Wanted to see important places in and around Pune. I was on my own for this tour.
In about a week expect monsson to set in therefore, made a reservation online for an available date (28th May, 2016) through GeoDirect. Tried RedBus but the site was down. Dedicated Air-conditioned bus with push back seat was comfortable. The fare is pretty reasonable at Rs.500/- per person and promise of being taken around 18 places of importance turned out to be restricted to 11 places as the time of actually seeing 1st place on the list was only by 10am with 6pm as deadline for close down of the tour. Was in fact wondering how could we see 18 places of interest from 10am to 6pm with 1 hr lunch break!
Pick up points were indicated as Pune Bus Stand near Pune Railway Station at 8am and the Deccan Gymkhana Bus Stand at 8.45am. Chose the latter as it was convenient from where i live now. The bus got filled up and we started our adventure by 9.45am after those mandatory ticket checking and announcements. Time given was 5 mins to 30 mins for sight seeing, depending on the place. Breakfast was allowed for 15 mins and lunch break was for 1 hour.
Let me list out the places we were taken to:
- Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s ‘Kesari’ building/Publishing House
- Shaniwar Wada – The Peshwas who ruled as proxy for Chatrapathi Shivaji
- Kelkar Museum – housing antique musical instruments, kitchen vessels, clothes, etc.
- Chatuh Shringi Mata’s temple for a Goddess on a hillock (later breakfast time)
- Ambedkar Museum
- A Japanese Garden – The Okayama Garden
- Siddhi Vinayak Temple for Lord Ganesha
- Rajiv Gandhi Zoo and Snake Park (later lunch break at 3pm)
- Tendulkar’s Cricket Museum
- Shinde’s Memorial cum Shiva Temple built by the Royal Scions of the Scindias.
- Agha Khan’s Palace – Kasturba’s Final Resting Place. (this one closes by 5.45pm)
I did not wish to see Hillock Goddess’s temple as it had 100 steps to climb (15 mins). Skipped Zoo as it was too hot and had already seen many zoos in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mysore (30 mins). Also gave a miss to the Cricket Museum as bats, balls, pads, cut outs of cricket players with permission for taking photographs with those cut outs, etc din’t interest me much (15 mins) and Shinde’s as it was another tomb for the Commander-in-Chief of the Maratha rulers and a small temple for lord Shiva as an appendage (5 mins).
Was very keen to see the famed centuries old Paathal Shiva temple carved out of a mountain which was not to be. Would have loved if they had taken us to a farmer’s market to see the region’s produce such a strawberries, pinapples, grapes, jack fruit, mangoes, lemongrass, honey and other mountain produce.
Half of us were under the impression that we would be dropped back at Deccan from where we were picked up only to be told it’s only for pick up and not for drop off! They off loaded us at the Pune Railway Station Bus Stand which was not a neat and tidy place to stand for more than 5 minutes! Maybe this is a ploy to force commuters to quickly get into autos or taxis to escape the unbearable stench of urine and garbage with many fruit laden carts blocking the entrance and exits of the bus stand! Autos and taxis were quoting high fares though all were fitted with nice working meters! Maybe its a show piece like any other auto accessory. Shared an auto ride with 2 other people travelling in the same direction as me but the fares for both parties remained high.
I shall share with you my experience of the places I got down to see. One by one in descending order. I took some pictures to upload too.