Pune (pronounced “Poona”), is a city located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and it is the capital of Pune District in which it is located. The city is the 7th largest in India with a population of approximately 4.5 million people, and it is the second largest in the state of Maharashtra. Located at an altitude of 1870 feet above sea level at the eastern edge of the Western ghats on the Deccan plateau, Pune is one of the country’s greenest urban areas with over 40% of its land mass considered a green area.
Pune has an international reputation for the high quality of its several esteemed colleges and educational institutions – know commonly as the Oxford of the East (or ‘Oxford of India’). It has a very strong business presence in the automobile sector and is also becoming known as the ‘Detroit of India.”
Pune is home to many software and IT companies and has been experiencing significant commercial growth in the international service sector as the technology corridor between Pune and Mumbai expands.
Pune is widely considered the cultural capital of Marathi-speaking Maharashtrians. Marathi is the main language of Pune. Its cosmopolitan population speaks several languages in addition to English and Hindi .
Pune is a major industrial center, growing at a rate faster than even the high rate being experienced across India generally. It is home to one of the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturers, Bajaj Auto. Other automobile majors include Tata Motors, India’s largest passenger car and commercial vehicle manufacturer, DaimlerChrysler, has an assembly line for its Mercedes-Benz brand and Kinetic Engineering, Force Motors Ltd (previously known as Bajaj Tempo) has a presence in Pune. Engineering goods industries situated in Pune include Bharat Forge Ltd, the world’s second largest forging company, Cummins Engines Co Ltd, has its Research & Technology India center, Thermax Limited a global player providing sustainable solutions in energy and environment, Alfa Laval, Sandvik Asia, Thyssen Krupp (formerly Buckau Wolff), KSB Pumps, Finolex, Greaves India, and Forbes Marshall are all present in Pune.
Electronic goods giants like Whirlpool and LG have appliance manufacturing plants in the Pune area as do major food processing companies such as Frito Lay and Coca Cola. In addition to large industry, Pune houses many mid and small industries and recent expansion of the local airport has helped many volume produce growers in the surrounding districts to export their goods conveniently.
Pune has a burgeoning software industry, thanks to presence of IT parks like Rajiv Gandhi IT Park at Hinjewadi, Magarpatta Cybercity, MIDC Software Technology Park at Talawade, Marisoft IT Park at Kalyaninagar, and the International Convention Center (ICC). Many Indian software players such as Sasken, Infosys, Tata Elxsi, Fluent, Xansa, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Patni, Satyam, Cybage, KPIT Cummins, Aztecsoft (Disha), Persistent Systems, Geometric Software Solutions Limited, Neilsoft and Kanbay have a major presence in Pune. Global companies such as BMC Software, NVIDIA, HSBC Global Technology, IBM, Red Hat, Siemens, EDS, UGS, I-Flex, Cognizant, Symantec, SunGard Data Systems, Versant Inc., Zensar Technologies, T-Systems and SAS Research and Development India Pvt Ltd have significant facilities in Pune. IPdrum which is a new company in the Voip business has also established a branch office in Pune.
Pune also has the largest number of Japan focused companies in comparison to other cities in India and is emerging as a prominent city for Business Process Outsourcing due to availability of skilled English speaking manpower. Large international BPO companies like Convergys, WNS, Infosys BPO, EXL, Wipro BPO and Mphasis have started large scale operations in Pune within the last few years.
To meet the demands of this explosive economic growth in Pune, the state is planning a 1,000 MW power plant exclusively for Pune. MIDC
Religion and Spirituality
Pune has been the home of Osho Rajneesh. Rajneesh’s Ashram helps attract an international crowd to the city. Situated amidst thick, rather impenetrable flora, the centre boasts of a huge meditation center and two beautiful gardens, viz. Osho garden and Zen garden. These remain places of interest for many foreigners and people from elsewhere in the country.
Pune is also home to a considerable population of the Indian Jewish community, the Bene Israel. It is home to Asia’s largest synagogue (outside Israel), The Ohel David Synagogue.