Located in Maharashtra, India, Pune is the second largest city in the state, and many consider it to actually be the cultural capital of India. As many cities in India, Pune is a combination of both old and new, with a vibrant business and academic community while maintaining its historic roots.
Dating back nearly 1600 years, Pune still boasts great nightlife due to its student population, contains great restaurants and provides scenic views with its surrounding hills forts. With a climate that is cooler than most places in India, it is a great spot to study in for a long period of time due to its milder weather (relatively, of course it’s no Greece or California). With many things to interest you, Pune will not disappoint!
Photo credit: Balaji Photography - 3,000,000 Views and Growing.
As noted, Pune gives a great blend of both old and new due to its university life and long, rich history. In addition, you can expect a great number of festivals during your time here, so get ready for a lot of fun!
Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum
Close to the always busy Bajirao Road, this museum carries probably the most interesting collection of Indian arts and crafts India has to offer. With 36 sections, palace and temple doors, 17th century painting, 1600-year-old pottery and more, the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum certainly holds a lot for visitors to see. This is a good way to fill your obligatory museum visit.
We’re actually going to have two museum visits for this city because this next one is pretty cool. It features a light and sound show with cool 3D holographic technology featuring the life of Sadhu Vaswani, an Indian educationist. Indians highly regard this man for his universal wisdom, as evidenced by the amount of technology and art put into this show. Other than this, it includes a large collection of various art pieces that add to the overall appeal of the museum. This is definitely a must visit for students studying here. It is close to the Pune Railway Station at Sadhu Vaswani Chowk.
Aga Khan Palace
With Italian arches, salons and lawns, this palace is considered a historical landmark. The British actually imprisoned Mahatma Ghandi and his wife during the 1962 Quit India Movement. Due to Ghandi’s profound effect on India, Aga Khan, the owner of the Palace, had a monument created in dedication and memory of Ghandi and his wife. The photograph exhibition is great to see, and be sure to visit samadhi of Kasturba Ghandi (Mahatma’s wife). It is truly a place of great peace and tranquility, much like Ghandi.
A hill station that is probably the most popular outing spot in Pune. Located in the Sahyadri Hills, it is a perfect place for nature lovers and appeals to both tourists and locals. Beautiful waterfalls among other things make this a place many tourists may fall in love with.
Though studying in Pune, India won't make as large a dent in your wallet as other study abroad locations, saving a bit of money is always welcomed! Here are a few scholarships:
Pune is on the Indian Rupee, so you probably won’t have too many issues with money. Of course, for us students, money tends to always be an issue, but in comparison to other places, Pune is probably one of the best places to travel to if affordability is at the top of your list. Pune has many bazars and markets in which you can buy extremely cheap stuff, so feel free to loosen your wallet a bit. ATMs are located all over Pune, so you don’t have to worry about carry a lot of cash, but be sure to draw cash inside the banks for safety reasons.
Culture Shock and Support
India, and so Pune, is a good ways away from America. As such, you can expect a culture and experience that is entirely different from anything you’ve ever experienced. While by the end of your trip you’ll be trying to avoid going back to the US and truly treasuring your time there, the beginning can be a bit daunting in terms of getting used to a new culture. As such, be sure to pick a problem that caters to American students, so that you can be well informed of the cultural differences and avoid making a faux pas.
However, remember that you have your fellow students! If you’re missing the long hours of studying and the obnoxiously loud people back in the US, well, then you’re weird. On a more serious note, talk to your fellow peers! If you’re experiencing some homesickness, there is every chance that they are as well. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to talk to someone about home, it is completely normal and who knows, you may become even closer friends!
City buses are run by PMPML, and although the buses can get quite crowded, they are also very extensive and extremely cheap. Rides are calculated by distance and range from about 10 cents to 40 cents (not too bad at all). Auto-rickshaws are also a way of travel, but beware that since you’ll probably stick out as a sore thumb, the drivers will try to take advantage of you by driving longer distances. Use your judgment when boarding these. Also, do be careful when on the streets, as the people of Pune tend not to follow traffic signals.
Lastly, make sure you bargain and barter for your goods when in the markets, you can almost always get a lower price.
So that’s that! Your understanding of Pune should be a bit better, so what are you waiting for now? Get over there already
Contributed by Albert Ji
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