Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2

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Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2

After a soothing day ending with ecstasy (not the tablet), start your day late on day two. Sleep like you have never slept before; Pune would be like a bride after the first night, it shall wait for you!

Eat at home or do not eat at all, I have little useful information to share on the breakfast places in Pune (as of now). But leave home around noon and take an auto-rickshaw to Aga Khan Palace. This palace is the foremost of the heritage buildings in Pune, also playing an important role in India's Independence movement.

Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Aga Khan Palace
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Aga Khan Palace

The Palace was built in the year 1892 by Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, and was a Shia Ismaili Muslim. It was built primarily to be the source of employment for the locals suffering from the extreme famine in the region. The palace is located in Kalyani Nagar in the present day Pune.

Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Garden from the gallery
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
The wooden door to the exhibition area
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Rich tiling

The palace came into prominence when Mahatma Gandhi was put under house arrest after he declared open the 'Quit India Movement' from Mumbai's August Kranti Baug in August 1942. His wife Kasturba Gandhi and his aide Mahadev Desai, both died while under house-arrest and have their samadhis here. The path to the Samadhi that Gandhi daily followed is now clearly marked by exposed brick-way. Its a nice walk from the palace to the idyllic Samadhi and the surrounding flora. The walls are old and moss covered, and the silence is highly introspective.

Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Aga Khan Palace
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
On the way to the Samadhi
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Ah! flowers...
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
The Samadhi
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
On the way to the Samadhi

Make sure you look more like a Gandhian when you visit the Palace though, we were asked for Rs. 200 as entry fee because we didn't quite look Indian enough to the official at the ticket window. It was only after I showed my driving license (which was observed for good two minutes) that we were given the Rs. 5 ticket that we rightfully deserved! Of course, the whole exercise made us laugh hard for long, and we both secretly felt good from within!

The Gandhian exhibits are plenty but surprisingly kept in rather accessible and open spaces, am not sure if these were real or just replicas. I especially remember the huge bathroom with an inviting tub, the palace certainly had its share of luxuries.

Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Inside the exhibition room
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Inside the exhibition room
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Gandhi's dining table, not sure if he actually used it
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Inside the exhibition room

Take rest under the Banyan tree outside the palace, and if lucky you might even find a few artists honing their skills. It was very interesting to hear them discussing and critiquing each others' work.

Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
The majestic pillars
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
The main entrance
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
The main entrance
Pune weekend: Things to do - Part 2
Front garden

Then move on to the next destination - The Hidden Place. Go there to enjoy the lunch buffet (with lots of wine) and of course the Happy Hours. Located near the now defunct 'German Bakery', its an afternoon retreat. But do not look for solitude or calm conversations. The place is popular with the college kids and there is plenty of noise (but alas no smoke)!

Once you are full to the core (though the food could have been better), take a small walk and do some shopping. You can purchase very firangi like clothes - skirts, pyjamas, shirts and so on. Osho Ashram is close by and so these clothes are high in demand! Spend all the remaining money here and then take an auto-rickshaw again and go back home. You are likely to be in a very good and relaxed mood, so ensure that you take full advantage of that.

The evening can be spent doing any of the following things:

  • Movie on a couch (could be with popcorn, day's newspaper or your partner)
  • Cooking dinner in a borrowed kitchen
  • Feeding the fast dying-out crows on their way back to their nests
  • Sky-gazing to look for alien spaceships
  • Sleeping in a locomotive


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S
Siddhartha Joshi
Last Updated : Jan 15,2021
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