The Aga Khan Palace was built in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III and is located on a sprawling 19 acres of land roughly two kilometers away from Bund Garden in Yerwada in Pune. According to historical sources, the palace was used to house famine victims from Maharashtra and took five years to complete. The monument forms another significant building associated with Gandhi’s trail in Maharashtra, where after his Quit India speech delivered at August Kranti Maidan Gandhi along with his wife Kasturba and secretary Mahadev Bhai Desai were imprisoned at the Palace. Kasturba Gandhi and Desai died at the Palace and a memorial is laid in their honour which was designed by architect Charles Correa. Gandhi hoisted the flag of the Congress Flag at the Palace on January 26, 1943.
A picture gallery and museum comprise the two main attractions in the Palace apart from its architecture drawn from Islamic and Italian influences, is made up of many arches and has five large halls.
Among some of Gandhi’s paraphernalia, one would be able to see the desk at which Gandhi sat and wrote many of the letters that inspired India’s freedom movement to greater heights. Some utensils also remain. The museum houses a collection of pictures which depict the life of Gandhi. There is also a Khadi Gram Udyog at the Palace which sells handloom clothing. The Palace is looked at one of the finest specimens of architecture in western India. Historical sources also tell us that the Palace was donated to India by Prince Karim El Husseini Aga Khan IV as a mark of respect to Gandhi’s ideology and teachings. The Palace also houses some of Gandhi’s ashes.
Today, the Gandhi Memorial Society looks after the Palace. The film Gandhi by Sir Richard Attenborough was filmed at this location. There are also specialised vocational courses run for women at the venue including tailoring, house helpers’ training and social works training, run by the Khadi Gram Udyog.
The other nearby attractions include the Tribal Museum which offers visitors a glimpse of the Danteswari and Marai tribes. The Katraj Snake Park and the Mahatma Phule Museum are also located in the vicinity.
How to reach there
By Air: The Palace is located three-four km from Pune’s Lohegaon Airport.
By Rail: Aga Khan Palace is located at Nagar Road about four km from Pune Railway Junction.
Where to stay
The Ista Hotel, Royal Orchid Central Pune, Pune Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, Radisson Hotel Pune Kharadi, Four oints by Sheraton are some of the best hotels in the area.