By Sayantan Khamaru
knowledge bases has many attractive places to visit as well as its surroundings and nearby areas.
For Day 1, 22/07/2019: After landing to Pune, you have almost a half of that day to discover some popular tourist attractions.
You can start your trip by visiting the Aga Khan Palace; it was built back in 1892 AD by Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III. The reason was to provide jobs to the local people during the great famine. It heritage building also shares a bunch of memories related to Mahatma Gandhi as he was imprisoned here during 1942. The Entry fee is just INR 5 and it stays open between 9:00AM and 5:30PM IST.
After walking through some history of Indian Independence Struggle, you can go to Shinde Chhatri at Wanawadi. It is an old memorial which was established in 18th-century. This memorial was built in the memory of Maratha leader Mahadji Shinde. This building contains unparallel works of Anglo-Rajasthani architectural design. The entry fee is just INR 2 and it remains open between 6:00AM to 9:00PM IST.
Then if you have some time before concluding the day, there are three places I would like to recommend.
Pataleshwar Cave Temple, it is just 10KM away from Shinde Chhatri. It is an 8th Century cave temple that was carved over basalt rock.
After Pataleshwar, you can go to Lal Mahal; it is just 2.3KM from there. It was built in 1630AD and one time Shivaji Maharaj used to live here. The entry fee is only INR 3 and the timings are 9 AM-1 PM, 4 PM-8 PM.
Then you can visit Pu La Garden, it is a beautiful garden and a new tourist attraction. The entry fee is INR 5 and the timings are 6 AM-10:30 AM, 4 PM-8 PM.
For the end of the day, do consider visiting Shaniwar Wada Palace, it is one of the elegant gardens of India. It was built back in 1732AD and destroyed in 1828 but after independence, it has been converted into a beautiful garden depicting various mythologies of Hinduism. Every evening, an informative light and sound show took place between 6:30PM and 8:30PM IST. By spending mere INR 25, you can learn something new. The entry fee for Indians is just INR 5. It has become one of the best and must visit place in Pune.
On Day 2, 23/07/2019, try to leave early for Mahabaleshwar. It is 118KM away from Pune and by taking NH 48; you will be there in just 3 Hours. Therefore, there are a lot of places where you can visit on the way. The YASHWANTRAO CHAVAN UDYAN is one of them. In this garden, you can see the Seven Wonders of the World in its miniature form with no entry fee. There is a 4D theatre also the entry fee is INR25. The timings of the garden are 6:00AM to 10:00AM and 4:00PM to 8:00PM.
Driving down just 5Km into Pune-Satara road you will find Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park. White Tigers and various species of Vipers are the main attraction of this Zoo.
After 40KM on NH48, you will find the Baneshwar Waterfall. A very old Shiva temple is also located here and if you are lucky, you can also see the local exotic animals too.
There many small and large temples you can find on the way if you like you can visit there.
After reaching Mahabaleshwar and having your launch, you may have a few hours of time in your hand. So, I suggest you can go to the following places.
Start your Mahabaleshwar trip with the Pratapgarh Fort; it is 23KM away from the city. It was built by none other than Shivaji Maharaj. The government tried to keep it in shape. It closes at 6PM.
While returning to Mahabaleshwar, you can visit some great viewpoints or peaks, the Elephants Heat, Arthur’s Seat, Bombay Point, Wilson’s Point, Elphinstone Point, Lingamal Falls, Tiger Spring, and Lodwick Point. You can also visit the Mapro Garden. It is a private garden where large varieties of fruits are grown.
But, I suggest you end your evening at Venna Lake; you will be mesmerized with the beauty of the dusk. It was built in 1842 by Appa Saheb Maharaja and there is no entry fee.
Day 3 24/07/2019, Start your day with a little devotion. The Mahabaleshwar temple opens at 6:00AM and closes at 7:00PM.
Then you can go to Krishnabai temple, which is 7KM away from there. After that, you can go on your way to Panchgani, which is 19KM away from Mahabaleshwar.
But, you can take time off for the Konya Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a home for Indian Giant Squirrels, some Indian Leopards, and Royal Bengal Tigers, some species of deer too. It is just 29KM away from Mahabaleshwar town. The park closes at 8PM. On your way to can also visit the Konya Dam and Konya Falls, it is located in the same area.
After completing this trip you can go back on your way to Panchgani, it is 45KM away from Konya. After reaching Panchgani, probably by 5 or 6PM, you can go directly to Sydney Point, to witness a fantastic sunset.
