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Culture, colleges, cyber hubs: Fifteen things to know about Pune

Here are 15 things to know about Pune, regarded as the cultural capital of Maharashtra, and the Oxford of the East.

pune Updated: Jun 24, 2017 14:33 IST
One of the city’s most iconic structures is the Shaniwar Wada, pictured here as it was lit up during Dipotsava by an NGO.
One of the city’s most iconic structures is the Shaniwar Wada, pictured here as it was lit up during Dipotsava by an NGO. (HT file photo)

Pune mixes the old and new: centuries-old forts and British-era buildings are not far away from IT parks and sprawling university campuses. It takes pride in being Maharashtra’s cultural capital and home to people from all over the country.

As Hindustan Times opens an edition in Pune, here are 15 interesting facts about the city..

1. Poona under British India, renamed as “Pune” in 1978, this city draws its name from Punwadi, a 7th century hamlet.

The Deccan Queen at the Pune railway station (HT file photo)

The city was first linked by rail in 1856. The city bus service had a fleet of 20 buses in 1941.

2. The estimated population of Pune metropolitan region stood at 62 lakhs in 2016, growing dramatically from 17.35 lakhs in 1991 to 25.40 lakhs in 2001. According to the Pune Municipal Corporation, 40% of Pune’s population lives in slums.

Pune, an international destination for tourists, was once target of terrorists in 2010. One German Bakery, located near the Osho International headquarters in Koregaon Park area of Pune, was the point of attack. Pictured here, police in their bunker at Chabad House near the site of the blast on February 14, 2010. (HT file photo)

3. A city for all: Maharashtrians form 38% of Pune’s and north Indians 20%, but the city has a good mix of Andhraites, Tamilians, Keralites and foreigners.

4. As many as 35 engineering colleges are located in Pune - one of the highest in any Indian city.

Infosys Campus at Hinjewadi IT park in Pune (HT File Photo )

5. Pune has the highest number of software companies in India - 212, followed by Bangalore (208) and Hyderabad (97).

The main building of Pune University (HT file photo)

6.As many as 811 colleges are affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University, making it the second-largest university in India after Osmania University, Hyderabad.

7. One of the DRDO labs in Pune developed the world’s largest truck-mounted multi-span bridging system which can be scissor-launched over land or water in just two minutes to provide 75 metres of bridge length for battle tanks.

Pataleshwar Caves on Jangali Maharaj Road in Pune (HT file photo)

8. Pune is home to the country’s only Land Record Archives. These archives hold historic data on land ownership, geographical boundaries and real estate prices at various points in time.

9. Popularly known as Tilak Tank, the Lokmanya Tilak Swimming Pool was an old stone quarry with some natural springs and was converted into a swimming pool around 1910.

The garden on the ruins of the Shaniwar Wada (HT file photo)

10. Lakdi Pul (Chhatrapati Sambhaji Bridge) was originally built of wood, like the London Bridge, by Nana Saheb Peshwa in the 1750s. Since then, it has been rebuilt 4 times (the latest one being after the Panshet floods of 1961)

11. The magnificient Red Synagogue also known as Lal Deval is an unmistakable part of the Pune skyline. It is a rare example in Pune of the Victorian Gothic style in brick. According to the late city historian Samita Gupta, this iconic structure with its clock tower “is perhaps the only synagogue in the world to be built like a church.”

12. Some historians believe ‘Peru Gate’ in Sadashiv Peth derives its name from a gate erected in honour of French General Peron, a commander in the army of Mahadji Shinde. Pul-Gate, Swar-Gate and Quarter Gate are names that originated from gates erected in various localities under the Peshwas.

Pune's famous Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple. (HT file photo)

13. The heritage Mujumdar Wada in Kasba Peth has celebrated Ganeshotsav every year for more than two centuries now. This wada -- a typical Pune architecture -- was constructed in 1770 by Sardar Naro Nilkanth Mujumdar.

Lal Mahal, the childhood home of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (HT file photo)

14. Few people know that Mahatma Gandhi underwent a life-saving appendicitis surgery at the Sassoon General Hospital, Pune, on January 12, 1924. The surgery was performed by a British doctor, Captain Maddock. It was performed under light from a hurricane lamp as the electric light fused during surgery. This event has been commemorated with a painting and the room where the surgery was done was converted into a memorial.

The Khadakwasla Dam near Pune, which is one of the main sources of water to the city (HT file photo)

15. The Joshi’s Museum of Miniature Railways at Kothrud is a popular destination for children in the city. Started by Bhausaheb Joshi, the museum features a fascinating collection of miniature trains and engines.