Story Title: Places to Visit

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 541


The Sahyadri mountain range which surrounds Pune has many wonderful hill stations and spots of natural beauty. There are also lakes. This means that Punekars, have plenty of options in terms of nearby places to visit. For example:

Lonavala & Khandala: Lonavala is a beautiful hill station in Pune district, about an hour from the city. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maharashtra. You must visit Rajmachi point, which has a great view of the Rajmachi fort. Valvan dam is a popular picnic spot, as is Lonavala Lake. Duke's Nose is a cliff that was thought to resemble the big nose of the Duke of Wellington and is a popular hiking destination. Other famous spots include Lohagad fort, Bhushi Dam, Tungarli lake, Karla caves, and more. There are many schools located in this area. INS Shivaji, an Indian Navy training institute is located in Lonavala. Lonavala is famous for a type of sweet called 'chikki'.

Junnar is located in Pune district, and is famous for its cave temples, which are very ancient and carved into the mountains. There are more than 200 rock cut caves which date to the period between the 1st and the 3rd century AD. Lavasa is a planned city coming up in Pune district nestled in the Sahyadri Mountains. It has become a popular tourist destination and is famous for its events like water sports.

Sinhagad is the site of a famous fort called the Sinhagad fort, a popular trekking site. The fort has a very long history and is believed by some to be 2000 years old. The fort is located atop a cliff.

Panchgani is a famous hill station located just outside Pune district. The most popular part of Panchgani is Tableleand, a flat area where you can go horse-riding. About twenty kilometres ahead is Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani is famous for the large number of boarding schools to be found there. Mahabaleshwar is famous for its lake and both ar famous for their strawberries. A series of 'points' or places with a view are a must visit.

Rajmachi is a beautiful destination nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range which is a short distance from Lonavala. Rajmachi itself is not a fort; it is a fortification which connects the two forts of Shrivardhan and Manoranjan. Rajmachi is actually a plateau which links the two forts.

Mulshi Dam has become another popular getaway spot for people in Pune. Located about two hours from Pune, the Mulshi lake is a must visit for travellers. Khadakwasla Dam, too, is a very popular spot for locals to visit, especially during the monsoon. The Khadakwasla Lake, formed by the dam, offers up beautiful picnic surroundings.

Kamshet is a major centre for paragliding. The tourist attractions here are the Bedsa caves, which date back to 60 BC. The Bhairi caves are also an attraction with its treacherous path making it an adventurous journey to get there. Durshet : Durshet is about 97 kms. from Pune, located in the Sahyadri Mountain range. It has the Sarasgad fort on one side and Amba river on the other.

These are just a few of the paces that you can visit. For places that are off the beaten track, look up the internet!


Story Title: Museums in Pune

Word Count: 567

Pune is home to several museums and this piece features the most well-known ones. Ranging from anthropological, (tracing the life and times of communities both past and present), personal collections, military, historical, sports (cricket), spiritual there is something for everybody. Ticket charges range from Rs. 10 for Indians to Rs. 250 for foreigners.

Tribal Cultural Museum:
Located on Queen's Garden Road, it houses wonderful tribal jewellery from all over India, especially remote and under-developed parts where their craft and skill shines through in the items on show. Also seen are Warli paintings from Maharashtra which are mainly monochromatic (one colour only). Artefacts and pictures of tribal colonies from the Sahyadharis and Gondhavana regions are evident.

Joshi Miniature Railway Museum:
Located on Karve Road, this museum was founded by Bhausaheb Joshi. The museum was opened to the public from 1 April 1998. Over time, the layout was enlarged with many additions of digital controls and multiple models.

The model trains exhibited run through a miniature city and are presented by means of a son et lumière (sound & light) show. The layout includes 65 signals, fences, lamp posts, flyovers, etc.

The museum sells miniature railway kits, and also supplies models to Switzerland, Australia and the Indian Railways. In 2007 it manufactured a scale model of the Jungfrau Railway (Europe's highest railway). Its cafeteria “Rails and Rolls" resembles a railway platform, while its kitchen looks like a pantry car.

National War Museum:
The national War Museum is located in Pune Cantonment and has been opened up for the public since 1998. It houses some major attractions as the MIG 23 Jet Fighter used during the Kargil War (1999). The museum showcases arms, uniforms and personal mementos which were given as a Scottish contribution to the British Army.

Cricket Museum:
Also called 'Blades of Glory' and situated in Sahakar Nagar, it was set up by Rohan Pate, a former Under-19 player for Maharashtra, has a remarkable collection of artefacts, which include a bat signed by Sir Donald Bradman displaying his career statistics as well as bats used by cricketers who scored over 10,000 runs. An interesting section devoted to Sachin Tendulkar displays 100 miniature bats representing the record international centuries by him with details of the score, venue, year and the opponents.

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum:
Located at Shukruwar Peth, the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is the one-man collection of Padmashree Late Dr. D.G. Kelkar (1896 -1990). 'Kaka', as Dr. Kelkar was affectionately known, dedicated his collection to the memory of his only son 'Raja' who died an untimely tragic death. The museum consists of a collection about 21,000 priceless artefacts which mirror the everyday life of India

At the entrance, elaborate carvings of Indian mythical gods Agni and Indra stand and you step into a world of wonders and awesome beauty. The museum has proposed a new site at Bavdhan.

Mahatma Phule Museum:
This museum was founded in 1875 and was then called the Poona Industrial Museum, subsequently it was named the Lord Reay Museum. In 1968 it was renamed as the Mahatma Phule Museum. The museum contains sections that contain pictures, charts, models and machines and science models.

