Story Title: Pune's Climate

By Nitasha Chakraborty
Word Count: 541

Monsoon in Pune

Pune's climate over the last few centuries has been described as mild – not too hot and not too cold. However, over the last few decades, Pune has begun warming up.

Pune stands on the leeward side of the Western Ghats (mountains) at an altitude (height) of about 2,000 feet. The temperatures are moderate. Though not as unpredictable as the British weather, the city of Pune does have its share of uncertainties in different seasons.

Pune experiences four seasons: Summer, Monsoon, Winter, Spring

Summer in Pune begins in early March and lasts right up-to June. The summer starts early. The good part is that the summer ends early, too. Though not as hot as Northern parts of India, the daytimes are very sunny with dry heat. Early mornings are pleasant and evenings after 6 pm, cool and breezy. April is the hottest month of the year in Pune. It's bright and sunny especially during the afternoon. The maximum temperatures go right up to 40 degrees Celsius.

Being on the leeward side (the side sheltered from the wind) of the Western Ghats, Pune receives a lot of rain during the monsoon. The rains usually start by the 10th of June and continue right through to the 20th of September. Then there is usually a gap of two weeks, before the receding monsoon brings some showers in early October, before the monsoon finally says goodbye!

During the monsoon, do not get fooled by clear skies in the morning, because by the afternoon, it could very well be raining. Temperatures range from 18 degrees to 30 degrees. Overall, the coolest time of the year is the monsoon. Everything goes green and the weather is just right for picnics, trekking etc.

While you might not be blamed if you think that summer returns to Pune after the monsoons, October brings a hot spell to Pune that is not quite summer. In Pune, we call it the October heat. Bright, sunny weather and dry heat can be expected from late September to the end of October. The average temperature goes up to 35°C.

From November to January, Pune has its winter season. Conditions are cool and foggy. During the day it's a bit warm. Light woollens are fine during the day but during the early mornings, evenings and night the temperature decreases rapidly and thus some people might need more warm clothes. During this time the temperature can go all the way down to about 5 degrees on one or two days.

Though not spring in the pure sense of the term, late Jan to March are very pleasant months in Pune. The sun is bright and warm and temperatures move in the moderate zone. Overall, the climate and temperature does not go to extremes and humidity is negligible here. Any time of the year, Pune is perfect for morning and evening walks

Today, due to global warming and increase in pollution, Pune's climate has been affected considerably. The cutting down of trees, release of harmful gases into the air has led to high climate change. The temperature has increased in the summers, there is less rainfall in the monsoon, winter is warmer. Change in the climate affects farming as well.


Story Title: Pune's Rivers

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 518

The River Mula

Even though none of Pune's rivers feature among the most important rivers of the country or state, yet they are important for the city’s landscape, environment and water system.

The Mula river is one of the most important rivers in Pune, it merges with Mutha river at Sangamwadi in the city to form Mula-Mutha river. The Mula river is formed from seven streams which originate in the Sahyadri mountains. Before the Mula meets the Mutha, the Pawana river joins it in Pune. The Mulshi Dam is built on the Mula river and forms the Mulshi lake.

The Mutha also has its origins in the Sahyadri mountains. There are two dams that are built on this river namely, the Panshet dam and the Khadakwasla Dam, which is a major source of water for the city of Pune.

The Bhima originates near the famous Bhimashankar temple situated in Ambegaon in the Sahyadri mountains. This river flows for 861 kms. and after leaving Maharashtra, it passes through the states of Karnataka and Telengana. Eventually the river merges into the larger Krishna river. Twenty-Two dams have been built on this river, the first being the Chas Kaman Dam in Khed. Many rivers flow join the Bhima including the Sina, Nira, Mula-Mutha, Chandani, Kamini, Moshi, Bori, Man, Bhogwati, Indrayani, Kumandala, Ghod, Bhama and Pavna.

The Mula-Mutha is formed by the confluence (meeting) of the Mula and the Mutha in the city of Pune. It eventually flows into the Bhima river.

The Pawana also originates in the Western Ghats of the Sahyadri range. It flows for 58 kms., before merging into the Mula river. This river passes through Dehu, Pimpri, Chinchwad and Dapodi suburbs.

