The modern city of Pune was in fact once a small hamlet situated near the confluence of Mula and Mutha rivers. The name Pune is probably derived from the origin Punawadi with the basic word being Punya meaning spiritual goodwill. Although the authentic epigraphical evidence comes from the 8th century C.E. Rashtrakuta Copper Plate inscription referring to the habitation as Punaka Vishaya (district of Punaka), the earliest habitation remains found in the form of stone tools near the confluence of the rivers date back to at least one lakh years. The remains of the people of the Chalcolithihc Age (Copper Stone Age dated to circa 1500 B.C.E. to 1000 B.C.E.) have been excavated on an extensive scale in Inamgaon near Shirur in Pune District. The Iron Age (also known as the Megalithic Age dated to circa 10th century B.C.E.) settlements characterized by the burials made of huge stone boulders are also located in Bhosari near Pune.
The habitations in the early historical period have been traced to the present heart of the city, known as the Kasaba Peth, dated from circa 2nd century B.C.E. to circa 3rd century C.E., generally famous as the Satavahana Period in Indian history. Corresponding epigraphical evidence comes from various parts of the district especially from the caves at Bhaja, Junnar, Karla, Shelarwadi etc suggesting the spread of Buddhism in this region. The famous trade route, Naneghat, and the trade routes along the present Mumbai- Pune highway, were probably responsible for such large-scale habitations in different parts of the district. In fact thousands of coins have been recovered from various places, which suggest the bustling trading activity and prosperity of the period.
The direct mention of Pune in the epigraphical data can be seen, for the first time, in the Rashtrakuta Copper plate grant of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (c. 757 – 772 C.E.) found in the city in a private collection. The grant was issued on 16th October 758 C.E. to a Brahmin called as Poogadibhatta giving him a village called as Bopakhelu (Bopkhel, 8kms from Pune). During the Yadava period (circa 9th century C.E. to 13th century C.E.) Pune had become a large township. In the Maratha period, initially in the times of Shivaji and later under the rule of the Peshwas, Pune flourished remarkably and also grew in size. During this period, Pune played a major role in the politics of the country. The British took over Pune after the fatal battle of Khadki in 1818. The city contributed a lot in the freedom struggle as well as in the social reform movements in the country with numerous freedom fighters, thinkers and social reformers living in the city. Pune is the city that pioneered girls education in India with Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule setting up the first ever Girls school of India in the city of Pune.
After independence Pune has become the cultural capital as well as a very important centre of education and industry. It is also home to the National Film & Television Institute, the National Film Archives, the National Defence Academy and the Southern Command Military head quarters. It has the right blend of a metropolis and a small town and has thus become the popular choice for people from all over the country.
Situated 560 meters (1840ft) above sea level on the Deccan plateau, temperature in Pune ranges 20-28 °C. Thus the city is also famous for its pleasant weather. Pune is surrounded by many hills and at least four rivers traverse the city. This has made Pune a very sought after destination for many people to settle down. The excellent weather and the peaceful life in the city had earned it the nickname of ‘Pensioners’ Paradise’!