A land once ruled by the Marathas and the Peshwas, the lovely city of Pune is vibrant as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Once a city for the retired folks of the country to flock to for a salubrious atmosphere, Pune is now a prominent location for ever-growing IT and manufacturing sector of the country. Also home to some of the best educational institutes in India, the city draws people to it in multitudes, be it for education, jobs or simply for an amazing holiday. Thanks to its stellar location, next to the Sahayadri mountain range in the omnipresent Western Ghats, and on the fringes of the Deccan plateau, the region hosts some of the best vacation spots in the country ideal for a quick getaway. Enumerated here are the ten of the best picnic spots in Pune one ought to visit.
1. Rajmachi Fort
A popular trekking site, Rajmachi fort is situated 80 kilometres from Pune. A hypnotizing sight, the fort is the jewel of the Sahayadri mountain range. Drawing trekkers from all over the country, the fort offers a panoramic view of the unblemished surroundings replete with lush greenery, shimmering waterfalls and the silvery and misty clouds. Also a crucial part of a historic trade route, the vantage point of the Rajmachi fort is bolstered by the forts of Shrivardhan and Manaranjan around it. The fort’s location in Western Ghats gives an unparalleled sight of the nearby areas and is just 15 kilometres from the lovely site of Lonavala.
2. Karla, Bhaja and Bedse Caves
Marking the division of the nation into North and South, Karli region in Maharashtra is home to the famous Karli caves, located about 60 kilometres from Pune. Dating back to 2nd century B.C. – 5th century A.D., these elaborate structures comprise of some of the oldest caves in India bathed in intricate carvings and consisting of meticulously created sculptures and stupas.
The historical site of the Bhaje or Bhaja caves rest in the region of Bhaja, about 122 metres above the sea level. These 22 caves feature extensive carvings and a number of stupas dedicated to Lord Buddha.
Located in the region of Maval in Maharashtra, Bedse caves are one of the lesser explored sites of Pune. Flourished with ornate designs and carvings, the age of these caves can be dated back to 1st century B.C.. Located in close proximity to the Bedse caves are the forts of Tikona, Lohagad, Tung and Visapur adding to the glory of the site.
These 3 caves form a crucial part of the history of the state and the nation. Their location in the rugged as well as the green terrain of the state adds to the charm that makes a perfect holiday.
A scenic site and a cherished hill station, Lonavala is something out of a painting. With lush views of the all-encompassing Western Ghats, meandering hills, silvery valleys and flora of a dazzling range decorate Lonavala from all sides. Resting along the Mumbai – Pune Expressway, the region is also an adored trekking spot while also being a place of tranquility. Ideal to visit from October to April, one will be hard-pressed to find a person from Pune who hasn’t frequented the site at least once.
Perched at an elevation of 2100 feet, Lavasa is India’s Portofino (an Italian town Lavasa is modeled after). Stylistically designed, this region marks India’s first foray into planning hill stations solely for the purpose of a vacation. Attractively situated near Pune, this as-of-yet-unfinished city offers boating as well as a wonderful bike ride or car road trip along its lovely tortuous roads. Abound with dense vegetation, the site also consists of a glittering lake and a holiday here will provide with a much needed respite from the city life.
5. Malshej Waterfalls
A favorite destination among the tourists after monsoon, Malshej waterfalls is a sight of unparalleled beauty. Snuggled within the Sahayadri mountain range of the pristine Western Ghats, this mountain pass is situated 154 kilometres from Pune. Home to an astounding range of birds, nature in this part of the country is untouched and gives an unhindered view of the wondrous surrounding valleys.
Located a short 25 kilometres ride away from Pune is the prominent fort of Sinhagad or Sinhgad. Ideal for trekking as well, the fort offers a nice pleasant view of the surrounding mountains whilst taking you on a trip down the past. Known to be site where the Marathas fought with the Mughals in the Battle of Sinhagad in 1671, this “The Lion’s Fort” rests 1,312 metres above the sea level and provides an insight to the role of the fort as a military outpost.
7. Lohagad Visapur
Nestled perfectly on the top of Western Ghats – Konkan border, the region of Lohagad and Visapur are located 60 kilometres away from Pune. The state of Maharashtra can claim to have some of the best forts in the country, thanks to the Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. Amongst these most fortifying structures, the forts at Lohagad and Visapur play an important role in the history of the Maratha reign in the state. Trekking amidst the rich vegetation surrounded by exotic wildlife, this site offers a perfect holiday.
Situated 95 kilometres from the city of Pune, Wai, hometown of the legendary Rani Lakshmibai, rests on the Krishna river. A quiet and serene place, Wai is one of the offbeat destinations in the state offering a meditative beauty and sense of peace. Ideal for adventure freaks, the sports of kayaking, rafting etc., are offered here on the gushing waters of the Krishna river. Best avoided in the peak summer months that leaves the site dry and arid, the site also features historically and architecturally important temples dating back to the 17th century. A hidden gem located close to Pune, the site is relatively unexplored among all the historic places of Maharashtra.
Sitting high amongst the Gunjavani, Neera and Velvandi rivers, Rajgad fort sits 1,395 metres above the sea level. Offering one of the best views of the surrounding Sahayadri mountains, the site served as the erstwhile capital of the Maratha reign under the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Having witnessed a great number of historically significant events, the site is not just a sight for sore eyes but an crucial lesson in the history of our nation.
A heavenly holiday spot, Kamshet is located 45 kilometres from Pune and is connected to the city via the National Highway 4. Snuggled in the abounding beauty of the Western Ghats, this cherished hill station is replete with gorgeous lakes, rugged terrain and undulating green cover of the forests. A paradise for adventure aficionados with options of paragliding over the lovely landscape, Kamshet is nearly 2,200 metres high above the sea level. The traditional village here adds to the charm of the holiday with its serene ambiance.
A city of rich history and growing urban lifestyle, Pune has transformed from being a quiet “Pensioner’s Paradise” to a throbbing city, alive with the vigor of the youth. These 10 spots offer perfect picnic spots in and around Pune where you can spend time with your near and dear ones.