Pune is the ninth most populous city in India and the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after the state capital city Mumbai. Pune is also the 101st largest city in the world based on population. It is situated on the banks of the Mula and Mutha River, 560 metres (1,837 feet) above sea level on the Deccan plateau. Pune is the administrative headquarters of Pune district and was once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire established by Shivaji Maharaj. In the 18th century, Pune became the political centre of the Indian subcontinent, as the seat of Peshwas who were the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire.
Pune is one of the fastest growing cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Pune is considered the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Since the 1950s and 1960s, Pune has a traditional economic base. The city is also known for its manufacturing and automobiles industries, as well as research institutes of information technology (IT), education, management and training that attract migrants, students and professionals from India, South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Pune is a noteworthy hub for education and is also known as the Oxford of the East. The 'Mercer 2015 Quality of Living Rankings' that evaluated local living conditions in more than 440 cities around the world ranked Pune at 145, second in India after Hyderabad (138). It also highlighted Pune among evolving business centres and emerging nine cities around the world with the citation "Hosts IT and Automotive companies".
There was a time when Pune was known as a Pensioner's Paradise, home to those who had retired and wanted a peaceful life in a salubrious environment. Pune has now grown into a vibrant metropolis, a hub of education, industry, information technology, entertainment and so on. What makes Pune even more significant is that, it is a place from where you can plan several exciting trips to hill-stations, forts, and places of pilgrimage; not to forget an adventure package too.
Apart from the many interesting places just beyond the city limits of Pune such as the Sinhagad Fort or the backwaters of the Khadakvasla Dam, tourists always make it a point to visit the twin hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala for the bracing weather and wonderful views of the valley and the snaking highway that leads to Mumbai. Lonavala is about 64 kilometres away from Pune and has several 'Points' that offer breathtaking views of nature at its best. One such is the Rajmachi Point, which commands a view of Chhatrapati Shivaji's famous fort, Rajmachi with the surrounding valley. Lonavala is also known for its 'Chikki' and Fudge. Some of the other spots include Ryewood Park and the Valvan Dam with a garden at its foot. You can visit the Duke's Nose on the way to Khandala, which is very popular with trekkers.