Pune’s Aga Khan Palace and its Gandhi connect
Donated by Aga Khan IV in 1969 to India, it currently houses Gandhi’s memorial, Kasturba and Desai’s samadhis and archives of photos and portraits of Gandhi during the freedom struggle, among others.pune Updated: Jul 04, 2017 15:05 IST
Built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III in Pune, Aga Khan Palace today holds great historical importance for its connection with Mahatma Gandhi and his associates. Gandhi, along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu had interned at the palace from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944.
Donated by Aga Khan IV in 1969 to India, it currently houses Gandhi’s memorial, Kasturba and Desai’s samadhis and archives of photos and portraits of Gandhi during the freedom struggle, among others. In 1980, the Gandhi National Memorial Society took over as the governing body and has been working towards making Aga Khan Palace into a living memorial of ‘Ba and Bapu’.
The society conducts several activities and events throughout the year to bring out a meaningful and close relationship with the visitors.
The first thing that one shouldn’t miss is the beautiful construction of the palace. The Italian arches and detailed structure brings out the feel of a completely different era. The five halls are divided according to the occupancy of the members.
The hall that housed Sarojini Naidu has a handwritten transcript of Gandhi’s message to Indians just before his arrest on August 8, 1942. The palace also has daily use objects and clothes of Kasturba and Gandhi placed neatly in glass shelves, which were presented to the museum by their daughter-in-law in 1988.
One should keep aside a good amount of time to read and absorb every aspect of the place. One can also buy textiles and souvenirs from a small stall right outside the samadhi of Kasturba and Desai.
What: Aga Khan Palace
Where: Pune Nagar Road, Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411014
When: Open throughout the year except on national holidays.