Vanishing Vintage : The old houses of Deccan Gymkhana
Pune, the "Queen Of Deccan" and Deccan Gymkhana the "Queen Of Pune" both sobriquets describe them aptly and amply. Deccan Gymkhana - the abode to the elite, educated, suave and sophisticated, truly representing Pune's culture, heritage, and social core.
Bureaucrats,sportsmen,scholars,doctors,advocates, engineers, literary luminaries, singers, defence personnel, you name it and they are found in good numbers,both,erstwhile and present.
All these reflected in their early period houses, built in stone, whether Colonial, or Art Deco, or with Gothic elements, or purely Maharashtrian styles of architecture.
For the sake of limiting ourselves to Prabhat Road,Bhadarkar Road, and adjacent near by areas. That in itself is a very large area- 15 lanes of Prabhat Road and about 12 Lanes of Bhandarkar Road. Including their interconnecting lanes, it's a large area, spreading upto Karve Road, Law College Road. Some areas on Jungli Maharaj Road and off Bhandarkar Road are also included for sake of different architechtural styles.
The old houses are built in Basaltic or Deccan trap stones. It is said that many of these stone houses were built from stone,quarried during excavation for Tilak Tank, the famous natural swimming pool. It is said that many houses from Prabhat Road lanes 1,2 and 3 have been constructed utilising the rock quarried from Tilak Tank.
Some houses are not stone ones,but they represent different architectural styles (some are even decrepit). Generally, barring few, most of the houses are in not great condition, and their artistic elements are hidden by trees.
The article is a visual stroll which would give a general feel of nostalgic era.
My effort is to put some pictures,some from stock pictures,and some which I have clicked.
For sake of privacy, no names are mentioned. However, rough locations are attempted in my mentions. It would be a good brain teaser for those who have grown up,stayed,or wandered in those verdant,and serene lanes.
Interestingly you don't find many temples, and also don't remember many eateries or hotels. The only two temples I remember are Balbheem mandir and one Shankar temple in a lane front of Garware college lane, (they are also part of old houses). Datta mandir near Kamala Nehru Park has been a recent addition as compared to these two temples. “Appache canteen" was the favoured place of sport enthusiasts coming to Deccan Gymkhana Club. For some time Suvarna Rekha Dining Hall was located at Prabhat Road. Nowadays these roads are filled with many boutiques and eateries.
The addresses are also, different, relatively newer houses will mention Prabhat Road lane numbers, and house/ plot numbers. But some very old houses mention Shivaji Nagar.
It was said that the number of Erand trees (castor) gave the sobriquet of Erand Wan. (Forest of Erand trees) which was corrupted to Eranwane. It is said that the Chaphekar brothers did shooting practice here before attempting to assassinate Erst Rand.
It starts from Prabhat Lodge for Prabhat Road and Good Luck chowk for Bhandarkar Road. I am aware that a lot of iconic structures may have skipped, for want of photos, or for want of my knowledge.
So let's start
The beginning of Prabhat Road
Main Prabhat Road (249)
Prabhat Road Lane numer 7
Bapu Watve Path Lane 11
Bhandarkar Road Lane 11
Bhandarkar Road - opposite ICICI
Bandarkar Main Road
Opposite PYC Gymkhana
End of Prabhat Road (Jaykar Bungalow)
Near Champion Sports
B R Joshi Path (opp lane of PYC Gymkhana)
Prakash Lodge - J M Road
J M Road - opposite Subhadra