Pune Educational Excursion

OSI-India (Pune)

24 April 2010

We chartered a bus, which picked us all up just outside of our Janata Vasahat neighborhood at 9:00am.  We had our own guide who accompanied us the entire day, educating us on every site we visited.

Pataleshwar - Pune University - Ambedkar Museum

The first stop of the day was at the ancient Pataleshwar Cave Temple, -carved out of solid stone, right in the center of Pune city.  Our next stop was Pune University, where we visited its famous library (one of the biggest in Asia), and its Department of Astrology.  Next, we visited the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum.  Dr. Ambedkar was a social reformer who framed India's constitution.  All of his belongings are preserved in the museum, which also provides a pictorial documentary of his life.

Mahatma Phule Wada - Aga Khan Palace - War Memorial

We were served a mid-morning breakfast on the bus, as we traveled to our next site, Mahatma Phule Wada.   "Wada" means "place of residence," and Mahatma Phule was a champion of women's education who started the first school for girls in India; -great inspiration for us.  Next, we traveled to Aga Khan Palace, where Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba were imprisoned by the British, where Kasturba died, and where both Mahatma's and Kasturba's remains are interred.  This was perhaps the most inspirational site of the day for us.  Our final stop before lunch was at the War Memorial, where we discovered fascinating stories of the valour and sacrifices of our soldiers.

Katraj Park - Pu La Deshponde Garden

Our brains exhausted by historical knowledge and emotion, our afternoon stops were less academic and more recreational.  We headed for Katraj Park (also known as the Rajiv Gandhi Zoo), where we immediately sat for a leisurely lunch in the pleasant garden surroundings.  After lunch, we spent a very leisurely two hours just wandering the vast grounds and observing the large collection of zoological wildlife.  Besides the animals, we really enjoyed the leisure time in this park.  Then, at 3:30 we boarded the bus where we were served ice cream, and headed for our last site of the day, beautiful Pu La Deshpande Garden.  This is a Japanese-style landscaped park full of flower beds, trees, lawns, and pools full of colourful fish.

Acknowledgements

Thanks again to our dear friend Margaret Mahfouz from the UK for providing our educational and fun day!  The distance and entrance fees otherwise make such places out of reach for us.  The exploration of our own history gave us much pride as well.  And not least, we are grateful for the positive memory you have created for us!
Thanks also to Minal and her ASHA staff for coordinating all and enduring the long and hot day!
"Thank you so much!  I felt proud that you have sponsored our trip."
-Shabnam
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