“Our culture is a shield protecting us from the seen and unseen,
Our culture is a horn carrying our divine given domain,
Binding the creeping blank ant to the majestic savannah baobab,
Binding an ancient stone to a running thought.” – Yunus Hina Rafiki
Maharashtra is looked up as one of the most ancient lands biding with a rich cultural history. It has seen the most number of cultural and local diversities into people, cuisines, folklores and princely rulers. Counting on prime cities of the state, Pune shines as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. From the very beginning of human history and tales rushing around with the winds, the land where Pune stands today has been on the headings of those tales.
A glance into the past.
Pune is considered as one of the oldest cities of Maharashtra as the record of events occurring on this piece of land goes to the 5 the century. The Kasaba Peth located in the heart of Pune was built back in the 6th century while the first human settlement shown by the archaeological studies is recorded in the 8th century. A city holding such ancient history is sure to have been named and renamed numerous times since the beginning of time. Starting with the name “Punnaka”, Punekavadi, Punevadi, Kasabe Pune were the popular names this city has witnessed.
The cultural heritage of this city took up first place in the books of luxury during the reigns of Shivaji Maharaj, followed by Sambhaji Maharaj and Peshwa Bajirao. Always being the shining star in the eyes of Maharashtrian people, Pune till date receives a lot of love in the forms of festivals, fairs, and massive tourism.
It is always said that land full of colours and cultures, is a land abundant in delicacies. For a city to be a stop by for hundreds of diversities, each one of those has left a hint of deliciousness as a sweet offering for the city. The cuisine of Pune is dominated by a variety of Maharashtrian dishes such as Puran Poli(a sweet bread stuffed with pulses and butter), Amti(a sour and spicy curry of sprouts), Pithla Bhakri(hard bread of Jowar and semi-solid yellow curry) and much more. The king of all dishes in Pune is well known by the name of Missal Pav and is favourite of the locals. Similar to the common nature of the locals here, the popular dessert of Pune is called Mastani, which is savoury sweet.
Pune offers more than just Maharashtrian cuisines.
As Pune has become an IT hub and home to people from a variety of cultures in the past few decades, we can find restaurants serving cuisines from all parts of Maharashtra here. The city never lags in taking care of its foreign residents and offers dishes from American, English, Asian and Italian cuisines as well. You will never run out of choices when it comes to serving your taste buds in Pune.
The parade of Festivals
1. Ganesh Chaturthi
As the cultural heritage goes long back in time, so does the history of celebrations. The festival with the most hustle bustle is called Ganesh Chaturthi, taking place for 10 days during the months of August-September. Ganesh Chaturthi was founded by the famous freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak during the struggle for independence to bring harmony and happiness among the people. This festival gave birth to a miraculous form of music and religious rallies held by youngsters showcasing their skills and love for the art form called Pathak. People come from faraway lands to witness this celebratory event and feel the sparks in the air. The excitement picks up the whole city into the air of joy during this season.
The second most famous festival in the city is called the Savai Gandharva festival, which is also the biggest classical festival in India. This festival showcases numerous classical art forms and a blend of Maratha cultures for 3 nights.
3. Shaniwarwada Music Festival.
Apart from these culturally rich festivals, the Shaniwarwada festival has more threads attached to history. The beautiful monument of Shaniwarwada itself being a magnificent backdrop for the performing arts, this celebration invites the most talented stars from the film industry to be the audience. Occurring during winter nights, the colours become the perfect contrast to the cold blue sky. Hence, the perfect blend of colourful warmth and comforting cool breeze at this open festival offers a hug of love to all its spectators.
Pune being a welcoming home to all colours, casts and culture have become the favourite city to all it residentials and visitors. As soon as we enter the city, the fragrances of relishes and delights await to embrace us. How a city contains so much on the inside? Is a question that continues to woo thousands of people. Lush greenery decorates the city all year round. How can you ever miss out on a travel marvel like this one?