Namaskar from Pune
By Ganesh Vijaypurkar, Head of Pune Citi Service Centre April 02, 2015 02:15 PM
Our Guide to Pune, India is Ganesh Vijaypurkar, Head of Pune Citi Service Centre.
Citi’s legacy in India dates back to 1902, and today Citi is among the most prominent foreign banks operating in the country and in Pune. Citi provides services to large local corporates, including Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, multinationals and retail customers.
Established in 1999, the Pune branch serves clients from the manufacturing and Information Technology and Information Technology-enabled services (ITes) sectors. Pune is the one of India’s fastest-growing hubs for these industries and is rapidly becoming an important destination for IT development and knowledge processing services with firms increasingly setting up a presence in the city.
Pune continues to attract both experienced professionals as well as new graduates who find the environment, culture, cost of living and climate very appealing. Large IT centers have been set up by both the Maharashtra State government as well as private consortiums to provide world-class facilities and top-notch services.
About Pune: Pune is marked by magnificent land and forts, and is well known for its academic and research institutions that attract students from all over the world.
The city’s colorful history is closely linked to the Maratha Empire (1674-1818), and Pune is known for its role in India’s social and religious reform movements. Pune is evolving into a cosmopolitan city, retaining both the archaic and modern aspects of its culture. I bear witness to the quaint charm of Pune, including its omnipresent cyclists and rickshaws that continue to intrigue me.
National Language: Marathi
Currency: The Indian rupee is the official currency.
Climate: Overall, the climate and temperature does not go to extremities and humidity is negligible. Pune is perfect for morning and evening walks any time of the year.
Pune Cuisine: Sorghum and pearl millet are the main ingredients of traditional Pune food. I especially love specialties such as Misal Pav, a spicy curry made of sprouted moth beans, and topped with fried Indian noodles, onions, lemon and coriander (cilantro). I am also very fond of Puran Poli, a sweet flat Indian bread stuffed with lentils, jaggery (traditional Indian sweetener made from sugarcane) and spices. A unique beverage in Pune is the Mastani, a thick milkshake containing dried fruit. I like to snack on Bakarvadi, a spicy tangy tea-time snack that looks like a crispy fried roll and is stuffed with a tangy mixture of coconut and poppy seeds.
Best Places for Dinner: There are a number of good restaurants as well as roadside eateries that serve local cuisine. I personally prefer looking for food with Pune’s authentic taste, along with reasonable prices, at restaurants in areas such as Koregaon Park, J.M. Road, Fergusson College Road, Shivaji Nagar and Laxmi Road.
Best Places for a Weekend Away
- Famous Monuments: If you are interested in Pune’s culture, I would recommend Aga Khan Palace, one of India’s most beautiful landmarks. Visit the Osho Commune International to take part in daily meditation programs. Another famous monument that I am in awe of is the Kasturba Samadhi, widely known as Kasturba Gandhi Memorial, which was built in memory of Mahatama Gandhi's wife Kasturba Gandi. I enjoy strolling though Shaniwar Wada, which has fountains, courtyards, trees, audience halls and residential areas.
- Gardens: The gardens of Pune are beautiful and well maintained. One popular hang-out is the Saras Bagh of Pune. My favorite park is the Empress Garden where there are several varieties of fruit and flower-bearing trees. I recommend you bring a nice picnic. The Peshwa Udyan has a zoo, animal rides and boating.
- Religious Places: Religion plays a large part in local culture, which is why I would recommend visiting the following religious sites. I really enjoyed my visit to the Omkareshwar temple with its extraordinary construct, which is known for its endurance during the 1962 floods of Panshet. If you are inclined toward nature, you will enjoy the Pataleshwar cave temple. A remarkable feature of the Pataleshwar cave temple of Pune is that it bears resemblance to the massive rock-cut temples of Ellora. The Ganapati temple is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen and truly a marvel with its rich design and architecture.
Why I Enjoy Living in Pune: Pune is said to be the cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra. It epitomizes Marathi culture, which emphasizes education, arts and crafts, music and theatre. Pune culture itself reflects a blend of traditions with modernity, which I find very intriguing.