The armory has weapons of the Mughal and Maratha period. There are charts that detail various forts in Pune district. The natural history section has a taxidermy collection (stuffed animals) of various species of animals, birds, insects, snakes and fishes.


Story Title: Parks and Gardens

By Alisha D'souza
Word Count: 511

Though visiting gardens is not a regular activity in Pune, the city has several gardens, which are reasonably well-maintained.


Sarasbaug is perhaps the most famous garden in Pune and children like it the most. At the foothills of temples at Parvati, Nanasaheb Peshwa created an artificial lake occupying about 25 acres. The lake was constructed for beautification of the area around Parvati. Nanasaheb named it Saras Baug, rather poetically, possibly after the 'Sarus' cranes (birds) seen at the lake. The park is located just next to the Swargate Bus Station. All sorts of entertainment is available outside the park. Street food like bhel and pav bhaji is readily available; and most evenings will see quite a large crowd of visitors. The park is named after a bird, called Saras which was placed in the park many years ago. There is a small train for children, called the Phool Rani.

The Empress Garden is named after Queen Victoria of England. When she was declared 'Empress of India', the name was given to the garden. However, since it was mostly visited by British soldiers from Pune cantonment, the name 'Soldiers Garden' stuck. The main products of the garden are mangoes, tamarind and cut flowers. The Empress Garden is famous for its collection of tropical trees and a small zoo. It is also a popular picnic spot and is located near the St. Patrick's Cathedral in Fatima Nagar.

The Bund Garden is just ten minutes drive from Pune Station towards Koregaon Park. As the name 'bund' suggests, it is a small dam built across the River Mula-Mutha. There is an arrangement for boating. A small garden next to it completes the picture. A jogging Track is just next to the Garden. This Garden is also known as the Mahatma Gandhi Udyan. Magicians, Horse Rides and other such entertainment is available.

Kamla Nehru Park is a place set in tranquility of lush green trees and all green surroundings, in between Prabhat Road and Bhandarkar Road. It is amongst the best-maintained gardens in Pune maintained by Pune Municipal Corporation. Today it is used more as a jogging park and is mostly frequented in the morning and evening time. It has a small park for kids to play in. Like all other major parks in Pune, you will find a host of street food vendors and entertainment providers just outside the park gates.

Sambhaji Park is situated on the Jangli Maharaj Road (J.M. Road), just one kilometer from the Deccan Gymkhana. The park is famous for its fish aquarium, a small fort for children and a magnificent fountain.

P. L. Deshpande Garden is located on Sinhghad Road, Pune. It is also known as the 'Pune Okayama Friendship Garden' or the 'Japanese Garden'. The Okayama Friendship Garden at Pune is named after one of the major gardens of Japan, known as 'The Korakuen Garden' in Okayama City. If you haven't yet visited this garden, you must, simply because it is quite different from the usual Pune parks. Don't forget to check out the Japanese fish in the pond.


Story Title: Transit Pune

By Alisha D'souza
Word Count: 553

The modes of transportation available in a city are of vital importance to that city. For example, we hardly use trains to move around in Pune, but what would the city of Mumbai be without their local trains? This story, Transit Pune talks about the transport & transit points of our city – the train stations, the bus stands and the airports.

Pune’s Airport

The Pune Airport:
Pune has an International Airport at Lohegaon, in the North Eastern part of the city. It is operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). It shares its runways with the neighbouring Indian Air Force (IAF) base. With domestic flights to all major Indian cities, this airport serves international flights to many other countries as well. Pune's ATC (Air Traffic Control) is operated by the IAF. Therefore there is often friction between the AAI and the IAF over flight schedules and night landings.

There is currently a basic working relationship between the two parties; they have agreed to allow night landings of civilian flights for the time being, though this is not a long-term solution.

The Pune airport was established in 1939 for the Royal Air Force, to provide air security to the city of Bombay (now Mumbai). In May 1947, the Indian Air Force took charge of the airfield. The Pune Airport was declared as a customs airport in January 1997 for the export of specified goods. With effect from 2005, Pune Airport was became an international airport. In 2011, the airport used to handle approximately 8,000 passengers a day.

In 2008, a modernisation plan was launched, but the airport is still quite small. Parking at the airport is quite expensive – it costs Rs. 350/= per day.

Rail Transport & Pune Station:
While there is no network of local trains within the heart of the city, local trains help working class people coming to Pune every day from as far away as Lonavala. Local trains connect Pune to the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad as well, while daily express trains connect Pune to virtually every part of the country. The city is currently planning the Pune Metro Rail which will be a combination of elevated and underground sections.
Currently Pune Junction is the main railway station, while the other main railway stations are Shivajinagar, Hadapsar & Khadki.

Road Transport:
Pune is connected by public buses and private buses and other private transport. Buses that operate within the city and its suburbs like Pimpri- Chinchwad, Dehu are run by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) runs buses to places outside Pune from its main bus stations in Shivajinagar, Pune station and Swargate to all major cities and towns in Maharashtra and neighbouring states. A major PMPML depot is also located at Kothrud.

Traditionally, people in Pune who never travelled by bus or their own vehicles would travel in rickshaws. Over the last few years, radio taxi services have mushroomed in Pune. The first big service to start was Wings cab services, and today there are many service providers including Ola Cabs, Uber cabs & T Cabs. (A radio taxi service is one where you can book a cab to pick you up from your doorstep. The company communicates with the cab by radio or cell-phone.) Cool Cabs is a taxi service that connects Pune to Mumbai. 'Cool' means that the cabs are air-conditioned.