Pune is known to have existed as a town since 937 AD. Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire, lived in Pune as a boy, and later oversaw significant growth and development of the town during his reign. In 1730, Pune became an important political centre as the seat of the Peshwa, the prime minister of the Chhatrapati of Satara. After the town was annexed to British India in 1817, it served as a cantonment town and as the "monsoon capital" of the Bombay Presidency until the independence of India. In independent India, Pune is known for its educational facilities, having more than a hundred educational institutes and nine universities. It also boasts a growing industrial hinterland, with many information technology and automotive companies setting up factories in Pune district.
Pune is also known as The Oxford of the East, due to the various educational institutions, and also sometimes referred to as The Detroit of India owing to the many manufacturing companies, particularly automobile giants, having their base within the city's metropolitan area.
Pune was a part of Yadava Empire of Deogiri from the 9th century to 1327. It was later ruled by the Nizamshahi sultans, until it was annexed by the Mughal empire in the 17th century. In 1595, Maloji Bhosale was appointed the jahagirdar of Pune and Supe by the Mughals.
From 1630 to 1647, Dadoji Kondev, Shivaji's childhood mentor and teacher, oversaw development and construction in the area. As a child, Shivaji is said to have commemorated agricultural activities personally by using specially made golden ploughs. After Shivaji was crowned Chhatrapati (King) in 1674, he oversaw further development in Pune, including the construction of the Guruwar, Somwar, Ganesh and Ghorpade Peths.
Baji Rao I became Peshwa of the Maratha empire, ruled by Chattrapati Shahuji, in 1720. By 1730, the palace of Shaniwarwada had been constructed on the banks of the Mutha river, ushering in the era of Peshwa control of the city. The patronage of the Peshwas resulted in the construction of many temples and bridges in the city, including the Parvati temple and the Sadashiv, Narayan, Rasta and Nana Peths. The Peshwas fell into decline after their loss in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. In 1802, Pune was captured from the Peshwa by Yashwantrao Holkar in the Battle of Poona, directly precipitating the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-05.
Nanasaheb Peshwa, the adopted son of the last Peshwa Bajirao II, rose against British East India Company rule in 1856, as part of the Indian Mutiny. He was helped by Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Tatya Tope. After the mutiny failed, the final remnants of the Maratha empire were annexed to British India.
Pune was an important centre for the social and religious reform movements of the late 19th century. Many prominent social reformers lived here, including Mahadev Govind Ranade, Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde and Jyotirao Phule. The most important political reformer of this era was Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who dominated the Indian political scene for six decades.
Pune is located 560m (1,837 ft) above sea level on the western margin of the Deccan plateau. It is situated on the leeward side of the Sahyadri mountain range (the Western Ghats), which separate it from the Arabian sea. It is a relatively hilly city, with its tallest hill, Vetal Hill, rising to 800m (2,625 ft) above sea level. Just outside the city, the Sinhagad fort is located at a height of 1300m.
Pune lies very close to the seismically active zone around Koyna Dam, about 100 km south of the city, and has been rated in Zone 4 (on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being the most prone to earthquakes) by the India Meteorological Department. Pune has experienced some moderate-intensity and many low-intensity earthquakes in its history. Although no major earthquakes have originated in Pune itself, an earthquake of magnitude 3.2 took place in the Katraj region near Pune on May 17, a low intensity earthquake observed on night of 30th July 08,the intensity of the earth quake was meaured at 4.2 as per news resources around 12:41 am. The epicenter for the Earth Quake was in Koyna Dam field 2004.
Pune experiences three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon and winter. Typical summer months are from March to May, with maximum temperatures ranging from 30 to 38 °C (85 to 100 °F). The warmest month in Pune is April; although summer doesn't end until May, the city often receives locally developed heavy thundershowers in May (although humidity remains high). Even during the hottest months, the nights are usually cool due to Pune's high altitude. The highest temperature ever recorded was 43.3°C on April 30, 1897.
