R is for MahaRana Pratap Udyan

This garden is officially called the MahaRana Pratap Udyan and is tucked away on an important arterial North-South Road of the city. The neighbourhood is mostly residential and borders a very busy commercial area. I realised it was extremely popular with families when I visited as many relaxed on the lawns, played games and enjoyed  the greenery in the very heart of Pune. 

A bust of MahaRana Pratap is located almost immediately after the gate. He was a King of Mewar in what is now India’s Rajasthan state. He was among the few rulers who stood up to the Mughals. An inspiring and fearless King whose deeds are still recounted with fervour. 

Gardens, Pune

This garden also has a memorial to Shaheed Captain Sushant Godbole who laid down his life fighting terrorists in Jammu. We are safe in our cities only because of him and all our armed forces personnel who are unquestioningly  guarding our borders for the safety of their fellow countrymen. 

Installations in this garden should be an inspiration to young minds. Besides these, there are the by now ubiquitous manicured lawns, tiled walkways around the perimeter, trees and a few flower beds.

Pune, garden, udyan
Kids enjoying!

Entry: Free
Timing: 6AM to 11AM and 4PM to 8.30PM
Drinking Water: Available (Quality not checked)
Rest Rooms: Available (Hygiene not checked)

Another “R” park that finds a mention in this post is the Raja Mantri Udyan not because it is something spectacular but because it was the park where I began my research for this series! I spotted a white powder puff in bloom here, a somewhat uncommon tree.

Info: Raja Mantri Udyan
Entry: INR 1
Timing: 6AM To10.30AM and 4PM to 8PM
Parking: On the road 
Drinking Water and Rest Rooms: Available

Location Map here

Q is for Queens Garden

This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ Blogging Challenge where I have visited and am writing about gardens in Pune. I have depended extensively on maps (the old fashioned paper ones and e-maps on my phone and the PC) to identify gardens. As usual, one alphabet had me stumped and this time it was Q. Not because I could not find a garden but for an entirely different reason. Despite many maps indicating the Queens Garden, there is no ‘garden’ in the form that we all know.

The ‘star’ is the location of the Tribal Museum

Oh dear.

What does exist is a road that is called Queens Garden and the entire area is again called Queens Garden. It is a residential area with living accommodation for government officials! All my research skills were unable to spot existence of any ‘real’ garden in the past.

Now what?

I walked around the area and found that though I cannot write about a typical garden, this area has much to offer for tourists – for botany lovers, the heritage building that houses the Western Regional Centre of the Botanical Survey of India is a stone’s throw away and is a most interesting place to visit. 

The Tribal Museum is in the vicinity and should offer great insights into the life and culture of tribal folk. 

I saw this wall of sorts created by Banyan (Ficus benghalensis) trees on the road that leads to Queens Garden. It was amazing. This tree sort of ‘walks’ via its aerial roots that form a new tree wherever they touch the ground. The Ficus is like a keystone species in any jungle as its figs are an important diet of many animals and its leaves and branches offer a home for several species of reptiles, birds, bats, butterflies, moths etc…  Several species of the Ficus genus grow in India and many of them are wonderful for Bonsai as well.

Pune, Ficus

So don’t lose heart because there is no real garden, there are other wonderful places to explore in this part of town. 

Visit this area not for its garden but for other attractions in the area. 
Being a defence neighbourhood, people passing through this area may be asked to prove their identity or subject to search.
Some parts of this area are out of bounds for foreigners.

P is for PL Deshpande Garden

My first choice for ‘P’ for my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge was the Peshwe Park in Pune. I have been visiting it since my childhood when it was a Zoo but more recently it has gone a total makeover from a Zoo to an energy park. Another interesting tidbit I have learnt is that way back in the late 1700s, this very site  had a menagerie which was created by Nana Phadnavis. Take a look at this sketch  “A Rhinoceros in the Peshwa’s Menagerie at Poona” 

To my utter despair, despite repeated attempts, I could not enter the Park (reserving this for another post!) so I must settle for the PL Deshpande Garden. PL Deshpande was an extremely popular author, poet, music composer, orator (to name just a few of his talents) and he is still revered among Marathi people around the world. The garden is named after him and is also called the Pune Okayama Friendship garden. Here is my original post. Thereafter, the park has an addition which is a version of the ‘Mughal Garden’ with terrace lawns, walkways and fountains. The entry ticket rates have also been hiked. 

