Why Pune is happy with its big small-town status

Media Watch

Those of our readers who are seasoned Pune travellers and have been wondering what happened in the city since they last visited – here’s an update. Manish Mansinh writes in GQ Gentleman’s Club: Pune Sessions. Published on September 27, 2018.

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If you’ve been paying attention, you might already know that Pune’s exploded in the last five years. Now, “New Pune” is a thing, encompassing the neighbourhoods of Baner and Balewadi, that cater to several young people in the city, as well its robust IT group. Luckily, it still retains its soul as one of the most laid-back places in India, with a chill vibe at its many cafés, bars and breweries that’s hard to beat. And Koregaon Park, or KP to locals, is still the coolest place to hang out. Five discerning gentlemen – Rohan Rehani of Moonshine Meadery, architect and designer Kunaal Seolekar, social media consultancy Pomelo Social’s Sasha Anand, indie band Easy Wanderlings songwriter and guitarist Sanyanth Naroth and co-founder of the city’s favourite watering hole, Elephant & Co, Karan Khilnani – give us the dope on Pune’s best-kept secrets.

GQ: Has everyone seen the Netflix special Wild Wild Country? Is Osho still Pune’s most (in)famous resident?

Karan Khilnani: Nobody can come close to Osho.

GQ: Have any of you spent any significant time at the Osho Meditation Resort? I remember studying outside Pune a decade ago, and the area around Koregaon Park was buzzing. Is it past its heyday now?

Khilnani: There’s still a huge influx of foreign clientele that comes in because of Osho. They often stay back for months and months and spend a fair bit of money in the ashram.

Rohan Rehani: And outside it too. A lot of really good restaurants are clustered around Koregaon Park [where the Meditation Resort is] and Kalyani Nagar. It’s an indication that it’s still very relevant to the landscape of Pune.

Kunaal Seolekar: I’ve actually grown up around the Osho Ashram because my parents used to go often. Even today, I still visit. I love the sanctuary inside. It’s beautiful – if you’ve never been, it’s super zen, very modern, everything is in black and white. I love sitting by the pool. I’m not big on the meditations, though I know a lot of people who swear by them. For me, the peace and tranquility you find in that pocket of Koregaon Park is amazing.

GQ: How easy is it to visit as an outsider?

Seolekar: There’s a screening process. Basically, you interview with the people who manage the place – their job is to assess whether you’re just coming in to faff or for healing purposes. It’s about ₹ 2,000 for a day visit.

GQ: Which are the best restaurants around KP?

Rohan Rehani: Arthur’s Theme, Malaka Spice. Arthur’s Theme has been around for 15 years or so.

Seolekar: Dario’s is right next to [the ashram].

Sasha Anand: It’s Italian, all vegetarian – I think because a lot of the original residents of the ashram were vegetarian. And now the guy who runs it has opened a non-vegetarian place called Dezio.

Khilnani: Pune’s grown massively in the last five years. That’s when a lot of restaurants from all over the country wanted to open here. From Delhi and Mumbai in particular, because Pune is still a growing market.

Read more about other Pune venues and businesses here…


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