After being disappointed with the pathetic nature of the Vishrambaug Pune, we moved on towards our next destination which was the Saras Baug. It is considered to be one of the major landmarks of the city and has been created above a small lake which had dried up. It is situated at a distance of around 1 km from the main Swargate bus stand and around 6 km from the main Railway Station. The complex is extremely big and covers a total area of 10 hectares.
The main attraction of the Saras Baug is the Ganesh Temple known as Talyatla Ganpati. We came to know that the temple’s construction began in 1750 after a decision made by Mahadji Shinde and Sawai Madhavrao Peshwa from Maratha Confederacy. It took around 34 years to complete the temple’s construction with the establishment of the idol. It was built along a lake close to the Parvati Temple which also acted as the main residence for the chief of Maratha Confederacy.
We came to know that the Saras Baug Pune has witnessed renovations a number of times over the last 200 years of existence. Even the East India Company had carried out renovations in 1842 during their rule in India. One of the locals told us that it was under the supervision of Anandrao Mane and Mahadev Kumthekar that the last significant renovation was organized in the year 1969. It was due to this renovation that the 25 acre area of the Baug was extended by the Peshwe Park, a zoo.
We did visit the area where the zoo was located but couldn’t find any animal. This is due to the fact that all the animals belonging to the zoo had been transferred to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park during the period between 1999 and 2005. We were happy that the garden was maintained very properly and the main reason for doing so was definitely the Ganesh Temple. We also visited the small museum which had several hundred idols of Ganesha on display. The museum was established in the year 1995 and attracts a large number of devotees who come to worship at the temple.