History of Pune

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The history of Pune (a city in Maharashtra, India) begins in the 6th century, and is closely linked to the history of Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha empire, and to the Peshwa, the ministers of the Maratha empire and later the Maratha confederacy.[1]

Early and medieval[edit]

[[Imageb|The circular Nandi Mandapa at the Pataleshwar cave temple, built during the Rashtrakula dynasty]]Copper plates dated to 758 and 768 show that, by the 8th century, an agricultural settlement known as 'Punnaka' existed where Pune is today. The plates indicate that this region was ruled by the Rashtrakutas. The Pataleshwar rock-cut temple complex was built during this era. The Kasba peth in central Pune were constructed in the 5th century.

on the copper plate of 993 A.D. It is named as Punaka desha. Later on it was referred to as Punekavadi. Punevadi, Kasabe Pune. There was temple of Punyeshwara on the bank of River Mutha. Saint Namdev (1270-1350) visited this temple. Poona Gazetteer explains that this city is situated on the confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers. The confluence / sangam of two rivers is called as 'punya'. Hence the name Pune. It is also referred to as Punyanagari.

Pune was a part of Yadava Empire of Deogiri from the 9th century to 1327. It was later ruled by the Nizamshahi Sultans, until it was annexed by the Mughal Empire in the 17th century. In 1595, Maloji Bhosale was appointed the Jagirdar of Pune and Supe by the Mughals.[2]

Maratha and Peshwa rule[edit]

View from the Pune Darwaja (Pune Gate) of Sinhagad

In 1625, Shahaji Bhonsle appointed Rango Bapuji Dhadphale as the administrator of Pune. He was one of the first major developers of the town, overseeing the construction of the Kasba, Somwar, Ravivar and Shaniwar Peths. Construction also began on the Lal Mahal palace, as Shahaji's son, Shivaji was to move there with his mother Jijabai. The Lal Mahal was completed in 1640.[2] Jijabai is said to have commissioned the building of the Kasba Ganapati temple herself. The Ganesh idol consecrated at this temple is regarded as the presiding deity (gramadevata) of the city.[3]

From 1630 to 1647, Shivaji was crowned Chhatrapati (King) in 1649, he oversaw further development in Pune, including the construction of the Guruwar, Somwar and Mangalwar peths. Before the rise of the Peshwe, five other peths were constructed: Shukrawar, Raviwar, Shaniwar, Bhavani, and Ghorpade Peth. Budhwar Peth was constructed in 1703 by the emperor Aurangzeb.

Baji Rao I became Peshwa of the Maratha empire, ruled by Chattrapati Shahuji, in 1720. By 1730, the palace of Shaniwarwada had been constructed on the banks of the Mutha river, ushering in the era of Peshwa control of the city. The patronage of the Peshwas resulted in the construction of many temples and bridges in the city, including the Parvati temple and the Ganesh, Sadashiv, Narayan, Rasta and Nana Peths.

The Peshwas fell into decline after their loss in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. In 1802, Pune was captured from the Peshwa by Yashwantrao Holkar in the Battle of Poona, directly precipitating the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-05.


The Aga Khan Palace was constructed by Aga Khan III in 1892.

Pune got its name from the name of the temple 'Punyeshwar'. In the year 1918, Pune municipality had found some ruins of the temple when development work was undertaken e.g. dwarshakha of the temple, idol of Sree Vishnu, an idol of a hermit, other idols of Hindu deities, 'Shiva-linga', Gomukh etc. These were handed over to the Indian Historians.

Pune was an important center for the social and religious reform movements that were sweeping the country. Many prominent reformers lived here, including Mahadev Govind Ranade, Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Maharshi Vitthal Ramji Shinde and Jyotirao Phule. The most important political reformer of this era was Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who dominated the Indian political scene for six decades.

Pune is also associated with the struggle for Indian independence. Mohandas Gandhi was imprisoned at Yerwada Central Jail several times, and placed under house arrest at the Aga Khan Palace in 1942-44, where both Kasturba Gandhi, his wife, and Mahadev Desai, his long-time aide and secretary, died.

