This travelogue might seem different from other blogs because it does not extol the glory and scenic beauty of a hill-station or exuberance of a diminishing but rich and extravagant culture. This is about a city which changed my life with its distinctive charm, its spirited people, its Manhattan lit roads, its scrumptious and tangy food, its weather, its glamour, its wind…and its ability to be jazzy and tranquilizing at the same time. The Oxford of the East, My Pune!
Coming here for higher studies was my magnum opus because it made me realize how beautiful this city was. My love started with a mere infatuation for Marathi cuisine. Misal Pav, Puran Poli (a desert bread), Pithla Bhakri, Bhel Puri and Pav bhaji will make your every taste bud experience bliss. If you run short of beverages, Mastani, as it name suggests will make you forget every stress and invigorate you from within. It’s a thick milkshake containing dried fruit and is the specialty of the city. Pune also boasts a wide variety of restaurants, serving cuisines from all over the world.
In terms of places to explore, Pune gives you a drift of our history, freedom struggle, spirituality and scenic splendors together. The Shaniwar Wada still stands since 1730 with its mammoth walls even after facing the blazing holocaust in 1827. It stands testimony to the Maratha culture and its architectural design shows influences of Mughal style and features of Maratha artistic styles too. You feel as regal as a Peshwa King when you enter the 21 feet long massive door of their grand old palace.
For the people who call Pune culturally bland, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is a must visit. The spectacular museum offers unique exhibits like the foot scrubber in the form an elephant-shape, images of Lord Ganesha, and a brass scorpion having a secret lock system. It also exhibits 20th century pottery, paintings of 17th century and carved doors of temples and palaces. It is a museum which is worth a visit.
When you want to get out of the hubbub and want some serenity, places like Parwati Hill will uplift you. It is a picturesque spot perched atop Pune city. Apart from glorifying our vivid mythology and enshrining the idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu, Lord Karthikeya; it shows you an entirely new side of the city. Once you visit it, you will have to fight back yourself to leave it. Yes, it’s that engrossing!
But you know what attracts me most about Pune? The mollifying evening strolls on the airport road, gardens of Osho Ashram, eating pani puri at MG Road, singing song on karaoke Tuesdays in High Spirits, climbing up the municipality water tank to see the beautiful bokeh of city lights, travelling in autos and peeping out to feel the cool breeze and soft shower on my face, struggling to stand in front to see Enrique go live and then roar when he sings!
This is what Pune is about…Ecstasy!