While in Pune recently, to attend a family function, I had a chance to go for a Heritage Walk conducted by Janwani in conjunction with Pune Municipal Corporation.
In 2012, Heritage Volunteer Guides started taking participants on an exciting 2 1/2 hour journey through history, architecture, arts and traditions right in the heart of Pune City and now it is an award winning event.
The walk I was part of was conducted by Shirish Kembhavi, an Architect by profession and he was assisted by Ms Suchitra Joglekar.
We assembled at 7 am at the Pune Municipal Corporation office in Shivaji Nagar where we were met by the volunteers.
Our 1st stop was Shivaji Bridge, where we saw the Islamic influences on the bridge constructed by the British to connect Pune City with the newly developed University of Pune. The bridge has Adilshahi Arches, which are broader on sides with graceful tapering contours.
Another interesting thing is the Ghats on the river Mutha and some remnants of an old temple in the background (see picture).
Next was the abode of Peshwas for over 80 years, built by Bajirao 1 called Shaniwar Wada.
This building has a very important place in the history and life of Pune.
We then moved to a private property, where unfortunately photography was not allowed called Mujumdar Wada, a beautiful 18th century structure. Next stop was Fani Ali Talim, another historical place where warriors would exercise.
We then moved to Kasba Ganapti Mandir, considered the deity of the city. This deity even today receives first invite for all auspicious occasions in the city.
Another interesting find in this walk was the flower seller just outside the temple, she herself is over 100 years old and still sits in the flower shop.
Among other important heritage buildings covered in the walk, were some very old house now in dilapidated condition.
We also saw Lal Mahal, one of the most important monuments in the city. It was built by Shahji Bhonsle for his wife Jijabai and his son Shivaji in 1630. The original structure was destroyed and the present structure was reconstructed in 1980.
Nana Wada, mansion of Nana Phadnavis, Prime Minister of Peshwas, Bhau Rangari Ganapati, Tambdi Jogeshwar, Belbaug Mandir, Mahatma Phule Mandai, Pune Nagar Vachan Mandir, India’s 1st school for girls, Burud Alee , Tulsibaug Ram Mandir and Vishrambaug Wada were the other important landmarks covered.
There is a charge of Rs 250 for the walk.
If you are ever in Pune on a Sunday, don’t miss this walk. It is totally worth it.