Dec 13, 2013

Pune - Things to do in and around Pune





In Pune 

Living and Working in pune is good because this city offers multiple options to spend weekends and never get bored. Its hub of IT industries in India. But city has so much to offer -

Must Do in City -
M.G. Road ( Take coffee at MARZ-O-RIN, shop for souvenirs, buy cookies at Kayani Bakery(EAST Street beside M.G. Road), ice cream at Kwality(beside  Kyani Bakey), and Buffet at Dorabjee(also you can shop here). All these are very old shops.
Laxmi Road, longest and very old commercial street.
Koregaon Park - House of Osho Rajneesh Ashram.
Parvati Hill(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvati_Hill) is the most beautiful attraction of the city. Its a hilllock in center of the city, you climb up and watch whole city from the top. Also there are 5 temples on the top of the hill. I would suggest reach parvati hill by 5:30 or 6:00 PM, climb up, visit temples and watch whole city from the top, be careful it closes by 7:00 or 7:30 pm.
Go to IskonTemple on Sri Krishna Janamashtami( Hindu Festival) in the month of August.
Watch Dahi Handi also in August last, I watched at F.C.Road. I uploaded a videoalso of Dahi Handi at F.C. road.
Most memoable moment would be watching the Ganpati pandals in the first week of September., esp. Dagdu Seth Halwai Pandal near Laxmi Road.
Watch Laxmi Puja and crackers, lighting on Laxmi Road in October/November
From July to November on most weekends there would be horse race in Race Course( near MG Road). Price should be around 50 INR for few races like 7 races.

M.G.Road, and Koregaon Park are major attractions of the city for outsider.  
There are some famous places/attractions like Aga Khan Palace, Parvati and Bund Garden but might be disappointing. 

Must visit restaurants in city

If you are looking for nice food at reasonable price in pune, do visit following restaurants in city & they are classic with charm -
1. Darios in Koregaon Park - A must visit, since located beside Osho Ashram, very peaceful location, nice snacks, tea, coffee.
2. Marz-O-Rin in MG Road- snacks,nice location,  not good service, reasonable rates.
3. Kayani Bakery in MG Road - Amazing biscuits.
4. Blue Nile near MG Road - Nice Non veg food, perfect location, ambience not so good, but very quick service.
5. Sukanta near JM Road- Thali, quick service, locaion not so good, may have to wait in queue on weekends. Ambience crowded on weekends and at peak hours.
6. Dorabjee near MG Road - Nice food, unique flavor of non veg food, good place for shopping food items, nice location, ambience good, service good.
7. Malaka Spice in Koregaon park for South asian dishes.
8. Cafe Good Luck on F.C. Road 
9Durvankur in Tilak Road - Maharastrian thali
10. German Bakery in Koregaon Park
11. Sujata Mastani in Sadashiv Peth
12. Shabree in Hotel Parichay, FC Road
13. Chitale Bandhu in Sadashiv Peth
14. Blue Nile in Camp
15. Fish Curry Rice in Narayan Peth

Above were restaurants that are quite famous and legendary. Many 5 star hotels feature variety of restaurants. Other than that I believe Zomato is the right source for more restaurants guide.


Nice hotels to stay in Pune - There are many, I would recommend - 
1. Marriott Convention Center, S B Road, gives nice view of the city.
2. O hotel, Koregaon Park, nice location in Pune
Several 5 star category hotels such as Westin, Hyatt, etc. 
and Osho Guest house.


Around Pune - 

Lavasa City(within 50 kms)
Khadakwasla - Panshet (within 50 kms)
Panchagni-Mahabaleshwar(Panchagani - Mahabaleshwar)
Matheran
Konkan(Mulshi lake - Tamhini ghat - Konkan - beaches )
Kaas Plateau
Lonavala
Visit above all during rains. 

One can also visit -
Prati Shirdi(Shirgaon) - A replica of Shirdi
Balaji temple - A replica of Tirupati Balaji. 
Shirdi
Adlabs Imagica Theme Park


