Once the jewel in the crown of the Maratha Empire, Pune is now a fascinating mix of history and modernity. It used to be known as the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji, but things changed in the 1990s when globalization arrived.
Nowadays, Pune has become a modern and lively city. However, it has also kept its old-fashioned charm with historical buildings and monuments. Visiting the city is enjoyable because you can experience both of its historical and modern aspects.
Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, is known for its rich history and culture. It is home to many historical places, including forts, palaces, and temples. In this blog post, we will explore 5 of the great historical places to visit in Pune, each with its own unique story to tell.
We will start with Shaniwar Wada, the foundation stone was laid on an auspicious Saturday. As Saturday called Saniwar in Marathi, so it named as Shaniwar Wada. This 18th-century fort that was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire.
Next, we will explore the Shinde Chhatri, that marks the spot of the cremation of Mahadaji Shinde. He was great general of Maratha Empire.
We will then visit Vishrambaug Wada, Bajirao II preferred this residence to the ill-fated Shaniwar Wada, the citadel of the Peshwas. He stayed here for eleven years until his defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War.
Finally, we will hike to Sinhagad Fort, which was important fort of Maratha Empire. In History, the battle of Kondhana was famous which was led by Tanaji Malusare. He was one of the most trusted general of Shivaji.
There are so many Historical places but few of them really worth to visit in Pune city. These significant historical places I am going to cover in this article.
Let’s start exploring rich history and culture of Pune city. Because from tourism point this city has something to offer everyone.
1. Shaniwar Wada
A massive fortress in the heart of a busy city that reminds us of a glorious past. A story, an old-fashioned romance that has made the climate of fort red with blood.” Shaniwar Wada, like the rest of the heritage, contains many unheard stories stored in the history books.
Shaniwar Wada itself holds many unheard secrets. Bajirao I took the Maratha Empire to new heights.
This Fort used to be a major center of Indian politics during the rise of Maratha Peshwas in the 17th century. But unfortunately, it was mysteriously destroyed in the grip of fire. Today it remains a relic.
This became the best Historical place to visit in Pune which situated in the heart of Pune city.
The foundation of this grand historical fort was laid on 10 January 1730. At the same time, due to the foundation of this massive fort on Saturday (Saturday means Shaniwar in Marathi), the name of this fort became “Shaniwar Wada.”
The responsibility of constructing this magnificent fort was to the contractors (Kumawat Kshatriya) of Rajasthan. This fort was built in 1732. On January 22, 1732 CE, the fort was inaugurated on Saturday.
Shaniwar Wada Fort is known for its artistry, creativity, and historical significance. There are five doors for entering this vast fort. Of which the Delhi Darwaja, Mastani Darwaza, Khidaki Darwaza, Ganesh Darwaza, Jambhool Darwaja, or Narayana Darwaja are the main ones.
Delhi Darwaza is the main gate of the fort. It opens in the north direction towards Delhi. For this reason, its ‘Delhi Darwaza.’
This door is quite high and wide. So much so that the elephant can enter from here. There are 42 pointed nails on both doors, whose length is 12 inches. These Nails installed at the entrance to protect them from elephant attacks. On the right side of the door, there is a small gate. This door is too short so that no one can enter it easily and quickly.
This door opens in the north direction. Second wife of Peshwa Bajirao, Mastani used this door while going outside of Shaniwar Wada. Hence the name ‘Mastani Darwaza.’ given to this gate.
This door opens in the east direction. Due to the window being formed, it was named “Khidki Darwaza.” (Khidaki is the Marathi word for window)
This door opens in the southeast direction. This door was used by women while visiting “Kasba Ganpati Temple.”
Jambhool Darwaza OR Narayana Darwaja
Jambhul Darwaza opens in the south direction. It was used by the maids to come and go in the fort. This door was given another name ‘Narayanrao Darwaza’ after the death of Narayan Rao. His body was taken outside the fort by this door.
After the construction of the main building of Shaniwar Wada, many other buildings, reservoirs, and Lotus Fountain were built from time to time in the fort.
The light and sound show to be held at Shaniwar Wada Fort is quite famous. The show is the center of the main attraction here, which is visited by tourists from far and wide. The show is held every evening in Marathi and English languages.
The show is held every evening in Marathi from 7:15 to 8:10 AM and in the English language from 7:15 to 9:10. The price of this ticket is 25 / – per person, which can be purchase from 7:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
I don’t know if they have any online portal but we can purchase on the spot before show.
Ways to Reach
Shaniwar Wada is located in the heart of the city. You can reach by any local transport like bus, auto or taxi. Pune Municipal Corporation runs Pune Darshan Bus also cover Shaniwar Wada along with other destination.
Shaniwar Wada is open everyday from 7:00 AM to 6:30 PM, including public holidays. However, the light and sound show is not conducted on public holidays.
