While Pune is popular for its colleges and universities, a vibrant student culture and cafes, the city is also a gateway to many scenic destinations of Maharashtra. Here is a list of places in and around Pune that one shouldn’t miss.
Parvati Hills is a popular location among the locals. Offering a panoramic view of the city, the hill is named after the Parvati Temple built here during the rule of the Peshwa dynasty. After a not so difficult 30-minute climb to the pinnacle, one can see the skyline of Pune merge with the jostle of skyscrapers, trying to weave a harmony between the man-made structures and natural wonders.
A 45-minute drive from Pune, the Khadakwasla Dam is a major water source for the city and its nearby areas. Drive through the lush green hills of Lonavla on the way while munching on the Maharashtrian special vada pav or some pakodas (highly recommended during the monsoons). Safe for visitors during the heavy rains, the site is a visual treat to the eyes as the vastness captures the imagination. Close to the dam is the Sinhagad Fort, which should also be on any list of places to visit.
Located in the heart of Pune, the Vetal Hill is the highest point in the city. A favourite of early morning joggers and walkers, there are several trails laid across the hill. Follow the trails to reach the top; once you are there, you’ll be able to see the hills. A small lake, water the shade of cobalt blue, lies surrounded by low bushes. Look further, you can see a trail of mountain ranges that extend beyond the city.
Pawna Lake is a scenic viewpoint around Pune. A 2-hour drive from the city, the best time to be here is during the monsoons when the rains add life to the sun-soaked lake. The lake is surrounded by lush green foliage and hills. Sunrises from Pawna are highly recommended, watch as the sun rises from the protection of the mountains and unravels itself in all its glory while lifting the blanket of mist and darkness. You can also climb up to the Tunga Fort near Pawna lake for an even more elevated view.