The Ghod too emerges from the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri mountain range. Its point of origin is nine miles north of the source of the Bhima. This river too ends up merging with the Bhima. The Ghod Dam is built upon this river. The River Mina is a tributary of Ghod.

This river source is in the village of Kuruvande near Lonavala in the Sahyadri mountains. The Indrayani assumes religious importance to Hindus because it flows through Dehu, which is associated with Sant Tukaram; and Alandi, which is associated with the Sant Dnyaneshwar. The Valvan dam is built upon the Indrayani. A train, the Indrayani Express, which comes to Pune is named after this river.

The Kukdi river source is at Pur near Naneghat. This river is a tributary of the Ghod. Several important temples lie on the banks of this river. The Yedgaon dam is situated on this river.

The Nira originates in Bhor. This river forms the southern boundary of Pune district. This river has the Devdhar and the Veer dams situated on it.

Unfortunately, a recent newspaper report stated that Pune's rivers are the most polluted in the state of Maharashtra and among the most polluted in India. Let's hope that the authorities do something to clean them up. Perhaps each one of us can do a little something, too. Remember, never throw anything into the river!


Story Title: Lakes/Dams in Pune

By Husein Chunanwala
Word Count: 525

Pashan Lake

Because of the heavy rains that Pune receives, there are a number of rivers. This in turn creates lakes, both natural and man-made. When we dam a river, this also creates a lake.

Every summer, the dams around Pune are in the news for their water levels. Good levels in the dams indicate that there won’t be any water cuts. The dams also create lakes which make for good picnic spots. Pune’s main dams and lakes are:

Khadakwasla Dam The Khadakwasla dam is situated near Khadakwasla village, 20km from the city of Pune, and was constructed in 1869. This dam is one of the main water sources for Pune, and the total capacity of water of this dam is 374 Million Cubic Meters. On 12th July, 1961, the Khadakwasla Dam collapsed under the waters when the Panshet dam burst, causing shocking floods in Pune. Later, the dam was rebuilt. The dam forms the Khadakwasla lake, earlier called Lake Fife. NDA is located on the banks of the lake and the lake is a popular spot for locals to visit during the monsoon.

Mulshi Dam Mulshi Dam is located in Pune District, and it was constructed in 1927 by damming the river Mula. The water of the Mulshi Dam is used for irrigation and generating electricity and now-a-days the Mulshi lake is becoming a popular destination, due to a large number of resorts that have opened there.

Katraj Lake Katraj Lake is one of the prime lakes of Pune, and it is located in Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park (the zoo) in Katraj village. The lake is spread over 42 acres, and is surrounded by hills and trees.

Nanasaheb Peshwa built a dam at Katraj, way outside city then, in 1749-1750. Since the area is higher than the city, water kept flowing from higher to lower point, and this source of water never dried up. Katraj lake has boating facilities, though these have recently been stopped because crocodiles have been seen in the lake’s waters.

Pashan Lake Pashan Lake is an artificial lake near the town of Pashan, about 12 km. from the city of Pune. The Pashan Lake was built in 1990 by damming a small river called the Ram Nadi, for the requirement of water to the neighborhood. Pashan Lake serves as a source of water to the old Pashan village. Pashan Lake was once a source of drinking water, but recent activity has degraded the water and made it unfit for drinking. The lake is a popular spot for bird watchers.

Panshet- Tanaji Sagar The word Panshet evokes the horrid memories of 12 July 1961, where Panshet dam burst, causing massive floods and enormous damage to Pune. The dam was rebuilt in 1975, and Tanaji Sagar, the lake formed by the dam is a lovely location today.

The village Panshet is home to two dams, Panshet and Varasgaon, both important sources of water for Pune city. Vast blue expanse of lake is surrounded by dense forests and one gets to see variety of trees. An additional attraction at Panshet lake is the facility of water sports like wind surfing, kayaking, swimming and boat rides.


Story Title: Forests cover in Pune

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 578

Pune's Forest

The city of Pune is blessed with lots of greenery. Even though Pune has emerged as a big city, we have managed to protect our forests to some extent. As a result it is easy to find areas in the city with a lot of trees. There are some areas which are under forest cover and are protected.

