The week pass by quickly. It is now the 6th week past and it is Eastern. In the Netherlands we have Eastern Monday off, but in India we have Good Friday as a public holiday. A nice long weekend.

I did not have any plans for the weekend and started the Friday easy going. I took my time for breakfast, sports and started gathering some stuff for the journey home. Every now and then I would watch a movie (HBO and Star Movies broadcast movies nonstop) and I would blog a bit. But I did not want the whole weekend to be like this so I took my phone and called some people to learn their weekend plans.

The Saturday started early. I got up, did sports and had breakfast. At 10:00 am the chauffeur was there and I was on my way to get Sanket. Together we went to Koregaon Park, Lane 7 for some souvenirs on a suggestion of the driver. He is well aware on the places for tourism and the more expensive neighborhoods. They often get a commission if they bring customers to the shop. Smart business.

Some information about Koregaon Park: Koregaon Park is known for several reasons. On is tourism and since recently (February 13th 2010) the bombing of the famous German bakery. After this explosion in which people have died and got wounded extra security is placed at Koregaon Park. Now you will find many blockades, bunkers and military people. The German baker is covered with a structure and cloths. This is one of the reasons were as the security in India has risen as described in previous posts.

Back to my story of the Saturday. After successful shopping Sanket and I go to M.G.Road. Here we meet Vaibhav. The three of us continue the day and do some more shopping for souvenirs to remind me of my adventures in India. At the end of M.G.Road we find Moledina Road were we enter the restaurant ‘Rama Krishna’ for lunch.

After a good but also a bit spicy lunch we leave round 02:00 pm for some sightseeing:

  • Lal Mahal (next to Shaniwar wada).
    We arrive at the site, but it is closed. Sanket tells a bit about the history about how the Mongols ruled and how a warrior defeated the Mongol king by cutting five of his fingers from his hand. The fingers are still in Lal Mahal.
  • To get to Saras Baug we drive through the old center of Pune were we find Srimanth Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandir (Mandir = temple). I have already seen it before while driving, but now we take the time to go inside. The temple is made of marble and from the inside silver and gold. During the festivals the statue will contain actual gold which also increases security of the temple. The temple has a second floor which is made of colored glass. From this floor you can look down in the temple.
    Srimanth Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandir
  • Next we go to Saras Baug (Talyatla Ganpati)
    This temple used to stand within a small lake which also translates in the name. The name means “Ganpati in the lake”. The lake is now dry and they made a park round with a pond round the temple.
    We were there for some time to get out of the sun. Our next goal would not have much shade and we needed to climb a mountain which we did not want to do in the heat of the sun.
    Saras Baug Saras Baug
  • On the way to the next temple we stopped at a small road shop serving sugar cane drinks. The beverage is created by pressing the juice out of sugar canes without any supplements.
    Sugar Press Sugar juice Sugar drink
  • After the sugar drink we went to the start of the mountain. Here we start our climb of round 200 steps to the temple of Parvati Darshan on Parvati hill. Parvati is a Hindu goddess.
    Stairs Walking up Temple
  • Besides the temple there is a small museum named Peshwa. We see a bit of history of Shaniwar wada, coins of India, weapons and more.
  • On this same mountain there is a small place for foods and drinks. The guys take some tea and I get some coffee. The coffee is hot milk with a bit of coffee powder. We stay here a while and watch the view and take some food. The dish is called Bhel puri which is served on a paper and you eat with your hands. It is kind of puffed rice with unions, herbs, chili and other ingredients. Very nice to share a snack like this :P .

After this we went home. Once home I wanted the check, but there were more costs than expected. In these settings it is uncomfortable to not know the language. After some discussion and some help of Peter via phone it works out and I get the proper amount on the bill.

Once inside I only want to sleep. It was a fun day, but all impressions and heat have taken its toll :) . Sanket and Vaibhav, thanks for a nice day!