Aga Khan Palace, Pune, Maharashtra

Located at two kilometers away from Bund Garden in Yerwada on Pune-Nagar Road Aga Khan Palace is one of the greatest landmarks in India. The marvelous structure was built in the year 1892 and commissioned by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan-three. Encompassing an area of nineteen acres the palace was once assigned to help poor people in Maharashtra who were severely affected by famine. It took almost five years to construct the colossal monument and an estimated budget of 1 million was incurred to complete the structure. In the year 1969 the palace was handed over to Gandhi Smarak Samittee by Prince Karim Agakhan. Due to its significant and momentous influences in Indian History the Aga Khan Palace was inducted as Monument of National Importance by Archaeological Survey of India in the year 2003. The palace has been a major tourist destination in Mumbai and drawing enormous visitors every year.

The monument has often been cited as the India’s freedom monument as it witnessed many prominent historic events including the imprisonment of Mahatma Gandhi and his followers Shri Mahadeobhai Desai, Dr.Sarojini Naidu, Meera Ben and Sushila Nayyar in the year 1942 during the Quit India Movement against British Raj. Gandhi’s wife Kasturba Gandhi and his trusted aide Mahadev Desai had their last breathe during custodial period inside the palace and their Samadhis were given a little close to the monument. To commemorate father of nation Mahatma Gandhi and his philanthropist work Prince Karim Husseni, Aga Khan-four simply declared the palace as Gandhi palace which later known as Gandhi National Memorial and bequeath it to Gandhi Smarak Samittee in the year 1969.Couple of decades later the palace inducted into the National heritage list by Archaeological Survey of India and has several collections of Mahatma Gandhi and his various life events including hand-loomed garments, textiles and ashes are kept inside the complex.

Aga khan palace is quite picturesque and reflects the unique blend of medieval architecture. Spreading over an area of 19 acres the monument is embellished with huge Italian arches and spacious lawn. The ground floor of palace is remarkably large and covering an area of 1756 sq. meters. That of First floor and second floor constructed within 1080 sq meters and 445 sq meters respectively. The 3 meters long corridor around the building is another prominent feature of the monument. Several photos and portrays of Mahatma Gandhi are kept inside the house and one white statue of Gandhi was also built near the palace. Later Prince Karim formally handed it down to Gandhi Smarak committee in an attempt to tribute Mahatma Gandhi and his philanthropies.

Several national events and prayers are performed at Aga khan palace. During the prayer the place is visited by several people to pay homage to the father of nation and his eternal works. Independence Day, Martyr’s Day and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary are the major events carried out every year.