Pune is a historically rich city most famously related to the Maratha Empire. Indeed, it is evident from the multiple forts and palaces dating to that era and earlier, still present today. This city is now one of the biggest in Maharastra and a hub for education and various global offices. There are glitzy malls, restaurants and large housing societies with thriving populations, yet history is not forgotten as they still draw thousands of tourists every year. History scholars or even layman with a general interest in history has plenty to do with many historically important sites located in Pune. Read on to find out the best way to experience them through the marvellous palaces, temples, and forts.
Kings often built grand forts to fortify their territories for protection and to showcase their wealth and power. Pune has many forts still braving the ravages of time and they are:
1. Shaniwarwada Fort
Shaniwarwada Fort is located in Shaniwar Peth and was built by Bajirao I in 1736. It functioned as the headquarters of the mighty Peshwas and symbolized the glorious culture of Pune. Though it was 13 storeys high, an unexplained fire burnt it down and the remaining parts are still open to the public. Those interested in the history of the Peshwas who were powerful for a considerable length of time, or have a general interest in architecture can visit this fort and still witness the grandeur of the past.
2. Singhagad Fort
A very popular fort in Pune, it was earlier known as Kondhana. It is known for being the centre of many battles but more prominently the Battle of Singhagad. This fort enjoys a beautiful location on a hill and trekking to the place can be a wonderful experience in itself. The fort was built in a way that the natural landscape was made to protect the residents of the fort. The exact information of who built the fort is a mystery but it is dated to around 2000 years ago and passed through many hands and many fought for its capture.
3. Shivneri Fort
Shivneri Fort is located near the Jannar district of Pune which is the birthplace of Shivaji, who is the emperor and founder of the Maratha Empire. The fort is said to have been around since the 1st century AD and could have been a Buddhist site due to its caves, rock-cut architecture and water system. This further indicates that it may be inhabited since the time it was built. This is a hill fort and it takes around an hour to reach it from the base.
Further evidence of the grandeur of the empires that ruled the city can be seen from the magnificent palaces they built and lived in. A tour of these palaces is a must and the most stunning ones steeped in history are:
4. Lal Mahal
Lal Mahal is said to have witnessed historically important events. The Palace witnessed the growing up years of Shivaji Maharaj, it was built with the intention of rejuvenating the recently razed Pune, and witnessed Shivaji’s first marriage to Saibai. The current one, located in the heart of Pune is a reconstruction of the older one yet a popular tourist centre and symbolic of Pune’s most important historical years.
5. Aga Khan Palace
The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III as an act of charity due to the famine that had drastically impacted the poor in the neighbourhood. It is beautiful and historically significant. The Palace has been at the centre of the freedom movement as Mahatma Gandhi was kept on house arrest in this very place alongside his wife and other aids. This magnificent palace houses a museum as well showcasing photos and portraits of Gandhi and other freedom fighters.
Pune is also home to some very old temples with a long and colourful history, myths and legends. Some of them are:
6. Chatushrungi Devi Mata Temple
The temple is said to have been built during the reign of Shivaji, king of the Maratha empire. According to legends, it is said to have been built by a rich merchant who was an ardent devotee of the Goddess. The temple is still operating and open on all days of the week from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Goddess Chattrushrungi is the presiding deity of the temple as well as the city of Pune.
7. Parvati Hill Temple
The Parvati Hill Temple is at the most scenic location, atop Parvati Hill and was built during the rule of the Peshwas. A total of 108 steps lead to the Temple and the location, the second highest, offers a panoramic view of the entire city. It takes around half an hour to conquer all the steps to reach the temple and it is open on all days from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.
8. Pataleshwar Cave Temple
The Pataleshwar Cave Temple is an 8th-century rock-cut Hindu temple traced to the era of the Rashtrakutas. It was initially dedicated to Lord Shiva and according to legends, was built by the Pandavas in a few hours when they were in exile and in need of shelter. This temple is open to the public from 8:00 am in the morning to 3:00 pm in the evening.
We hope we have taken you through the bylanes of history that Pune holds via its most famous historical places. Indeed, they span several hundred years of history, right down to the Freedom Movement as shown by the Aga Khan Palace. This is the heritage that this city holds. A heritage you can witness and enjoy. So don’t hesitate to book your stay in any of our Treebo Hotels in Pune, as the city welcomes you with open arms and we are more than happy to host you.
Ramkumar is an SEO Analyst by profession at Treebo Hotels and a Travel enthusiast. I have to spend most of my time travelling and exploring new places to log And also write articles about travel, SEO, tech, marketing, and motivation.