The best part about Pune is the amount of sight seeing and getaway options that are located within 100 kms. Drive off 20 kms on either region and you approach the rugged mountain terrain known for its monsoon waterfalls, lush green valleys and of-course the winding roads of the regions numerous Ghats. This is just the beginning of my Pune Travel Guide, so stay tuned…
Baneshwar: is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located 36 kms from Pune at a small village called ‘Nasarapur’. Situated amidst a thick jungle, the temple is quite scenic and the yellow-gold and grey painted exteriors looks stunning.
Constructed by Peshwa Nanasheb (son of Peshwa Bajirao I) in the year 1749, the Bamsehwar Temple has recently been declared as a Wildlife Conserve & Bird Sanctuary.
At Baneshwar, spend some time walking along the bamboo groves that are part of a botanical garden with an old well and a small stream in its vicinity.There is even a beautiful waterfall during Monsoons that is known as ‘Baneshwar Fall’. But be careful as the path turns quite slippery. Once back in the temple complex, there are 2 tanks have tortoise and fish that are sure to delight the little ones!
Sangameshwar Temple, Mahuli- Saswad: is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to 12-13 Century. The Sangameshwar Temple is located at Saswad, a historical town located 33 Kms from Pune, at the foot hills of Fort Purandar.
The Sangameshwar Temple is different in its architecture and situated at the confluence of Karke & Chambli Rivers makes it quite appealing. The temple would fall on your way when you travel to Sri Balaji Mandir, Narayanpur (just 11 kms further up from here). Sangameshwar is one of the 3 ancient temples located at Mahuli.
Ambaji Purandare Wada: For those historically inclined may also visit the Ambaji Purandare Wada located in Saswad. The fort like residence was constructed in the year 1710 by Ambaji Purandare, a deewan of the Peshwas, Balaji Vishwanath and Bajirao I and is one of the oldest structures in Maharashtra.
It is quite an impressive structure with its huge walls and intricate carved brick works onthe outside. Even the inner ruins offer an insight on how amazing the architecture was and that can still be seen in the intricate wooden carvings and wall frescos that adorns this magnificent Wada. There is even a Ganesh Temple located nearby that is again a spectacular structure.
Narayanpur Balaji Temple: is a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and is located in the village of Narayanpur. It has been constructed by the Venky Food brand company – Venkateshwara Hatcheries ltd and is a mini replica of ‘Tirupati Balaji’. The temple is located at a distance of 45 kms from Baneshwar and approx 60 kms from Pune.
Mastani Lake: was a seasonal water zone and was frequented by Bajirao and Mastani when they went horse riding. So it was no wonder it also became their hide out place! The lake may not be huge but the surrounding hills make the place surreal and romantic. Its an ideal place for a picnic or outdoor activities.
The walls were later constructed on orders from Peshwa Bajirao who wanted gifted the lake to his lover and also his second wife Mastani. Although the construction got completed after he died in 1740 and as true love goes, Mastani too breathed her last in the same year. Mastani was the daughter of Maharaja Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand, a Hindu married to a Persian Muslim Ruhaani Bai.
Trek to Malhargad Fort: For those into trekking and adventure this is an interesting trek to a fort that is considered as the last fort constructed by the Marathas in the year 1757-6o and is also referred as ‘Tarun Killa’. Located near the Sonori Village, Malhargad is about 30 kms from Pune and the trek to the fort from Sonori takes 45 minutes and 1 hour from Zendewadi. The trail is quite easy and can be taken by all age groups. Book a Trek to Malhargad Fort
Pritesh Kulkarni shares a detailed travel log on his quick yet a wonderful trek to Malhargadh Fort. Click HERE
Jejuri Temple: Constructed in the year 1608, it is also known as Lord Khandoba Temple and is quite a popular pilgrim sight located 48 kms from Pune and about 27 kms before Mastani Lake.
The Jejuri Temple is located on a hill and to reach one has to climb up 200 steps but the place is a must visit for its grandeur and the ancient Deep Mala’s (lamp posts) located just outside the main temple. The main festival held here is the Dasera when thousands come and try their luck to lift the heavy sword for the maximum time. Its then that the entire temple is covered in the holy turmeric color making it look extremely glorious!
There is something that draws me towards Pune, even after not having stayed or visited the city for the past 20 odd years! My love for travel began here and that’s probably why I love the mere mention of this lovely place. And after having spent about 12 years living in the beautiful state of Maharastra, this is one place I’d like to visit soon and yet I am sure there will be many sights that will still be left to to explore… stay tuned for more locations …….
Pune to Malhargad: 30 Kms via via Hadapsar – Saswad – Jejuri Rd/Pandharpur Rd.
Pune to Saswad: 32 kms
Saswad to Narayanpur Balaji Temple: 17 Kms
Pune to Jejuri Temple: 48 Kms
Jejuri Temple to Mastani Lake: 27 Kms
Mumbai to Jejuri Temple: 206 Kms
Best Time to Visit: Monsoons & Winters
Some Unknown Interesting Sights & Facts
- As one travels on the Dive Ghat, keep a look for few stone stairs near a small ignorable Shiva Temple. But as you traveled up the stairs, just beyond the Shiva Trident, there is a secret cave that was probably used as a shelter by the Marathas or even go beyond 2000 years old! Fascinating Right? 🙂
- There was an underground tunnel that led from this place to a well on the periphery of the Mastani lake. One can still see one end of the tunnel.And it is this well that still helps irrigate the nearby fields!
- At the Purandar Fort, there is an old map of India carved out on the rock floor, that depict India as it was thousands of years back and includes our friendly neighbours to. one can also trek to Fort Vajragad that is located near by.
One can reach Fort Vajragad from Fort Purandar. This is a smaller fort but the unique rock formations here are really stunning. It has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman named ‘Vajreshwar Temple’ and some water cisterns.
- Not many are aware but the final resting place of Mastani is located at ‘Pabal’, a small village located 60 Kms from Pune.
Fort Jadhavgarh: is a 300 year old fort that was converted into a Heritage Hotel in 2007. This luxurious hotel is surrounded by hills that makes it a great getaway experience and is just 22 kms from Pune on the Dive Ghat road (the old Pune – Satara road).
Built in the year 1710 by Pilaji Jadhavrao, a Maratha General in the army of Chattrapati Shivaji, the fort was essentially used as a residence and also acted as a safe-haven during the enemy attacks. It even has its own in house ‘Aai Museum’ that displays paintings, locks, Kitchen items and other fascinating articles belonging to the past.
This is the only Heritage Hotel in Pune and there is even a wine cellar! For Tariffs and Bookings Click HERE