1. Aga Khan Palace
The Aga Khan Palace is a testament to the architectural wonders of a bygone era. Considered as one of the largest landmarks in Indian history, The Aga Khan Palace is a spectacular building that was built in 1892. Its other claim to fame is that is served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi and other noted freedom fighters during the Indian Freedom movement. Aga Khan Palace comprises of Italian arches, sprawling green lawns and huge hallways that now house many photos and portraits that depict the life of various freedom fighters and also hosts the Gandhi national Memorial society and a shop that deals with the sales of Khadi and other handloom textiles.
2. Shaniwar Wada
Shaniwar Wada served as the seat of power for Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire. This magnificent architectural marvel was an extravagant fortification effort made by Peshwa Baji Rao I following the victory in the Third Anglo Maratha War. The fort was destroyed in 1823 by a fire, since then it has functioned as a tourist attraction comprising of grand armoured gates, massive palaces and a beautiful fountain.
3. Sinhagad Fort
Located around 30 kilometres away from Pune, the Sinhagad fort serves as an excellent destination for trekking due to its significant location on the Bhuleshwar Range of the Sahyadri Mountains. Not only can you enjoy the cool climes of Pune but you can also experience how the fort could have once acted as an active military outpost during the Maratha Empire. Sinhagad fort is a popular tourist destination for those who wish to experience the grandiose architecture of Maratha and the scenic beauty of the Sahyadris.
4. Chaturshringi Temple
Chaturshringi temple is a Hindu temple located on the Slope of a hill on the Senapati Bapat road. The temple is a great 90 feet high and 125 feet wide structure that houses the shrine of the Goddess Chaturshringi. One has to climb 100 steps to reach the shrine of the goddess which is said to be a symbol of faith and power. The temple complex also includes shrine of the Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga as well. This includes miniature idols of Ashtavinayaka which are all located on 4 different hillocks. Goddess Chaturshringi is said to be the reigning goddess of Pune because of which this is a major tourist hub in the city.
5. Pataleshwar Caves
Pataleshwar has been declared as a protected monument by the government. This 8th century rock-cut temple built during the Rashtrakuta dynasty is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There’s a Linga situated within the inner sanctum flanked by two smaller cells on either side. In front of the cave is the Nandi Mandapa which is the most peculiar feature of the architecture at Pataleshwar. The temple is still in use and the Linga is anointed with ghee and yogurt. If you want to see ancient Indian architecture which is still prevalent in today’s day and age, then Pataleshwar is where you should go.
Lavasa, a private planned hill city located near Pune in Maharashtra, is known as India’s newest hill station since independence and is a perfect blend of beauty and infrastructure. It is a great picnic spot near Pune.
A hill station close to Pune and Mumbai especially appealing to hikers and trekkers, Lonavala is probably one of the most popular places to visit near Pune within 100 kms. It is famous for its historic caves, striking forts and pretty lakes.
Situated in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats close to Pune and Mumbai, Lonavala is the most visited hill station in Maharashtra and the place to be during monsoons. With lots of waterfalls, lakes and hills around, it is a popular destination for camping, trekking and other adventure sports. Surrounded by dense forests, waterfalls, and dam alongside lakes, it is a must-visit if you admire nature. Located at an elevation of 624 m above sea level, Lonavala is one of the twin hill stations – Lonavala and Khandala (these two can be easily visited together). The popular tourist attractions in Lonavala are Bhaja caves, Bushi dam, Karla caves, Rajmachi fort, Ryewood lake, among others. Lonavala is also popular for the treks like the Andharban trek that starts from a village called Pimpri and ends in Bhira. Lonavala is famous for its production of the hard candy chikki which is a sweet eatable thing made from different nuts mixed with jaggery. It is also a major stop on the railway line which connects Mumbai and Pune.
8. Karla Caves
Karla Caves are ancient Buddhist rock-cut caves and a famous tourist attraction located near Lonavala. Also known as Karli Caves, Karle Caves or Karla Cells, it is one of the oldest Buddhist cave shrines in India. These caves houses one of the largest Chaityas (prayer hall with a stupa) in India. Karla Caves is mainly known for the Ekvira Temple located inside.
Also known as Veluraka in the olden times, Karla Caves house a humongous 15 – meter pillar along with a temple dedicated to Goddess Ekveera. It also houses a Buddhist monastery which is believed to have been built there around 2nd century BC. One can spot a major ancient trade route near the caves running towards east from the Arabian Sea into the Deccan. One has to climb almost 150 stairs to reach the cave.
9. Bhaja Caves
The Bhaja caves are a group of 22 rock-cut Buddhist caves, located near Pune. Visited mostly along with the Karla Caves, these caves are believed to have existed since 2nd century BC. Travel back in time on this trip to ancient Indian rock-cut caves with the best rock-cut architecture of all times. The ancient caves are protected as Monument of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The Bhaja Caves houses a group of 14 majestic stupas which are the heirloom of the resident monks who died at Bhaja. Five of these stupas can be seen outside the ancient cave while nine are outside displaying an inscription with the name of three monks – Ampinika, Dhammagiri and Sanghdina. These stupas have been sculpted very intricately showing the name of the monks along with their titles.