Least prepared for the class ambiance of this place. Last place of visit and worth it. Lawns and pathways are well maintained. Reached 15 minutes before closing time.
The guide told us that Agha Khan III built this palace. The Agha Khan is the spiritual leader of the Bohra sect Muslim community. The Agha Khans take special care of their community members. I should know as i had studied for a couple of years in a school founded by the Agha Khans – The Diamond Jubilee High School, Hyderabad.
A century back, there was drought and farmers and their families were starving in and around the area in Pune. This philanthropist commissioned the building of this palace to employ and pay these people to sustain themselves. A dignified way of helping the poor and starving. What a great thought. This is a 3-storied palace and is a simple and beautiful structure.
Later, Mahatma Gandhi’s clarion call for Quit India saw him and Kasturba, his wife, Sarojini – the Nightingale of India and a few others were jailed in this palace as the Gandhis lived a strict Hindu’s Satwic life and could not be put in common jails.
On the 1st level, there are a row of rooms which housed these freedom fighters. A peep through the glass walls reveal the rooms where the Gandhis spent their lives in which a bed on the floor used by them, a chair, etc. are on display and another adjacent room which served as their wash room with a porcelain bath tub, a wash basin and a waist-high wall partition.
This is the final resting place of Kasturba Gandhi. A pure white marble structure contains her ashes. Such structures are traditional and found in many a Hindu homes’ backyard where the holy Tulsi (holy basil) is grown. It was dusk and loud whistles from security guards indicated our time at the palace was up!
The BlueStar, a branded water cooler unit is installed near the gate. The chilled water was so good and refreshing to drink. What a nice thought of providing all visitors with free cool water to quench thirst through the day! I liked this concept. God bless the Agha Khans.
Below: The 3-storied Agha Khan Palace in Pune.
Below: Here lies the remains of Kasturba Gandhi, her final resting place. RIP.
Granite stones pathway in Agha Khan’s Palace.