Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Cultural Center was created in the year 2000 and it was inaugurated by the Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra State on 1.4.2000. The most important part of the Center is its Exhibition Gallery. This gallery holds an exhibition on the life of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Photographs of significant events in the life of Dr. Ambedkar are on view here. For eg. the Pune Pact, Round Table Conference, as Minister of Law, adoption of Buddism, Parinirvan etc. In one corner is a replica of the difficult circumstances through which Matoshree Ramabai Ambedkar survived during her marriage to Dr. Ambedkar.
Bhagwan Buddha being the guru of Dr. Ambedkar, several metallic icons of Buddha in various forms have also been exhibited in showcases. Similarly, statues of Buddha from Kolkata, carved in stone, are also included in the exhibition. These various metallic forms of Buddha are of profound spiritual significance. Photographs, write-ups, badges, symbols of honor, medals, uniforms which signify the sacrifices of the Mahar regiment, formed by Dr. Ambedkar in 1940, in defending the nation are displayed here. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution written in bronze letters in Hindi, Marathi and English is also included in the exhibition. A replica of the Chaityabhumi, the monument where his Parinirvan occurred is also a part of the exhibition. A few personal articles used by Dr. Ambedkar are also displayed in the exhibition.
Address: Deccan Gymkhana, Karve Road, near Yashwantrao Chavan two-wheeler bridge.
Swatantryaveer Savarkar had studied at the Furgusson College in Pune. He was admitted to the first year on 24 th June 1902. It was the period when Lokmanya Tilak had initiated an anti-British campaign through his four-point programme of Swadeshi(made in India), Swabhasha(Indian language), Swashikshan(Indian Education) and Bahishkar(boycott). The partition of Bengal was also declared in 1905. Hence, a number of anti-British campaigns had taken root at that time.
Swantantryaveer Savarkar had set on fire foreign-made clothes, on the banks of Mutha at the site of the memorial, on Dassera, 8 th October 1905, when he was still a student. To add to the importance of the event, Lokmanya Tilak, S.M.Paranjape of "Kaal" made excellent speeches at the site. This event holds great value in the history of Independence.
To preserve the memories of this event, it has been depicted through a mural on the walls of the memorial as follows: Clothes set on fire, a large crowd surrounding it, Swatantryaveer Savarkar, Lokmanya Tilak, S.M.Paranjape are at the center. In the background is a half-statue of Savarkar, wearing a topi(cap), in his student days and in front of the statue is a blazing torch. There is a special kind of fountain erected in front of the memorial by Engineer Sanjeev Naik. An 88 sq.ft. rectangular tank is fitted with 200 water jets and orange and red light bulbs to create an effect of a burning fire. The state-of -the- art nozzle technology has been used in this fountain. This creates an effect of rising flames being thrown up through jets of water. During day- time it looks like any other fountain but at night it resembles blazing fire.
Jog Bird Park
This birds' paradise is indeed the Studio and Orchestra in Nature, vibrant with the music of birds. You will get an opportunity to watch with pleasure and study the behavior - patterns and habits if the rare species of birds like Macaw, Lorykeets etc. bought from far-off places like Australia, Singapore etc. The bird park will enable the bird-lovers to study systematically and in details, the food habits, the likes and dislikes, the native places and the span of life of these birds along with other informative items. It will satisfy your curiosity and serve as an appetizer for further studies. It will rekindle your interest in birds. It will also help you appreciate special features of different birds and will enable you to endear yourselves to your bird friends.
Pune University was established on 10 th February,1949. The university campus has an area of 411 acres. Different species of trees are found here. Dal Bargia is a species imported from Africa. The characteristic of this species is that it doesn't grow beyond 15 feet. They grow shoots from below into the ground which helps them survive the severe heat of the summers. In fact they flower with the pre-monsoon showers. The flowers are tiny and fragrant. Due to the verdant atmosphere, it is frequented by a number of bird-watchers.
The main building of the University is built in the Italian gothic style. Its construction began in 1864 and was completed in 1871. Well-manicured lawns surround the main building. The convocation ceremony is held on these lawns. There are fountains below these lawns. The building has some special features of its own. It was built as a palace for the Governor of Bombay. The Governor used this as his monsoon residence. The different halls reflect their purpose as used in those days. The building has two porches. The first porch opens into the Darbar Hall, now known as the "Dnyaneshwar Sabhagriha". The front part holds male and female statues gifted by His Highness of Aundh. The Governer used this hall for meetings with high ranking citizens like the Kings, Sardars, Raosaheb, Raobahadur, etc. The chandeliers in this hall are much talked about. The floors were once covered with rich Persian carpets. Above, there is viewing gallery for women. This hall has wooden flooring.
