Pune, also called Poona, city, west-central state of Maharashtra, western India, at the junction of the Mula and Mutha rivers. Called Queen of the Deccan, Pune is the cultural capital of the Maratha peoples. The city first gained importance as the capital of the Bhonsle Marathas in the 17th century. Temporarily conquered by the Mughals, it again served as the official Maratha capital from 1714 until the fall of the British in 1817. It was the seasonal capital of the Bombay Presidency and is now a popular cool-weather tourist resort, historically and religiously. monuments, museums, parks, hotels and cultural attractions.
Pune has long been an important educational and cultural center; former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called it the Oxford and Cambridge of India. The city is home to about 30 constituent and affiliated colleges of the University of Pune (1948); The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (1917) is known for its research and instruction in the Sanskrit and Prakrit languages and has more than 20,000 ancient manuscripts. Pune is also the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Indian Army, with the Khadakwasla Academy nearby.
The region surrounding Pune includes the Sahyadri Hills, the Balaghat Range (north), and the Mahadeo Hills (south), which enclose the northern Bhima River valley. Chief crops are jowar (grain sorghum), bajra (pearl millet), sugarcane, and rice. Most of the important religious, historical, and tourist attractions of the region are located in the Sahyadri Hills. Some of the famous hill forts of the Marathas, such as Sinhgad, are now resorts. The important religious centers include Bhimashankar, site of a Jyotirlinga shrine; Dehu, birthplace of the Marathi poet-saint Tukaram; Alandi, home of Jnaneshvara (Jnanadeva), author of a well-known commentary on the Bhagavadgita, a Hindu scripture; and Karli, site of the famous Theravada Buddhist Karle (or Karla) and Bhaja cave complexes. Nearby are Meherazad and Meherabad, sites associated with Meher Baba. Pop. (2001) city, 2,538,473; urban agglomeration, 3,760,636; (2011 prelim.) City, 3,115,431; urban agglomeration., 5,049,968.