The contemporary face of Pune, Koregaon Park stretches along the Mula-Mutha River. Characterised by tall banyan trees that are a throwback to times long gone, the area underwent rapid transformation in the 1970s. While the colonial-style houses and curio shops have a quaint, run-down feel, hotel Westin and the PVR multiplex speak loudly of the changing times. ‘KP’ continues to be a favourite nightspot amongst youngsters.
A posh residential area, Koregaon Park was made famous by the controversial spiritual guru Rajneesh, who later came to be known as Osho. The Rajneesh Ashram that he set up here in 1974, now called the Osho International Meditation Resort, is a chief attraction. It is still common to see followers of Osho walk through KP’s lanes in their billowing maroon robes. Sandwiched between the South Main Road and the North Main Road, exploring Koregaon Park’s quiet lanes is an enjoyable experience.
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The 12-acre Osho Teerth Nullah Park is a tranquil garden where one can relax and unwind. Once a garbage dump, it was painstakingly converted into an oasis of exotic plants, trees and flowers. Entry Free Timings 6am–9am; 3pm–6pm
Koregaon Park is also the preferred destination amongst art and music enthusiasts in the city, with many galleries and clubs coming up in its vicinity. The Bliss Art Gallery in Lane E showcases many pieces of contemporary art and organises art shows. KP also has many nightclubs and restaurants where musicians from across the country frequently perform. Fair warning: the area gets extremely crowded during the weekends and holidays, and experiences severe traffic snarls.
With most expats making Koregaon Park their home, the area is extremely cosmopolitan. Many cultures come together here, making it a harmonious neighbourhood. From Durga Puja to Christmas, Koregaon Park celebrates most festivals (not just Maharashtrian) with fervour and becomes a common ground for people from various communities to come together and feel at home.
While here, do pop into the legendary German Bakery. A casual dining place, it is easy on the pocket and offers simple but delicious fare such as sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and pasta. Desserts are more pleasing as are the breakfast options. Or indulge in some delicious specials and cocktails at Terttulia, authentic Brazilian fare at Boteco, exciting ‘hipster’ innovations at Street Meat, or wholesome health food at Santé Spa Cuisine. Malaka Spice in the Lane 5 is famous for its delicious South-Asian spread.
Nearby, you’ll find interesting shops for art and craft items and jewellery. Shah Stores has a good collection of semiprecious gems and jewellery, while Crystal Point stocks lucky birthstones and healing stones.
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Those who wish to do a bakery crawl can even check out Kayani Bakery and Budhani Bros (both located roughly 5km from Koregaon Park). Spoken about more than many historic sights in the city, Kayani Bakery (6, East Street) is a delightful gem from the past. Emigrants from Iran, Hormuz and Khodayar Irani, opened this bakery in 1955. Nothing has changed its appeal and popularity as locals and visitors continue to queue for the melt-in-the-mouth Shrewsbury biscuits, though much more is on offer (mawa cakes, wine biscuits and cream rolls).
Started in 1955, Budhani Bros (682, Taboot Street) is reputed for making the crispiest potato wafers in various flavours (cheese, tomato, masala). They supply to most supermarkets in the city, so you need not make a special trip to the main outlet to grab a packet. Other snacks such as dry fruit chiwda, salted cashew nuts and peanuts are worth trying as well.