With a legacy of more than 125 years, the magnificent Aga Khan Palace in Pune stands as a glorious testament to history, heritage, and architecture.
At the same time, its role in the country’s freedom movement places it among the most significant landmarks in India’s modern history and the palace had once served as a prison where Mahatma Gandhi and other eminent leaders.
Currently, it serves as the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society and is a prime tourist attraction in Pune.
Aga Khan Palace, Pune: Today
Today, the Aga Khan Palace serves as a memorial to Gandhiji and his philosophies. It is one of the top historical places in Pune. The samadhis (tombs) of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadevbhai Desai are located within the palace premises and there is a samadhi dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi as well, where his ashes are kept.
Moreover, The palace also houses a museum where a rich collection of memorabilia related to Gandhiji are preserved and displayed.
This includes photographs, pictures, and his personal items like clothes, utensils, slippers, and a letter penned by him on his wife’s(Kasturba Gandhi) death.
There is even a shop within the premises where clothing made of handloom textiles and khadi is sold. Every morning, prayer sessions are held at Gandhiji’s Samadhi, which is attended by a large number of people.
The number of attendees increases by many folds on 2nd October on the occasion of Gandhiji’s birth anniversary.
History of Aga Khan Palace
It was Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, the 48th Imam or spiritual head of the Khoja Ismaili religion and the All-India Muslim League’s (AIML) first president, who built this grand palace in the year 1892. As a result, he commissioned the construction of the palace to provide employment to the villagers surrounding Pune.
It took 5 years for the palace to be constructed and Around 1,000 workers were employed in its construction. A total of 12 lakh rupees were spent to build this grand palace.
In addition, The palace played a significant role in India’s struggle for freedom. Soon after Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement on 8th August 1942 and he was arrested by British officials and brought to this palace in Pune on 10th August to be kept imprisoned.
Kasturba Gandhi, his personal secretary Mahadevbhai Desai, Sarojini Naidu, Pyarelal Nayar, and Dr. Sushila Nayar accompanied Mahatma Gandhi.
In this palace, the Britishers kept Gandhiji and his colleagues for almost two years before they were released on 6th May 1944. During this period, Mahadev Desai and Kasturba Gandhi breathed their last within the palace premises.
Hence, In 1969, Prince Karim El Husseini Aga Khan IV gave the palace to the Gandhi Smarak Samiti to show his respect toward Mahatma Gandhi. The National Model School was housed in this palace until 1970.
In 1974, Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India at that time, visited the palace and was granted a yearly sum of 2 lakh rupees for its preservation and maintenance.
In 2003, it was declared a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Aga Khan Palace Information:
|Location||Kalyani Nagar, Pune|
|Also known as||Gandhi National Memorial|
|Timings||9:00 am to 5:30 pm; every day except national holidays|
|Entry Fee||₹ 25 for Indians; Free for children; ₹ 300 for foreigners|
|Year of Construction||1892|
|Commissioned By||Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III|
|Status||A monument of national importance, the Headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society|
|Governing Body||Gandhi National Memorial Society|
|Cost of Construction||12 lakh Indian rupees|
|Architectural Style||Islamic style|
How to reach Aga Khan Palace from Hinjewadi Phase 3?
Take a bus (bus number 100) to Mann Paa from the Bus Stand. The fair is just 35 for one person. It will take approximately 2 hrs to reach Mann Paa. From there you can book an OLA or Uber whose fair would be around 130. There is an entry fee of 25 for Indians, free for children. Visit there, and enjoy the historic view and scenic beauty.
There is no doubt that the grand Aga Khan Palace is one of the best places to visit in Pune, especially for history buffs so it is a must-visit. The palace is located in Kalyani Nagar.