The cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune is the perfect example of a contemporary city in India where tradition, culture and modern-day living can be witnessed together in harmony. With the many cultural, historical and adventurous places to visit, a trip to Pune is going to keep you very busy. Between itineraries and flight tickets, remember to book one of the hotels in Pune since it is frequented by travellers throughout the year.
Things to do in Pune:
1. Enjoy a Light and Sound Show at Shaniwar Wada Palace
One of the most popular historical centres in Pune, the Shaniwar Wada Palace was built in 1732 and remained the erstwhile seat of the Peshwas until 1818. The monument is a fine example of Maratha architecture and art. It’s said that the palace was constructed using teakwood brought from the jungles of Junnar and stone from Chinchwad.
Albeit in ruins, the palace has a lot to explore including its majestic gates, audience halls, pillars and bastions adorned with intricate carvings, well-manicured gardens, and the fountain shaped like a lotus. Spend an evening here to enjoy the mesmerizing light and sound show, which takes you back to the era gone by.
- Ticket Booking Timings: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
- Show Timings:
Marathi – 7:15 pm to 8:10 pm
English – 8:15 pm to 9:10 pm
- Ticket Price: INR 25 per person
2. Explore the History of Aga Khan Palace
A majestic structure in white, the Aga Khan Palace was constructed in the year 1892 by Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga Khan. It served as the living quarters of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi, and Mahadev Desai, who was his close associate, post Quit India Movement. Since Kasturba Gandhi spent her last few days here, her memorial is built within the grounds in a quiet garden and is said to preserve both hers and Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes.
The palace is maintained by the Gandhi Memorial Society and observes all events related to the leader’s life. There is a museum hall within the complex that preserves pictures, letters, books, and other memorabilia from Gandhi’s life and is a treasure to explore.
- Timings: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
- Entry Fee: INR 5 (Indians); INR 100 (Foreigners); INR 2 (Kids)
For a glance into the history of the city, you can read our blog on top historical places in Pune.
3. Seek Blessings at Dagdusheth Halwai Temple
One of the most prominent shrines in Pune, the Dagdusheth Halwai Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The inception of the temple is shrouded in mystery but the most popular legend is that it was established by Shri Dagdusheth Halwai and his wife Lakshmibai after the loss of their only son because of the plague epidemic.
The widely-celebrated Ganpati festival also saw its inception here when Lokmanya Tilak wanted to develop a feeling of unity and patriotism during the freedom struggle. Visited by thousands every day, the temple is highly revered and a definite visit when you are in Pune.
- Timings: 6:00 am to 10:30 pm
4. Pay Tribute to War Heroes at the National War Museum
Built in the year 1998, the National War Museum is considered to be the only museum that has been established with the support of only public funds. Situated in the quiet and peaceful area of Pune Cantonment, the museum is away from the chaos of the city.
The most important display in the museum is the MIG 23 BN, which was used in the Kargil War. Another highlight is the replica of the warship – INS Trishul, used during the Portuguese-Indian war. The stone galleries display the details of various battles as well as commemorate the lives of heroic soldiers who fought for the country over the years.
- Timings: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm; 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Closed on Tuesday
5. Find Some Solace at Osho Ashram
Pune is famous for many attractions but the Osho Ashram boldly stands out and its popularity is spread far and wide. The sprawling ashram is a haven for foreigners and Indians alike and offers an experience which must not be missed.
Whether you come here out of curiosity or to seek answers to your worldly queries, the ashram welcomes everyone without any discrimination. You can explore the beautiful gardens, spa and swimming pool on its premises, spend some quiet time in meditation halls or undertake courses on Osho Nadabrahma, Osho Kundalini. The registration process here is a bit extensive so carry two passport-size photographs and valid ID proof.
- Timings: 6:00 am to 10:30 pm
- Entry Fee:
INR 870 (Indians); INR 1790 (Foreigners)
Discounts applicable on entry for more than 2 days
6. Admire the Mastani Mahal at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
Art has a different meaning for different people, and the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a fine example of this. Established by Baba Dinkar Kelkar in 1962, this museum houses rare artefacts dating back to the 14th century including coins, sculptures, paintings, terracotta objects, and arms and ammunition.
However, the highlight of the museum is the Mastani Mahal, which is a recreation of the palace using original furnishings. In its formative years, the museum had over 21,000 antiques but only a fraction of this beautiful collection is on display today.
- Timings: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
- Entry Fee:
INR 50 (Indian adults); INR 5 (Indian kids)
INR 200 (Foreign adults); INR 50 (Foreign kids)
7. Indulge in Shopping at Tulsi Baug
Is a holiday ever complete without a shopping excursion? We think not! And what is better than enjoying an afternoon at Pune’s busiest shopping street – Tulsi Baug. A favourite among locals, the market is lined with shops on both sides selling brass items, copper goods, jewellery, shoes, chappals and a variety of knick-knacks.
A tip for you… the market is quite reasonable, so don’t forget to bargain to your heart’s will!
8. Treat your Taste Buds at German Bakery
The German Bakery in Pune, unfortunately, rose to popularity due to the infamous bomb blasts of 2010. However, the undying spirit of the city has revived this iconic eating joint. Go here for its beautiful, warm ambience and the local crowd buzzing across the place. Their fish and chips, keema pao and cold coffee are absolutely amazing and a must-try. Head here late afternoon or early evening to experience the laidback and chilled-out vibe that Pune is known for.
- Location: Koregaon Park
- Meal for Two: INR 1000
- Must-Try: Fish and chips, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Classic Italian Tiramisu
9. Go for Paragliding at Kamshet
If adventure is on your mind, head to Kamshet located around 50 km away from Pune. The little hamlet offers paragliding options, varying from beginner to expert difficulty levels. The trainers here are very experienced, which makes it perhaps the best place for beginners. If you’d like to learn paragliding, you can also enrol in a short course here.
If paragliding is not your thing, you can also try rock climbing and water sports like rafting here under expert supervision. Keep aside an entire day if you want to completely enjoy your trip to Kamshet.
- Distance from Pune: 49 km (approx.)
- Paragliding Cost: Starts at INR 1000
10. Take a Trekking Trip to Lohagad Fort
Located around 60 km from Pune, Lohagad Fort is a popular trekking destination for locals and tourists. Offering breathtaking views of the surroundings, the fort is just the right mix of nature, architecture, and history. Lohagad Fort is also a preferred spot for beginners to try their hand at trekking since the route is far easier than most trekking routes.
The fort itself was built in the 18th century and one can still see the remains of what was once a beautiful citadel. The route to the area is stunning and you’ll find many locals heading here on their bikes. Monsoon is definitely a preferred time to visit since the whole area is enveloped in lush greenery.
- Distance from Pune: 65 km (approx.)
If you think this is it, then you’re mistaken! There’s a lot more to do in Pune no matter whether you’re travelling alone, with your partner or with family or friends. Check out our list of top fun things to do in Pune if sightseeing is not something that interests you!