loverofroads@phirasta.com

Aarya Ghotikar

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Category Archive Cityscapes

Aga Khan Palace

 Just to explore some not so often visited places in Pune, I came across a historically important place – Aga Khan Palace. So it just brings to my mind that Aga Khan Palace – a place of such historical importance is not that famous as compared to other historically and culturally important monuments in Pune and also not to-go-for place that easily comes to one’s mind (including myself till I visited!). Maybe due to other popular places are well known as being built by the Peshwas. But trust me, this place is not just historically important but also worth visiting as you might end up feeling peaceful too.
So let’s just get to know this place a li’l bit – this palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in 1892 as an act of charity for the poor people in Pune. This palace also played a major role in Indian freedom movement as the freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai were imprisoned here. Also, Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died in this palace. The ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai were buried here. Now the interior of palace has been converted into a memorial named – Gandhi Memorial.
The premises of the palace is surrounded by a lush green lawn area and a few trees protecting the exterior. There’s also an old library connecting the palace. The more you approach towards the palace, the more you wonder whether you are in a Gothic era as the architecture of the palace is just marvelous and one of the best architectures I’ve ever come across! Not to mention, I’m no architecturally known person, though I could guess the type of architecture it must be – Gothic with a mix of Renaissance and Romanesque. The outer part of the palace is surrounded by symmetrical galleries and its most significant part – the Romanesque pillared design. Doubtlessly those pillared designs are the highlight of the galleries. Once you finish your round appreciating the galleries, get inside the palace – the memorial.
High, sun-bathing windows and a standing statue of Mahatma and Kasturba Gandhi will welcome you just as you enter into the memorial part of the palace. You might also come across a few paintings surrounding the area. The paintings depict the era of Indian freedom movement – activities held during the era and other concerning movements. There’s a section that includes the belongings of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi and also a brief information about Aga Khan dynasty.
Getting out of the other side of the palace, there is a red-bricked way which leads to where the ashes of Gandhiji, Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai. Right now, at this moment – this place is far more than just not being so touristy.
This place sure puts an unexplained effect on you for you are not the same person anymore when you had entered the mansion. Also you can’t help but being in both Gothic and Indian freedom movement era at the same time. And while stepping out of the mansion, your soul is resisting to get into the existing era. Aga Khan Palace may not be on ‘Things to do before you die’ list but if you are one of those who fall under the spell, the mansion of the palace will be waiting for you.

Chittaranjan Vatika Garden

So, this is where I finally begun. One small step forward to my next goal – going places and document them. Thought why not to start from the hometown itself? There are places even in your hometown that you haven’t visited before and even if there are, my perspective was gonna be a little bit different from now onward.

So to start with, I chose Chittaranjan Vatika Garden, a lively park in Model Colony – one of the cosmopolitan areas in Pune. Quiet frankly, I chose this place ‘cause I had never been there earlier and the serene neighborhood enticed me.

So this place is operated by Pune Municipal Corporation and just as you enter, bird chirping welcomes you and accompanies you all along. People are seen jogging, brisk walking, etc.

This place is a proof of being called a Vatika! One can stroll through the woods and have a nice 30-40 minutes walk. There are also many diversions created through the trees for joggers / walkers.

A bunch of picturesque huts are there as well to rest and sit. A small hut-gymnasium is there made for gym enthusiasts.

This is definitely recommended for nature lovers, photographers and exercise freaks. All age group people are seen here enjoying themselves.

Some health conscious senior citizens are brisk walking and some are just relaxing and chit-chatting. A few foreigners are also seen strolling through park and observing the nature.

There is also a small play garden for kids and infants in the middle of the park. A number of resting huts and benches will accompany you throughout the walk.

Around approximately 300 meters near the park, at the junction are a couple of snack centers to grab a bite. A number of Yoga and meditation centers, Ashrams are surrounding the area of the park, being the main reason of foreign visitors. All in all, visiting this park is a beautiful experience INSIDE OUT!

Things to know:

  • Entrance Fees : IT’S FREE!
  • Park Timings :6.00 am – 11.30 am, 4.00 pm – 8.00 pm
  • People typically spend 1 hr / 1.5 hrs here
  • Insider – This park is one of the spots included in the Pune Heritage Walk