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The heart of the Maratha empire in the days of yore, Pune is the 2nd largest city in Maharashtra and is the also the capital of Pune district. Located around 120 kilometers from Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, Pune is famous for its educational institutions earning it the sobriquet "Oxford of the East." Education, arts and crafts, and theatre have always enjoyed a pride of place in Pune, home to one of India's oldest universities. With the express highway providing fast connectivity between Pune and Mumbai, Pune's importance has grown by leaps and bounds. Pune represents a fusion of the old and the new, of the traditional and the modern, of quaint old wadas and glitzy malls. Surrounded by greenery and blessed with a salubrious climate, Pune is sure to create a lasting impression in your mind.
Pune has a long and rich history. Initially known as Punnaka, this area was under the Rashtrakutas in the 8th century A.D. Thereafter, control over Pune shifted between the Mughals and the Marathas. In 1749 A.D, it became the capital of the Maratha kingdom under the Peshwa rule. The legendary Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji stayed here with his mother. Peshwa Baji Rao I constructed a palace in the early 18th century now known as Shaniwar Wada. The British took over Pune after a war between the Marathas and the British ended in a defeat for the Marathas in 1817. The British built a cantonment area in the city. Pune became the monsoon capital of the Bombay Presidency.Pune was home to several prominent freedom fighters who led the fight for India's independence. Prominent among these include Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Mahadev Govind Ranade, R.G Bhandarkar, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. After India's independence, Pune acquired the status of an educational and research hub with the establishment of the University of Pune, the National Defence Academy (NDA), National Chemical Laboratory and many other leading institutes.