. These young, education minded individuals have made an impact on local culture: Saturday evenings on Fergusson road are delightfully crowded and lively, and you will see students gulping down hot coffee in an attempt to stay awake for their exams at Durga Coffee House, near MIT College.

Climate

Osho Garden

The climate of Pune is quite pleasant. Pune has three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Summers are typically hot with maximum temperatures ranging from 35 to 42°C. The warmest month in Pune is generally April as compared to the rest of the Deccan Plateau where it is May.

Pune does not get very hot. Even during the peak of summer the air is cool and standing under a tree can give respite from the heat. However, as the frequent sunlight can cause sunburn, be sure to carry and use sunscreens (above SPF-30). The nights in Pune are significantly cooler than most other parts in this region due to its high altitude.

The average rainfall is approx 550mm. The city often receives thundershowers with heavy downpours in May, which brings down the temperature. The rainy season can sometimes be gloomy, with cloud cover for many days in a row. In winter, day temperatures can be as low as 24 - 28°C and temperatures at night as low as 5 - 8°C. Winters are generally dry. Normally, the climate in Pune is pleasant during the month of November.

Attitude

Attitudes in Pune are liberal. The city used to be very traditional and conservative, but times have changed. The city is not the conservative small-town of old, but now is a much more open-minded developed city.

Talk

Osho Ashram, Pune

Pune is a fairly cosmopolitan city. Although Marathi is the official language of the city and also the most common language spoken on the streets, most people also speak Hindi along with English.

Get in

Pune is a major transportation hub for Western Maharashtra. It serves as the gateway for the numerous hill stations in the Sahyadri Hills.

By plane


Flights connecting Pune:

By train

Pune has many connections to other Indian cities by rail. Check train availability on the Indian Rail website before you go, as train timings are subject to change. There are mainline routes to Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai

By car

Pune is served by three national highways (NH) and an expressway.

By bus

Buses: Government operated versus Privately operated


Tourists traveling between Pune and Mumbai are advised to travel by the state government run buses (MSRTC) wherever possible. These buses cost almost the same (₹320) as the private buses and they have less stops during the journey since private buses try to pick passengers on the way. Buses run very frequently (every 15 mins) and are also punctual. You can be sure of reaching your destination within the stipulated time. Most of the private buses wait until they get enough passengers before departing, which can cause a delays.

It takes about three hours to get from the Mumbai airport to Pune via the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. Both private and state owned companies (MSRTC) operate luxury buses on this route, and run 24 hours service with buses departing every fifteen minutes. MSRTC buses charge approximately ₹185 (Non AC) and ₹320 (AC) for the journey. (The MSRTC AC buses operate between 5:30AM - 12AM). Below are arrival and departure points for buses from cities and villages outside of Pune.

Get around

Fare for taxi and auto-rickshaw

As of July 1st 2015, there is a minimum charge of ₹18 for the first 1.5 km and ₹12.31 for every km after. This is a ₹1 increase from previous fares. Fares are rounded to the nearest whole number. There can be additional costs due to large bags or if it is past midnight. Drivers will often try to charge you a little extra for other things but it shouldn't be too much. You can very well argue with them based on the tariff card, and sometimes they will agree to it. To be completely certain you are not being overcharged, ensure you are familiar with the most current tariff card and don't blindly trust the card your driver has. Check the Regional Transport Office (RTO) for the most recent version of the tariff card. They sometimes list it on their website.

Streets in the centre of Pune

By auto-rickshaws

There is a massive army of three wheeled rickshaws. Some prepaid rickshaw stands can be found at Shivajinagar, Swargate Bus Depot, and Lohegaon Airport. Nevertheless, always demand that they use the meter and that they show you the sheet of paper (referred to as Tariff Card) which converts the rickshaw meter readings to the actual cost in rupees. All rickshaws plying in the Municipal Corporation limits are supposed to charge fare according to the tariff card.

The driver may occasionally stop to ask for directions depending on how familiar he is with the area. Nowadays, many auto rickshaw drivers try to charge extra for long distances or very short distances, or they refuse the fare. If they realise you are not from the city, they may try to take longer routes to the destination to charge extra money from you. Thus, outsiders and foreigners, use your own judgement before boarding any auto rickshaw. Stick to the demand of charging by meter and refuse strongly to pay any extra amount, unless it is midnight. Autorickshaw drivers may also refuse to travel to quite a few parts of the city as per their convenience; however, this is against the law if their meter reads "on hire" in the upright position. If the sign is turned sideways, the rickshaw driver is not technically working and can refuse you.

