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Pune: First Glimpse at a Hidden Gem

The Queen of the Deccan, The Oxford of the East or the Cultural Capital of Maharashtra – Pune’s many titles reflect its many identities. The city is like a hidden gem that shows its charms only to those tourists and business travellers, who make an effort to discover it.

 

History and Historical Sights

Though archaeological evidences of settlements dating all the way back to the 8th century have been found in the region, Pune’s most glorious period was during the high point of the Maratha Empire from the 17th to early 19th centuries. From Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to Bajirao Peshwa I, each ruler contributed to the development of Pune. At the heart of the city’s old town, lies the Shaniwar Wada, the prime example of Pune’s historic past, which was the residence as well as seat of power of the Peshwas. Though most of the structures were destroyed in a fire in 1828, the remaining fort walls, bastions, ceremonial halls and fountains give a clear idea about the grandeur of the Shaniwar Wada. Visitors should take note of the sturdy doors of the Dilli Darwaza, with its sharp spikes that were meant to counter charging elephants.

 

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Another monument of great interest, both for its architectural value and its links to the Independence movement is the Aga Khan Palace. Built in a mixture of architectural styles that combine Indian and European motifs, the Palace served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and other prominent leaders during the period of the Quit India Movement in 1942. Today, the Palace is a peaceful sanctuary to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while also paying homage to the martyrs of the Independence movement.

 

Orientation and Getting Around

Pune is located by the banks of the Mula and Mutha rivers. In the centre of the town is the Pune Railway station, a few minutes from which is The Central Park Hotel. In the vicinity of shopping avenues, top restaurants, cultural centres and business districts, The Central Park Hotel is a great option for the best accommodation in Pune.

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Older parts of the city, including the peths and the Shaniwar Wada are closely located to the southwest of The Central Park Hotel; while areas such as Koregaon Park and the Osho Ashram are immediately to the northeast of the Hotel. Apart from a pick-up or drop to the Pune Airport – which is just a 15 minute drive away – we can also arrange for a comfortable vehicle to take in Pune’s sights or explore the shopping at the nearby MG Road.

 

Best Time to Visit

Pune is a year-round destination, though the winter months are more popular for tourists than the summer ones. Temperatures in the summer can go up to as high as 38 degrees Celsius – which makes it the perfect time to take a dip in our roof top pool. Be prepared for heavy rainfall during the monsoons while expecting the average low-temperature in the winter months to be around 12 degrees Celsius. The nip in the winter air is best experienced with a meal of grilled vegetables and tender meats at Smoke on the Water, The Central Park Hotel’s poolside party venue.

 

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Image Credit: Shaniwar Wada | Aga Khan Palace

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