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At the Shaniwar Wada

After taking our Hyundai Santa Fe through the hills and along the coasts of south India, we headed out from our latest rest stop, Pune, direction west, exploring the lay of the land and all it had to offer

Story: Harket Suchde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

If you’ve been following this travel series over the past couple of issues, you’ll know that we started off in the Hyundai Santa Fe at mainland India’s southern-most tip, Kanyakumari, and finished just as we were about to arrive in Pune. This is the continuation of that journey. Pune, as I mentioned in the last piece of this nationwide travel series, is also the city where the Car India HQ is located – one of the many destinations that we paid a visit to in the Santa Fe.

The Agakhan PalaceFirst things first, though. As soon as we reached Pune, we traded in our current ‘Stardust’ coloured Santa Fe for a shiny new ‘Sleek Silver’ one. That done, we went ahead and checked out the one landmark that Pune is instantly identifiable with: the Shaniwarwada. A symbol of the power and prestige of the fledgling Maratha empire in its pomp, the Shaniwarwada is located in the heart of Pune, both geographically and symbolically. It has been the heart of Pune city since 1746, holding off the enemies and keeping her illustrious Peshwa rulers safe. We also took the time out to visit the Mahatma Phule Mandai or main market of the city. Located in Shukrawar Peth, this iconic marketplace is a must-see, especially the fruit vendors area, which is just an explosion of colours. We also stopped by at the legendary Vishrambaugwada that proudly proclaims the original name of Pune, Punya Nagari, before quick visits to Sarasbaug, Agakhan Palace, and Peshwe Park, places that have enthralled the populace of Pune from one generation to the next.

Getting our fill of the scenery of Pune, we turned back towards the highway, moving towards Dahanu via Thane and Ghodbandar. If you plan to make this journey any time soon, check whether the bridge that you arrive at immediately after you cross the breadth of Thane has been fixed or not. If it hasn’t, be prepared to be stuck there for more than an hour as the traffic from both directions is alternately filtered through via a tiny single-lane bridge. After waiting patiently our turn at the said bridge, we pressed on to Dahanu.

On the way to Dahanu

 

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