Alternative for Day 3 24/07/2019,
You can start your day by Visiting Mahabaleshwar Temple, which opens at 6:00AM, and then go directly to Krishnabai temple, it is 7KM away. Then you can go on your way to Panchgani. You will see the Parsi point, which is around 18KM from Krishnabai Temple. Parsi point is one of the best viewpoints of Panchgani. This place will show you an amazing artwork of mother nature.
There is also an amusement park nearby, called On Wheelz Amusement Park.
Opposite of this park, there is a new attraction just coming up on trends, the Devari Art Village. It is created to inform the tourists about the local cultures of Maharashtra and their people. It opens on early morning and closes at 7:00PM.
After entering to Panchgani city and having your launch, you should go to Devil’s Kitchen. According to Mahabharata, the Pandavas used to live here in the cave systems. The tablelands are very close from here. It is a flat large expanse of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia.
In the afternoon, do visit the Sydney Point for an unforgettable Sunset of your life. There are many private fruit gardens, which you can also visit. You can come back to Mahabaleshwar as it is just 19KM away.
Day 4, 25/07/2019, Today you should visit the Kaas Plateau. It can be called the valley of flowers of the west; it is a UNESCO heritage site. It is a quiet, magical place filled with a large variety of flowers blooming on every season and butterflies. It is around 50KM away from the city center. Then you should ride out to Aurangabad, which will be 336KM away from Kaas Plateau. It can cause a backtrack on your journey but, the views will always be in your mind.
Alternative for Day 4, 25/07/2019,
You can leave early and go directly to Aurangabad or Pune. Aurangabad is 323KM and Pune is 98KM away from Panchgani. On my suggestion, go directly to Aurangabad, it will take about 7 Hours. So, if you leave early you will be there by noon. Then after launch, you can easily cover the Ellora Caves as it is just 30KM from the city center. Ellora has 100 caves but, only 34 are open for public and you need to pay INR 40 as entry fee. It usually takes 2-3 Hours to explore the 34 caves completely and the caves close at 5:30PM. It remains shut on Tuesdays. Among the 34 Caves, there are 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29), and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves. Each of the caves was built by Top-Down approach and depicted various mythological stories.
So, if you can complete the Ellora caves on the same day of arrival at Aurangabad, you will have plenty of time to explore three other attractions of Aurangabad on the same day or next day.
Those are, Panichakki, Bibi ka Maqbara, and Daulatabad Fort.
Day 5, 26/07/2019, It will be a very busy day for you, so try to go out as early as possible. Ajanta Caves open at 9:00AM and closes at 5:00PM and remains shut on Mondays. It is 103KM away from Aurangabad and takes around 3 Hours to reach and 3 more to come back. So, if you go out by 7:00AM you will be there by 10:00AM. It takes around 3 hours for an individual to explore the accessible caves completely. The entry fee is INR30 for SAARC countries and INR25 will be charged extra for cameras. Both the Ajanta and Ellora caves are home to amazing paintings and sculptures, which were created during the 2nd Century BCE, and 600-1000CE respectively.
So, if everything goes all right, you will able to come back to Aurangabad by 4:00PM. This will give you enough time to visit Panichakki, Bibi ka Maqbara and Daulatabad Fort, which is quite a walking distance from the Aurangabad city center.
While coming back from Ajanta you can visit Daulatabad Fort. It is built in a very unique way to confuse enemies. It is a great example of Indian Engineering. It opens at 8:00AM and closes at 6:00PM and the entry fee is INR 10. It usually takes an hour to complete.
Panichakki is a brilliant example of Indian ingenuity. It is 15KM away from Daulatabad Fort. It is basically a hydropower station, built back in the 17th century. It opens at 7:00AM and closes at 6:00PM.
Finally, Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, it is a mausoleum dedicated to Dilras Banu Begum and built between 1668 and 1669CE. It is mainly built under the influence of the Taj Mahal. The entry fee is INR25. It stays open every day between 8:00AM and 8:00PM.
Day 6, 27/07/2019, It is the day of your homecoming. So, you can leave early for Pune Airport, which is 230KM away from Aurangabad and takes around 4-5Hours to reach. So, if you leave early you can be there by noon or you can spend some time more at Aurangabad to explore some landmarks if you had missed earlier. Or you can visit some popular sites of Pune too.