If you are planning to visit Shaniwarwada on a public holiday. Then, it is advisable to reach early as the fort can get crowded.
The entry fee is Rs 5 per person for Indians and Rs 125 per person for foreigners.
If you are interested to read more information then you can visit Shaniwar Wada History where I created detailed well-informed post.
2. Lal Mahal
This historical monument was built in Pune by Shahajiraje Bhosle, the father of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Lal Mahal has historical significance in the history of Maharashtra and the Maratha Empire.
Lal Mahal is a famous building in Pune, India. It is red in color. Shahajiraje Bhosle made this building in 1630 CE. He made it for his wife Jijabai and son Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji Raje was born in Shivneri. After leaving birthplace, Shivray lived in Lal Mahal when he was a child.
Shivaji Maharaj lived in Lal Mahal until he took a fort from the Mughal Empire in 1646. He married Saibai in Lal Mahal.
At time, Pune city had name “Punawadi”. That Pune was completely different from current city. That time city surrounded by forest and there was terror of wild animals. Hence, in order to make Pune a better city Shahajiraje Bhosale made Lal Mahal.
Many people attacked Pune in the 17th century. Lal Mahal became very old and broken. Some people say that some parts of Lal Mahal were used to make Shaniwarwada.
Lal Mahal is famous for a fight between Shivaji Maharaj and Shaista Khan. Shivray cut the fingers of Shaista Khan when he was running away from Lal Mahal. He jumped out of a window of Lal Mahal which saved his life.
This incident made this place one of the best historical places to visit in Pune.
The present Lal Mahal built on only a part of the place where the original Lal Mahal made, so it is smaller than original. The new Lal Mahal was not built the way the old Lal Mahal was built, and no one knows much about the area and composition of the old Lal Mahal. Pune Municipal Corporation made the new Lal Mahal. They started making in 1984 and finished it in 1988.
Ways to Reach
By Road: You can reach Lal Mahal from any local vehicle in the city. You can also reach the palace by bus or rickshaw facility.
By Rail: Pune railway station is about 5 km from the Lal Mahal.
By Air: Lohegaon Air Force Base Airport of Pune is about 11 km from Lal Mahal.
It is open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM all days of the week.
Regardless of nationality the entry fee at palace of Lal Mahal is Rs. 5. But, fees can reduce to Rs 2, if you are student, government officer or army person.
- Children below the age of 5 years are free.
- Students with valid ID cards can get a discounted entry fee of INR 2.
- >Government officials and armed forces personnel with valid ID cards can get a discounted entry fee of INR 2.
3. Shinde Chhatri
Shinde Chhatri has a vast historical background which made it one of the best Historical places in Pune. Shinde Chhatri is a monument on the banks of the Bahiroba Nala at Wanwadi, near Pune, Maharashtra. The memorial is built in 1794 CE in the memory of Mahadji Shinde, a fighter of the Maratha Empire.
Mahadji Shinde died at the age of 67 on, February 1, 1979 CE at Wanwadi, near Pune. A Mahadaji Shinde Chhatri was Built near Wanwadi in Pune on the honor of his memory. Shinde Chhatri is About thirteen thousand square meters. A total of four hundred square meters of construction for tombs, Chhatri, and temples can be seen in the area. Inside the tomb, a protective stone wall of fifteen feet high has built.
As we approach this tomb, the first sight we see is the small Maruti temple in front of the temple. The entrance to the temple is to the east. The monument is built on a massive stone structure. The yard is a domed mausoleum. It is a separate small square building, and it is always closed. We can see the inner tomb through Door. There is a mask of Maharaji Shinde and a horse statue.
The temple of Shankara builds in the middle Area of Shinde Chhatri. This beautiful architectural is decorated with carved curves on all sides. The main temple is built in 1715. This construction, built-in Rajasthani style.
The balcony is built on all three sides. There is an iron Ladder on the outside to go on this balcony. Currently not allowed to go here. The hall of the temple is spacious and the paintings of the men belonging to the Mahadji Shinde family are installed. The Sindia family of Gwalior maintains this place through a trust.
Shinde Chhatri is open to the public from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM, all days of the week. Remember that memorial is closed on public holidays.
The best time to visit is during the morning or evening hours when the weather is cooler.
Fees are different for children, government officers, army personnel, and foreigners at Shinde Chhatri.
Children (up to 12 years of age): Free
Indian citizens: ₹5
Government officers and army person: Free (with valid ID card)
4. Vishrambaug Wada
Vishrambaug Wada was an old residence of Bajirao II of Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. It built in year 1807 CE. Currently, the journey from ‘Punwadi to Punyanagari’ (Journey of Old Pune to Modern Pune) is seen through various pictures. This exhibition presents the history of Pune.
The old map of Shaniwar Wada, Peth (Marketplaces) set up by Nanasaheb Peshwa, information about the water supply from Katraj Lake. various places of worship in Pune, ghats, their geographical location, and the process of creation are also provided.