The monsoon lasts from June to October, with moderate rainfall and temperatures ranging from 10°C to 28°C (50°F to 82°F). Most of the 722mm of rainfall in the city fall between June and September, and July is the wettest month of the year. Pune once received rainfall on 29 consecutive days.
Winter begins in November; November in particular is known as the Rosy Cold (Marathi: गुलाबी थंडी). The daytime temperature hovers around 28 °C (83 °F) while night temperature is below 10 °C (50 °F) for most of December and January, often dropping to 5 or 6 °C (42 °F). The lowest temperature ever located was 1.7 °C on January 17, 1935.
Both public transport (autorickshaws and buses) and private transport (cars, motorcycles and scooters) are popular in Pune. According to one study, there were then 400,000 cars and 1.6 million two-wheelers in Pune in 2007. More than 200,000 vehicles are added to the traffic in Pune every year. Public buses within the city and its suburbs are operated by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). A Pune Bus Rapid Transit system has been proposed, in which dedicated bus lanes would allow buses to travel quickly through the city. Buses to towns within Pune district surrounding Pune, as well as cities throughout Maharashtra are run by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. Private bus companies also run buses to major cities throughout India, especially Mumbai. Pune is well-connected to other cities by Indian highways and state highways. National Highway 4 (NH 4) connects it to Mumbai and Bangalore, NH 9 to Solapur and Hyderabad, and NH 50 to Nashik. State highways connect it to Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, and Alandi.
Since 2002, Pune has been connected to Mumbai via the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, India's first six-lane high-speed expressway. Both pre-paid air-conditioned "cool" cabs and private bus companies ply this route, connecting Mumbai and Pune in three hours.Out of the total distance of 165 km from Mumbai to Pune, the Express Highway part is 96 km.A ring road is being planned to be constructed for the convienience of traffic.
Pune has witnessed an extraordinary growth in vehicular density and has consequently seen an alarmingly high increase in traffic offenses, accidents, and fatalities resulting from these.
The city has two railway stations, one in the city and the other at Shivajinagar. Both stations are administrated by the Pune division of the Central Railways, which extends from after Lonavala (which is administered by the Mumbai CSTM division) to before Daund (which is under the Solapur division), to Baramati, and to Kolhapur (via Miraj). All the railway lines to Pune are broad gauge, with double electrified lines (1500 volt DC traction) to Lonavala, a double non-electrified line to Daund, and single non-electrified lines to Kolhapur via Miraj and Baramati via Daund.
Local trains (EMUs) connect Pune to the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad and the hill station of Lonavala, while daily express trains connect Pune to Mumbai, Howrah, Delhi, Jammutawi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and so on.
At Pune, there is diesel locomotive shed (DLS) and electric trip shed (ETS).
Apart from the PMC, four other administrative bodies are active within the Pune metropolitan area:
A plan to establish a single Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA), consisting of the combined municipal councils, corporations, and other local governments of Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Lonavala, Talegaon, Bhor, Shirur, Saswad, the three cantonments and hundred villages near the city, has been considered since 1997, but might come to fruition this year. This body will then be the executing authority which will acquire and develop reserve land to improve the infrastruction of the Pune metropolitan area.
Pune has been a prominent cantonment town since the early 1800s. Several important battles were fought in and around Pune, including the battle of Khadki (1817) and the battle of Koregaon (1818). Many military establishments have been set up here, including:
An old war memorial built to commemorate all who fought from Poona in the Great War is located opposite Sassoon Hospital. A new war memorial, the National War Memorial (Maharashtra) is located in Pune Cantonment near Ghorpadi. This memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Maharashtrian soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces who lost their lives in the conflicts fought by independent India.
Marathi is the official and the most widely spoken language, while English is understood and spoken widely. The dialect of Marathi spoken in Pune has been suggested to be the "standard" form of the language. Pune has many white-collar professionals thanks to a large number of educational, research and training institutes spread throughout the city..
