Pune is one of the top 10 cities in India. Popularly known as the “Oxford of the East”, this city is the educational capital of Maharashtra, and even ranks one of the top cities in the country for living, education and job opportunities. Pune is known for its IT industry just like Bangalore, and is also the automotive hub with several auto manufacturing plants in and around the city. And its my hometown, with my schooling, my college all being completed in this wonderful city.
But the lesser known thing about Pune is that it is one of the few metro cities surrounded by mountains and hills on all its sides. There are many hills and mountains surrounding the city such as Vetal Tekdi ( Tekdi is a local marathi name for hill) in the west which is also known as ARAI hill. The hill is surrounded by regions of Kothrud, Bavdhan, Pune University, Law college and SNDT college. This hill is one of the most beautiful oxygen generating spot in the city. Many people come here for walk during early mornings or evenings. The hill is covered with medium to dense vegetation, and can be accessed by all locations from the city.
Below are few pictures taken from the Vetal Tekdi which shows different locations of the city.
Besides Vetal hill, there is another small hill called Hanuman tekdi, which is located just near the Fergusson college. It is located in the middle of city, surrounded by Fergusson college and S B Road. Then, there is a famous hill called Parvati hill, which is named after the temple located atop the hill. This hill is quite frequently visited by tourists who visit Pune.
Though the Parvati hill is not covered by dense vegetation, but it is joined by another forest within a few miles, which is known as Taljai Hill, and it is filled with lush green forest.
These hills are all located in the west, central and south of Pune. There are small patches of hillocks in the north and east part of Pune as well. But they are not much accessible for trek or sight seeing. But the eastern part of Pune is fairly plain and barren as compared to the mountains and lush green western part of Pune. If we go further away from Pune, we see the tallest mountains such as Sinhagad fort in the south-west, Katraj Ghat in the south and Dive Ghat in the south east. Trekking through these tall mountains is quite a feat.
Thus, I feel Pune is blessed with being surrounded by hills and mountains. We, Punekars ( local people addressed as Pune-kars) always mock Mumbai-kars as they only have beaches for exercise or jogging. But we have the luxury of several hills and mountains for trekking, exercise, jogging and sight-seeing as well. But considering the growing urban jungle expanding the city, it is becoming more important for the Punekars to protect the lungs of the city from urbanization, deforestation and traffic ( air & noise) pollution. The number of people allowed on the hills should be limited to protect the hill from being over-crowded. Also, well-defined paths for walk or trek should be laid out to avoid the possible destruction of flora and fauna.
I plan to visit more hills in near future, and take more pictures just like the above pics taken from Vetal takdi. I missed Pune’s tekdi for 5 years, and it always nice to visit them back! I hope we all protect the environment, forests, and the lungs of the city!