Considered to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra, this city is an enriching hive for music, arts, crafts and theatre, with an equal emphasis on education. Naturally reflective of the Marathi culture, the attitude in Pune is liberal with a fusion of tradition and modernity. Abounding with ancient structures, this city is also emerging as a center of modern architecture, with many prize-winning buildings.
Situated on the smooth side of the Sahyadri mountain range - that forms a barrier for the Arabian Sea - the city’s geographic diversity provides a mass of picturesque landscape with plenty to explore. True to its traditional background, Pune has many eateries where classic food is served; a particular delicacy is a thick milkshake named Mastani, which is filled with dried fruit.
All commercial flights operate from the military airport, which is located at Lohegaon, and the city is a major transportation spot for western Maharashtra. Well connected to other Indian cities by rail, Pune City Station is noted as one of India’s top stations, boasting an internet cafe, information booth, and computerized ticket office.
The city’s three national highways and expressway make traveling by road possible, although taking the car is not for the faint hearted. With the city’s main bus stop located at the train station, this transport option covers the Mumbai route, with most services also covering the hilltop district of Lonavala. Getting around the city internally is easy with city buses and three-wheeled rickshaws, which are also available from the airport.
Pune is a very safe place, where violent crime is low. But as with most cities, it is still important to consider personal belongings whilst in public places. Any experience of theft should be reported to the police, and although locals are known for being amiable and friendly, muggings sometimes happen, with local law enforcement suggesting it best to keep away from touts.
The infrastructure of the roads is currently behind the increase in traffic that the city is experiencing. If you experience a breakdown when driving, it’s best to remain in your vehicle and phone for help. Do not become disheartened if you are honked by another driver, as impatience is common on these roads, and a helmet is a must if driving a two-wheeler.