Formerly a home and capital to the late Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who established the Maratha Dynasty in 937 A.D, Pune, since then, has been a progressive town with a growing trade centre. Pune always had an important political and military stronghold on the Maratha King and later the British rule. Maharastra’s second largest and fastest growing city, Pune has a rich historical background. The city is dotted with many forts, temples, caves and hill stations. With majority of its population being Hindu, this metro has many cultural events, temples and an important centre of learning. Over the years, Pune has attracted many religious travelers, immigrant and students. Some of the famous places near Pune are Janjira Fort, Bhaja Caves, Jejuri Temple, Shivneri Fort, Lonavala, Khandala etc. Although the locals speak Hindi and Marathi, English is also widely spoken by most Indians. The people are warm and welcoming and the best time to visit this city is during winters from October to February. Read the article to know about the various tourist attractions around this city.
Tourist Attractions Near Pune
The caves offer a breath taking sight of the sculptural skill that existed during that time. Located 60 km away from Pune, Maharashtra Bhaja caves is a must see place near Pune. There are around 18 caves but the most impressive one is the one, which has sculptures of Lord Buddha illustrating important scenes from his life. As you enter this cave, you will come across a prayer hall, unique stupas and elephants that embellish the interiors of the caves. Look out for its intricate chiseled work that is imprinted all over this outstanding monument.
Janjira fort is located in the village of Murud that falls under the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The fort was built with the intention to keep away sea pirates or enemies from capturing or looting the place. As you explore this place you will be greeted with a beautiful sight of a tiger trapped with elephants on all sides of the entryway. Watch for the sweet water lakes and the tomb within the premises of the fort, which is believed to have existed right from the time the fort was constructed. The town of Murud also has many other attractions like Padmadurg Fort, Shrine of Dattatreya, Janjira Caves, Palace of the Nawab and more.
Situated in the southeast part of Maharashtra, this temple is 47 km away from Pune. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Khandoba, a local deity in Maharashtra. The temple is located on a hilltop that is quite a trek but it’s worth it as the place gives you a great view of the entire town including Saswad and Dive Ghat. The town of Jejuri also holds historical importance and is believed to be used as a secret meeting place by the Marathas to plan military strategies against the Mughal’s The temple also shelters various weapons like swords, damaru and paral. Jejuri is a nice little town to soak oneself in the local traditions and games.
Malshej is a mountain range that is 130 km away from Pune. The place is well-known for its cold climate, misty winds, chilly waterfalls and scenic green pastures. The best time to visit this place is during monsoon season in the months of August and September. The hills are a popular choice among tourist and backpackers looking forward to trekking and other adventures. The mountain pass is home to many birds such as quails, flamingoes, cuckoos, crakes and many more species. Malshej Ghat is a wonderful weekend escape from the busy city life.
Located just 40 km away from Malshej Ghat, the fort is the birthplace of one of India’s most powerful kings - Shivaji. Shivaji’s father built the fort as a safe refuge for his pregnant wife during war. The place was chosen due to its excellent invulnerable location. The castle is a majestic fort with seven large entranceways. While you are strolling around the fort, ensure to get a glimpse of the water ponds, natural spring water bodies, the temple and statues of Shivaji as a young boy along with his mother. Shivaji spent most of his childhood days and got most of his early training as a future monarch in this palace. A visit to Shivneri fort will take you back to the 15th century.
Perched on the picturesque Western Ghats, Karla caves is a complex of Buddhist rock-cut grottos (known as chaityas), believed to be created during the 5th and 10th century. The place is situated close to a small town known as Karli, which is an important trading hub in the region. The major highlight of this cave is the prayer hall, decorated with huge pillars, unique sculptures, carvings of wealthy men and women folk and striking teak wood. While you are in Pune, do plan a trip to the Karla Caves to appreciate this sculptural masterpiece.