“Let’s go to Yerwada!” she shouts into my ear. This was last night, when we were trying to figure out how best to spend our next few days in Pune. Apparently there was a good eatery in Yerwada, but since I didn’t want to go all the way to Yerwada just for a bite to eat, we decided to include some sight-seeing into our plan as well.
I did a little research on what Yerwada had to offer, and the first hit that turned up was the Aga Khan Palace multiple times. So it was not a very hard decision to make. We decided that we’d visit the Aga Khan palace on that day.
From what I remember of school history, the Aga Khan palace, built by Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III was a charitable donation to help the famine-hit areas nearby. It also features amongst the biggest landmarks in Indian history.
The plaque at the entrance informed us that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, his foster son Mahadev Desai and his wife Kasturbha Gandhi were imprisoned here for a brief stint, along with Sarojini Naidu during the freedom struggle in India. Kasturbha Gandhi and Mahadev Desai are also said to have died in this prison itself. Their bodies are interred at the Aga Khan palace.
The palace archives photos and portraits depicting scenes from the life of Mahatma Gandhi with his family and also that of Sarojini Naidu during their period of internment at the prison the palace used to serve as back in the times of the freedom struggle. The palace now serves as a monument to the freedom struggle of India, and contains many depictions of the life of the freedom fighters that spent their prison-time there. You can even see Gandhi’s ashes in the garden!
Not only is it rich in the historical background, it is also pleasing to the eye: the surrounding gardens are beautiful, as is the style of architecture. These gardens are very well taken care of, and the palace on the whole doesn’t demand a lot of time for a thorough visit: an hour or two will suffice.