In The Women’s Web ‘Travel The World With Kids’ series, we talk to mums from all over the globe who are interested in exploring their backyard attractions with their tiny tots! We hope you find them useful, if someday you choose to visit their part of the world. Presented in Q&A format, this one is with Sunita from Pune who blogs at Enigma.
A historic city nestled among the Western Ghats, Pune is a charming place blessed with natural beauty and prosperity. Let’s check out the kid-friendly attractions that Pune has in store for us!
Hello Sunita! What can you tell us about yourself?
I am a Business Analyst by profession; a mother of 2 kids and a reader who still sneaks in a book at bedtime to read as soon as the kids fall asleep as well as a 10-something-pots garden lover. I have lived in Pune for the past 10+ years – yet it’s a place I am still discovering. Pune used to be a quaint little place with its own pace. Today it is this nice little town which is as cosmopolitan as any other major metro and still regains its ‘Puneri’ charm.
What are your recommendations for parents visiting with young kids (under 3, 4-6) in Pune?
Pune is surrounded by mountains and so the best thing to do is to get on top of some of those mountains! You could either climb if you have a little older kids or drive to the top of some of these ghats. The view is great and it’s lovely to feel the wind in your hair. This is a favourite activity of the locals.
So come to Pune and climb hills! Parvati hill and Chatushringi hill also have temples near the peaks. Hanuman hill (behind Law College road) as well as the little hill on Baner Road (behind Symantec) and Pashan behind the Jesus and Mary school is also very nice. These are smaller hills where you can take 5-6 yr olds for a climb. It’s a nice way to spend an early morning or evening. I would also suggest the Sinhgad Fort for early mornings. You could pack a little breakfast and head for the fort and spend some time there.
Talking about forts, Pune has plenty of them indeed – not to mention the Wadas (mansions) and Peths (markets). On most mountain tops you will find a fort or two in ruins. Shaniwar Wada is one of the most popular historic landmarks around here, very close to the Shivaji Nagar Station. They conduct a laser light show on specific days of the week, where the life of Shivaji Maharaj is illustrated using light and sound. Carry your mosquito repellent creams if you plan to go!
Since we live close to the Pune University area, we often drive down there for the kids to play in the University’s huge lawn. Other gardens are the Bund Garden, the Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden, the Saras Baug and the Bal Gandharva Gardens.
For a nice evening with the kids Chokhidani is a Rajasthani make-do village. There are camel and bullock cart rides and various shows and folk dances. The food is traditional Rajasthani food and easy on kids so young.
Fantasia Magic in Ishanya Mall has a sound and water show. When you are in town you can check the local papers for details and timings of the show. It’s mostly scheduled on weekends.
The Katraj Snake Park and Zoo, Mini Train Museum, Konark Bird Park, Krishnai Water Park are more attractions for kids. Khadakwasla Dam and Mulshi Lake are also fun evening outings. Tamhini Ghat at Mulshi Lake has boating too during specific times of the year.
Which outings in Pune have you and your kids enjoyed most?
Lonavala/Khandala – Drive down for an amazing day. You could do the Bushi Dam, Karla Caves and just spend time on one of the view points. I love this specially during the monsoon.
Panchgani – Again, it’s a 1-2 hour drive; it’s a flat tabletop and the kids will just love wandering around there. Jams and strawberry farmlands are pretty famous around this place. You could take the kids around a strawberry farm and actually pick some fresh, yummy strawberries!
Mahabaleshwar – Is another hour’s drive from Panchghani; but be warned that it’s a steep climb.
Harihareshwar, Diveagar, Ganpatiphule are some good beaches around Pune.
For tourists visiting Pune for the first time, do you have any particular tips/?
The weather is nice most times of the year except summers. Public transport (as in bus or trains) is not very great. A vehicle at your disposal is good if you plan to move around a lot.
Are there any particular restaurants in Pune that you think kids will enjoy?
There are plenty of good restaurants in Pune. To name a few, Rajwada and Green Park on Baner road (very close to the University), Garden Court as well as Up and Down at Chandni Chowk, Malaka Spice in Koregaon Park, Barbeque Nation on Nagar Road, Exotica on Yerwada are fine restaurants to dine.
How about shopping?
M.G Road, Koregoan Park, Laxmi Road (though it might be crowded), SGS Mall, InOrbit Mall, Phoenix Mall in Viman Nagar. All are worth a good stroll around.
Any kid-friendly day trips out from Pune?
Chincholi is a hour and half’s drive from Pune. If you leave early in the day and reach this place around 7 AM you would see peacocks and peahens flying about large farms and dancing without a care. You can have breakfast there and come back to the city for lunch. The kids would love it.
Sula Vineyards is a 2-2.5 hour drive on the Nasik Road. Their tour of the vineyard is nice and it is a wonderful place to just chill and relax.
Ananda Valley is good if you have a big group. Kolad has plenty of adventure resorts. You can try water rafting, rope climbing or river crossing etc. I had gone with my office staff but I had taken my then 3-yr old daughter along. While I did not join any of the adventure sports, my daughter generally enjoyed herself.
Thank you Sunita! We will surely check out your suggestions when we drop by Pune!
*Photo credit: (Sunita)
Previous Interviews In The ‘Travel With Kids’ Series:
Anuradha from Mumbai
Artnavy from Bengaluru
Leonny from Singapore
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