The lawns are off- limits which I think is a good idea as it protects the grass as the park tends to get fairly crowded. There are several interesting species planted here. Prunus serrulata and Platanus orientalis are among the important uncommon trees planted in this garden. 

Here are some images from the garden from a while ago. Enjoy!

PL Deshpande garden, Pune
Photo credit @puneribaker

Japanese garden, Pune,
Photo credit @puneribaker

Japanese garden, Pune
Photo credit @puneribaker

Japanese garden, Pune
Photo credit @puneribaker

Entry: Ticketed entry
Time: 6AM to 10AM and 4PM to 8PM
Parking: Available
Rest Rooms: Available (quality and hygiene not checked)
Drinking Water: Available (quality and hygiene not checked)

This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can read other posts on this theme here

O is for Osho Teerth Garden

As part of my theme for the April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge, I have visited some famous, some popular and some relatively less known parks in Pune. Today is the day for ‘O’ and there is only one park that I want to write about. The Osho Teerth Park. The land where it now resides (is that the correct word for a park??) used to be a wasteland and a not very clean nullah (stream) flowed through it.  Dedicated efforts by the Shunyo Foundation has made this into a serene garden with bridges, artistically installed benches, statues, rocks, trees and bamboos. The water was purified using specific species of fish and some plants. The stream snakes through the 12-acre plot of land creating a mini forest of sorts. The water attracts several bird species and early morning hours can make this a delightful spot for birding. The pond has water lilies and some ‘real’ lotus as well.

Here is an article from The Hindu with more details about the restoration and clean up project.

Some of the old trees have been retained e.g. the superb Mahadhawda (Anogeissus pendula). We were  speechless by this tree which in full bloom resembled a cascade of greenish yellow fuzzy balls.In fact the tree and hence its inflorescence was so high that it was impossible to touch the flowers, and we had to use binoculars to ‘see’ them clearly. Yet another park that does not permit photography so I cannot share the beauty that I saw…. 

This is a tree lovers delight with the Kailashpati (Couroupita guianensis), Beggars Bowl (Crescentia cujete), a pretty pink Azalea, Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata), the Vallaris heynei creeper, just to name a few.. 

Here are some images taken elsewhere… 


Anogeissus pendula


Children may get bored in the garden as there is no ‘play’ area. It seemed to be a popular spot among health enthusiasts in the morning hours when I visited. As I have said before, most of the parks have a different ‘flavour’ at different times of the day when the visitor demographic changes.

A wonderful park that should be on every Pune vistor’s list. Visit this link for some glimpses of the park.


Entry: Free for public in specified time
Timing: 6AM to 9AM and 3PM to 6PM
Parking: Not Permitted in the lane 
Rest Rooms and Drinking water: Not available
Photography: Not permitted.
Location Map here

Read my other posts on this theme here.

N is for Necklace Garden

The frequency of my visits to this part of Pune soared after I took up cycling and our favourite route is the ‘Necklace‘. Here Maps has marked this area as the Necklace area. Initially I assumed it was because of the semicircular road that traverses the area. Then I thought the reason was because this particular patch of road is the among the beautiful parts of the city – clean, green, hardly any traffic and so totally different from the hustle bustle that’s now associated with Pune. Then I came across the Necklace Garden. 

This is an area of government defence establishments and the Necklace Garden only meant for defence personnel. Since my husband is a retired military officer, I could take a short walk inside. The garden seems to be part of efforts to beautify some deforestation in the area and a wonderfully successful effort I must add. The lawns were perfectly manicured bordered with low Duranta hedges and larger Ficus that were pruned into barrel like shapes. Besides the usual tree species seen in Pune, this garden has a row of Bottle Palms on its boundary along the road. They are still young but in a few years, they will become stately ‘green’ screen for the garden. 

The dew -covered  lawn in this garden glitters in the early morning sun rise as we cycle on the adjoining road and its a sight for sore eyes! I must add that this part of the town always seems at least a couple of degrees cooler than elsewhere in Pune. Another reason may be its proximity to the Pashan lake. 

Photography is not permitted.
A wonderful garden that lends it name to a fairly challenging and popular cycling route among cycling enthusiasts. 


This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can read other posts on this theme here.

