Climbing Parvati

Last night I left work early to go visit Parvati Darshan (Parvati Hill), one of the major attractions in Pune. Parvati is 260 foot high hill right in the center of town. You have to climb 103 steps from street level to the summit. It’s good exercise. Last week a young man set a new record by climbing Parvati Hill over 100 times in 24 hours.

Parvati steps

The views are worth it though – from the top of the hill, you can see all of Pune spread out below. I could even see all the way to Fort Sinhagad, on a mountain top about 30 km away.

On the summit are 5 different Hindu temples:

Parvati temple enclave

I couldn’t visit all the temples, because Monday was a holy day, and there were special ceremonies going on.

There’s also a small Peshwa Museum,  containing paintings and artifacts from when the Peshwa ruled this area. Which was only a little over a century – from overthrowing the Mughals in late 17th century until early 19th century occupation by the British. The museum is housed in part of a former Peshwa palace. It’s a small collection, and not very well maintained. But we met some local students who were eager to practice their English, so they gave me a running commentary.

Interestingly enough, since the whole area is a holy place, I had to take off my shoes to even enter the museum. So we all padded around in bare feet. I wonder if that would catch on at the Met…

Peshwa museum

It took a long time to get there and back, though Pune’s heavy rush hour traffic. But we went through some interesting neighborhoods. One area was devoted to home improvement stores. Block after block of storefronts selling plywood, locks, and tile. Business was booming, even at 8pm. We also cut through a Muslim neighborhood, with a mosque all decorated in lights. We even drove past a little amusement park, with lots of little rides for the kids.