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DNA iTry: Pune darshan through a tourist’s eyes, what works and what doesn't

Monday, 5 May 2014 - 9:14am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
There are many places that attract tourists from across the country to Pune. However, if a tourist opts for the Pune Darshan route for sightseeing, he will come home with a feeling of both joy and dissatisfaction. The spots are enthralling, but the ‘special services’ aren’t up to the mark

Pune: From ancient wadas to beautiful gardens and landscapes, the city has enough to mesmerize tourists. 
No doubt the cultural capital of the state witnesses a large number of tourists to spend some quality time. 
Curious to see the city through a tourist’s eyes, we decided to be an outsider for a day. 
As most of the city visitors prefer the ‘Pune Darshan’ service for sightseeing, we too got in the ‘Pune Darshan’ bus provided by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) this weekend.

Bus tickets: Not the online way always 
To get the tickets for the service, we chose the easiest way first, which was the internet. On the web, we saw two options with one being the non A.C. bus and the A.C bus with a difference of Rs50 in the fare. 
But to our disappointment, AC bus option was not available. Considering the season, this was a turn off. 
We got the last two tickets of the day as the bus was full with tourists coming from different parts of the country. 
The ticket was worth Rs300 per seat, but the bus provided was the usual PMPML one with hard plastic seats and the hot loo making its way in through the windows. 

Cheerful guide
The kids hooted and shouted as the bus moved forward. The guide wearing the PMPML uniform, looked frustrated in the beginning but then he was talking continuously describing all the locations we were visiting. It was fun listening to him. Though he must have repeated the same thing for a million times now, he got in high energy mode which lasted till the end of the trip. He kept on repeating, “This is a glimpse of the city, and a glimpse is for a short time only. To cover the locations on time we might rush you a little, but we want to cover all the places.”
Beautiful locations, but dissatisfaction
We had a total of 19 places to visit and three places shown from the bus itself. The locations included were a blend of entertainment and history. The major places were the Kesariwada (Tilakwada), Shanivarwada, Symbiosis Ambedkar Memorial and Museum, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Sarasbag, Pu La Deshpande Garden, Raiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Aga Khan palace and Lal Mahal. 
The guide gave a brief on every place and explained the background of each.
It was disheartening when we had only a few minutes to see the Kesariwada, Sarasbag Temple and Mahalaxmi Temple. The guide did give information of these places in the bus, but the viewing time was not enough. We were happy when we were given 30 minutes to spend at the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum which had beautiful monuments and artifacts from all over the country, demonstrating the development of our civilization.
Unfortunately, we could not make it to the top of the Chaturshrungi Temple as we were allotted only 15 minutes there. In the short period of time, it was difficult for many to visit the temple, freshen up as the only stop for the purpose was the same.
The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and the Pu La Deshpande Garden were a much-needed relief. We were given enough time there and it was a good experience being close to nature.
Kesariwada, Shaniwarwada and Lal Mahal reminded us of the history that was lost somewhere in the busy lives. 
The proud stories of the kings and leaders of the past were great to listen to and the guide did convey them very well. 
The only problem was our trip budget went high as we had to pay extra at every museum and historical place. An additional cost of Rs110 per head was added to the trip expense, of course, excluding the lunch.
After lunch, it rained a little and we had to rush and skip a few places like the Joshi Museum. 
The guide did not cooperate here and got angry at us when we got a little late. The trip had to end at 5.30 pm for him by hook or by crook. And we did finish the trip on time and left the last location, the Aga Khan Palace at4.45 PM thereby reaching Pune Station at 5.20 pm.

Experience 
Overall, the trip had it’s good and bad, but the experience was great. Seeing people coming from outside and wanting to know more of the city’s history and culture that they had just read about, encouraged us to see the city from the visitor’s view. It was good to visit places of importance that were beautiful and worth spending time and money. 


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