Pune Trivia – 3
Continuing in the series on Pune Trivia (please also check: Pune History Trivia – 1 and Pune History Trivia – 2) , here is the 3rd article. I invite readers to update more specific information & comments around these items.
1. Amongst the major forts in Pune district, Torna is the tallest at around 4700 ft. Rajgad comes in at #2 at around 4500 ft, Purandar is #3 at around 4400 ft and Sinhagad is #4 at around 4300 ft.
2. ‘Vetal Tekdi’ the tallest point on the hill behind ILS Law College, is also the tallest point in Pune city; at a height of around 800 M. (Pune Station Height is 550 M).
3. The main building of the National Defense Academy (NDA) in Khadakwasala, Pune is named ‘Sudan’ Block. The donation made by the King of Sudan in 1941 (to honor Indian Soldiers who fought in North Africa in WW II) was used for the construction of this building.
4. The Synagogue opposite B.J. Medical College Ground (also referred to as ‘Lal Deul’) near Pune Camp is one of the largest Synagogues in Asia. It was built by David Sassoon in 1867.
5. Probably the most ancient route from the Arabian Sea to the Deccan Plateau was through the ‘Nane Ghat’ just north of Junnar in the Pune district. The present day motorable ‘Ale-Malshej Ghat’ is built just a few kilometers near the ‘Nane Ghat’. Recently quite a few historic artifacts (dating all the way back to the Greek/Roman period…) have been discovered near Junnar by archaeologists.
6. The Aga Khan Palace was built by Aga Khan III, in 1892. It was an infrastructure development project specifically designed to generate employment for the famine struck neighbouring areas. Mahatma Gandhi was put under house arrest here in the 1940s. Kasturba Gandhi passed-away at this palace, and her Samadhi was built here.
7. Apparently (someone please confirm…) the large towers arrays complex that you see lying vacant for years, on Nagar Road, just past Kalyani Nagar are Short Wave Radio Towers used for international communications, prior to the advent of communication satellites! Talking about satellite communications, one of India’s first major satellite communication ground station was built in Arvi (near Junnar) in 1971. Until recently when under-sea optical fibers took over, this center was the primary gateway for India’s international telecom traffic.
8. The ‘GMRT’ Giant Meter Wave Radio Telescope is also located near Junnar and is the world’s largest array of meter wave radio telescopes. It was completed in 1995.
9. One of the oldest photos of Pune can be found in the book ‘Krishna-Dhaval Pune’ is that of Parvati Lake in 1857. Can you suggest any other older photos?
10. The Mobos Hotel was one of the more popular hotels Pune in the 1950s (and earlier). Later on it was converted into a government building, housing multiple offices. Years of neglect has resulted in its present dilapidated state. The Mobos Hotel has to its credit Pune’s first drive-in restaurant and discotheque (both in the 1960s). Any idea when this hotel was built?
11. Sadhu Vaswani Mission in Pune was established by Sadhu Vaswani in 1949-50. He moved to Pune from Hyderabad (Sindh, Pakistan) after the partition. The Sindh Society (near Aundh) was also established shortly thereafter – which at that point of time was way outside Pune City.
12. Probably the oldest library in Pune dates back to 1818, the year the British defeated the Peshwe Empire. This library – ‘The United Services Library’ is located near Pune camp.
13. The oldest hospital in Pune is Sassoon Hospital. It was established with the support of David Sassoon in 1867. The other old Pune hospital, KEM was established in1912.
14. The Erandwane Gaothan (original settlement) is located on the banks of the Mutha River, just off Karve Road and Mhatre Bridge (very near the new Persistent Systems Campus).
15. Here is some information I gathered about famous old schools in Pune that were established in the 19th century.
Bishops – established 1864
St. Mary’s School – established 1866
St. Vincent School Pune – established 1867
New English School – established 1880
Nu Ma Vi – established 1883
Huzur Paga – established 1884
15. The Ranade Institute on Fergusson College Road was established by Gopal Krishna Gokhale (founder of Servants of India Society) in 1910. It was named ‘Ranade’ institute in honor of Gokhale’s guru, Justice Ranade.