Here are a few Pune’s best kept secrets that come to my mind instantly:
1. Shrimant Balajirao Peshwa’s water supply system!
An 18th century intricate water supply system built during reign of the Shrimant Balaji Bajirao Peshwa still exists in Pune. The water supply system is surprisingly in good condition and comprises huge ducts and underground tunnels originating from Katraj Lake of the city to the historic Shaniwarwada Fort, the ancient seat of the Peshwas.
2. Where Shivaji Maharaj and his men halted
The Temple opposite to Congress Bhavan (Near PMC Office) has witnessed history in a literal sense: If Babasaheb Purandare is to be believed, when Shivaji Maharaj escaped Agra, he traveled across states to reach Pune where he had asked his men to keep horses in this temple. Maharaj rode the horses from this temple to Raigad, his capital.
3. Mastani’s personal lake!
The beautiful and brave, Mastani lived in the dense forest of Kothrud. Mainly the Mruntunjay Mandir area. Her tomb lies in the ruins in Pabal, Pune district. A popular tourist site. Local lore in Pune believes that while in Pune, Mastani used to go for her bath to a lake (created by Bajirao specially for Mastani on Pune – Saswad Road) with her entourage. That lake still exists there.
4. When Most of Shaniwar wada brunt
Shaniwar Wada in all its glory was the most beautiful wada in Pune. If stories are to be believed, except for the walls, it was entirely made up of teak wood. One of the buildings in the Shaniwarwada complex was seven stores high. On February 27, 1828, an unexplained fire, started inside the palace complex. The conflagration raged for seven days. Only the heavy granite ramparts, strong teak gateways and deep foundations and ruins of the buildings within the fort survived.
4. Nanasaheb Peshwa’s memorial ruined!
Seldom would people know that there is a Nanasaheb Peshwa memorial on the banks of river Mutha near Sambhaji Bridge but it lies in ruins now. Nanasaheb Peshwa was cremated at the site where his memorial now stands. To pay your tributes, take the stairs opposite to Poona Hospital that lead to the riverbed where the memorial is located.
5. Centre of Pune
Not really a secret for the average Puneri Jog (goes well with Joe), the Pataleshwar Caves are right in the heart of city. Seen to be believed.
6. Sarasbaug Ganpati temple was in the middle of a lake
The Sarasbaugh Ganpati is also called as the Talyatla Ganpati because it was in the middle of a lake near the Parvati Temple. The temple was also used for military strategy discussions by Marathas who used to go to the Saras baug by boat to discuss the issue & plans. The boats were steered by the Non-Natives like Africans for complete secrecy, as they will not understand the local language Marathi.
7. Savarkar’s boycott British goods movement!
Savarkar boycotted British items and his action of burning of foreign clothes in Pune became famous all over the country. The place where Savarkar burned clothes can be seen right opposite to the main gate of Vimlabai Garware School.
8. Chitle Bandhu doesn’t make all their mithais?
On a lighter note: Some of the items that you ever buy from Chitale Mithai are NOT made by Chitale but by some third-party vendor.
9. Badminton is a made in Pune sport.!
You read it right, Badminton was invented in Pune. Yes you read it right. Earlier the gane was unknown as Poona. After the gane being world famous, courtesy the British rule in India the game was give new name called “Badminton”.