Pune, coroneted as the ‘Cultural Capital’ of the state of Maharashtra basks in the everlasting glory of its affluent cultural legacy. The epitome of Marathi civilization, sophistication and prosperity Pune particularly highlights and reiterates its heritage and talent in various disciplines including education, arts, crafts, theatre, literature, music and architecture. Pune is the archetype of the fine amalgamation of tradition & modernism, classicism & causality and antique & latest.
Even though the social order of Pune is absolutely cosmopolitan, the predominant religion of the city is Hinduism. The major communities that inhabit Pune include Brahmin, Marathas, Mali, Mahars, Gujarati, Jains, Marwaris, Sindhi, Muslims and Christians. The residents of Pune have earned a sobriquet of ‘Punekaras’. Pune people are particularly famous for their straight forwardness and roughness. The chief languages spoken in Pune are Marathi, Hindi and English. The lifestyle of Pune reflects the fine combination of traditional Marathi and contemporary western way of living.
Apart from the traditional Maharashtrian cuisine Pune is famous for its Puran Poli, Pithla - Bhakri, Chitales's Bakarwadi, Mastani, Vada Pav, Misal Pav, Laxminarayan Best Chiwda, Indian Chat, Mango Barfi, Amrakhanda, Basundi, Modak, Karanji, Soonth Paak, Chakali, Surali Wadis, Kacchi Dabeli, Amti, Thali Peeth, Kobhi Zunka, Pitacgi Mirchi, Varhadi Aloo Bhat, Pavta Batata, Valachi Virdi, Nawabi Biryani, Kolhapuri Rassa, Papletchi Amti, Sukhi Kolmi and a number of other gourmet feasts.
Pune is the native land of the Ganesh Festival now celebrated nationwide with unparalleled zest and enthusiasm. It was here that Lokmanya Tilak introduced the conception of the ‘Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav’. The Ganesh Festival is celebrated with supreme pomp and gusto in Pune every year in the month of August or September. Simultaneously with the 10 days long Ganeshotsav, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation organizes the month-long Pune Festival when the exuberant banquet of classical and Marathi folk dances, music concerts, theatre, film and drama festival, bike and car rallies, traditional sports and innumerable other events beckon millions of spectators from every corner of the country and globe.
Sawai Gandharva Music Festival organized in the month of December every year is yet another attraction of Pune culture. This 3 days long music festival is dedicated to the classical forms of Hindustani and Carnatic music where renowned artists from different parts of the country assemble and perform. Shaniwarwada Dance Festival held in the winter months showcases some of the best exponents of Indian classical dance. The beautifully illuminated Shaniwarwada serves as the backdrop of this festival.
Pune has also patronized Marathi theatre. Tilak Smarak Mandir, Bharat Natya Mandir, Bala Gandharva Rangmandir, Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagriha, Sudarshan Rangmanch etc are some of the foremost arenas that stage and promote both experimental as well as professional Marathi drama.