Stuff I Do

Experiences and Encounters in Pune

Places I Like

Posted by Sanskriti on August 14, 2009

Peeyush emailed about the Places I Like exhibit at Goethe Institut, Bangalore, described thus:

The reasons why we live in a particular city or a particular area in a city, or why we frequent certain places are not necessarily the same as those used by a city to attract tourists or enhance its image. Every city has places which are of no great interest to tourists, buildings that are not memorials, residential areas that are not very prestigious, but where people feel at home notwithstanding. Places that play a role in collective memory, or places linked to individual lives, places with special spatial or social qualities.

Would be lovely to have this exhibit travel to Pune. 

Sujit feels it could be a powerful way to talk about ‘the city as something that people create’. A workhop (such as the one briefly described at the Goethe Institut, Bangalore site) could provide the forum to discuss how aspects such as heritage and sense of place figure in the currently ongoing process of the Development Plan of Pune — which places do we hold dear, especially in the old city, which must find pride of place in the DP, instead of being destroyed in the quest for densification/ amalgamation/ modernization.


Which are some of my favourite places?

Ram Nadi upstream of Bavdhan, Pune

Ram Nadi upstream of Bavdhan, Pune








Banyan Avenue, University of Pune: Arvind Gupta led a Tree Walk here, some years ago

Banyan Avenue, University of Pune: Arvind Gupta led a Tree Walk here, some years ago










A tap at a farm between Pashan and Baner beside the Ram Nadi. The banyan trees along the road next to Police Ground. The banyan tree on the Sus Road side of Pashan Lake. Patio at Aundh.  And many more.


12 Responses to “Places I Like”

  1. Civicus said


    I don’t quite see the connection between what you say Sujit feels — about ‘the city as something that people create’, about bringing that to focus on the very topical Development Plan of Pune etc. — and the point you make about your own favourite places. The latter may or may not be candidates for pride of place in the DP.

    In cities such as Pune and Bangalore, which are rapidly losing their cultural identity (without its being replaced by anything even vaguely comparable or worthwhile), civic heritage can play a major role as a rallying point of civic pride and as a means to include newcomers in and integrate them into the cultural ethos of the place. To the extent that such a thing is possible, I can see a convergence between Sujit’s perspective and yours. But when it comes to one’s very personal favourites I don’t think that logic carries much weight.

    As a matter of fact, if I have a particularly favourite place to which I love to get away, the last thing I would do is to advertise it to the world at large. If I did that, the outcome of it would utterly destroy the very qualities that, in the first place, made the place attractive for me. I would jealously guard it as a secret to be shared only with people who I am confident share my values about what makes the place special. I would enter into a pact with them to preserve its character, and together with them, without bringing in legal and public mechanisms such as the DP I would strive to enhance it.

    Dreamy idealism? Maybe. But better than drawing attention to the place by the fanfare that would inevitably accompany its inclusion in the DP, thereby handing it on a plate to builders and politicians working in cahoots to fulfil their own greedy ends.

    • Sanskriti said

      Sujit was talking about the process of the workshop and the discussions around why some places might be preserved (the Goethe Institut link has some more details of the workshop conducted by Stefan Koppelkamm). Because the DP revision process may actually threaten some of the places in the old city (the plan area of the 1987 DP) it is quite important to talk about these and build support for their conservation. A workshop like the one in Bangalore would provide us the opportunity to have many more people in Pune more alert to the DP process.

      • Civicus said


        I see the point you are making, and don’t disagree with it. But this is quite different than the kind of example you initially gave in the post — the Ramnadi upstream of Bavdhan.

        What you are now talking about is akin to what I referred to as ‘rallying points of civic pride’, which are made up of memories and iconic identity. On the importance of these there is likely to be a high degree of consensus, whether emotional, historical, symbolic or anything else you choose — making them natural candidates for inclusion in the Development Plan. You can add to the list things like the paars and the hauds and the hole-in-the-wall shrines with irreverent names that dot the old city (I mean the ‘old’ old city); the mazaar of Ustad Bande Ali Khan; the Synagogue in Camp now probably not much in use; Gasiram Kotwal’s House tucked away inside an army compound at the end of Dr. Coyaji Rd.; the stray stepwells (one I know near Dashabhuja Ganapati near Parvati) which, though not as noteworthy as their Gujarat or even Rajasthan counterparts, do deserve to — and can be — not only preserved but made into places where people go.

