Overview: place & people


Early and Medieval

Copper plates dated 758 AD and 768 AD show that, by the 8th century, an agricultural settlement known as Punnaka existed where Pune is today. The plates indicate that this region was ruled by the Rashtrakuta Dynasty. The Pataleshwar rock-cut temple complex was built during this era.

Pune was part of the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri from the 9th century to 1327. In 1595, Maloji Raje Bhosale was appointed the jagirdar of Pune and Supe by the Mughal Empire. It was ruled by theAhmadnagar Sultanate until being annexed by the Mughals in the 17th century.

Maratha rule

In 1625, Shahaji appointed Rango Bapuji Dhadphale as the administrator of Pune. He was one of the first major developers of the town, overseeing construction of the Kasba Peth, Somwar Peth,Raviwar Peth and Shaniwar Peth. After the destruction of the town in raids by the Adil Shahi dynasty in 1630, and again from 1636 to 1647, Dadoji Kondadev, a military and administrative officer of Shahaji Bhosale, oversaw redevelopment and construction of the area. He stabilized the revenue system of Pune and the neighborhoods of Maval to the west of town. In addition, he developed effective methods to control disputes and enforce law and order. Construction began on the Lal Mahal palace, as Shahaji's son Shivaji was to move there with his mother Jijabai. The Lal Mahal was completed in 1640. Jijabai is said to have commissioned the building of the Kasba Ganapati temple herself. The Ganesha idol consecrated at this temple is regarded as the presiding deity (gramadevata) of the city.

Shivaji was crowned Chhatrapati in 1674, thus founding the Maratha Empire. He oversaw further development in Pune, including the construction of the Guruwar, Somwar, Ganesh and Ghorpade Peths. Shivaji Maharaj encouraged development of dams in Parvati and Kondhwa regions of Pune for agriculture purpose. Pune and surrounding villages later provided manpower for Shivaji's efforts to build an army during the period from 1645 to 1680. In between 1660 to 1670 the town was captured by Moghul General Shahista Khan, but was recaptured by the Marathas in 1670 after the battle of Sinhagad. During the 27-year long conflict between the Marathas and the Moghuls, the town was occupied by Aurangzeb from 1703 to 1705; during this time the name of town was changed to "Muhiyabad". Two years later, the Marathas recaptured Sinhagad fort and later Pune city from the Moghuls as had been done in 1670.

In 1720, Baji Rao I was appointed Peshwa (Prime Minister) of the Maratha Empire, ruled byChattrapati Shahu. He selected Pune as his base and started construction of Shaniwar Wadaon the banks of the Mutha. The construction was completed in 1730, ushering the era of Peshwa control of the city. The patronage of the Peshwas resulted in the construction of many temples and bridges in the city, including the Lakdi Pul and the temples on Parvati Hill. Bajirao Peshwa also constructed an underground aqueduct to bring water from Katraj Lake to Shaniwar Wada. The aqueduct is still operational. Pune prospered as a city during the reign of Nanasaheb Peshwe. He developed Saras Baug, Heera Baug, Parvati Hill and new commercial, trading and residential localilties. The Sadashiv Peth, Narayan Peth, Rasta Peth and Nana Peth were developed in this era. The Peshwas fell into decline after their defeat in the 1761 Battle of Panipat. In 1802, Pune was captured by Yashwantrao Holkar in the Battle of Poona, directly precipitating the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-1805.

British Rule

The Aga Khan Palace was constructed by Aga Khan III in 1892.

The Third Anglo-Maratha War broke out between the Marathas and the British in 1817. The Peshwas were defeated at the Battle of Khadki (then transcribed Kirkee) on 5 November near Poona, and the city was seized by the British. It was placed under the administration of theBombay Presidency, and the British built a large military cantonment to the east of the city (now used by the Indian Army). The Pune Municipality was established in 1858. Navi Peth, Ganj Peth and Mahatma Phule Peth were developed during the British Raj.

Nana Sahib Peshwa, the adopted son of the last Peshwa Bajirao II, rose against the rule of British East India Company as a part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, known in India as the First War of Independence. He was helped by Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Tatya Tope. At the end of the war, the final remnants of the Maratha Empire were annexed to British India.

Pune was an important centre in the social and religious reform movements of the late 19th century. Many prominent social reformers and freedom fighters lived here, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak (also known as Lokmanya Tilak), Vitthal Ramji Shinde, Dhondo Keshav Karve and Jyotirao Phule.

Poona (Pune) is also associated with the struggle for Indian independence. Mohandas Gandhi was imprisoned at Yerwada jail several times and placed under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace in 1942-44, where both his wife and aide Mahadev Desai died.

In late 1896, Poona (Pune) was hit by bubonic plague; and by the end of February 1897, the epidemic was raging, with a mortality rate twice the norm, and half the city's population fled. A Special Plague Committee was formed under the chairmanship of W. C. Rand, an Indian Civil Services officer. He brought troops to deal with the emergency. Although these measures were unpopular, the epidemic was under control by May. On 22 June 1897, during the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the coronation of Queen Victoria, Rand and his military escort Lt. Ayerst were shot while returning from the celebrations at Government House. Both died, Ayerst on the spot and Rand of his wounds on 3 July. The Chapekar brothers and two accomplices were charged with this murder, and with the shooting of two informants and an attempt to shoot a police officer. All three brothers were found guilty and hanged. An accomplice was dealt with similarly. Another, a school boy, was sentenced to ten years hard labour.


After Indian independence in 1947, from Britain Poona (Pune) saw a lot of development, such as the establishment of the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla and the National Chemical Laboratory at Pashan. Pune serves as the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Indian Army. Industrial development started in the 1950s and '60s in Hadapsar, Bhosari, Pimpri, and Parvati. Telco (now Tata Motors) started operations in 1961, which gave a huge boost to the automobile sector.

In July 1961, the Panshet and Khadakwasla dams broke and their waters flooded the city, destroying most of the older sections of town, facilitating the subsequent introduction of modern town planning concepts and the development of parts of Pune. The economy of the city witnessed a boom in the construction and manufacturing sectors. By 1966, the city had expanded in all directions.

In 1990 Pune began to attract foreign capital, particularly in the information technology and engineering industries; new businesses like floriculture and food processing started to take root in and around the city. In 1998, work on the six-lane Mumbai-Pune expressway began; the expressway being completed in 2001. IT Parks were established in Aundh, Hinjawadi and on Nagar Road. In 2008 the Commonwealth Youth Games took place in Pune, which encouraged additional development in the northwest region of the city.

In July 2009, India's first death due to H1 N1 occurred in Pune. Later the city became an epicentre of swine flue due to the large number of H1 N1 cases.

On 13 February 2010, a bomb exploded at the German Bakery in the upmarket Koregaon Park neighbourhood on the east side of Pune killing 17 and injuring 60. The explosion is now suspected to be an improvised explosive device using an ammonium nitrate fuel oil mix. The blast was a first in what was until then the relatively safe environment of Pune.




See also

Photo gallery

Everything else

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