It is very common for rickshaw drivers plying between 11PM and 6AM to demand 1.5 times the normal rates for the journey. You are advised to get this cleared with the driver before boarding the rickshaw. It is also sometimes advisable to flag a rickshaw from the streets (if practical and possible) instead of boarding one from the stands as often, rickshaw drivers waiting in stands demand more fare.

If you have complaints against auto drivers for not accepting short distance rides (or any rides), asking more meter fare, not using a meter, taking other passengers along the way, carrying more passengers than allowed capacity, stopping at bus stands or other similar complaints of serious nature, you can email or call the Road Transport Authorities at 020-22051414 or 020-27492828 (PCMC) or email rtopune@dataone.in. Traffic cops usually come right away to the spot to book a complaint against the driver. Commuters can also send their MMS pictures at +91 9420218338. The complaints should clearly mention all details including the auto’s registration number, the time of taking the rickshaw, details of auto fare, the distance commuted, locations, date, time, nature of complaint. After so many calls complaints, the RTO/police can fine them as heavily as ₹50 for refusal of service.

By bus

City buses in Pune are run by the PMPML. Although the vehicles are crowded and smoke-belching, the network is very extensive. Almost all parts of the city are connected by the PMPML city buses. Major city bus stands include Corporation, Shivaji Nagar, Swargate, Kothrud depot, Nigdi, Hadapsar, Katraj and Deccan. Shivaji Nagar is believed to be the busiest bus stand in the state of Maharashtra. The fare is calculated by distance, and ranges from ₹5 (14 US cents) to ₹22 (40 US cents).

By car

Though there is a lot of traffic in Pune you can't compare it to Cairo or Kolkata. A majority of the vehicles are two wheelers and apart from the peak hours the roads in Pune are sparsely filled. There are quite a few car rental agencies in Pune. Most of them charge around ₹2500 a day for a mid-size car. There are extra charges for distances above 100 km. It is recommended to get a driver if you are not familiar with Indian cities and this also helps remove the problem of finding parking.

If you are driving a car always be careful, since motorbike riders may overtake you from left or right and cut lanes without warning.

By taxi

Several radio taxi companies operate in Pune.

By two-wheelers

This city was once known as the city of bicycles, but now it has turned into the city of motorcycles. Most traffic rules are completely ignored in Pune and there are ten times as many two-wheelers as there are cars. The general attitude towards riding motorbikes in the city is that of total ignorance of any set forth traffic regulations along with complete disregard of one's safety (including not wearing a helmet). Here people ride motorbikes as if they are riding a war horse and will generally try to overtake every vehicle in front. Minor accidents on motorbikes are common; You are advised to be careful even when your signal is green as the traffic flow from other direction generally does not stop immediately.

Pune's roads might turn to horrid potholes from smooth tarmac in matter of seconds when it rains. Always be on a lookout. The addition of new bicycle tracks all over has made an improvement on two-wheeler traffic.

If you do want to hire a two wheeler, there are two outfits who rent these vehicles in Pune. A 100cc Bajaj Platina will cost ₹200 a day and an automatic Honda scooter will cost ₹300. If you are planning on day trips from Pune you would be best with the larger wheels and light weight of a motorcycle rather than a scooter. Both outfits will most likely deliver to your accommodation if you ask nicely.


By suburban rail

The Pune Suburban Railway connects Pune to Lonavala, a small town en route to Mumbai. There is only one line with seventeen stations; a second monorail line is under consideration by the government. Here is a list of all the stations, east to west. The places of interest are listed in brackets. Italics indicate the various modes of transport available at the destination station.

See

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum building
Sinhagad fort
Aga Khan Palace
Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden

Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. The Marathi film industry is also based here.

Architecture

Culture

Scenery

Tekdi - is the Marathi word for hill. There are many small scenic hills in the city used for trekking and birdwatching. Notable among are Taljai (Near Parvati), Hanuman & Vetal Tekdi (near Law College Road, Paud Phata).

Do

Festivals

Pune has a full calendar of events, ranging from Classical Music to Rock Concerts. However, Pune's most famous festival is the Pune Festival, which is held during the Ganesha Mahotsav.

A number of College festivals have become very commercialised, but still attract big crowds and a very high degree of competition from colleges all over Pune. Verve organised by Express Youth Forum is the biggest inter-collegiate cultural festival in India while Concepts organized by the Pune Institute of Computer Technology (PICT) is a very popular engineering (technical) event. The College of Engineering, Pune also organizes a technical festival which attracts participants from all over India. So all year round, there is enough excitement to keep Puneites and tourists on their toes!

