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Ancient monuments and buildings make a city stand out and its citizens proud of their history. These places are assets and must be protected and conserved. #WorldHeritageDay is a collective effort of the communities in the world to do the needful for these invaluable assets. The day celebrates the diversity of heritage throughout the world. This World Heritage Day, we bring to you a list of heritage sites in Pune, a city that has earned its reputation for being the cultural capital of the western India!
Parvati Hill and Temple
Atop the Parvati hillock in Pune city is the Parvati Temple, one of the most scenic locations here. The temple is one of the oldest heritage structure in Pune and was built during the rule of the Peshwa dynasty in the 18th century. For visitors, Parvati hill is also an observation point that offers a panoramic view of Pune. There are 103 steps leading to the top of the hill where the temple is situated. The main temple, Devdeveshwara, is made of blackstone. Besides the temple, the complex also houses the Peshwa Museum.
A fort built in 1732, Shaniwarwada was the seat of the Peshwas of the Maratha Empire until 1818, when the Peshwas lost control to the British East India Company after the Third Anglo-Maratha War. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site. One can still see the remains of the magnificence of the complex that had palaces, gardens, fountains and impressive gates. It is said that in its full glory, the complex housed about a thousand people.
Aga Khan Palace
This majestic building was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in the 19th century. Historically, the palace holds great significance. Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai were interned in the palace from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944, following the launch of Quit India Movement. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died during their captivity period in the palace. Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi have their memorials located in the same complex, near Mula river.
This temple (also called Panchaleshvara or Bamburde) is a rock-cut cave temple, carved out in the 8th century in the Rashtrakuta period. The huge complex of the cave has been converted into a garden, and the temple continues to be frequented by devotees of Lord Shiva. This is one of the oldest monument in Pune, which is over 1300 years old. The Pune office of the Archaeological Survey of India is located in the adjacent property.
Mahadaji Shinde Chhatri
This is an imposing monument constructed on the left bank of the Bhairoba stream in Wanowrie. The main complex consists of three shrines – a Shiva temple and a Hanuman temple and the chhatri of Mahadaji Shinde, who was the Commander–in–Chief of the Maratha army under the Peshwas in the 18th century. The temple is constructed on a high foundation, in black stone. The architecture of the building is noteworthy for the blend of Rajasthani and British styles of architecture. The decoration of the pillared hall, the beautiful coloured window panes and the decoration of the ceiling are fine and worth observing.
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