One of the hubs of colonial India and now a thriving tech and commercial center, Pune offers a galaxy of sights and experiences. From ashrams to elegant palaces, superb food, and offbeat museums to tranquil gardens and a huge student population, Pune has it all.
Visitors can tour the 18th-century Peshawar Shaniwar Wada fort, delve even deeper in time at nearby Sinhagad, or tour the city's colonial-era highlights, including the university buildings and the Aga Khan Palace.
Pune's museums range wildly, from the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum showcasing everyday Indian life, to the fun Joshi's Museum of Miniature Railways.
Pune is a major Hindu center, and visitors can see sights like the temples on Parvati Hill and Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Temple with its massive Ganesha statue.
The hills around Pune are a fantastic region to explore. See colonial-era "hill stations" like Malshej Ghat or hike in Pune's own nature areas, like the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Celebrations never seem to cease in Pune. Visit during events like the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav festival or the Chaturshringi Fair and revel with the locals in style.
One of the great things about Pune is its mild climate. You can visit almost any time of year, except perhaps for May and June, when the heat can be intense, or the height of the monsoon in August.
The nearest international airport is Mumbai, which is around three hours by taxi from Pune (₹1,400-1,700).
Pune has a vast array of rail connections with major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad.
From Mumbai, take the Mumbai Highway straight to Pune. From New Delhi, take AH47 to Mumbai, then switch to the Mumbai Highway.
There are daily bus services from Mumbai, all of which stop at the railway station, very close to the center of town.
High-quality accommodation options include the JW Marriott Hotel Pune, the Pride Hotel, and the Conrad Pune, which is known for its restaurant and spa facilities.
Deccan Gymkhana - the liveliest central neighborhood in Pune, Deccan Gymkhana has some great places to eat like Cafe Goodluck, and lies at the meeting point of the city's major transport arteries.
The Peths - the most ancient part of the city, the Peths are a network of tight alleyways that are lined by craft stalls and street food vendors. It's a great place to wander around.
Koregaon Park - Pune's most exclusive neighborhood, and the place to head for jewelry boutiques like Sangeeta Boochra or restaurants like Malaka Spice.
PMPML runs an extensive, but often frustrating, bus network around Pune. It's cheap, though, at just ₹14-22 per journey.
Auto-rickshaws are the most popular taxi option in Pune. Prices will be around ₹17 for the first mile, then ₹11 for every subsequent mile. Taxis are also available for around ₹15 per mile.
You can rent a car from branches of Rent A Car Pune, Sixt, and Allied for around ₹450 per day.
The best places to snap up bargain souvenirs are bustling markets like Juna Bazaar, Tulsi Baug, or Phule Market. However, for more upmarket products, check out Fashion Street or Laxmi Road, where hand-made accessories are a specialty.
Local supermarkets include Reliance Fresh and More. For comparison, expect a gallon of milk to cost around ₹46.
Top restaurants in Pune include Malaka Spice, which serves up delectable curries and Asian fusion dishes, as well as Mayur, which is renowned for its thalis. Expect meals to be cheap, at around ₹300-400 per head.