Not sure where Pune is? It's not far from Mumbai, actually, but close enough to the Western Ghat mountains of Mumbai's hinterland to take advantage of a cooler drier climate.
Dubbed 'the Oxford of the East' on account of its many and reputed academic institutions, if you're relocating to Pune you'll find yourself in a thriving city of 4.7 million people which is a repository of local culture, a preferred destination for automobile manufacturers, a haven for IT professionals, and the state's answer to Bangalore! A mere 150 km east of its glamorous sister city, Pune is the perfect foil to Mumbai offering lush surroundings, imposing hills, green valleys, clear rivers, and a relaxed pace of life.
The people of Pune are anchored strongly to their cultural heritage with a strong emphasis on education and the classical arts, but growth in the education and IT sectors has led to an influx of skilled labour and white-collar professionals from across India. Consequently, people here balance their traditional simplicity and cultural roots with the fast pace of modern life, and the city boasts an active nightlife.
As with Mumbai, it will be hot. Summer temperatures reach the mid-30s° C (mid-90s° F) but the rainy season follows until September. Winter brings a welcome breath of fresh air, and temperatures that do not rise above 20° C (68° F). This is the perfect time for exploring the ancient monuments and hill stations in the countryside surrounding the city.
Pune has long attracted westerners to the city: for many years they came to join the famous Osho Commune run by Bhagwan Rajneesh, and you can still visit the ashram. These days, however, it's the automobile manufacturers and IT companies who bring in the expatriates.
At a guess, the expat population is approximately 25,000 people: Pune is highly industrialised and international engineering, manufacturing, automobile and IT companies all have a significant presence here, alongside the academic staff and students of over 100 colleges and nine universities.
Once settled, expatriates living in Pune will find a thriving theatre and classical music scene and yoga and spirituality retreats, as well as the international restaurants and laid-back coffee bars to be discovered in all the metropolitan areas.
There are several options for school-age kids. Pune has excellent residential and non-residential schools, providing education from pre-school through to Grade 12 and which follow the International Baccalaureate programme. Mercedes Benz International is the school of choice for most expatriates, whilst other schools of repute are Indus, Symbiosis International, Lexicon, Sharad Pawar International, Mahindra World College and MIT Gurukul.
Healthcare choices include two big hospitals, the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, and Sahyadri Hospital, part of a large group in the state of Maharashtra. Namaskar!
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