Beyond this hall, we find the marble hall. This was used for hosting banquets and receptions. This spacious hall is a characteristic feature of this building. Next to it, is today's Shivaji Sabhagriha. Here, there are oil-paintings of the Governor mounted in carved wooden frames. These oils are considered masterpieces. There is one of Shivaji Maharaj too. The hall next to it has fireplaces installed in it. It is now known as the Ramdas Hall. On entering the building through the other porch we come across an icon of Goddess Sarawati placed on an old carved table. Here, we find the oil-painting of the first Vice-Chancellor of Pune University, Shri Mukund Ramrao Jaykar. We also find ancient arms and ammunition and the publications of the University. Beyond is the GadgeMaharaj Sabhagriha.
The upper story held the bedrooms and other rooms of the Governor. Another special feature of this building is its 100 foot tall tower, built in red stone. It holds the flag staff. The flag is hoisted here on the Foundation Day of the University. There is a beautiful garden in the front with oak trees over 150 years old. The University has various teaching and research departments like Physics, Chemistry, Computers, Electronics, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology as well as English, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, French, German, Japanese and others like Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Anthropology, Psychology, Law etc. There are 253 colleges and 129 research institutes affiliated to the University. The Jaykar Library of the University is the largest library in Pune. It holds nearly 4 ½ lakh volumes. Pune University has a tradition of renowned Vice-Chancellors like Dr. Jaykar, Wrangler R.P. Paranjpe, D.G.Karve, Mahamahopadhyay D.V.Potdar, N.V.Gadgil, D.R. Gadgil, Pataskar, Dr. B.P. Apte, Wrangler G.S. Mahajani, Prof. Dabholkar, Dr. Ram Takawale, Dr. V.G. Bhide, Dr. Shreedhar Gupte, Dr. Vasant Govarikar, Dr. Arun Nigvekar, Dr. Kolaskar. The Campus has Institutions like C-DAC, BioInformatics, National Center for Cell Science, Science Technology Park, UGC office. The famous IUUCA started by Dr. Jayant Narlikar is also situated here. Beyond, we find the Botanical Garden and the Spicer Memorial College. Outside the University, there is a junction of 5 roads. One leads to the N.C.L. at Pashan, one to Shivajinagar, one to Balewadi. The road leading to Aundh has the Rajbhavan which is the residence of the Governor.
There is a hillock at about 5 km. to the north of Pune. The temple of Goddess Chatushrungi is situated here. There is a legend behind the establishment of this temple. It says: There was a high-ranking citizen of Pune named Durlabhsheth. He was a regular pilgrim of the Saptashrungi temple situated on a hill in Nashik. However, as he grew older, he found it difficult to continue this annual pilgrimage. He had a vision of the Goddess in his dreams who promised him to come to a hill in Pune for him. Acting on this divine message, Durlabhshetji constructed this temple in 1786. The temple is built in picturesque surroundings by chiseling the stones in the hill.
There are steps built in stone to approach the temple. The temple has two entrances. There is a huge assembly hall around the temple. During Navratri festival, in the month of Ashwin of the Hindu calendar, Yagvidhi (ritual of the holy fire) is conducted in this assembly hall. The temple has a beautiful dome at the top. For generations, a family called Angal, looks after the management of the temple. Since the last 10-15 years, the surrounding area of the temple is being developed. Lots of new trees have been planted in this process. A new approach road for slow climbers has been built. There are benches installed for resting. A huge entrance door has been built which first leads to the icon of Lord Ganesha, which one is supposed to visit prior to the Goddess. There is a big fair during the Navratri festival. Visits by people all over the city continue through the day and night. One gets a birds's eye view of Pune city from the hillock. Worshippers in large numbers visit the temple on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was the architect of the Indian Constitution. This museum contains the urn with his ashes and other articles. The building is built like a "Stoopa" described in Buddhism. The chair which Dr. Ambedkar had used while drafting the Constitution, his easychair, footwear, clothes, fur cap, gardening shears, cases used in his travel abroad are preserved here besides articles like his violin, dining table, watch, the bed on which he breathed his last, stationery, his handwriting, books etc. The BharatRatna Award is also preserved. There is a photo-gallery above. Pictures of important events of his life are displayed here with titles. This exhibition helps us to have a glimpse of the great work done by this legendary Indian figure. The brochure about the museum costs Rs. 10/- and a memento of Dr. Ambedkar, his laminated photograph, is available for Rs. 15/-.