      • Sanskriti said


        The examples of the places I like (Ram Nadi, Banyan Avenue, etc) are only part of my reflection related to the title of the post itself.

        I realize that not elaborating on the conversation with Sujit about the process of the Bangalore workshop was just plain bad writing.

        I did type in a couple of line spaces between the Ram Nadi picture and the text above it to separate the two, but it was apparently not enough. Have added a short dotted line too now 🙂

  2. ramjee said

    I remember that large Banyan Tree inside the Pune Univ where quite a few hornbills were easily sighted some 6 years back… Hope they are sustaining themselves there… in fact the tree’s roots had spread far and wide and in several places lay exposed, giving an serene look…

    • Sanskriti said

      Thanks Ramjee. Adding a picture of the Banyan Avenue inside the University of Pune, where Arvind Gupta conducted a Tree Walk for us some years ago.

  3. whoisneha said

    My few ‘places i like’
    – standing on the small tekdi at the end of the sus road and looking down at the vehicle lights on the b’lore highway. Pune- a city on the move:)
    – yes, sitting at Patio in Aundh, or is it the adjacent Copper Chocs?
    – waiting for a train to come on the Khadki track, and waving hysterically at it:)

  4. Laxmi said

    Hi Sanskriti,

    Nice blog…..could you tell me more about Ram Nadi? The picture you have uploaded here is quite tempting. I wish to visit it some day soon. thanks.


    • Sanskriti said

      Hi Laxmi .. thanks! Your comment prompted me to finish a slide show that I started several months ago and I’ve uploaded it as well. Take a look at my latest post ‘Ram Nadi’. You’ll find the Ram Nadi photos in my ‘Places I Like’ post in this slide show. They are taken at the point that the Pirangut Road crosses over Ram Nadi. You can just park your vehicle off the road and get down to the river from the side of the bridge and walk upstream … its beautiful.

  5. Azhar said

    This very arbitrary thread raises two questions:

    1. It seems to me that no two people will ever really agree on the places they think should be on a Top Ten Places to Visit List for Pune…and even if they were to think of one ‘place’ the constitution of that place will differ in their cognitive thinking. So, for example, while everyone might agree that Shaniwarwada is a consensually-agreed-upon super site, exactly WHAT turns them on about Shaniwarwada might be a matter of contention. Some might like the fort, others the chai-ka-galla outside the fort’s periphery for its excellent company, others the streets that lead off the Shaniwarwada. So “place” becomes, in people’s reckoning, a highly amorphous, arbitrary construct. How do we agree, fundamentally, on what a “place” is in the first, er, place?

    The real — and very public — question in all of this is this: what does the litany of arbitrary favourite “places” that Sanskriti will have compiled (once everyone’s enthusiastically emailed in) tell us about the methodology — politics — of choice? What should we MAKE of everyone’s breathless, individualised, enthusiasm, practically speaking? That’s at the heart of any heritage+natural conservation exercise, certainly. What we end up always needing to MAKE –but are never satisfied about actually MAKING — is well-informed, consensual choices about places and things that are societally important to us. The problem lies in the fact that (the way I see it) the public always gets largely left out of the process of actually DESIGNING MECHANISMS to facilitate choice and objectivised standards — and maybe the much larger issue that Sanskriti’s blog entry on *Places I Like* is actually pointing to here is really whether this city needs workshops to educate people precisely in the methodologies of choice-making, in all their quantitative and qualitative complexity (think of the ramifications of such educational workshops, the challenge of teaching people with no prior knowledge of statistics and moral philosophy what “value” means, mathematically and qualitatively). By doing so, it would be interesting to see whether (some time in future) people not only post their choices of places they like on this blog for the sheer fun of doing so, but perhaps ALSO explain *WHY* — in as objective and consensual a manner — they chose to do so in the first, er, place.

  6. […] on Ashwin’s Organic Farm in Kolwan ValleyAzhar on Living a Low Carbon LifeAzhar on Places I LikeAzhar on Turtle AhoySanskriti on Living a Low Carbon LifeRishi on Ashwin’s Organic Farm […]

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