Aga Khan Palace is one such tourist attraction in Pune that interests both the history buffs and admirers of architecture! It is a beautifully designed and well-maintained building, which also deserves a noteworthy mention in India’s struggle for freedom. Before moving onto the history and heritage associated with this 128-year-old building, let’s quickly go through the basic information about the palace every visitor wants to know in the first place.
● Where is this palace located and how to reach it?
Aga Khan Palace is situated on Pune Nagar Road (2 km away from the Bund garden), Kalyani Nagar, Pune. It is just a five-minute drive from the Pune International Airport. You can also avail local or private buses, autos and rickshaws to reach this palace.
● Is there any entry fee? What are the visiting hours?
An amount of Rs. 15/- for adults, Rs. 5/- for children, and Rs.200/- for foreigners is charged as entrance fee to this palace, which is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm every day.
The grand palace and its Architecture:
There is a charitable cause behind the construction of Aga Khan Palace. Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III built this palace in 1892 with the motive of providing employment to the villagers living in poverty in the famine-struck areas of Pune. Constructed over a period of 5 years with a budget of INR 12 lakhs, the whole area covers 19 acres and as much as 13 acres of land is allotted to greenery. Hence the building looks magnificent surrounded by tall trees and manicured lawns.
Although the architecture is primarily of Islamic style, there is a touch of Italian and French style reflected in Italian arches and French lawns. This three-storied building consists of five halls featuring long corridors, rosewood windows, large and spacious verandahs.
The historical significance of Aga Khan Palace, Pune:
This place serves as a testimony to India’s struggle during the Independence movement. It was here at this popular landmark in Pune that Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba Gandhi, Mahadev Desai, Miraben, Pyarelal Nayar, Sarojini Naidu, and his other colleagues were incarcerated during the Quit India Movement. Certain scenes in the renowned movie ‘Gandhi’ were shot here!
Two of the tragedies in Gandhi’s life occurred at this palace. He had to deal with the loss of his dear wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai (both of them passed away during their confinement years). Their tombs (samadhis) were built on the premises. Later, a memorial was built (not very from Kasturba’s samadhi) in honor of Gandhiji, where his ashes were stashed. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) announced Aga Khan Palace as ‘’National Historic Heritage’’ in 2003.
Today’s Palace as a memorial to the lifestyle and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi:
Aga Khan IV handed over the property to India in 1969 as a token of respect for Mahatma Gandhi and his ideologies. Thereafter, the palace was turned into a museum and was made the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society. The five halls housing memorabilia of Gandhiji give the tourists glimpses of his simple lifestyle during his days spent here.
One can go inside the rooms and watch the personal effects of Gandhiji like his clothes, utensils, slippers, etc. The old photographs of freedom fighters and several paintings depicting important events during the freedom movement are displayed on the walls. The room where Kasturba Gandhi breathed her last houses a portrait of her last moments in the lap of Mahatma Gandhi. You’ll also find the black-colored statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi (Bapu and Ba) together, a statue of Gandhi and a kid symbolizing the theme of Anthyodaya, a letter that Gandhi wrote regarding the death of Mahadev Desai, and many portraits illustrating the philosophies of Gandhi.
You can also explore the Khadi and Handloom Textiles Shop, Library and Documentation center, Kasturba Mahila Khadi Gramodyog Vidyala, and other training centers. If you are into Indian history and Gandhism, you should definitely visit Aga Khan Palace. Get your cheap flights to Pune booked at IndianEagle.com now!