M is for Matoshri Udyan

My theme for the 2015 April AtoZ is gardens in Pune. I am really happy with my choice as I have been able to see first hand the state of the parks in my city. Matoshri Ramai Bhimrao Ambedkar Udyan is a pretty garden that is metaphorically sandwiched in a college (Wadia), a hospital (Ruby Hall) and a five star hotel (Courtyard by Marriott) and on a main arterial road. I have often admired the Lagerstromia that bloom in this garden little realising that there is a lovely park that they grow in… 

Two Shirish trees (one on either side) dominate the centre of the park and their golden yellow pods rustle in every gust of wind. The almost ubiquitous tiled pathway in these PMC gardens meanders around the lawns and bisects a small open air auditorium of sorts. A great place to have a talk or song/dance program for a small group of people. The gazebos would be a good place to shelter from the sun or rain as there are not many ‘big’ shade giving trees as we saw in Chittaranjan Vatika. 


 This red flower is the Canna. What looks like red petals are not petals but are highly modified stamens (staminodes) and the real sepals and petals are hidden underneath. It can be said to be a relative of the Banana and Ginger. There are a large number of horticultural cultivars available in a range of beautiful colours that make them an ideal choice for gardens. 

Cycas in the lawns

The garden has the usual tree speices : Silver Oak, Auracaria, Ficus benjamina. The Lagerstromia were not blooming during my visit but the Lily and Canna were. 


Manicured lawns

One side of the park has a Plumeria hedge. Many more trees are visible here ready for plantation
Due to its very location, the park has a continuous sound of vehicular traffic but its not a big disturbance. It seemed to be very popular for health walkers and Pranayam groups. 

Timing: 6AM to 10AM
Ticket: Nil
Drinking Water: Available (quality and hygiene not checked)
Parking: Available 
Location Map here

L is for Limca Jogging Park

In my quest for Gardens A to Z in Pune and I had mentally slotted this park for ‘B’. This seemed so apt as there is a road called Bund Garden Road which means there has to be a Bund Garden right? To my utter disappointment, when I actually went there, I found its official name as “Mahatma Gandhi Udyan Limca Jogging Park’. This necessitated a revision of my list and fresh research and I chose to use the second part of the park’s given name.

As I said, it is located on the Bund Garden Road and its almost a land mark in Pune. The garden is right beside the Yerawada Bridge (erstwhile Fritzgerald Bridge) but has now been sort of bisected after construction of a new bridge across the MulaMutha River. The jogging track is on one side and the landscaped lawns are on the other side and accessed via a walkway under the new bridge. 

Garden location

The jogging track seemed to be popular among senior citizens who preferred to walk instead of jog.. A good idea I say, protect the knees so you can continue coming to the park longer! 😉 Some visitors preferred to play volley ball and some were using the exercise equipment installed there. There is a small built up structure called the Weikfield Court where a group Pranayam and Yoga class was in progress. 

The track meanders around the park and at one point overlooks the Mula Mutha river. The almost bare trees (most are deciduous species) formed a mesh through which the slow moving water was visible. 

Clock at the gate

View from the road

At the entrance

The park has several blue benches to sit and rest and all of them bear plaques of Mr C H Kapadia, Consul General of Madagascar in India. What a wonderful gesture! 

The trees were mostly Peepul, Waval (Holoptelea integrifolia), Copper Pod (Peltaforum pterocarpum) and Gulmohor (Delonix regia ) plus the usual garden varieties.

The other section of the park has some really old and tall trees but I must make another visit to check out this area. I suspect I saw the Sterculia foetida and Pterygota alata but I could not confirm. This is a very old park in the city and I suspect that the new bridge and ever increasing traffic has wrecked havoc here. 

The area at the entrance is a buzzing with street food vendors and during peak hours, the crowds may mask the park entrance. Most of my visits have been in the morning and I strongly suspect that most of these parks have a different personality at another time of the day.

Entry: Free (During my visit in the morning)
Timing: 6AM to 11AM and 4PM to 8PM
Drinking Water: Available (quality and hygiene not checked)
Rest Rooms: Available  (quality and hygiene not checked)
Parking: Available
Location Map here

This post is part of my April 2015
AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can
read other posts on this theme here.

K is for KNP

KNP is the popular shortened name for Pune’s Kamla Nehru Park. This is an ‘old’ park compared to other parks that the PMC looks after – ofcourse nowhere close to the Empress Garden. There are no records as to when this park was set up but many speculate it to be in the late 1930s or early years of the 1940s. Hence one can see fairly large and mature trees here and its a popular site for tree walks. 

The KNP is a small stately neighbourhood park, very popular with both young and old alike. The park is the meeting point for many senior citizens many of whom are from different parts of the city. These meetings are a great way for them to ‘let their hair down’ and relax to get away from the humdrum issues that increasingly become predominant at this stage of life. Kids too seem to love this place judging from the number of parents and children I have seen here. 

