After the soothing atmosphere of Chaturshringi temple, I decided to visit the Aga Khan Palace. I had heard a lot about this landmark from my friends and was eager to see this historical palace. Built in an area of 19 acres, it is located at a distance of 2 km from Bund Gardens. Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III built this palace in the year 1892 in Pune, Maharashtra. It is a grand and majestic building, built with the intention of helping the poor and downtrodden ones, which were affected by the drastic famine in the neighboring and adjacent areas of Pune.
This charity act by the Sultan resulted in the building of this great and marvelous landmark. This monument has been declared as of national importance by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). This palace has also served as an evidence for the freedom movement. In 1942, after the Quit India Movement, Gandhi, with his wife Kasturba, and secretary, Mahadevbhai Desai were kept here by the British Army. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadevbhai passed away during this time and hence, this palace serves as a memorial to the Gandhi family. As both Gandhiji’s wife and secretary’s Samadhi’s are located here, this palace has become a national as well as international tourist place, with visitors arriving from every nook and corner to pay homage.
The management of this museum comes under the jurisdiction of Gandhi Memorial Society, which organizes a number of activities throughout the year like the Martyr’s Day on 30th January, Republic Day on 26th January, Independence Day on 15th August and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2nd October. Spacious lawns encloses this magnificent palace with amazing architecture. A number of portraits and photographs showing the important events and glimpses are displayed here.
Personal items used by the Gandhi family like the utensils, clothes, towels are also shown here. A special shop selling Khadi garments is located in the premises. The timings of this Aga Khan Palace are between 9 am to 6 pm, with a break for lunch between 12.30 pm -1.30 pm. The entry fee is a paltry sum of Rs.5 for adults and Rs.2 for children so that everyone can enjoy the visit. My visit to Pune proved to be very interesting and rejuvenating.