Time Machine in Pune (Part I)


1. Prof. H. D. Sanklia Gallery, Deccan College Pune

Sometimes I feel all cities have begun to look the same… I wish there was a time machine to go back a few centuries …. and uncover several layers of civilisations, ideas, architecture, culture…. and experience how life was and how it evolved…. Well one gets a glimpse of eras gone by in museums! But museums are usually cold and boring. Everything meant to be seen is almost hidden in glass boxes in poorly lit rooms. But the ancient Indian history museum at the Deccan College in Pune was a refreshing exception. Prof. H. D. Sanklia, who is considered pioneer of archaeological excavations techniques in India played a pivotal role in the evolution of this institution. The main building of Deccan College was designed in Victorian Neo Gothic style by Henry Saint Clair Wilkins … who designed several buildings in Mumbai and Pune and even Prag Mahal Palace in Bhuj.


2. Deccan College building designed by Henry Saint Claire Wilkins (1868)

Deccan college building deserves one separate photo essay and blog entry… So that is saved for some other day. I decided to devote a weekend to exploring heritage in Pune and my phone camera became my time machine. So lets have a look at the places my time machine took me to.


3. Council Hall, Pune (1870)

Today this building houses various government offices, it was designed during the reign of Sir. Bartle Frere and completed in 1870.  This red brick building is considered to be a fine example of neo classic style along with the Ohel David Synagogue.


4. Ohel David Synagogue or Lal Deval (1867)

Another masterpiece by Henry Saint Claire Wilkins built as the place of worship for the Bene Israel jews in the British Army. Unfortunately after 26/11 attacks only Jews are allowed to visit this grand building. The 90 feet high Italian tower in the temple can be spotted from a long distance. This English Gothic building was funded by Sir David Sassoon.


5. War Memorial for Martyrs from Maharashtra (WW1)

After paying homage to brave soldiers of Maharashtra, I started discovering the camp area. There are so many churches, colonial buildings and heritage structures here, it is worthwhile to explore on foot!


6. Shivaji Market (1885)

I found this strong and grand stone building while trying to locate St. Xavier’s church! It is perhaps one of the oldest Markets in Pune city known as ‘Shivaji Market’ The bazzar has variety of options for the meat eaters as well as for vegans. I could not find the name of the architect but it was built by Lt. General Ross in 1885. Just a few metres away I found the majestic St. Xavier’s church build in black stone.


7. St. Xavier’s Church (1864)

I was heading towards Pune GPO when I saw a few charming houses that can take you back in time in one glance.



and then I went towards South East of the city towards Solapur Road to discover couple of more important churches in Pune


8. St. Patrick’s Church (1850)


9. St. Mary’s Church (1825)

St. Mary’s church is perhaps the oldest or first church built in Pune. This neo gothic building looks similar to the St. Andrews Church in Mumbai or the St. Martin’s church in Trafalgar square in London. It was designed by an officer named Lt. Nash and houses 130 year old pipe organ.


Stained glass behind the altar in the St. Mary’s church

I was tempted to buy a few stamps so that I could perhaps make postcards of these pictures and send them to my friends… the GPO in Pune too is a heritage building!


10. General Post Office

Very close to the General Post Office there was an unusual looking stone building with a tower. It was built in 1891 by Engineer Adams to safely store historic documents from the Peshwa era. This building makes minimal use of wood and has elaborate network of pipes to douse accidental fire


11. Peshawe Daftar (1891)

It was time to head towards the heart of the old city where I discovered an unusual looking church with a large bell tower and a huge building from the Maratha era still standing in its grandeur. Well there is lot more to explore in Pune…. So get ready for another sojourn on the time machine… So to book the tickets on the next trip you need to solve a little quiz

Identify the building in the picture below!!! It is difficult to miss if you are in Khadki!!



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