Learn

One of Pune's nicknames is Oxford of the East. This is due to the presence of many renowned educational universities and colleges. Some of the prominent ones are:

Buy

Pune shopping street

Pune is a city where you will find an excellent range of streetside shops as well as a few outstanding malls. Pune is a good place to pick up some Indian slippers made of rubber. Soft, comfortable Kolhapuri chappals (leather sandals), that are manufactured in the town of Kolhapur, can be found in many of the street shops in Pune.

Budget

All the places listed here are places where you can bargain hard and get some good stuff off the pavement for rock-bottom prices. There are several roads and areas that have clusters of shopping in them.

Books

Puneites are crazy about books. This shows in the number of excellent bookshops scattered throughout the city. The area known as 'Appa Balwant Chowk' is famous for various big and small book shops. Some of them specialize in special subjects like Law books,management books,religious books,computer books,music books etc.

Birds of Pune available from Centre for Environment Education and Kalpavriksh

Electronics

Pune is a technology hub and is home to IT/ITES/BPO professionals. Pune also has one of the highest densities of Engineers and Management graduates pursuing studies. Sony World, House of Laptops, Croma are electronics chains dishing out the goodies.

Haircut

Being a student town, Pune has a good selection of mid priced hair salons.

Eat

Pune people love to chappathis with crunchy fried fish
This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under ₹80
Mid-range ₹80-₹200
Splurge ₹200 +

Pune is undoubtedly a great place to eat. Fergusson College Road is full of budget eateries serving delicous hot food at nominal charges. For a range of multi-cuisine restaurants, visit ABC Farms, Koregaon Park, which houses the city's best restaurants. Almost all restaurants open and close at similar hours. 10 in the morning to 11 at night is the usual. Of course, restaurant bars stay open till at least midnight. Misals are a Pune favourite, if you can stomach the spice in them. They are a tasty meal and a visit to Bedekar Misal or Shree Uphar Gruha is a must. They are located in the Peth areas and are famous. Shree Uphar Gruha is located at Tulsi Baug. Its a small joint but dishes out tasty Misal and fritters.

For variety, head out to Koregaon Park. North Main Road is a lane with more than 50 restaurants. It offers a choice of cuisine including Italian, French, Mexican, Thai, Japanese and a variety of local Indian food; there is a restaurant to fit every taste and mood. ABC farms in Koregaon Park has many restaurants at one place - ideal when you cannot decide before leaving for dinner. Koregaon Park is known as The Restaurant Suburb, and holds a similar status to Pune that Bandra holds to Mumbai.

Pune also boasts of an all night or late night food delivery service by the name of Craveu.in. They deliver throughout the Pune area and provide the punekars who are awake late at night due to their work or pleasure with a comprehensive menu encompassing of Thai cuisine,Italian cuisine,Indian cuisine,Chinese cuisine and other international cuisine all night with an assurance of high quality and hygienic food. alt=Food delivery, Online Ordering, Late night, All night are accepted online at url=http://www.craveu.in .

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Refreshing Indian drinks such as Jal Jeera (a cumin seed drink) and Nimbu Pani (lemon water/soda) are sold on the sidewalk for around ₹5 per glass.

Alcohol is easily available all over town, though most of the bars are in Koregaon Park and upmarket areas. Most bars open in the afternoon and close an hour or two after midnight.

Tea and coffee

There is no lack of coffee shops in the city. Some of the restaurants listed above serve good coffee, or head to a branch of the Barista or Cafe Coffee Day chains, both of which have numerous locations around town. The FC Road and MG Road branches of Barista are wi-fi hotspots.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₹800
Mid-range ₹800-₹1500
Splurge ₹1500 +

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Pune has a small but good range of top-end hotels. Prices are generally more than those in the US. A double room tends to be priced at USD 200 to 400 per night. During the lean season, good discounts are available.

Camping

There are many spots near Pune in which you can go for camping. Camping can be done safely on spots such as Lonavala, Tungarli Lake, Valvan Lake, Rajmachi, Mahableshwar, Panchgani, Kashid & Phansad.

Rappelling, Lake Crossing, Adventure Sports, paint ball in Jungle setup.

Weekend getaways

Hill forts

A day trip from Pune

Pune - Bhuleshwar - Purandar - Sinhagad - Pune

This round trip takes in some of the interesting hill forts around Pune. Total distance is about 220km and will take 6 hours just to drive the loop, with lunch and sightseeing added on. The full trip could take up to 12 hours so leave a full day. It is suggested that this trip is undertaken either by motorcycle or 4WD due to the state of some of the roads that are encountered. It is possible to make the journey in a regular car (and many do - even auto ricks) but it will take longer and there will be a heavy toll on the cars suspension. To be as safe as possible you would also want some experience on driving on broken/ unsurfaced roads and dealing with the challenges of driving in India.

