One day in Pune things to do in Pune
Destinations in India,  Maharashtra

One day in Pune – things to do in Pune for first time visitors

There are plenty of things to do in Pune, especially for those who visit the city for the first time. One day in Pune can be full of fun and exciting activities, if you do proper research in advance. Alternatively, make use of this quick guide to some of the best things to do in Pune in order to create unforgettable memories of your trip.

Located only 150 km from Mumbai, Pune is an attractive option for a day trip. I kept postponing my visit, and when I could finally make my way to this city, I was kicking myself for not doing so earlier. It boasts rich historical heritage, beautiful architectural monuments, engaging cultural activities and vibrant street life.

The city is also known as an educational centre (I’ve seen some reviews going as far as calling Pune “the Oxford of the East”) and an IT hub, so it’s full of students and young professionals from all over India. All in all, Pune exudes a very special vibe, which is one of the potent reasons to make it your next travel destination. But let’s have a closer look at how one can spend one day in Pune to make the most of their visit.

Things to do in Pune in one day

Walk around the Shanivar Wada fort

With prominent architecture and dramatic historical significance, Shaniwar Wada is a worthy introduction to the city. I would recommend it as a starting point of your Pune sightseeing galore. After a short ride from the train station, you’ll find yourself standing in front of the imposing structure with mighty doors, heavily armed with long metal spikes.

But let the ferocious look of the Dilli Darwaza (the Delhi Gate) not fool you – the place is actually rather hospitable, and everyone with the slightest interest in history and architecture is bound to have a good time exploring the fort. It will take you up to one hour to see the place.

Constructed in the 18th century, Shaniwar Wada served as a fortress for Peshwas, the Prime Ministers in the Maratha Empire. Originally an opulent seven-storied structure, the fort was largely destroyed in the devastating fire in the first half of the 19th century.

The remnants of the fort include the ramparts, passages along the walls, five doors, which were used for different purposes, and various foundations. With only a shadow of its bygone magnificence, the Shanowar Wada is still one of the most visited sights in the city, and it’s a must visit place if you have only one day in Pune.

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Shaniwar Wada, the stone carvings near the entrance
places to visit in Pune
Shanivar Wada fort – the view over the courtyard and surviving foundations
places to visit in Pune
Shaniwar Wada fort, the imposing Dilli darvaza

Address: Shaniwar Peth

Hours: 9.00 am to 5.30 pm.

Entry fees: Rs 5 for Indians and Rs 125 (around $1.65) for foreigners.

Visit the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple

Within a walking distance from Shaniwar Wada, there is the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple – a holy place of Lord Ganesha devotees from Maharashtra and other states. It was constructed by a famous sweets vendor Dagadusheth Halwai in the end of the 19th century to help him endure the loss of two sons who died in a plague epidemic.

The structure is rather simple, but elegant. Inside you’ll find the opulent Ganesha idol, decorated with 40 kg of gold. Every year, the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple gets beautifully adorned for the ten day Ganpati Festival. It’s also home to many cultural events in the city. In the time of my trip to Pune, it was lavishly adorned with mango inspired floral designs.

To be honest, I happened to visit this temple by chance, without a previous research, but I’m glad it caught my eye – the list of things to do in Pune would have been incomplete without visiting the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple.

Address: Ganpati Bhavan, 250, Budhvar Peth

Hours: 6 am to 9 pm.

Entree fees: none.

Buy some delicious fruits at the Mahatma Phule Mandai market

Further ahead from the Dagadusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple, I could see the top of a lovely colonial building. Driven by natural curiosity and tender love to the New Gothic architectural style, I kept walking in that direction. It was rather surprising to discover that the exquisite building from the British colonial era was actually a fruit and vegetable market. More than that, the structure was hardly visible behind stalls upon stalls and boxes upon boxes. Well, at least I could buy some delicious mangoes, if nothing else.

Constructed in 1886, Mahathma Phule Mandai served as a wholesale market and municipal office. Later the municipal offices were moved to a separate building, and Mahathma Phule Mandai was used solely as a market. Today, with more than five hundred stalls, it’s the largest fruit and vegetables market in Pune.

The building is notable for its 25 m high octagonal tower that can be seen from afar as you walk along the street. It also features a quaint circular verandah with a tiled roof, and some elegant gothic arches serving as an entrance to the market. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the must see places if you have only one day in Pune, but if you happen to be in the area, the building might interest you. And the fruits, too 🙂

Address: Fruit Market Road, Mandai, Shukrawar Peth

Hours: 6.00 am to 8.00 pm.

Entry fees: free.

Admire the amazing woodwork of Vishrambaug Wada

If you ask me what impressed me the most in Pune, I’d say the woodwork of Vishrambaug Wada without giving it a second thought. From all the exciting things to do in Pune, exploring this fascinating building was by far my favourite activity. I wouldn’t recommend skipping it even if you have only one day in Pune.

