Positioned on the western fringes of the Deccan plateau, at an altitude of 560m (1,837 ft), Pune is a popular city of Maharashtra. The quixotic beauty of the city, combined with its modern wraps, has earned it various monikers like the 'Cultural Capital of Maharashtra', the 'Oxford of the East', the 'Oxford of India' etc. A summer retreat of the British, Pune sees the footfalls of a large number of visitors every year - majority being vacationers. Most people visit the city to witness its many tourist attractions, sprinkled across the landcape. Read about the places to see, and the various sites of tourist interest, in Pune.
Popularly known as the 'Soldiers Garden', the Empress Garden is a botanical garden that stands near the Pune Race Course. A favorite getaway from the time of the British, the most fascinating attributes of the garden are its tropical trees, burdened with ripe fruits, and a small zoo. Sprawled across an area of 59 acres, the park is today, a favorite picnicking spot of tourists as well as locals.
Mahatma Phule Museum
This 117-year-old museum, located on the Ghole Road of Pune, is a valuable repository of different industrial products, agricultural articles and handicraft items. There is also a huge collection of body samples of many animals, including elephants and seal fishes. Different items related to arms and armory, forestry, geology, natural history, textiles, etc, are some of its major exhibits.
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
With more than 20,000 objects, most of them dating back to 18th and 19th century, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum boasts of being one of the finest museums in Maharashtra. Set up in 1962, by Baba Dinkar Kelkar, an art connoisseur, the museum was donated to the Maharashtra Government in 1975. At present, only 2500 items are put on display for public, which include antique musical instruments, Ganpati's guns and Mughalartifacts.
Aga Khan Palace
Built in 1892, by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Agakhan III, Aga Khan Palace is a monument reflecting India's National Movement. Dedicated to Gandhiji and his wife, its historical significance has led to its emergence as a center of pilgrimage. Moreover, the museum and picture gallery inside the palace exhibits various artifacts, related to Gandhi and his life.
Katraj Snake Park
Located in Katraj, on the Pune Satara Highway, this snake park houses around 160 species of snakes, the most popular being the 9 feet long King Cobra. Apart from snakes, the park is also home to many reptiles and birds. For the uninitiated, there is a library within its premises, which helps gather information on different varieties of snakes. Recently, a zoo has been incorporated to the park, making it an attractive tourist destination of Pune.
Tribal Museum, located on Queens Road of Pune, provides some outstanding documentation on the lives of the various tribes of Maharashtra. The lifestyle, culture, mores and tradition of the tribal people are brought to light with some excellent collection of pictures and tribal pieces. It especially provides some detailed insight into the lives of the communities belonging to Sahyadri and Gondhavana regions. A must-visit if you want to explore the rich tribal heritage of the state!