The city of Pune comes under the Pune Circle of the Forest Department. The area under forest cover in Pune division is about 864 sq. km., which is about 7 percent of the total area. Pune's forests play a crucial role in providing a place for wild animals to live. The forests also play an important role in attracting rain and in harvesting rain water as well as to be the 'lungs' of the city.

The types of Forest found in different areas of Pune district are of four basic types:

  • Tropical stunted semi-evergreen forest: These forests are green throughout most of the year and the trees are short and quite spread out.
  • Scrubby woodlands: are brown forests with a lot of low 'brush'
  • Tropical moist deciduous forests: These are forests that shed their leaves at a particular time of the year
  • Tropical dry deciduous forests

The city of Pune has many hills and mountains nearby with a lot of natural beauty and boasting of pristine greenery. Lonavala, Junnar and Varandha Ghat are examples of this. The district of Pune can be divided into three parts on the basis of geographical features: Western Hilly Area, Eastern Plateau and Maval Region.

The western side of Pune has a lot of hills that are covered with forests. As you move towards Lonavala and Khandala you will see dense forests ob both sides of the road, especially in the Khandala area. As you move towards Junnar, there are many forests, where you will find leopards and other wildlife. Towards the east of Pune, the Pirangut and Mulshi roads will take you through interesting forests. Of course, NDA area is covered with dense forests in some places.

Within the city you will find forest areas in the University zone and in some spots across the city. One of these spots is the Taljai forest area. This area consists of the Taljai hills which are open to visitors but vehicles are not allowed. There is a temple near the entrance to this area from which the hill derives its name. This place is popular as it has great walking trails. Peacocks, rabbits and many varieties of butterflies are found aplenty in this area. It is very popular among bird watchers as well.

Then there is the Baner-Pashan Park, which comprises the hills of Baner and Pashan. The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park is another area of forest cover that is located along the Pune-Satara highway in Katraj. While it is mainly known as a zoo, this park also serves the purpose of protecting the forest around the park.

There is protected forest land on Vetal hill. Dry deciduous forests are found in this area. In a controversial decision taken some years ago, the state government decided to open a large forest area on Vetal hill to allow construction. This led to protests from local residents.

The continuous expansion of the urban sprawl of Pune has meant that the forested area has decreased in the city. We need these open areas where the air is clean and so we must preserve our forests.


Story Title: Pune's 'Shopping' Roads

By Husein Chunawala
Word Count: 385

M. G. Road

Every city is defined by its roads. Newer cities usually have wider, more comfortable roads than older cities. Delhi, for example, has really wide roads. Pune's roads, unfortunately, are not so wide.

More than the problem of the width of the road is the problem of the condition of Pune's roads. And so our roads are not exactly the pride of the city, although it may be said that we could well compete for the city roads with the most pot-holes in the world!

Here are two of the busiest 'shopping' roads of Pune:

M.G. Road
More fondly referred to by the residents of the area as Main Street, Mahatma Gandhi Road is the heart of Pune Camp, or the old British establishment of Pune. This road is today one of the retail hubs of the city. Like most of the major roads in Pune, M.G.Road is a one way road. There was a time when M.G. Road used to be converted into a walking plaza on the weekends. But the shop owners objected, saying that this reduced the number of customers to their shops. M.G. Road is now a one-way street.

Laxmi Road

A famous landmark on MG Road is the Hotel Aurora Towers. Other landmarks include Sterling Centre and Bata Chowk. The street is full of boutiques, bakeries, toy shops & restaurants as well as offices and a hotel or two. Finding a place to park on M.G. Road during the day is a difficult task. Most establishments on M.G. Road remain closed on Sundays.

Laxmi Road
One of the longest commercial streets in Pune, Laxmi Road snakes through the older parts of the city. The street is famous for its variety of ready-mades and saree shops, as well as for textiles. The road is the venue for Laxmi puja during the festival of Diwali. Laxmi Road is alight during the Ganpati festival when Ganesh idol immersion processions pass through this road every year on their way to the Mula-Mutha river. Most shops on Laxmi Road will be closed on Mondays.

Even as the malls invade our city, M.G. Road and Laxmi Road have not just survived, but even prospered. Virtually every day, new shops open. Expect to see crowded streets if you visit; and yes, these roads have their own charm!