Constructed in the distinctive style of the Maratha architecture, this magnificent three-storey building is adorned by the most beautiful wooden carvings. The facade features a lovely balcony with heavy pillars and cute wooden gargoyles, and the entrance to the building is guarded by winged mythical creatures. Add to this some remarkable staircases, beautifully carved window shatters, monumental columns and intricate arches, and you’ll know exactly why I’m so fond of this place.

The wooden gargoyle of the Vishrambaug Wada
At the entrance of the Vishrambaug Wada, you are greeted by a quaint mythical being with wings and scales and floral ornaments over its body.
Vishrambaug Wada, the courtyard
The lamps!

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Address: RB Kumthekar Rd, Perugate, Sadashiv Peth

Hours: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Entry fees: Rs 5.  

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the Aga Khan Palace

The Aga Khan Palace is a magnificent stately home set in the middle of a sprawling garden away from the city centre in Pune. Visiting this place is highly recommended as it boasts both the historic significance and architectural value. This was the place where Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned during the Indian independence movement from 1942 to 1944 along with his wife and personal secretary.

The striking mansion and surrounding garden retain a very peaceful and quiet atmosphere, and it’s a perfect place to relax and reflect a bit after bustling streets of Pune. The palace is also home to a Gandhi’s museum showcasing his personal items and photos. There is also an open terrace cafe where you can enjoy a glass of cold coffee with a view on the beautiful garden.

Aga Khan Aga Khan Pune

Suggested read: The Aga Khan Palace – an abode of peace and serenity in Pune

Address: Gandhi National Memorial Society, Aga Khan Palace Road

Hours: 9.00 am to 5.30 pm.

Entry fees: Rs 5 for Indians and Rs 100 for foreign visitors.

Make your way to the Shinde Chhatri memorial

Constructed in the 18th century to commemorate Mahadji Shinde, one of the most prominent military commanders in the Maratha’s Empire’s army, this beautiful structure breaks the myth that the most opulent chhatris (cenotaphs) can be found only in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Architecturally, it’s an interesting amalgamation of the Rajasthani and New Gothic styles, resulting in fascinating blend of designs and patterns.

The Rajasthani influences can be found in a number of eye-catchy details like stained glass windows, stone carvings and elegant arches, while the whole structure is build in accordance with rules and norms of the Gothic Revival architectural style. With so many stricking details and overall architectural splendour, the building is a photographer’s paradise.

After I posed some pictures of the Shinde Chhatri memorial on my social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), even people who lived all their lives in Pune were asking me where this building can be found, so I guess it could be classified as one of the offbeat destinations in the city. But I’m including it in this list of things to do in Pune just in case you’re as fond of unique architectural concoctions as I am.

Pune Shinde Chhatri cenotaph stain glass windows photo

Address: Nagar Wanwadi Nagar, Fatima Nagar, Vikas Nagar, Wanowri

Hours: 9 am to 6 pm.

Entry fees: Rs 5 for Indian visitors and Rs 25 for foreigners.

Lose yourself in the galleries of the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

As I mentioned in one of the previous posts, I always try to visit at least one museum in a new city, so I made sure to include the Kelkar Museum into my itinerary when spending one day in Pune. It’s notable three-storey building housing more two and a half thousand exhibits on display, including ancient sculptures dating back to the 14th century, ornaments, weapons, vessels, oil lamps, musical instruments, silver and gold objects, the door frames, and what not.

Address: No. 1377/78, Kamal Kunj, Bajirao Rd, Natu Baag, Shukrawar Peth

Hours: 10 am to 5.30 pm.

Entry fees: Rs 50 for Indians and Rs 250 for foreigners.

Do some street photography

The old neighbourhood of Pune are full of interesting architectural details, and you can spend a very enjoyable hour taking photographs and looking at vintage houses.

Pune photo
The older neighborhoods of Pune are a photographer’s paradise
Pune street photography
Some peculiar architectural forms on the streets of Pune

More things to do if you have only one day in Pune

Here is a list of alternative things to do in Pune which I haven’t done, but you may want to try instead of places I’ve mentioned above:

  • Enjoy the peaceful and positive vibes of the Osho Garden
  • Visit the Pataleshwar temple, an ancient rock-cut cave complex.
  • Spot the miniature wonders of the world in the Seven Wonders Theme Park
  • Pay tribute to the heroes at the National War Museum
  • Visit the tulsi Baug, one of the busiest shopping streets in Pune
  • Climb the Parvati hill to enjoy the panoramic view of the city

To get even more ideas on how to spend time in Pune, click on the image below:

Best time to visit Pune

If you’re going to spend only one day in Pune, you obviously don’t want to waste time dealing with adverse weather conditions like downpours and soaring temperatures. That’s why it is strongly recommended to make a trip from October to March. Winter months are especially favorable in this region. Visiting Pune during monsoon can be rather enjoyable, too, but make sure to check the weather forecast in order to avoid rainstorms and heavy showers.

Where to stay in Pune:

Pune has plenty of accommodation options, and in case you need a place to stay, check out the map below for the best deals on hotels.

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One day in Pune things to do

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