A vintage Marut aircraft of the Indian Air Force is on display here. I am sure many a young minds has been inspired to take up a career in flying just by looking at this aircraft. The Marut is the first fighter jet designed in India. In 1955 the country did not have infrastructure to build it yet the project did go ahead with ingenuity and perseverance. After the due phases of design, prototype, ground test program etc, the aircraft made its maiden sortie on 17 June 1961. (Source Bharat Rakshak). Do visit this link for the very interesting story about the life and times of this bird.

The KNP also has a memorial for Dr S V Ketkar who wrote the first encyclopedia in Marathi. 

Gardens, Pune, Kamla Nehru Park
Memorial for Dr SV Ketkar

As in most parks, there is a walking track around the perimeter, a play area for kids and a composting pit for garden waste. Here are a few important trees in this park … the Cannon ball trees (Courroupita guianensis), the Guest Tree (Kleihovia hospita), the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) and the Bartondi (Morinda pubescens). I dare not go on with this list as I am sure some of you would like to visit and identify them yourselves!

Majestic Bottle Palms in the lawn
Fun times for kids

While many will struggle to know the precise locations of many parks that I have written about, the Kamla Nehru Park will be a very easy recall. An excellent park in the heart of a residential area that fast losing its old world charm.

Timings: 6AM to 10AM and 4PM to 8PM
Entry: Free
Drinking Water: Available (Quality and hygiene not checked)
Rest Rooms: Available (Quality and hygiene not checked)

USP: Trees, Aircraft static display, kids play area
Location Map here

This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can read other posts on this theme here. Yet another ‘K’ park is the Kamal Nayan Bajaj Udyan at Wakdewadi, Shivaji Nagar Pune. I plan to visit that garden too. 

J is for JJ Garden

J is for JJ Garden and strangely I actually ventured into this garden because of the highly popular Vada Pav stall (some label it as the best) located at the park gates. Vada Pav is a typical Maharashtrian fast food and is a deep fried potato patty eaten sandwiched in a Pav (can be loosely described as bun). Cheap and satisfying food of the first order which can be eaten on the go at any time and any place! 

Pune cantonment, food, foodie, vada pav

Hey, this post about gardens not food so lets enter the park. Unlike others we have visited so far on the A to Z tour, this one is managed by the Pune Cantonment Board. 


Pune cantoment, quotes, gardens, parks
Trees have motivational quotes.  This one says “Happiness lies, first of all, in Health: George Willian Curtis”
Oriental style gazebo

The park trees have boards with interesting motivational quotes – though I dont know how many people even bother to read them. I saw a lovely Soap nut tree bearing fruit as also really big Banyan and Tamarind trees. For some reason there were large Putranjeev (also called Child life tree) – but their pretty drooping green branches more than made up for downsides of the garden. 

Located as it is in the hub of the commercial area, the garden is quite noisy but the kids playing there did not seem to mind it one bit! The garden could be better maintained and it has scope to be a wonderful resting spot in this very busy area of Pune.

Entry: INR 1 single entry ticket
Parking: In adjoining lanes
Rest rooms: No
Location Map here

I is for Indraprastha Udyan

This is yet another alphabet that tested my ‘research skills’! After some effort, I got lucky as I had two places that I could write about. I chose to visit the Indraprastha Udya located in Yerawada. Its a small place under the care of the PMC and some effort has been put in to create it but somehow it seems to have suffered. There were not too many people present when I went there except for some local kids playing cricket. The bougainvilleas have almost grown into trees and their bright pink flowers formed a good backdrop for the kids play area. The tiled pathway goes back quite some distance.  The park has the usual tree species so I shall not repeat them all. 

gardens, pune, PMC

gardens, parks, Pune

Timings: 6AM to 10AM and 4PM to 8PM
Ticket: INR 1 for adults
Parking: On the road outside
Location Map here

The park that I really wanted to visit and write about is the Indira Gandhi Udyan commonly called Appu Ghar which is located in Nigdi, Pune and is possibly among the only amusement parks in the city. We had gone there many years ago. I do remember the ‘Columbus’ which was sort of a mega-swing shaped like a ship. There was also a very tall doll like figure whose skirt had some seating area.  This skirt twirled around eliciting squeals of joy or fear.. 🙂 

I think the park has many more attractions and ride now. This visit remains on my to-do list. If you have been there, do tell us… 

This post is part of my April 2015 AtoZ blogging challenge and I am writing about parks in Pune. You can read other posts on this theme here.