Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 1

A Weekend in Pune sounds much less romantic than A Weekend in Paris, but trust me words can be deceiving. Here is a sure-shot way of making just the two days you spend in Pune totally worth it! As for romance, strictly follow the steps mentioned below, and you will be rewarded with a night of absolutely ecstasy and delight!

Its strongly recommended that you spend your mornings in any of the following ways:

  • Prepare parathas and raita for your companion on the trip
  • Watch NDTV and get updated on all possible news in India and possibly even abroad
  • Feed the neighbour's dog with all the left-overs from last night
  • Make love while the soft morning sunlight filters through the window and falls on you
  • Catch the matinee show of Robot, or even better Endhiran (in original Tamil)
  • Go online and chat with all possible random people and get frustrated for the entire coming week
  • Fight on irrelevant topics and detox yourself from the previous week's frustrations

As you do finish doing either or all of the above, you are ready to start your trip outside the house. It is recommended that you skip wearing black for the Saturday. In case the paratha and raita wasn't a part of your morning ritual, I recommend visiting the Iranian joint Nayan Chowpatty. The food is absolutely amazing here, they can even make egg-plant taste great! And the smell of chicken can easily turn a vegetarian into a non-vegetarian. Try out the xyz there. For the few who do not want to experiment with Iranian food, there is typical Indian food as well on the menu.

Iranian Pattogh on Baner Road

Nayan Chowpatty/ Iranian Pattogh is located on the Baner Road and was started by a few Iranian Friends a few years back purely out of their passion for food. Some of the ingredients used in the food are not found in India, and are especially imported from Iran. The food is great, but I wish the ambiance was also Iranian. We insisted and got them to play some Iranian music, which was a welcome relief from the usual Akshay Kumar songs.

Some vegetarian food!
Menu card could do with some graphic design

From Baner take an auto-rikshaw and go directly to the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. The Museum is small, but a charming one and located a small by-lane called Bajirao Road in the heart of the city. I was extremely happy to see lots of Gujarati artifacts on display and dragged about it through the three levels of the museum. No photography is allowed, and you do not really miss using your camera as well.

The entrance to the Museum
Just outside the museum

From the museum you can walk down to the Shaniwar Wada, a walk of about 20 minutes. Do stop on the way for some road-side chai while you look at the hustle and bustle of the very alive town. Also do not miss the Chitale Bandhu Sweets shop. The smell inside is almost intoxicating, though not necessarily for everyone. Their Pedas are especially famous. Ask for directions liberally, though it would require mammoth amount of efforts to get lost here.

On the way to Shaniwar Wada
The fort like entrance to Shaniwar Wada

There are enough lonely corners to allow privacy for quick hanky-panky, do not indulge too much, there are guards on the prowl! Its a nice view around and inside from the walls, and one of the best places to take pictures is the top of the gate. Most likely you will be thrown out of the palace while you are just beginning to enjoy the sunset. Do not lose heart, there is lots more to see in the city still!

Bajirao outside Shaniwar Wada
The super strong gate!
The garden view inside
Plinth of the house that once stood here

Shaniwar Wada is a palace/ residence made by the Peshwas in the 18th Century. Fire has destroyed most of the buildings inside, but the outer wall, mate entrance gate and the plinth survives. You can climb up on the fort walls and walk around the entire space.

Top of the main entrance at Shaniwar Wada
Walking along the walls of Shaniwar Wada

Take another auto-rickshaw outside the Wada (this may take forever) and ask him to take you to Jehangir Hospital. Unless you are injured, I do not really recommend visiting the hospital, but there is another interesting shop right in front of the Hospital which is worth a visit - its called 'Either Or'. Check out their website here. In their own words - its not a store, but a story. Quite a lot of work by NID students on sale, most you can also purchase at NIDUS.

As night falls, either go off to a pub and party (pubs remain open till around mid-night here) or go home and pick some wine on the way. Getting tipsy is nice in Pune, as the evenings are extremely pleasant. There is always a cool breeze and you are enticed to drink more. But beware, there is another fun-filled day ahead. If possible, make love passionately and sleep by mid-night!



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