Prati Shirdi - 




Lavasa - 

Lavasa is very close to Pune. If its raining it is very amazing drive. Nearly 30 kms of amazing drive to a beautiful place, a small town on the bank of lake surrounded by hills. Must visit if you are in pune and want a break. I drive to lavasa spend time there and come back. I never stayed there. One can spend night there and return next day. But I never preffered staying there, and hotels are costly and there is nothing much to do. May be in future they grow more and add more activities, at present there are not much activities apart from points, sight seeing, driving, and eating joints.
Eating
Ekaant is very famous and it is the first hotel/restaurant you would come accross in Lavasa, it is bit costly,one can take a view and drive down to lavasa city. There are plenty of options in lavasa to choose from alongside lake.
Drive
From Pune we drive to Paud road and take a left turn at some point to Lavasa, after you take left turn drive is best in pune. Drive for around 20 kms, you would cross a dam, and after another 5-10 kms you would enter lavasa city. I would suggest leave home early, you would get roads clear and also not much people at sights. Remember if you dont take left for Lavasa, you would be driving to Mulshi Lake and further to Tamhini Ghat and drive further 100 km and reach konkan sea beaches and dense forests.
Sight Seeing
If you home early you can stop at many places and wont find much crowd. First place to stop is DAM, which is Varasgaon Dam. Second after passing the DAM, you would find lake parallel to road, one can stop there. Thirdly after entering the Lavasa city stop after 100-200 meters. One more beautiful point to stop is either parking of Ekaant or outside Ekaant restaurant. and lastly is the lake in lavasa.

Lavasa -


Shirdi

WeekEnd Trip to Shirdi - Sai Temple and Shani Signapur

This would be one of the religious trip, a trip to temple of saint. And it brings complete satifaction and I felt my stay in Pune is complete after visiting Shirdi.
Shirdi is 180 kms from  Pune, one can travel by car or by bus.
We were four and we preferred train. An AC Sleeper coach, where you can sleep, we were four so we really enjoyed our journey, travelling, talking and enjoying the train ride. There are many trains from Pune to Shirdi. Remember there is a station, Sai Nagar Shirdi, SNSI which is about 2 km from Shirdi Temple. I went there in Sep., 2011, and Auto Rickshaw charged 10 INR to drom from Railway Station to Hotel, Pre book some hotel, but do research and find some one very close to Temple.
Day 1( Saturday ) -
 4:30 AM(around) catch train. Slept for few hours, woke up at 9:00, enjoyed ride till 11:00 AM, when we reached Shirdi.
Check in Hotel, Walked to Temple
1:00 PM - Reached temple, Roamed inside Temple, visited different temples like Shani Temple, Shankar temple.
               Performed "Mukh Darshan"(Near Gate No. 3). Booked for Narayan Pooja(100 INR for Sunday at 9:00 AM).
3:00 PM - Lunch at Prasadalai
4:00 PM - Went to hotel for some rest.
5:00 PM - Left for Shani Signapur( 70 km from Shirdi)
7 - 9:00 PM - Darshan of Shani Signapur, and village( famous for no doors at any door in village).
11:00 PM - Returned to hotel.

Day 2(Sunday)
8:00 AM - Reached Shirdi Sai Temple. Took VIP Pass for Darshan(Charges 100 INR, show ID Card), to skip the 3/4th of heavy queue and
               perform darshan of the famous deity.
9:00 AM - Attended Satya Narayan Pooja
11:00 AM - Joined Queue for Darshan( from three fourth).
2:00 PM - Khandoda Mandir, opp. to Sai Temple
If you are free and got some more time, please also visit Dwarka Mai Temple, near Gate No 4 of Sai Temple
3:00 PM - Prasadalai for lunch.
4:00 PM - left hotel for Station to catch the return Train to Pune.

Mulshi Lake - Tamhini Ghat - Karde Beach, Konkan

WeekEnd Drive to Konkan - Karde beach
There are many beaches in konkan, but based on some studies, blogs, forums, I found Karde is best and virgin beach in Konkan.

Mulshi Lake - Tamhini Ghat - Karde Beach (Dapoli, Konkan)
Total Distance - 270 km.
Dapoli is in Ratnagiri District. If you check the photograph, last photo in Slide Show. There are three ways to reach Dapoli.
Shortest one is 200 km.
There is one route through Mahabaleshwar also, which is a nice one.
One always plan going through one route and coming back through another. I went via Tamhini Ghat.
But If you have never been to Mahabaleshwar, you can plan going through Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar.
I planned come back to that route, but my driver its dangerous to return via mahabaleshwar.
If you plan to travel via Tamhini Ghat, your first stop should be - "Quick Bytes", Green Gate Resort. near Mulshi Dam.
take breakfast at Quick Bytes. And then walk to the back of "Green Gate Resort", to watch the Mulshi Lake. 

