Days out Destination #2 – Pune, India

Pune, (formerly spelled as Poona) is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra, India. Known as the cultural capital of the State it is often known as the “Oxford of the East” due to the presence of many well-known educational institutions in the city. The city is rich in its culture, history, its food and it is now a growing IT hub in the State.

I had visited Pune a couple of times in the past few years but that was for work. My first trip was once when my very close friend graduated from a fashion college there, I attended her graduation with my friends but in the graduation revelry we could not explore Pune to its full glory 😛 The next opportunity came in when I was visiting a city for a longer time, another close friend of mine was staying there at the time and she invited me to stay over so we could explore, enjoy and have some time off 😀  I was getting married soon and leaving the country so I didn’t know when will I get the another chance to spend time in Pune so I obliged. I packed on my Travel Essentials and we planned our weekend with one day reserved just for exploring the city!!

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She is a fellow foodie like me, our mode of transport was a handy scooter and off we went early in the morning for our first breakfast stop at Cafe Goodluck 

CAFE GOODLUCK

One of the oldest Irani Restaurants present in the city, Cafe Goodluck opened in 1935 on the Fergusson College Road in Pune (popularly known as FC Road) The cafe is most famous for its Bun-maska with Omelette and Iranian Chai.

Bun-maska is a traditional Irani – Cafe delicacy which is a freshly baked loaf of bread (the bun) covered with gracious amounts of butter. It is usually eaten dipped  in their milky sweet Iranian Tea/Chai. We ordered this along with their Cheese Omelette which is again a famous dish served at Cafe Goodluck.

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The Bun-Maska with masala cheese omelette

The Cafe is super crowded most of the times, they have a queue for seating, they do not really take reservations and they stop served omelette by 11:00 am…so if you want the best, get there early 😀

DADGUSHETH HALWAI  GANESH TEMPLE

Next up was our visit to the most famous Ganesh Temple in Pune, Dadgusheth Halwai Ganesh Mandir. Constructed in 1893, this temple is the place with Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak was struck with the idea of a public celebration of Ganesh festival, a 10-day celebration which now takes place all over the state. 

The temples construction is simple and elegant, you can even see the beautiful Ganesh Idol from the outside. There are no entry charges and devotees may give any offerings to the Lord as they please. The idol of Lord Ganesh is beautiful, adorned with almost 40 kilos of gold. 

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We could only manage clicking a picture from the far end of the sanctum

This is a prime spot for everyone who visits Pune, so this temple is always crowded. Visiting there early in the morning would be suggested as you will get to attend the morning prayers and experience the peace and calm of the temple. 

SHANIWAR WADA

A short 10 minute walk away from the Temple is Shaniwar Wada, a fortification constructed in 1732 by the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire. The Maratha Empire was an Indian power which ruled in a major portion of the Indian Subcontinent in the 18th Century. Shaniwar Wada was the seat of Maratha politics.

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The Shaniwar Wada Gardens

Originally it was a 7 storied grand structure having a stone base and brick upper structure. The structure was attacked by British Artillery leaving just the stone structure standing. Today, Shaniwar Wada consists of the strong stone base and its grand doors. 

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Shaniwar Wada is rich in history, and its stories are displayed in different parts in the structure. The gardens in Shaniwar Wada are well maintained and this place is a perfect spot to explore in peace, immerse yourself in history and spend your afternoon.  We explored Shaniwar Wada till late noon before heading to Tulsi-baug for some street shopping 😀 

TULSI BAUG

Tulsi Baug is a centrally located shopping area in Pune. Famous for its street shopping and collection of traditional Maharashtrian utensils, Tulsi Baug is home to a temple constructed in the Maratha era by the Peshwas. The famous temple located here is an abode to Lord Ram, Godess Sita and Lord Ganesh. The statues date back to 1765-1781 when the temple was being constructed. When we visited the temple it was under a three year restoration project and we could visit only a part of it. After visiting the temple, you can also visit the stalls nearby and shop for some artifacts and traditional utensils. 

Places to Eat

Pune is brimming with restaurants and cuisines which you can try. From the traditional Maharashtrian Food to international cuisines, you ask for it and Pune will give it to you 😀 . Here’s a list of my favourite restaurants in Pune –

1. Cafe Goodluck – this lovely Irani cafe is a must visit while in Pune. Do try their omelettes and kheema!

Cafe Goodluck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2. The Flour Works – Serving European and American Cuisine, I am a fan of their Pasta with spicy fresh tomato sauce! They even have a large variety of yummy desserts 🙂

The Flour Works Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3. Wadeshwar – Another breakfast favourite of mine, they have incredibly fresh food and amazing serving sizes!
Wadeshwar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

4. Chitale Bandhu Mithai-wale – this sweet shop is extremely famous in Pune and I would suggest you take away as much as stuff as you can..trust me its difficult to find this taste away from Pune 😉 I love their Bakarwadis – spicy Indian savory snack and  their Gulab Jamun – sweet dish made with evaporated milk.
Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

How to Travel Around Pune – 

While some of the tourist spots are within walking distance of each other, Uber available throughout the city and you can also rely on the local auto-rickshaws 😀 

If you are travelling to India anytime soon or are visiting Pune soon do try out this Day out Destination plan and let me know how it went!! 

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