As one of the largest cities in India, and as a result of its many colleges and universities, Pune is emerging as a prominent location for IT and manufacturing companies to expand to.
Other goods are also manufactured in the area. Electronic goods are manufactured by multinational companies such as the Whirlpool Corporation and the LG Group. Food giants like Frito Lay and Coca Cola have food processing plants. Many small and medium-sized companies are also active, producing components for larger companies and creating unique components for the Indian marketplace.
Pune has a rapidly growing software industry as well, with multinational companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra, Wipro and Infosys having large offices here. The growing software industry has led to the construction of IT parks to encourage new IT companies. This includes the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park at Hinjawadi, the Magarpatta Cybercity, the MIDC Software Technology Park at Talawade, the Marisoft IT Park and Kumar Cerebrum IT Park at Kalyani Nagar, the International Convention Centre (ICC), Weikfield IT Park and many others.
Business process outsourcing companies have also seen significant growth here, with companies like Convergys, Infosys BPO, EXL, Wipro BPO, Next, vCustomer, Ventura and Mphasis setting up operations here.
Pune has more than a hundred educational institutes and nine universities, and has acquired a reputation as 'The Oxford of the East', with students from all over the world studying at the colleges of the University of Pune. Pune has more schools, colleges and universities than any other city in the world.
Pune is the largest centre for Japanese learning in India. JLPT exams are held every December. Instruction in Japanese is provided by many educators, including the University of Pune. Other languages including German (taught at the Max Muller Bhavan) and French (at the Alliance Francaise de Poona) are popular in the city.
The College of Engineering, Pune, founded in 1854, is the third-oldest engineering college in Asia. The Deccan Education Society was founded by several local citizens in 1884, including social and political activist Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and was responsible for founding Fergusson College in 1885. This society currently maintains and operates 32 institutes in Pune.
The University of Pune, the National Defence Academy, Film and Television Institute of India, National Film Archives, Armed Forces Medical College and National Chemical Laboratory were established in Pune after the independence of India.
Symbiosis International University, which operates 33 different colleges and institutions in the city, is one of India's largest private universities. Its institutions Symbiosis Institute of Business Management and Symbiosis Center for Management and Human Resource Development are amongst the top management institutes in the country.
ILS Law College, established by the Indian Law Society is one of the top ten law schools in India. Established medical schools such as the Armed Forces Medical College and Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College train students from all over Maharashtra and India and are amongst the top medical colleges in India. Military Nursing College (affiliated to the AFMC) ranks among the top nursing colleges in the world.
In addition to the University of Pune, Pune is home to several research institutions of national importance. Located adjacent to the university is the National Chemical Laboratory, one of the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), while the university campus houses the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics and the National Centre for Cell Science.
The KEM Hospital Research Centre, Central Water and Power Research Station (CW & PRS), National Institute Of Bank Management (NIBM), NIC [National Informatics Centre], the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the Agharkar Research Institute and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), and the National AIDS Research Institute are all in or around Pune.
The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute was established in 1917 and is a world-renowned institute for research and instruction in the Sanskrit and Prakrit languages and houses more than 20,000 ancient manuscripts. The National Institute of Virology and National Insurance Academy are located in Pune. Pune also houses the Tata Research Development and Design Centre, a research unit of Tata Consultancy Services, working in the areas of computer science and modeling/simulation for materials processing.
Several military and armament research organizations are also located in Pune (see the Military establishments section in this article).
As the largest city with a predominantly Marathi-speaking populace, Pune is closely associated with Marathi art, literature, drama and religious beliefs. Many Marathi writers, poets, actors, singers and other celebrities live in Pune. In recent years, cinemas, discos and clubs have also opened up as the younger, westernized college students and young professionals make their presence felt.
