Archaeological

Ancient Pune

While in the minds of most people Pune District is primarily known for its association with Shivaji, evidence unearthed by archaeologists over the years has shown it to have a long association with people and their activities. The faculty at Deccan College, Pune, one of India's premier archaeological research institutes has done much of this work and a Museum dedicated to the History of Man in India and the Deccan is located on its premises.
The known history of Pune begins with the discovery of Stone Age or Palaeolithic period tools on the premises of Deccan College itself demonstrating that people had found this area to be livable well into the remote past. After this period, very little work has been done within the district itself but work done in the neighboring districts has yielded a good picture of life in these early farming communities 2000-4000 years ago.

Capital city, Junnar

During the historical period, the strategic location of Pune District located near a series of important passes connecting the coast with the interior has seen to it remaining occupied throughout. As far back as 2000-2200 years ago, we know that this district was very important. The town of Junnar located north of Pune City was the capital of the Kshatrapa King Nahapana and controlled much of western peninsular India. It was during this period that the numerous early Buddhist and Jain caves the Deccan is famous for, were carved.

The Caves

While the Ajanta and Ellora caves in neighboring Aurangabad District are well known, Pune district itself boasts of numerous caves including the famous ones at Karla, Bhaja and Bedase while around Junnar itself there are numerous caves. The town of Bhosari just north of Pune City and within the limits of the Pimpri Chinchwad Muncipal Corporation has also yielded some fascinating evidence of this period.
Surveys carried out by the British and recently confirmed by INTACH Pune have suggested that there may have been a 2000 year old Satvahana town located there. The area has large mounds possibly containing the remains of the town, large monolithic stone menhirs, walls of large stones and stone circles lying in its vicinity.

Members of the INTACH survey party suspect that this area was once the capital of a king and the location pointed out yielded fragments of Satvahana Period pottery. The town of Bhosari however is expanding fast and it is not known how much longer these wonderful structures will remain, unless protected. Recently members of the PCMC contacted INTACH Pune about these sites and perhaps before long they will be protected and preserved.

Medieval Archaeology

After this period, we know that the area was ruled by a series of Kingdoms including the rule of a mysterious King Vedishri of the Shatakarni Dynasty followed by the Chaluyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Khilji, Tughluq, Sultan, Nizam, Mughal and Marathas. The interest shown by all these people testifies the importance of Pune District in the past. It was during this later Historic and Medieval period that archaeological work has shown the majority of heritage buildings, temples, mosques, tombs, hero-stones and numerous forts that dot the landscape. One of the oldest of these is the rock cut Shiva temple of Pataleshwar dating from the 8th century, located on Jangli Maharaj Road in the heart of Pune itself.

Looking for solutions ...

It is difficult for any single organization such as INTACH Pune to monitor the vast expanse of this region. We therefore appeal to you to help us identify the areas of concern. You could photograph such sites or monuments and send them to us along with your comments. We would then be in a position to reform and monitor the status of the same.

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