Pune, Maharashtra, India

Pune is the second-largest city in Maharashtra, falling in line just after Mumbai. Pune helps form the urban core of the Pune Metropolitan Region, an urban area with a combined population of 7.27 million people. Considered the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune is known colloquially as the “Oxford of the East” due to the presence of several well-known and respected educational institutions. The city emerged as a major educational hub in the 1980s; nearly half of the total international students in the country live in this city. Pune is also home to research institutes for information technology, education, management, and training.

The city of Pune saw enormous growth following India’s independence from the British in 1947. The city lies on the western margin of the Deccan plateau on the downwind side of the Sahyadri mountain range, which forms a barrier from the Arabian Sea. The city is composed of several hills, with Vetal Hill rising to 2,600 feet above sea level—nearly 1,000 feet above the rest of the city. This contrasting elevation creates the opportunity for several stunning vistas throughout the city.

Pune has several distinct neighborhoods, including numerous peths (locality) of the old city and cantonment areas. Areas like Pimpri, Chinchwad, and Bhosari have flourished with industrial growth, eventually incorporating as an entirely separate city. Villages on the fringe have been absorbed into Pune in recent decades, but some have grown to become their own fully-fledged suburbs. Rapid industrialization in the 1960s and 1970s led to a large influx of people to the city, and housing supply has not kept pace with demand; as a result, there is a large number of slum dwellings with around 36% of the population living here.

As a result of the city’s dependence on educational institutions, Pune has a fairly accessible public transportation system. There is a railway, a bus, and auto rickshaws. Uber and Ola Cabs also provide rideshare and taxi services in and around the city. If you’re planning to visit Pune in the next few years, you may get to experience the Pune Metro, a rapid transit system currently under construction.