Symbiosis is a renowned educational institution in Pune. The institution has lodging facilities for foreign students and it also assists them in their admissions in educational institutes in Pune. Behind, we find a lovely hillock with a Hanuman temple and picturesque surrounding and a bird's eye view of Pune city. This is a place to visit at leisure. Further we have the "Balbharati" where curricular text books for school students are published. Next, on the right are buildings like Bhandarkar Institute, Law College, Film and Television Institute, National Film Archives, Dr. Jaykar's bungalow, etc. On the road to the left, are institutions like the Bal Chitravani and the Agharkar Research Institute. In the same vicinity, we find the two places where P.L.Deshpande lived and died, the Malti-Madhav Building and Dr. Prayag Hosptial. This is the clean and beautiful area of Pune. Children from most of the families residing here, have settled abroad.?? We cross the Sambhaji Bridge from here. This was earlier known as the Lakdi Pool. In 1761, the army of the Peshwas which returned to Pune after their defeat in the battle of Panipat, had crossed this bridge home. In 1961, during the Panshet floods, the water levels had reached 8 to 10 ft. above this bridge. Next, we come to Tilak Road. Alka Theater as well as the Head Office of the Bharati Vidyapeeth is found in this square. We pass the Maharashtra Mandal, Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, Tilak Smarak Mandir, S.P.College, Grahak Peth etc. before finally reaching the Saras Baug.
Kesariwada And Tilak Wada
On 22 nd January 1999, a museum depicting pictures on the life and work of Lokmanya Tilak, was established at Tilak Wada (568, Narayan Peth, Kesari Office). The museum also contains articles of his personal use like a lamp, table, clothes and pictures of his colleagues. The manuscript of "Geeta Rahasya", the volume he authored at Mandalay is also preserved here. A number of letters, awards also can be found on display. Entry is free and the time for visit is from 10-1 in the morning and 3-6 in the evening on all days.
This is Lokmanya Tilak's residence at 568, Narayan Peth, Pune-30. Kesari, a daily newspaper of more than a 100 years is published from here. Tilak has left a lasting impression on the life of Pune. The Tilak Museum is aptly created to reflect this.
Shaniwarwada is a monument of glory for Pune. It is relic from the prosperous past. It was the Peshwe's residence. It was from here that the Peshwas directed the development of the Maratha Empire. They demonstrated the power of the Marathas to the Moghuls in Delhi, the Nizam and the British. This monument was constructed by the great Thorale(Senior) Bajirao Peshwe (1710-1740). The construction began on 10 th January 1730 and was completed on 17 th January 1732. It cost Rs. 16,120 at that time. The following generations of Peshwas added several palaces and other buildings to the campus.
The outer wall surrounding the Shaniwarwada was also constructed later. It is almost square in shape built over an area of 6 ¼ acres. The North-South length is 184 yards while the East-West width is 164 yards. The Wada has 5 entrances. The main entrance is known as the 'Delhi Darwaja'. You stand facing this entrance. It is 21 feet high and 14 feet wide. There are 144 iron stakes on the doors. The enemy had to use elephants to break open these doors. The iron stakes have been fitted at a distance of 6-7 feet for protection. It has a sub-entrance since the huge doors are opened only occasionally. There is a huge horizontal wooden plank fitted behind the door to avoid breaking. There is an immediate turn to the right on entering to prevent direct entry of the enemy. You can reach the "Nagakhana"(place for giant drums) on climbing a flight of stairs. The flag staff is placed here. The surrounding wall of the Wada is 33 feet high. Its width is 18 feet at the ground level and 11 feet at the top. There are steps within the wall to reach its top. The lower 10 /18 feet of the wall is constructed in stone. It is topped by brickwork and the structure is quite strong.
Next to the Delhi Darwaja is the "Mastani Darwaja." It was used by Bajirao's wife Mastani and her sons. The "Khidki Darwaja" beyond it, was reserved for guests. Entities like the British delegates and senior officers of the army used this entrance. In the eastern corner is the "Ganesh Darwaja". There is a temple of Lord Ganesha next to this entrance. The womenfolk of the Peshwas used this entrance for visiting the Kasba Ganesh temple. To the south is the "Narayan Darwaja". The body of the murdered Peshwa - Narayanrao was carried through this entrance. There is no entrance on the western side, but there are steps in the wall to reach over the wall. There were 9 observation posts on the wall. Each post was manned round the clock. There are windows in the walls. They were used for firing on the enemy. In 1828, a fire had broken in the Wada.
