This city's small, secret streets and winding alleyways are a large and loud thrift-store experience unto themselves. You've got to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle to feel a part of the city, give in to the brashness and cultivated chaos that seems to permeate every street corner.
Haggling's the norm here, and you should be on the wise to bring a given price down by between 30-45%. But almost everything's ridiculously good value-for-money to begin with anyway, so being a cheapskate proabably won't endear you to the street brigade. Dive in, keep your wits about you a little, and just enjoy yourself for God's sake!
Rajasthani kurtas and cholis being sold by old gypsy women over on Main Street's sidewalks. Kashmiri shopkeepers urging you to check out trinkets and silver-laden pendants at Koregaon Park. Tibetan guys peddling rudrakshas straight from Lhasa. And the list goes on endlessly. It's India itself, sliced and collaged to form a stunning, sparkling surround sound experience. Don't miss out!
Iranians are everywhere in Poona. A major part of this is due to the city's reputation as a young university town, which integrates thousands of students into the fabric of the place. But much further than that, ties between India and Iran have always been rich and interwoven in any event... the complex history of migrations leading to a very large presence of Iranians who've settled in this country permanently, together with the cultural flavour brought in by Indian Parsis (followers of Zooarastrianism).
A happy result of all this is that Poona has always been blessed by more Iranian restaurants than the mind cares to remember. In days gone by, almost every landord would lease the coveted corner shop of a large building over to an Iranian restauranteur, pleased that patrons and money flowing in would almost be a guarantee. And that remains the place to find many a fabled Iranian restaurant in this city... over at the corner :)
From the cheese omlettes and charming rickety old chairs over at Café Sunrise, to sublimely tasty sandwiches at Marz-o-Rin, from graceful afternoons doused in smoke at the Shisha Café, further on to the delicious mutton biryani over at Dorabjee's... these are emblems of Poona that may keep getting replaced from time to time.... but will remain a permanent tug at the city's heart for all time to come.
Dahi Handi (pot of ghee) The Dahi Handi festival that remembers the legend that Krishna as a child, was very fond of ghee (purified butter). Krishna would gather his friends and they would steal ghee from the houses of the milkmaids. To protect their ghee from the naughty children, the milkmaids kept it in a pot and hung it from the ceiling of their houses. Today's practice of Dahi Handi poses is the same challenge of finding a way to the pot of ghee kept out of reach.
This pot is then hung high and the participants build a human tower to reach it.
The local food here is Misal / Vada Pav . A misal is like a salad of onions , sev ( fried chick pea flour like noodles ) , potato topped with a salsa type sauce . A Vada is a round patty made from potato , corriander , spices . Try the misals at MG Rd near aurora tower hotel and the "vada pav" at joshi vade-vale at deccan.
Ganaa is sugarcane which is crushed to make juice . For people with diabetes or ( any kind of sugar problem) this is a glass of poison !!! for every one else it is very refreshing and energising .
Dont pay more than 3c for a glass
So you're walking the hot sunny road, a tattered rough guide in your hand, trying to figure out what all those marathi/ indian letters mean. You finally see someone who looks like he might speak english. "excuse me, do you know where i can find the ..." "oh yes madame, you keep walking straight. just five minutes distance only". Its been half an hour, no sign of my destination yet. Lesson 1: Five minutes = not the universal conotation of five minutes as understood the world over.
drink hot fresh tea when . Sip Cold drinks using your own sealed straws . Ask the waiters to open the bottlw in front of you and not put in their straws. Do not eat salads, raw veggies, or drink anyhting uncooked or boiled. Do not eat meat outside. You do not know how long has been sitting outside on the dirt, dust and under flies.
The legacy of dance in India is tremendous. On temple walls, on an urban stage, in impromptu outbursts by a mellow evening fire, men and women twinkle their toes in expressions of joy.
The classical dances of India are numerous. Characterised by stylised movements and elaborate costumes, these dances communicate age-old tales of love, longing and rage. As in most things in India, myth and legend find expression here too, as the epic tales of Ramayana and the Mahabharata are brought to life in nritya.
Kathak of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Kathakali and Mohiniattam of Kerala, Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Manipuri from Manipur and Odissi from Orissa are the prominent classical dance forms in this country that sways to an altogether novel beat. The robust bhangra of Punjabi men, the graceful whirling of Rajasthani women, the gentle sway of northeastern dancers, vigorous tribal dances - every corner has developed its own unique form.
Vishrambaag Wada was built in 1807 and was the home of Bajirao II the last Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. This structure is known for the elaborate entrance including the wood carved balcony.
Remember that COWS RULE... what the cow does or says, goes!
Don't be surprised if you find yourself on the beach with a cow sitting on the deck chair next to you...