In the British period, it is reported that they sold the Vishrambug Wada for one lakh rupees to the municipality of Pune. Before the present building of Pune Municipal Corporation was constructed, the Municipal Corporation’s head office was in Vishrambug Wada.
Vishrambaug Wada is one of the best historical places in Pune City. Now, let us talk about its construction details.
In the Year 1807, The Bajirao II built this palace in Rs. 2 lakhs. It took 6 years to build the palace. On March 26, 1807 CE, the construction of the palace began and ended in 1813 CE. This is a 19,000 square foot building. Haripant Phadke was the owner of this place. Before this palace, there was a beautiful garden.
Ways to Reach
It is approximately 5 kilometers from Pune station. From Pune Station, Shivajinagar, Swargate, rickshaws, buses come to this area.
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It is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm all days of the week. The wada is closed on public holidays.
The entry fee for Vishrambaug Wada is Rs 5 per person, regardless of age or nationality.
Indian citizens: Rs 5 per person
Foreigners: Rs 5 per person
Government officers and Army person: Rs 2 per person
Children below the age of 5 years: Free
There is no photography fee at Vishrambaug Wada. However, you are not allowed to use a flash or tripod.
The wada is located at RB Kumthekar Road, Perugate, Sadashiv Peth, Pune, Maharashtra 411030. It is easily accessible by public transportation. The nearest bus stop is Vishrambaug Wada.
5. Sinhagad Fort
Sinhagad Fort was originally known as Kondhana Fort. It is a hill fort located in the Sahyadri Mountains near Pune, India.
Today, Sinhagad Fort is a popular tourist destination and is a reminder of the rich history and culture of Maharashtra.
In 1670, the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj recaptured the fort from the Mughals. The battle was led by Tanaji Malusare, one of Shivaji’s most trusted generals. Tanaji was killed in the battle, but the fort was eventually captured. In honor of Tanaji’s sacrifice, Shivaji renamed the fort Sinhagad, which means “Lion Fort”.
Sinhagad Fort is a strategically important fort located on a hilltop overlooking the city of Pune. It played a significant role in the history of the Maratha Empire. The fort was used as a base for military operations and as a refuge during times of war. It was also a symbol of Maratha power and resistance to Mughal rule.
- It was the site of the Battle of Sinhagad in 1670, which was a major victory for the Marathas against the Mughals.
- Fort was the capital of the Maratha Empire for a brief period in the early 18th century.
It was used as a prison by the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
- Sinhagad fort is a symbol of Maratha pride and resistance to foreign rule.
The fort was later captured by the Koli chieftain Nag Naik in the 13th century. It then passed through the hands of several dynasties, including the Bahmani Sultanate, the Nizam Shahi of Ahmadnagar, and the Mughal Empire.
It was built around 2000 years ago by the Kaundinya Rishi, a sage who is said to have lived in the caves on the fort.
Fort is built in a typical Deccan style, with thick walls and bastions. It has a four-tiered gateway, with the topmost tier housing a temple dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj.
There are several water tanks inside the fort, which were used to store water during times of siege. Sinhagad also has several caves, which were used as living quarters and storage areas.
Fort have the Battlements, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Other attractions include the Ramchandra Temple, the Zenana Mahal, and the Kalyan Darwaza.
Ways to Reach
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Pune railway station. From the railway station, you can take a bus or rickshaw to the base of the fort.
By Plane: The nearest airport is Pune airport. From the airport, you can take a taxi or bus to the base of the fort.
Timing and Fees
Fort is open from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Entry fee for adults is INR 5 and for children is INR 2.
- Wear comfortable shoes as the climb to the top of the fort can be steep.
- Carry sunscreen and a hat as the weather can be hot at the top of the fort.
- Allow at least 2–3 hours to explore the fort.
Interested people can read about other historical places in Pune city. Do not forget to subscribe to our newsletter and also share content over social media.
Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons
Gate of Old Citadel known as Shaniwar Wada, Credits: Vasukrishnan57
Internal Garden View of Shaniwar Wada, Credits: Vishal Tanna
Outside View of Replica of Lal Mahal of Pune, Credits: Mubarak Ansari
Replica of the famous Lal Mahal, Credits: Shankar S.
Shinde Chhatri Architecture Outside View, Credits: Rupeshpjadhav
Inside View of Shinde Chhatri Memorial, Credits: Bikashrd
Front View of Vishram Baug Wada, Credits: Niraj.12
Backside View of Vishram Baug Wada at Pune, Credits: Sanket Oswal
Inside View of Wooden Architecture of Vishram Baug Wada, Credits: Purushottaam24
Sinhagad Entrance Gate, Credits: Rait
Map of Sinhagad Fort, Credits: Debraj Rakshit