Parvati hill in Pune, India is a good place to visit. Hill got its name due to Parvati's (wife of god Shiva) temple (official site) . It takes around 7-15 minutes to climb the hill. Though steep yet Parvati hill is very safe and there are no dangerous edges anywhere hence you will see lots of small kids running ahead of their parents. It has no loose road and nicely constructed steps make the climb a bit simpler and temple more accessible to larger masses.
The main temple has Silver patriarchic statue of god Shiva with goddess Parvati and god Ganesh sitting on Shiva’s laps. Both are architected in gold.
On first sight I mistook Silver statue of Shiva to be that of Parvati’s with her sons Ganesh & Karthik seated on her lap and thought what an ingenious motherly imagination, but …
reality made me wonder why Shiva got center seat at Parvati temple. Simple – mother goddess Parvati is a known to be devoted, family women ). Hence god Shiva must hold a central place in her temple.
Temple has decent open space around it and also some places to sit with a view overlooking the hill. There is also an open terrace, on the four walls of open space, though one has to pay miniscule INR 2.00, but the unhindered 360 degree view is breathtaking and really worth. Architects of the temple anticipated very well the significance of its location and built the open terrace for the devotees and visitors.
Apart from the statue and terrace, the entrance deserves the mention. Architects again put in good thought and instead of ordinary gate they have built a very strong looking cascaded pillars around the door which imparts immediate sense of strength and power of the place.
On completing the climb, you would see another temple but for Parvati temple you need to turn right and climb 7-8 more steps. Even before you enter the temple you would be held back by the beautiful panoramic view of Pune city.
Same complex houses four additional temples for which you have to turn right from the steps of the hill and walk past the Peshwa museum. (Entrance for Peshwa museum is INR 5.00).
If you happen to visit just before the sunset, then make it a point to visit the leftmost temple. Just before the temple you can experience some self-bravery by standing on the edge of the cliff. The cliff is fenced so nothing to worry but you can feel uninterrupted gushy winds and also enjoy the beautiful sunset from the hill top.
Due to its hilly location many locals come here for maintaining health. In and around the temple you will find many people practicing yoga, exercising, stretching and of course playing funky Bollywood music too. When in majority they make you wonder if its temple or a gym! It does bother me because it disturbs the serene and quiet atmosphere of this marvelous temple. However I have decided to change my timings of future visit.
As soon as the climb is complete to the right you can deposit your show wears and to the left there is a small canteen where you get good tea along with traditional Indian snacks.
Your way down should be very quick and should be able to complete in 7-10 minutes. Note it’s the down way which can be very risky while its raining. Some of steps ARE steep and a little carelessness can easily trip you to go rolling down for few meters. Since it’s a safe hill you will not go rolling all the way down J
Most disappointing is the start and mid section of the hill. Due to resident locals there is lot of the dirt, filth and foul smell. I was so annoyed that at I thought of turning from half way. But thankfully didn’t take that decision, else I would have regretted it later.
Nearby Places and Landmarks:
Its close to one of the most popular landmarks of Pune - Swargate Bus Depot. Peshwa Park, Saras Baug. Bund garden .
Sambhaji Park JM Road . Empress or Queens Garden
Best Season to visit:
Monsoon season i.e. September onwards till Feb. Monsoon because the hill turns lush green from its usual brown colour. Visit when it’s not raining since the steps can get dangerously slippery due to hilly terrain.
How To Get There
Located close to well known Swargate bus depot of Pune. Nearby landmarks are Sarasbaug (Swans Park, Peshwa Park)
For people travelling from Mumbai, on Pune Mumbai Expressway - enter town of Kothrud from Chandni Chowk area onto Paud Road. Then get onto Karve Road and get on one of the bridges to cross the Mutha river.