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Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra and one of the most visited tourist destination. It portrays a rich blend of history and modern lifestyle. It is also the second largest city in Maharashtra with a high rate of economic growth. It is referred to as ‘Oxford of the East’ as it houses many reputed educational institutions. Another advantage of Pune is that it is close to Mumbai, the financial capital of India. Many people regularly shuttle between the two cities by hiring cabs from Mumbai to Pune. Pune is a lush green city with natural landscapes and lot of cultural and historical sites, which in turn attract thousands of tourists to this lovely city every year. Here is the list of top places to visit in Pune.
Western Ghats: It is an absolute paradise for the nature lovers and has been bestowed with the status of ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’. Lush green forests, Misty mountains, mesmerizing valleys, cascading waterfalls, wide range of flora and fauna and almost everything that nature could offer are here for your view. The best time to visit is during monsoons when the area is at the peak of its beauty. Adventure seekers can have a great time here as the place offers excellent opportunities for trekking, hiking and rock climbing.
Shivneri Fort: This majestic fort was the birthplace of the great Maratha Emperor, Shivaji. The fort is situated on a 300 meters’ tall hill and was a symbol of Maratha power. To reach inside the fort, you must cross seven huge gates and once you are inside, you will see a large lake called BadamiTalab and statues of Shivaji and his mother Jijabai beside it. It is believed that Shivaji received his early war training at this fort. You can visit other forts nearby the Shivneri hill like Jumnar, Bhairavgad, Chavand and Jeevdhan.
Rajgad Fort: This huge and spectacular fort served as Shivaji’s capital for over 25 years. It is situated at a height of 4600 feet and trekking to Rajgad Fort is surely an exciting activity for adventure enthusiasts. It offers panoramic views from the top and many trekkers camp here overnight so that they can enjoy morning sunrise and explore the fort at their leisure. It is a must visit for both adventure seekers and history buffs.
Aga Khan Palace: It is a place of historical significance as it was used as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi between 1942 and 1944. The palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in the year 1892 and after independence, Aga Khan IV donated this palace to the Indian govt. The palace has excellent architecture with lush green surroundings.
The Empress Garden: The beautiful garden is spread over an area of 39 acres and was built during the British rule. The garden is named after Queen Victoria when she was conferred the title ‘Empress of India’. The landscape of the garden is stunningly beautiful and many rare trees and flowers can be seen here. Annual flower shows are also organized here to attract tourists. Local people avail the jogging facility in the park.
Parvati Hill: It is a popular tourist place in the city and houses old temples that date back to the 17th century. The hill is at a height of 2100 feet above sea level and provides picturesque views from the top. There are four temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh and Kartikeya. You should also visit the Parvati Museum which has a wide collection of weapons, old manuscripts, coins and paintings.
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