Lisa Klopfer, librarian at Eastern Michigan University, observed in her overview of district libraries that the city's metropolitan area "has an estimated population of over five million, but retains [its] older neighborhoods and the aura of an intellectual center. Corporate roles in city growth strategies necessarily "invite and include collaboration" with local self-governments; as the agro-pharmaceutical business has dwindled in recent decades, immigation from erstwhile tribal peoples now accounts for seventy percent of population growth and education syllabi have not adjusted in accordance with other industrialised regions.
This has created what has become an "exclusive environment" in the government's expansion of education infrastructure, and Marathi literati have have received a number of grants in areas that were previously ignored. Marathi theatre (नाटक or रंगभूमी in Marathi) is an integral part of Marathi culture. Both experimental (प्रायोगिक रंगभूमी) and professional theatre receive extensive patronage from the Marathi community. The Tilak Smarak Mandir, Bala Gandharva Rangmandir, Bharat Natya Mandir, Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagriha and Sudarshan Rangmanch are prominent theatres in the city.
Pune has given many famous artists to the traditional Indian music world. Well known names are great vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in earlier generation to gifted Sitarist Pandit Chandrakant Sardeshmukh.
As per wish of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Pandit Chandrakant Sardeshmukh has initiated an under graduate department of Music Dance and Drama on University of Pune campus as a student founder in 1980. This is named as Lalit Kala Kendra and started formally in 1987 with Pandit Chandrakant Sardeshmukh as first joint coordinator. This department is currently lead by Prof. Satish Alekar. This department has Gurukul and formal education system combined. Well known artists like great vocalistPandit Bhimsen Joshi, well known Kathak Dancers Rohini Bhate and Manisha Sathe ,renowned Bharatnatyam dancer Sucheta Bhide Chapekar, renowned viloinist Atul Upadhye and so many artists teach here as University Teachers and Traditional Gurus.
Hinduism is the most commonly practised religion in Pune, although many mosques, gurudwaras, Jain temples and other religious buildings are found throughout the city. The most prominent Hindu temple in Pune is the Parvati temple, located on Parvati hill and visible from most of the inner suburbs. The most famous is likely the Chaturshringi Temple, located on the slopes of a hill in the northwest of the city. During Navratri (which usually falls in the month of September), there is a large procession to this temple and worshippers gather from around the country to pray here.
Since 1894, Pune has celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi as a ten-day long festival, in which most neighborhoods put up a pandal (tent) with an idol of Ganesha, often amidst a mythological setting, complete with decorative lights and festive music. This festival culminates with a parade of Ganesh idols from across the city carried to the local rivers to be immersed (Ganesh visarjan). The Kasba Ganapati, as the presiding deity of the city, is the first in this parade. The idea of a public celebration was initiated by Lokmanya Tilak in Pune, and has since spread to many other cities, particularly Mumbai, which has a massive parade every year.
Significant religious leaders Sant Dnyaneshwar (born in Alandi in the 13th century) and poet Sant Tukaram (born in Dehu in the 17th century) were born near Pune. Their link to the city is commemorated with an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur, 300 kilometers away, consisting of a palkhi of both figures being carried to the main temple of the Hindu god Vithoba. The pilgrimage is timed to end on the auspicious day of Aashadhi Ekadasshi.
Pune was once home to a group of the Bene Israel, a Jewish community in western India. Although many of them migrated to Israel after Indian independence, it remains home to Asia's largest synagogue, the Ohel David Synagogue (known locally as the Lal Deval, or Red Temple).
The Shrutisagar Ashram, located at Phulgaon village off Ahmednagar road, houses the Vedanta Research Centre and a unique temple of Lord Dakshinamurthy, located near the confluence of the Bhima, Bhama and Indrayani rivers. It was established in 1989 by Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati. Here one can find detailed explanations of śruti and smrti (including the Vedas, Bhagwat Gita, Upanishads and Puranas) in Marathi and English.
Pune has been associated with several significant spiritual teachers. Osho (known earlier as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) lived and taught in Pune for much of the 1970s and 1980s. The Osho International Meditation Resort, one of the world's largest spiritual centers, is located in the Koregaon Park area. It has visitors from over a hundred countries. Pune is also the birthplace of spiritual guru Meher Baba, although pilgrims usually travel to Meherabad.