Leave Pune on the National Highway 9 (Pune Solapur Highway) which passes the racecourse. This is a toll road and also very busy with cars and trucks. If you have taken a motorcycle be very careful.

The turn off to Bhuleshwar is about 35km from Pune and shortly after the second toll booth (about 2km before Yavat village). A concrete bridge crosses a canal and the turn off is to the right just before the bridge. There is no sign in English, but there is a sign to Deccan Industrial Explosives pte. After 5km or so the road will climb into some ghats, where the road becomes quite broken. Once you reach the top of the ghats you will see the temple and a prominent radio mast to the right. The turn to the temple is the next right, the road becomes quite steep at some points.

After visiting the temple and fort (allow 30 to 40 mins), return to the road and turn right where you turned off. This road will take you to Saswad (or Sasvad on some maps). There are several turnoffs, keep heading west, but also plenty of people to ask the way, nearly everyone knows Saswad. The scenery is quite flat though enlivened by scenes of Indian rural life. The road is paved but quite rough. You can take lunch when you reach the town.

Thereafter, ask the way for Purandar itself or Nasrapur which is where the road goes. Many people know it. The road is the Diwale to Narayanpur road. In fact the hill itself is easy to spot as it towers above Narayanpur. After 5km after the turnoff from you will reach a left fork which is signed (not in English). Take this and follow the twisty road to Purandar. At time of writing (October 09) the majority of the road is totally unsurfaced (awaiting surfacing) so would be muddy during rain and there is also the possibility of dealing with the resurfacing activity. Allow 30 minutes to enjoy the views and look at the abandoned army buildings and another 1.5 hours to climb to the top and explore.

It will take about 15 minutes to regain the main ro phone=ad if you have a motorbike. Turn left when you reach it and enjoy the smooth tarmac and twists of the road as you pass between the two hills. Eventually you will reach National highway 4 (also a toll road), turn right and again pay attention to the road hazards.

Approximately 12km later at Khed take a left turn towards Shivapur. Pass through towards Kondapur, where you take a right fork, thereafter at the T-junction take the left which leads to Sinhagad Fort.

In terms of time to spend here it is best to gauge your stamina and enthusiasm against the amount of light you have left, as it is better to end the journey in daylight rather than drive at night.

Retrace your steps to NH4 and then follow this back to Pune. You will arrive in the Bibvewadi area in the south of the city.

Connect

Phone

Internet

A large number of internet cafes dot the city. Most private cafes charge about ₹10-₹25 (35-55 US cents) an hour. However, the Reliance World chain of cyber cafes run by Reliance Communications offer fast broadband connections at around a dollar per hour. There are 8 branches in Pune

Stay safe

Pune is by and large a very safe place. Violent crime is low, although it's important to keep an eye on your belongings in public, as petty theft can occur. Do report any such activity to the police. Keep away from the touts.

Locals are by and large friendly and mild mannered, though incidents of mugging have been reported on the outskirts of Pune, especially on highways and desolate stretches. If you face a vehicle breakdown after dark, its best to stay in the vehicle and phone for help.

Although Pune is generally safe for women, it's advisable not to venture out alone into dark and isolated places. Hiring cabs at night without one or more companions is not recommended. Climbing the surrounding hills alone is tempting but unwise-and this goes for both sexes! Having said that, women can confidently walk the streets or visit the shops/pubs/restaurants in the popular residential or commercial areas after sunset.

Driving in Pune is not for the weak-hearted. Like other Indian metros, Pune has seen an virtual explosion in traffic in recent years, and the infrastructure is struggling to keep pace. Lack of discipline especially during overtaking and driving on the wrong side is rampant in the city and on highways. Its common to see rude and impatient drivers at intersections honking away at pedestrians. Enforcement of traffic rules leaves a lot to be desired, unlike Mumbai or other major cities. Road conditions deteriorate especially in heavy traffic areas during monsoon. According to recent reports (2008), 1,617 persons suffered injuries and 477 fatalities in road accidents occurred in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. If you are driving, its a good idea to drive defensively. Be courteous to fellow motorists and maintain lane discipline. Though the helmet rule is not strictly enforced, its always a good idea to wear a helmet while riding a two wheeler.

Cope

Tourist Offices

Emergency assistance

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