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Pune Travel Tips

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Pune is a blend of historical grandeur and contemporary energy, with sleek modern buildings alongside towering temples. However, it also boasts plenty of natural beauty, being set within voluptuous hillsides and hiking trails where you can enjoy spectacular views. The city also has a thriving culture and arts scene for visitors to delve into.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

March to June are the summer months, and while the sun brings out the best in the surroundings many tourists can find it unbearably hot. Saying that, most modern hotels and facilities have air conditioning blasting away. June to September brings monsoon season, with a combination of heavy rainfall and humidity that can be unpleasant. Visiting between October and February is usually wise for first time tourists to India, with pleasantly warm and dry days.

 

Not to Miss

 

Pune hosts many major festivals throughout the year, and one of the best is the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival – a celebration of Indian classical music that’s been drawing the crowds since the 1950s. Meanwhile, the Shaniwarwada Dance Festival in early spring brings colourful performances to the city, while the Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival devoted to elephant-headed deity Ganesh, sees a lavish parade throughout the streets of Pune with floats covered in flowers and locals wearing their brightest clothing.

 

Getting around

 

Pune Airport has regular domestic flights arriving from across India, as well as the occasional flight direct from Europe. You can take a licensed taxi into the city centre in about 20 minutes, or there are buses which take about an hour. Many visitors also arrive via Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, which handles connections to major cities over the world. When in Pune, you can get around by cab or bus, but remember to bring comfy shoes for hitting the streets and exploring the rural trails.

 

Cuisine

 

A large percentage of Indians are vegetarian, and Pune's local cuisine reflects their meat-free lifestyle. Specialities include a spicy curry called misal pav made with locally grown moth beans, and a thick chickpea stew called pithla bhakri. To cool down, try mastanis in local cafés – these are thick milkshakes sweetened with dried fruit. In addition to the many traditional restaurants, sizzler restaurants are becoming popular in Pune, with meat and seafood cooked right at your table. You'll also find a diverse selection of Asian and European inspired joints, with fine dining places often catering to the expat market.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

More traditional Indian restaurants will expect you to eat without cutlery, although you should only handle food with your right hand. You should remember to only use your right hand when shaking hands in greeting or pointing something out, with the left hand reserved for cleaning and removing shoes. You should also be careful about public displays of affection, with kissing and hugging frowned on in public. When it comes to tipping, or “baksheesh”, good waiting staff in restaurants will appreciate a 12-15% token, and try to keep plenty of change on you so you don’t have to rifle through big wads of money in public.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 3.1 million

Spoken languages: Marathi, Hindi, English

Electrical: India runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +91 20100