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The Pune Cantonment Area or fondly called as camp has a history dating back to 1800s. Established for the British Indian Army in 1817, this area is till reminiscent of the influence of the British on the architecture, food and more in India. It is also the headquarters of the Indian Army’s Southern Command. Not very far off, around 20 minutes by a vehicle, depending on the traffic, is Koregaon Park, one of the most vibrant areas in the city. These are perhaps the best areas to explore, close to the railway station or airport. If you are from India, then you can probably take an auto rickshaw. But taking an Uber or Ola cab will be the best option, especially if you are from another country. Having said that, finding things to do or see in these areas is an absolute breeze.
Managed by Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India, the Empress Botanical Garden is located near the race course. The garden is spread across 39 acres, and is home to many rare species of trees and flowers. It is open between 9.30 am and 6.30 pm. The entry fee is around 20 INR for an adult.
Ohel David Synagogue
This synagogue is right in the heart of the Pune cantonment area on Moledina Road. Its construction began in 1863 by philanthropist David Sassoon and was completed in 1867. It is a prominent example of a building having English, Gothic architecture in the city. What is interesting is that it’s red brick and trap stone structure resembles a church. It has 90 feet high obelisk on which a watch is hung, brought specially from London. It is Asia’s largest synagogue outside Israel.
Moving on to Koregaon Park, check out the Mystery Rooms. It is a challenging race against the clock where the sole motive is to get yourself out of a theme based room. Those who are in for some suspense and thrill can go for it. The entrance fee starts with around 1000 INR for two people. You can book any slot between 11 am to 9.30 pm.
A Taste of Culture & History
If you are interested in a rendezvous with history, check out Aga Khan Palace. It has strong connections with the Indian freedom movement as it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi. It was built in 1892 the highlights of this building are Italian arches and spacious lawns. Likewise, if you are looking for some spiritual inspiration, The Osho Ashram is located on lane 1, North Main Road, Koregaon Park. It is open from around 6 am to 8 pm and entry is free. National War memorial is another option if you wish to just stroll. The memorial is dedicated to post-Independence war martyrs and is the only one in South Asia erected by citizens’ contributions.
Grab a Bite at MG Road or North Main Road
From fancy restaurants to small cafes and bars, camp and Koregaon Park have endless options for food and drink. Marz-o-rin is one of the most iconic cafes in town dating back to 1965. From sandwiches to pizzas to shakes and burgers, you are spoilt for choice. You can also try 11 East Street café and Thousand Oaks in Camp. George restaurant is for those looking for something fancy. Take a stroll on North Main Road in Koregaon Park and it’s by lanes and you will find that almost every other shop or establishment is a café or a pub. Effingut Brewerkz, Agent Jack’s, Bar Stock Exchange are some of the popular hangouts.
Stand Up Comedy, Music & More
In for some music? Mazda Hall at Dastur Primary School located at 2 Lt. Col. Tarapore Road, hosts live recitals and concerts and theatre performances every week at around 7pm. Then there are a number of standup comedy shows happening in the area. Film screenings happen too in Koregaon Park and all are generally in the evening. Check out this place called Republic, they have open air screenings.
This was just a glimpse of things to do after 5:00 pm in Koregaon Park or Camp in Pune. These areas have a lot more to offer if you are looking to spend a nice evening. All you have to do is keep your eyes and mind open!
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