Pune can be a presidential problem

LEAVING PUNE invites some comparisons between it and Bangalore. The eighth century Shiva temple to Pataleshvara and Parvati, hewn out of solid rock, is pretty impressive. But the traffic is worse than Bangalore, the roads narrower and the pace much different. We liked the fact we saw smiths using bellows and hammers and tongs to create wonderful things – although whether the poor people toiling in the humidity of Pune feel the same is very doubtful.

Caption: Eighth century Pataleshvara Temple in Pune, hewn out of solid rock

There is a lot of building going on and there are already three IT/science parks here, but the roads aren’t up to much – that is except for the Expressway which runs between Pune and Mumbai. The problem with the Expressway from the Pune end is that it takes about an hour to get there.

The problem probably wasn’t pacified by the visit of President Patil yesterday and today, although we have a feeling that even though Bangalore is bad, Pune is worse, politicians or not.

The Expressway runs right the way through Lonavala, which we visited overnight – and that really is a pretty nice place. The chikki franchise, however, seems to be owed by a monopoly, as far as we could make out. Pictures later, hopefully.

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