Last Thursday I spent the morning sightseeing around Pune. With the help of NCRA, an auto-rickshaw driver was hired for the half-day and took me around to a few places. Pune traffic is reputed to be some of the worst of Indian cities, and it was amusing to experience it first hand.. in a vehicle protected only by canvas.
The first stop was the Pataleshwar Cave Temple. Like the Elephanta caves I had visited in Mumbai, this temple was carved into the stone underground. However, unlike Elephanta, this temple is still actively used for worship. For the 20-30 minutes I spent around the temple, close to 20 people came through and worshiped.
Naturally the inside was quite dark, so it was difficult to photograph (my tripod had broken just before I’d left for India). But there was a number of interesting items in the temple. I certainly don’t know much about them, but they were at least visually appealing. Often with bright colors, and the smoke from burning incense drifting towards the roof of the cave temple.
The next stop was the Shaniwar Wada. This fort palace was originally a very ornate set of buildings surrounded by a wall. In the 19th Century, a week-long fire engulfed the palace, leaving only the building foundations and the surrounding wall.
The inside is very nice, consisting of grassy areas intermixed with stone foundations, pits, and the occasional bushes and flowers.
I spent a while walking around inside, taking pictures and enjoying the sights. By far one of the most amusing things to happen though, involved the other people visiting. I had 4 people (all around my age) approach me, asking if they could have a picture with me. My pale complexion must have been the motivation :p
The final trip of the day was to do a bit of shopping and picking up souvenirs for folks back home.
The next day, I gave a talk on the Great Observatories All-Sky LIRG (Luminous Infrared Galaxy) Survey. Following the talk, I visiting the Chaturshringi Temple, perhaps a 30 minute walk from NCRA. It was very active, with many people around both inside and outside the temple.
We climbed to the top of the temple, and were rewarded with a nice view of Pune:
I had a nice time with the few hours spent exploring Pune. I have certainly not even come close to exhausting the sights though. There are various hilltop forts in the area, as well as the Aga Khan Palace where Ghandi spent time under house arrest. Certainly more to do for a future trip!
The rest of the pictures are available here: Pune on flickr