The ISKCON movement also has a presence in the city, with the Sri Radha Kunjbihari Mandir.
Pune has a number of public gardens, such as the Kamala Nehru Park, Sambhaji Park, Shahu Udyan, Peshwe Park, Saras Baug, Empress Garden, and Bund Garden. The Pune-Okayama Friendship Garden, now renamed Pu La Deshpande Udyan, is a recreation of the Korakuen Garden in Okayama, Japan.
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park is located at Katraj, close to the city . The zoo, earlier located at Peshwe Park, was merged with the reptile park at Katraj in 1999.
The College of Military Engineering has a small rail museum as part of their larger Corps Equipment Museum. A large railway museum is also coming up in Lonavala about 60 kms away from the city on the Mumbai railway line.
Like any other cosmopolitan city, food from all over the world is available in the city's restaurants. A large number of Udupi, Kolhapuri and Maharashtrian restaurants may be found, along with many low-priced dining halls catering to students and office goers. Popular fast-food franchises in the city include Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Smokin' Joes and Papa Johns. There are several coffee houses (including Irani cafes) and modern chains such as Cafe Coffee Day, Mocha's and Barista Lavazza Coffee.
The Pune metropolitan area also includes the following areas, located roughly to the northwest of Pune city. These are administered by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.
Star Maajha, Zee Marathi, Doordarshan Sahyadri and ETV Marathi, Me Marathi, are popular television channels. Many English and Hindi entertainment and news channels are watched as well. Pune has FM Radio services as well running for last few years. Though Radio Mirchi (98.3 MHz) tops the popularity rating, AIR FM (101.MHz),Radio City(91.10), Radio One (94.30),S FM93.5 and Vidyavaani (Pune Universities' own FM Channel) have their presence felt.
There are plans to make Pune India’s first wireless city. Intel Corporation, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Microsense joined hands to commercially roll out the first phase of a 802.16d Wi-Fi and WiMax network in the city. The first phase of the Unwire Pune project deployment would provide wireless connectivity in a 25 km² expanse of the city. After the completion of the first phase, in around four months, Pune Municipal Corp is planning to make services commercially available to citizens offering a speed of 256 kbit/s.
Cricket is played between clubs affiliated to the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), which maintains a domestic cricket team (the Maharashtra cricket team). This team, one of three based in the state of Maharashtra, competes in interstate matches and leagues, such as the Ranji Trophy.
Prominent sporting institutions in Pune include the Nehru Stadium, the Deccan Gymkhana, PYC Hindu Gymkhana and the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi. The Nehru Stadium is the home ground of the Maharashtra cricket team, and has hosted many prominent cricket events, including one of the matches in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. The Deccan Gymkhana has hosted Davis Cup matches on several occasions. The facility at Balewadi hosted the National Games in 1994, and is slated to host the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. The Royal Connaught Boat Club is one of several boating clubs on the Mula-Mutha river. A newer cricket stadium is to be constructed by 2010, near Gahunje village on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Prominent sportspersons hailing from Pune include cricketer D. B. Deodhar, father-son cricketing duo Hemant and Hrishikesh Kanitkar, tennis players Radhika Tulpule, Gaurav Natekar and Nitin Kirtane, and table-tennis player Aniket Koparkar. Abhijit Kunte and Pravin Thipse are chess grandmasters and national champions. Dhanraj Pillay, ex-captain of the Indian hockey team. Local MP Suresh Kalmadi is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association.
The only adventure sports in India is organized by NEF in Pune and is called Enduro3. It attracts participants from all over India and is normally a 2-3 day event with activities like cycling, trekking, river-crossing and rifle shooting.
The rules of badminton were first formalized in Pune in 1873. The 2008 commonwealth youth games are going to be held in Pune,which will give Pune,the prominence of sports.