History of this place:
Aga Khan Palace is situated on Pune Nagar highway near Bund garden. It is now known as Gandhi national memorial. It was built in 1892 by 3rd Aga Khan , Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga khan. It served as a source of employment to the famine struck villagers in the nearby area. It took about five years to complete the place of this work and around 1000 people were employed here at that time. The total cost incurred was about 12 Lakhs. The palace covers of about 19 acres of area out of which 7 acres is built up. This palace has Italian arches architecture and superb corridors.
In 1969 Prince Karim El Hussenum Agakhan IV came to India and donated this palace with surrounding land to Government of India Gandhi smarak Nidhi, New Delhi in memory of Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy.
Importance of this Place:
In 1942 during Quit India movement Gandhiji was arrested in Mumbai and was brought to Aga Khan palace at Pune on 9th August 1942. He was kept here along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai and few other prominent freedom fighters like Sarojini Naidu. Gandhiji was interened here for 21 months , and was released on 6th may 1944. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai expired at this place so this place has tremendous historical importance. Kasturba expired on 22nd February 1944.
Now this place has a museum which comprises of five halls. In the first hall big statues of Gandhiji and Kasturbaji are kept. In the other halls one can see an assortment of Gandhiji’s clothes, utensils,slippers, his writing desk, bed, Kasturba Gandhi’s saree and other personal items. There is also a letter written by Gandhiji to his secretary Mahadev Desai whom he always thought as his younger brother. This place has various old photos and paper cuttings related to Gandhiji on display. Photos of Gandhiji’s visits with Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, Maharshi Karve in Pune have been displayed.
The rooms where Kasturba and Mahadev Desai were interened have been well preserved.
I would like to mention few things about Kasturba.
Kasturba Gandhi was a great wife of a great person, wife of our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba was six months elder to her husband. She suffered a lot due to Mahatmaji’s thoughts on simple living. Once in Africa she was severely ill and had to be operated. But Gandhiji did not allow her to go to the hospital and she was operated at the doctor’s house without giving chloroform. What a courage and strength! She participated in Satyagraha (non violent resistance) with Gandhiji in India and Africa.By nature she was mature and always tried to find a way without any sort of aggression.A great salute to this patient and broad minded lady.
In the same campus there are samadhi’s or marble memorials of Kasturba and Mahadev Desai and a small amount of Gandhiji’s ashes is kept near these samadhis.
This palace has a beautiful and well maintained garden. This place is often visited by families with their kids. I also saw many foreigners visiting this place.
Though they have mentioned about the library I was not able to locate it. Also the khadi shop was not open sadly so was not able to see the things kept there for sale.
This palace has been declared as a protected monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Open on: All days from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fee: Rs.5 for Indian Nationals above 15 years age/ for Foreigners Rs.100
Location: Pune Nagar Road near Bishops Co Ed school
Parking space: Sufficient inside the campus