After independence[edit]

After Indian Independence, Pune saw a lot of development, such as the establishment of the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla, National Chemical Laboratory at Pashan. Pune also serves as the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Indian Army.[4] Industrial developments started around 1950-1960s in Hadapsar, Bhosari, Pimpri, and Parvati.[5] Telco (now Tata Motors) started operations in 1961, which gave a huge boost to the automobile sector. Pune was referred at that time as "Pensioners' Paradise" since many government officers, civil engineers and Army personnel preferred to settle down in Pune after their retirement.

After 1970, Pune emerged as the leading engineering city of the country with Telco, Bajaj, Kinetic, Bharat Forge, Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, Sandvik and Thermax expanding their infrastructure. By this time the city had gained the reputation of being the 'Oxford of the East' due to a large number of educational institutes. In 1989, Dehu Road-Katraj bypass (Western bypass) was completed, reducing traffic congestion in the inner city. In 1990 Pune began to attract foreign capital, particularly in the information technology and engineering industries; new businesses like floriculture and food processing begin to take root in and around the city. In 1998, work on the six-lane Mumbai-Pune expressway began; a huge accomplishment for the country, the expressway was completed in 2001.[6] In the three years before 2000 Pune saw huge development in the Information Technology sector, and IT Parks formed in Aundh, Hinjewadi and Nagar road. By 2005 Pune overtook both Mumbai and Chennai to have more than 200,000 IT professionals.In 2006, PMC started BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System) project first among all Indian cities but due to narrow roads of the city it has not worked properly. However, PMC is working on glitches in this project and planning skywalks near BRT and other changes. The year 2008 saw huge development near the Chakan and Talegaon region as Multinational Corporations (MNCs) like General Motors, Volkswagen and Fiat have set up facilities near Pune. Additionally, in 2008 the Commonwealth Youth Games took place in Pune, which encouraged additional development in the north-west region of the city and added a few Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses on Pune's road.[7] The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA)'s proposed initiatives will give a huge boost to the city's infrastructure and include the development of systems for a metro (rapid-transit rail) and buses, plus effective water and garbage treatment facilities.

The Flood of 1961[edit]

Panshet Dam[edit]

The Panshet Dam, near Pune, was under construction when the dam had failed. It was zoned at a height of 51 m and having an impervious central core outlet gates located in a trench of the left abutment and hoists were not fully installed when floods occurred at the site of construction. The reservoir had a capacity of 2.70 million m3. Between 18 June and 12 July 1961, the recorded rainfall was 1778 mm. The rain caused such a rapid rise of the reservoir water level that the new embankment could not adjust to the new loading condition. The peak flow was estimated at 4870 m3/s . Water rose at the rate of 9 m per day initially, which rose up to 24 m in 12 days. Due to incomplete rough outlet surface the flow through was unsteady which caused pressure surges. Cracks were formed along the edges of the right angles to the axis of the dam causing a subsidence of 9 m wide. An estimated 1.4 m of subsidence had occurred in 2.5 hours, leaving the crest of the dam 0.6 m above the reservoir level. Failure of the dam was attributed to inadequate provision of the outlet facility during emergency. This caused collapse of the structure above the outlets.

Khadakwasla Dam[edit]

The Khadkawasla Dam was constructed in 1879 as a masonry gravity dam, founded on hard rocks. The dam had a flood capacity of 2,775 m3/s and a reservoir of 2.78 * 103m3. The failure of the dam occurred because of the breach that developed in Panshet Dam, upstream of the Khadkawasla reservoir. The upstream dam released a tremendous volume of water into the downstream reservoir at a time when the Khadkawasla reservoir was already full, with the gates discharging at near full capacity. This caused overtopping of the dam because inflow was much above the design flood. Vibration of the structure was reported, as the incoming flood was battering the dam. Failure occurred within four hours of the visiting flood waters.


  1. ^ "Timeline of Pune's History". Punecity.com. 22 June 1916. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Some Important Years In The History Of Pune". Retrieved 4 April 2008. 
  3. ^ "Monuments in Pune". Pune district administration. Archived from the original on 25 March 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2008. 
  4. ^ "Southern Command in India". Retrieved $ january 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ "Historical Events in Pune". http://pune.gov.in. NIC - District-Pune. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2009.  External link in |work= (help)
  6. ^ "The Mumbai-Pune expressway". The Financial Express. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "Pune to get piped compressed natural gas before CYG". The Punekar. Retrieved 29 October 2009.