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Aga Khan Palace in Pune

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aga Khan Palace and Shaniwar Wada are two of the prime attractions in Pune city. Both attract a very large number of visitors. Besides these two attractions, Pune is also home to Sarasbaug, Raja Kelkar Museum, Paravati Hill and Temple, Vishrambaug Wada, Osho International Meditation Centre, Mahatma Phule Wada, Katraj Snake Park, Konark Park, Pateshwar Caves and Lal Mahal. Pune is located at a distance of around 180 km from Mumbai and can be accessed by road, rail and air. 
Aga Khan Palace
As Hithakshi and I had suddenly decided on visiting Pune, we zeroed in on visiting the Aga Khan Palace and Shaniwar Wada in Pune.


Both of us were new to Pune. I had been to Pune earlier to visit Shivneri Fort and Sinhagad Fort, both on the outskirts of the city. But this was my first trip to view the attractions inside the city.
As we had made a last-minute decision to visit Pune, we couldn’t book tickets in advance. So we boarded the Intercity Express at 6:56 am from Dadar station on the Central line. The train, followed by a road trip, is the fastest means of transport, second only to an air flight.
Aga Khan Palace


On my previous trip to Shivneri Fort, I had boarded the Indrayani Express at 5:53 am at Dadar. I had been lucky to find a coach that was empty then, but that was not the case this time.
It was January 2012 and quite cold in Mumbai, and we were comfortably wrapped up in layers of warm clothing. I had worn my favourite camera vest which I wore on my first trip. We were hoping that the weather in Pune would be equally pleasant or else the warm clothes would turn out to be a real torture for us in Pune.
Group Picture, Hithakshi and Me


There were only two compartments reserved for people with unreserved tickets. We boarded one of them. The train was packed with people. Luckily we got a place to stand. That was it. No other movement was possible. Finally after three hours of grueling punishment (a standout journey indeed), we reached Pune at 10:00 am, just 10 minutes late.
The weather in Pune was quite pleasant. Chilly winds blew, justifying our warm clothing and making us really grateful for them. Our stomachs were growling as we had not had our breakfast. So our first priority was food.
The moment we alighted from the station we were greeted by taximen and travel agents who kept enquiring whether we wanted to go to Mumbai.
Artifacts kept on display


After having our breakfast (puri bhaji, masala dosa and Nescafe), we headed off to find the best possible means to go to Aga Khan Palace and Shaniwar Wada. I was so hungry that I didn’t waste time taking any pictures of the food. Instead I competed with myself, hoping to beat my own record in gulping food down. Hehe.
We had two main vehicles to choose from: the city bus and the rickshaw. The city bus stand and rickshaw stand are located outside the station. 
Photo of Aga Khan


After inquiring with a few locals, we decided to hire a rickshaw instead of boarding the bus. The rickshaw would take us to the place directly, which was an advantage. Since we were new to Pune, we were quite unfamiliar with the names of the places and the destination of the buses.
It took us around 25 minutes to reach Aga Khan Palace. Aga Khan Palace is situated at a distance of 7 km from the heart of Pune city. It cost us Rs 60 to get to Aga Khan Palace, according to the rickshaw meter.
The palace has two entry doors, but only one of them is open to visitors. The entry fee is Rs 5 for Indians and Rs 100 for foreign nationals. The Palace is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The lunch break is from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.
Art work on display


At the entrance there is a parking lot for visitors who had bought their vehicles and a huge garden neatly trimmed with rock cut chairs for people to sit in. The garden was neatly maintained. There were a number of flowers growing there. The presence of a number of shady trees added to the beauty of the garden.
The Palace is an Archaeological Site and is very well maintained. Outside the Palace is a tombstone which gives us information on the Palace.
The Palace was built in 1892 by Sultan Mohammad Aga Khan III. The Palace was built by the Sultan to offer help to the people there who were hit by famine. The locals were employed to cater to the needs of the beneficiaries. Apparently, they were paid hefty wages.
Garments worn on display


As we walked on the ground floor amid the beautifully decorated arches, we started off by visiting the rooms that were allocated to the freedom fighters. The doors were beautifully carved and the wooden ceiling in each of the rooms presented an amazing sight.
History buffs will be interested to know that Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba and secretary Mahadeo Bhai Desai were imprisoned here during the Independence movement.
These rooms have now been converted into mini museums and feature paintings, rare photos and articles used by Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba and secretary. After viewing the five rooms kept for display, we headed off to the samadhis.
Samadhi's of Kasturbai and Mahadeo Bhai Desai


A point to note here is that only the five rooms of the Palace are open for public viewing and not the entire Palace.
This time I had bought my mini tripod along, as on most of the trips I am not able to take group photos. Nor am I able to get a picture of myself. The tripod served me very well on this trip and I was able to make good use of it.
Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi
We later visited the Samadhis of Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturbai and Mahadeo Bhai Desai. Kasturbai and Mahadeo Bhai Desai died in captivity at the Palace. Gandhiji’s ashes were later brought and preserved at the same samadhi.                         
Having finished the photo session and having strolled through the garden, we decided to head to Shaniwar Wada, the second place on our itinerary.
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very well written :) ... i like our photograph... thanks to your tripod that we cud click so many pics

Hithakshi

carltonduane69 said...

Aga Khan Construction, that's located at the very heart in the pune city. It is a national monument of India’s freedom movement. Pursuing the launch of Quit India movement in 1942, Gandhiji, his wife Kasturba, their secretary Mahadevbhai Desai were interned at the palace from August 9, 1942 to May 6, 1944. It is one of the finest pieces of architectural beauty inside western India. places to visit in pune

places to visit in pune said...

Aga Khan Construction, that's located at the very heart in the pune city. It is a national monument of India’s freedom movement. Pursuing the launch of Quit India movement in 1942, Gandhiji, his wife Kasturba, their secretary Mahadevbhai Desai were interned at the palace from August 9, 1942 to May 6, 1944. It is one of the finest pieces of architectural beauty inside western India.

hyd said...

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