Another option is Basho, I don't exactly remember the name but it was similar which gives very nice view of lake - 

Then drive to Tamhini Ghat. There would be more than 50 waterfalls in Tamhini Ghat, worth watching. After Tamhini Ghat, you can drive to all beautiful sceneries that come along on the way to Mangaon, then Mahad, then Khed, and lastly Dapoli sequentially. After Reaching Dapoli, you would have to travel around 10 - 12 kms to reach the Karde beach, which is close to Murud Beach. There would be some hotels. I went there in August, 2011. Then there was no booking required. But also monsoons are off season. If one travels in November or December, you would need booking. I stayed in Sagar Sawaii, and paid 1200 INR per night. It was OK, but rest were too bad. Pick hotel carefully, food is concern there. One needs to places order 2-3 hrs in advance. Beaches there are not clean, only thing is Karde is not crowded, but rest are crowded, and bad. Soend Evening and morning at Karde Beach. Next morning, drive to Durga Temple, which is close to Murud beach, and on the way to Dapoli. Around 1.5 kms from Karde Beach. Its just another temple, Nothing special about its small wooden architecture and small Portugese bell. One can then travel to Anjarle, or if you want to come back go to Asud Bagh, which is on the way to Dapoli, and around 5 km from Karde Beach. Asud Bagh is amazing, you need to walk all along the bagh cross, river and climb up the mountain t watch a gomukh. Ig you want some adventure, do it. There is also a Ganpati temple in Asud Bagh. Other than that there is nothing much attractive. There are some forts which are either unattractive or you cant watch in MOnsoon season.
There is also Dolphin Watch on Karde Beach, but closed in Monsoon.
Best time to visit - November, December, January.

Mulshi lake - 

Konkan - 

Karde Beach - 


Choke Dhani

Choke Dhani located on Nagar Road is amazing place to spend your evening on weekend. It opens around 5:pm. There is a welcome "Tika", and as soon as you enter, you can find the ambiance of a Village, with lot of fun activities, and sights for photography. There are some games, shows, Camel, Bull, and Horse Ride, and Local food. Must visit for first timers. Place very close to Pune City. Good there is a free dinner which ethnic Rajasthani food. And best is they would give you souvenir when you leave. Enjoy the Rajasthani Village in Pune City. 


Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar
One Day Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar Trip

My Planned day trip plan was like -
---------------------------------


7 am - leave home9 am - panchgani ( Rajpuri Caves, TableLand, Parsi Point, Sydney Point)
           Trust me you can skip all(If you have seen lot of mountains), and wont regret.
12 am - Mapro( Snacks)


2 pm - Venna Lake
4 pm -  Mahabaleshwar Temple
5 pm - Arthur Seat Point
6 pm - Kate Point
7 pm - Mahabaleshwar Market
8 pm - Return to Pune


Panchgani - The Rajpuri Caves in Panchgani is a religiously important tourist spot. Lord Karthikeya temple is located at Rajpuri Caves in Panchgani.
Tableland has been credited with the privilege of being Asia’s second longest mountain Plateau.
Parsi Point is a renowned picnic spot lies on the Mahabaleshwar road in Panchgani.
Sydney Point would be the first point in Panchgai.
One might be disappointed at Tableland and Parsi Point. I went in rainy season, and Table land was full of horse dung. Sydney point is the first point while on the way to mahabaleshwar. One can skip, because there are many more points also. Rajpuri Caves are off the route.


Mapro is good place to buy mapro products and for snacks, there is a small garden also.
One can stay here for some time. I would suggest, rather than halting at any unknown restaurant/hotel on the way, stop here, eat really big, and tasty sandwich. Check small chocolate factory from outside, and small garden.

Venna Lake
Boating. Visit lake Venna for a ride on paddle/ or rowing boat.
You may ride boat on your own or, alternatively, you can hire one.
It is a beautiful and scenic lake.Horse Riding. You can hire horses for some riding at Venna Lake as well as in Table land( Panchgani).
If you go in rainy season, the lake might be closed.

Mahabaleshwar Temple is a nice religious tourist place, and there are total three temples close to each other.

There are around 25 points in Mahabaleshwar, one must watch Arthur Seat Point and Kate Point.
Actually close to Arthur's Seat there are 5 other points also.
Similarly close to Kate's Point, there are other points.

The most popular drink, available at most restaurants, is strawberry milk shake.  Spent some time in the evening in the market of mahabaleshwar, its good, and you would enjoy evening, and if you really like it much, stay a night there, and visit mahabaleshwar points next day, it would be better. You can definitely plan for two days. But since hotels were costly, and I didn't had time so I cam back by night. Also, in monsoon season, theres not much to do.

If you planing to spent night in mahabaleshwar, then you should also look at the tent stay in panchgani. Its really good, and there are several options(means several BnB's offering tent's), choose one.




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