Sunday, 15 October 2017

Pune - the city.. the sojourn

     It began with a suggestion from a different continent.. Finally bucking up for another solo day of exploring... Playing it safe with a uber pool and roommate's Rubik cube for company... Out of practice meant, it took almost the entire of 30 mins to finally solve the cube.. The driver was unusually quiet given my previous uber rides, where a life lesson was a sure takeaway. 
Pataleshwar Cave

Getting off exactly outside the Pataleshwar caves, the first thought you have is..'Is this the place for a cave?' Right amidst the bustling area of Shivajinagar lie these 8th century caves and the temple therein... Car horns abound and people bustling on their way. A mini version perhaps of our very times, with the latest of inventions of the 21st century coupled with a mindset that dates way back to the stone age ( do not want to sound morose at the beginning. But wait, for there's a change ). You shrug of this thought and step in first through the wrong gate.. to be shooed off by an aunty perhaps as old as the caves. You find the right gate which opens to a quiet garden.. and there stands a tree. You don't even have to guess which tree could it be.. for how can a historic site be without a grand old banyan tree. You move ahead to steps that lead you to a clearing carved of stone ( duh caves ). And here is where you let go of all humour and find peace.. You feel the vibes.. Something really ancient surrounds you. A 'nandi' bull welcomes you with a serene expression pointing you to the sanctum cave.. The chill of the air and the cave smell transports you to world, way different from the bustling city right outside.

Say a prayer, asking for nothing but mere happiness, for the world, for some sanity to us homo sapiens.. You sit down by a huge pillar quiet and soak in the peace..

Appasaheb Balwant Chowk

Phase two:
  An unplanned detour is to a masjid.. For some reason, explained only by a gut instinct I step apprehensively into a masjid.. At the doorstep I make it clear to a caretaker, that its mere curiosity that has brought me here.. He walks me through the process of how the things work around in a masjid and finally settles down by a corner to tell me about Quran and the teachings of prophet Muhammad. Followed by a walkthrough on the story of evolution and how the only thing that matters is doing good. He tells me further about how wrongly the youth today interprets the thoughts and how saddening it is to see the face of terroe under the name of islam. I carry with me the story of Adam and how Satan prodded and misguided him from paradise to earth.. I bid him adieu with a simple thought of how.. everyone wants the same thing eventually.. 'happiness and peace'..Phase three:
The Vishrambag Wada
I now trod on the lanes of old Pune city making my way towards Vishrambaug- the palace of the Peshwas. As again history lessons right in the centre of a bustling market. There's a permanent exhibition about the evolution of Pune city and the Peshwa era.. I make it a point to read every plaque ( it is an effort with the faded script and added Devanagari ). If you ever visit, make sure you do read the plaques.. It's a story, a story with all the essential ingredients, of honor, of betrayals, of a grandeur long lost, an attempt at its revival and the heart of it (way before GOT took us over).. a city which takes pride in its roots and yet grows around rapidly..
The steps to the presentation

Phase four:

Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai is a must watch movie before I begin with this phase. It was this . movie which gave me a reason to visit this place. For some reason it did match up to the high standards I had set, though in a way I had never thought of.
This is what lay in store!
 The climb is steep to an extent(make sure you carry water),as you walk up the rock steps and reach the Peshwe museum. (Another museum, that's my kind of a happy day). It holds a good collection of artifacts from the days gone by. From coins to combs, from machetes to guns, there's a different world out there waiting for you. Without trying to gush over the museum details, I move on to the Nanasaheb Peshwe samadhi memorial.. For some reason this place held a serene charm. Sitting on the marble floor makes you ponder of how different was the world before you. As you look past the dates imprinted, you realise.. these men lived and died way before even the formation of the United states. This is rather the modern part of history, and we can just delve further.. 
These aren't as shy as they are thought to be!!
On the short climb ahead you find squirrels chasing you.. unafraid demanding their pound of food for encroaching their territory( here stood four plaques which gave names of the state fruit, animal, flower and bird.. which was news to me).. Finally as you reach the parvati temple there's the first ticket counter which let's you walk around the terrace. 
The Shankar-Parvati Temple
This is where you take a pause.. sit back and take in the sprawling city of Pune all around you.. The Mutha river visible in glimpses snaking through. Dark clouds in the distance make for the perfect backdrop. It's 2 in the afternoon yet its almost chilly, thanks to the gathering clouds.. 
The view from Parvati!
The view and wind blow you away in unison as you settle for some more moments in peace.(though surrounded by selfie-hogging maniacs).. You take a deep breath and let this view settle into a newly made folder for Pune..

And that is how a day's worth of exploring took me through few of the many facades of this city. As I sit back making my way on the BRT and look past the passing Pheonix market city mall.. You can just marvel at this day which took me from the 8th century cave to the middle ages and back to the present. Here's looking forward to many such days exploring...

One of the best places to be!

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