Where do I begin to write about this favorite city of mine? Do I talk about it being one of the oldest surviving heritage places with a rich tradition or do I talk about its proximity to just so many forts, beaches and other weekend getaways? Soaked in a rich culture of its own, known often as the sister city of Mumbai and my home abode for a lifetime, Pune will always grab that first place in my travel diary, second to none.
Pune, I had entered this city as a one year tiny tot cradled in the arms of my father when he got transferred here. Today as a twenty something independent woman there hardly comes a street I have not walked or driven down. Yet this city unfurls every day to surprise me more, its expanding across all its horizons to accommodate people even more, but still stands up to its repute of being counted as one of the two cities to settle. Its competitor is for you to guessJ.
How does it leave a staggering 300 urban cities behind in this quest for being a favorite settlement to several Indians from all states? Here’s how – Drive, Design and Connect.
Design – Pune can be identified as an amalgam of heritage from the Maratha period and drifting to modern architecture during the British rule. Forts, museums, palaces & sky scrapers you have it all. Within the heart of Pune in densely populated peths with meandering lanes are situated traditional residential forms of Maratha architecture called ‘wadas’. Go visit the most famous one Shaniwar Wada- the fortress built during the reign of Bajirao Peshwa and you know what I am talking about. Want to go for a quick morning trek and Sinhagad fort located atop a hill is your answer. Museums like the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum and palaces like the Aga Khan Palace bring alive the embedded historical past. Pune also has several educational institutes beautifully designed in British architecture. Fergusson College, Deccan College and several convent schools are far away from the concrete standalone building premises of today.
Drive – All these places of visit can be well reached by driving down in car, bike or any other public transport. It is not only reachable within its territory but also lauded for its proximity to many other prominent cities around like Mumbai, Goa, Banaglore, Hyderabad etc. Pune has a mix of flyovers, highways and roads. Now with its expanding horizons it is all set to welcome the metro line to connect all its commuters.
Connect – There is not a better city that connects well with its people. Punekars houses people of all kinds. Where you will find an extremely opinionated Punekar taking a dig everything sitting in of the many kattas, at the same time there is the carefree youngster who will be enjoying the city life hopping from one eatery to partying in another disc. Owing to being called the culture capital of Maharasthra, Pune connects with theatre, drama audience and recently artistes across the world. The international connect is located in the upscale Koregaon Park which houses in the Osho Park – a spiritual getaway.
I am irrevocably in love with this city. It is designed to welcome the modern settlers but at the same time is well connected to its roots and tradition. Come down to my city and experience its vibe.