The platforms in the halls of the palaces are the only remains of the past, inside the Wada today. And one more piece that is intact is the fountain erected by Sawai Madavrao - the "Hazari(thousand) Karanja(Fountain)". The fountain ejected a thousand jets of water at a time. It was the same fountain which he jumped on and committed suicide. The Wada had more than 40 halls. The most beautiful was the Ganesh Mahal. A colored picture depicting a full court in the Ganesh Mahal, and a British resident offering gifts to Sawai Madhavrao, is still in existence. A copy of this picture is with historian Ninad Bedekar. It is also found with the Indian Historical Research Society. (Bharatiya Itihaas Sanshodhan Mandal). Thorale Bajirao, Nanasaheb Peshwe, Madhavrao, Narayanrao, Raghunathrao, Sawai Madhavrao and lastly. Bajirao the Second, were the generations of Peshwas who lived here.
On 17 th November 1897, the Union Jack was hoisted on the Shaniwarwada. After Independence, now the national flag is hoisted on it. Leaders like Swantantryaveer Savarkar orated before the Shaniwarwada. The Wada has seen the movement for Unified Maharashtra, freedom movement of Goa, struggle against Emergency Rule and many other felicitations too. After bearing witness to numerous political, cultural and religious events, the Wada still continues to inspire nationalism in the future generations. There is a light and sound show called "Gatha Chhatrapatinchya Peshwyanchi" (the saga of the Chhatrapati's(Crowned King's) Peshwe" every evening between 7 to 8 and 8.15 to 9.15 at the Shaniwarwada. The ticket charges are Rs. 25/-.
The army of the Adilshah of Vijapur destroyed the city of Pune in 1630. Houses were burnt down, people were murdered. It is said that the city was razed to the ground, using a donkey-driven plough. After this in 1630, Dadoji Konddeo entered Pune with 6 year old Shivaji and Rajmata Jijabai. He bought land from Zambre Patil and constructed a Wada. The foundation was 52.5 feet by 82.5 feet. The height of the Wada was 30.5 feet. Besides this, there were many basements of about 13.5 feet deep. There were fountains in the square. To the west of the fountains was a spacious verandah. The verandah was almost like a mini-court. This was how the LalMahal was constructed. Shivaji and Rajmata Jijabai lived here. They could be visiting the Kasba Ganesh Temple in the vicinity.
It was in this Lal Mahal that Shivaji and Jijabai planned to rejuvenate Pune, and set about it by ploughing the land with a golden plough. On 16 th May 1640 in Pune, Shivaji was married to Saibai, daughter of Naik-Nimbalkar of Phaltan and brought the new bride to Lal Mahal. Shivaji's octagonal seal was created in the Lal Mahal. Around 1646-47, Shivajiraje shifted residence to Rajgad. After this, Lal Mahal was used as an office for the administration of Pune. Between 1660-63, the LalMahal was occupied by Shahistekhan. On 6 th April 1663, Shivajiraje attacked the Lal Mahal. In the fight that ensued, Shahistekhan lost three of his fingers. 55 men from his army were killed including his son Abul Fattehkhan. Shahistekhan left LalMahal and Pune on 8 th April 1663. If Pune is considered the first capital of Swaraj, then LalMahal was the first royal residence. In the period that followed, the Lal Mahal fell into ruins. Due to the various attacks on Pune, the LalMahal was razed to the ground.
It is said that during the construction of the Shaniwarwada, some soil and stones of the LalMahal were used for luck. In 1734-35, a few houses were constructed on the land of the LalMahal and given for use to Ranoji Shinde and Ramchandraji. The records in the offices of the Peshwas mention that Lal Mahal was used for arranging feasts for the Brahmins during the thread-ceremony of Sadoba, son of Chimajiappa. The current LalMahal is built only on a part of the land of the original Lal Mahal. The new LalMahal was not rebuilt in the same fashion as the original one. Much information is not found about the area and structure of the original LalMahal. The current LalMahal is rebuilt by the PMC to preserve the memories of the past. Hence, it does not have the fountains or the window through which Shahistekhan made his exit. The PMC started construction of the current LalMahal in 1984 and completed it on 14.5.1988. The current Lal Mahal is a memorial holding a collection of large size oil-paintings based on the significant events in the life of Shivaji, a statue of Rajmata Jijabai, a carving depicting Shivaji using a gold plough along with Dadoji Konddeo and Jijabai, a fiber model of Raigad with horsemen etc., a huge map of Maharashtra indicating the forts of Shivaji, etc. It was inaugurated on 17 th May 2000.
The highlights in the life of Shivaji have been depicted by Pratap Rao Mulik in one hall. His military training, the oath of Swaraj, his love of justice, the struggle with Afzalkhan, attack on Shahistekhan, looting Surat, the Pact of Purandar, exile in Agra, advice to Chhatrasal Bundela, the crowning ceremony etc. This hall was inaugurated on 15 th January 1999. A light and sound show depicting the event of Shahistekhan losing his fingers is proposed for the future . Similarly, a museum displaying articles of Shivaji's era is also being planned. Currently, the LalMahal Shivachitrasrushti( the paintings on Shivaji's life) is managed by an organization called Yashasri Mahila Pratishthan.
Reference: Pune Nagar Sanshodhan Vritta (Pune city research news) : Part I and Raja Shivachhatrapati: Author: Babasaheb Purandare. (Visiting hours: Morning- 9 to 1, Evening - 4-8. Entrance fee charged)
Dagdusheth Halvai Ganapati
The 107 year old Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Festival is the jewel in the crown of Maharashtra?s long history of community Ganesh festival. It is distinguished by its endeavour to uphold Maharashtra?s cultural heritage.This famous temple of Pune is known as Dagdu Halwai Datta Mandir. Devotees residing in Pune and around often visit this temple and offer their prayers. Everyday, Poojas are performed twice. Huge mounds of coconuts lie behind the pandal, these are offered to the diety for fulfilling their desires. The idol is bedecked with nearly tons of gold and many precious stones.
Jotiba Phule was a social reformer of the nineteenth century. The Wada where he resided was declared as a State protected memorial in 1972. On 10 th December 1991, it was declared as a National Memorial at the hands of Dr. Shankardayal Sharma. The Wada contains four halls. The first hall contains the photograph of Mahatma Phule, his brief life history and an inscription of the contents of his will. The next three hall contain colored pictures created by Vasant Athavale of Nagpur, on the significant events of Phule's life. His education, marriage, his handwriting, photographs of the books he authored, and his own picture have been displayed.
Jotiba Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj and was felicitated by Major Candy. Through pictures of various such events, we are apprised of the social conditions prevailing in the nineteenth century. There is a well in the courtyard outside the house. He opened it up for the untouchables of that time. We can see this well here. His ashes have been preserved by his wife Savitribai Phule in the space outside the house. His statue has been erected in this area.
This is a matter of pride not only for Pune but for the country. Dr. Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar (1896-1990) had, in his life of 94 years, traveled all over the country and collected about 20,000 articles which have been divided into 40 sections. They have been neatly displayed in 12 galleries across the 3 floors of the building. The building has an elevator. Initially, Kelkar held an exhibition of thousands of lamps that he had collected. It was well-appreciated by the public. He then created the museum. The museum has been named after his son Raja Kelkar. He has been awarded the prestigious D.Lit degree by the University of Pune for his precious work.
The museum is situated at a central place, near Mandai(vegetable market), (1378, Shukruwar Peth), in a lane off Bajirao Road. It is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. It remains closed on the 15 th August, 26 th January and on AnantChaturdashi day.
Charges: Adult: Rs. 15/-, Child: Rs. 5/- for Indians
Adult: Rs. 200/-, Child: Rs. 50/- for foreigners.
This marble icon of Lord Ganesha has its trunk turned to the right, which is said to be very auspicious, and is situated in the lake at Sarabaug near Peshwe Park. Its height is 2 feet and it is four-handed, seated in a "Padmasana". In one right hand he holds the "Parshu", the other is resting on his lap. In one left hand is the "Modak"(a sweet condiment), and other holds a "Farash" (an axe like tool).
Shreemant Thorale(Senior) Madhavrao Peshwe, an ardent worshipper of Lord Ganesha, had a vision of the Lord in his dreams, befor he left for the battle with Haider Ali. The Lord asked him to rejuvenate the lake at the foot of Parvati. He followed the Lord's wish.