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Moving to Pune

The second city of the vast state of Maharashtra, Pune is an exciting expat destination. With a population of 7 million, Pune has the hustle and bustle of any major Indian city, but it also boasts unrivalled natural beauty.

A result of the confluence of the Mula and Mutha Rivers in Pune, the grand Mula-Mutha is a stunning feature of the city, while Pune's outer limits are surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills. With all this on offer, plus plenty of job opportunities, a fairly low cost of living, and friendly locals, it's no wonder Pune has been named by many as India's most liveable city.

Living in Pune as an expat

Pune is a thriving hub for numerous industries, the most prominent of which include IT, manufacturing and education. Though Bengaluru remains India's top city for information technology, Pune's own IT industry has become notable for its rapid growth, having brought much economic success to the city.

Meanwhile, manufacturing continues to play a big role in Pune's economy, as it has done for decades, while the city's universities remain popular among international students, with Pune living up to its long-held moniker of 'the Oxford of the east'.

After hours, Pune's energy keeps going as it offers a vibrant city lifestyle packed full of interesting things to see and do. One downside is that work commutes and other travel around the city aren't always easy. Public transport is limited and traffic is often heavy. Some expats find that hiring a local driver can ease much of the stress of a daily commute.

Cost of living in Pune

One of Pune's most appealing qualities is its reasonable cost of living. While the pricing of accommodation couldn't be considered cheap, it's certainly more affordable than in India's megacities, and other costs, such as groceries and utilities, are much gentler on the pocket.

Expat families and children

Families moving to Pune should find plenty to keep the kids occupied. There's a wide range of easily accessible fun activities, and good education options are easy to find, provided that parents (or their employers) are able to shoulder the high costs of international schools.

Climate in Pune

Barring the monsoon season, Pune has a pleasant climate, with mild conditions being typical throughout most of the year. This leaves residents able to enjoy all that the city has to offer at any time of year, whether they're keen for a hike to the forts, a day by the riverside or just a picnic in a local park.

Settling into life in Pune may seem overwhelming at first, especially if expats have never lived in an Indian city before. But with so much to look forward to, and with friendly locals happy to lend a hand, expats are bound to find their place in this vibrant and exciting corner of India.

Weather in Pune

Pune has a tropical climate, and the year can roughly be divided into the wet season (June to October) and the dry season (November to May).

May is the warmest month of the year, with an average daytime temperature of 86°F (30°C), while nights can be surprisingly cool. The wet season brings monsoons, during which time residents can expect plenty of rain amid warm and muggy conditions. December is the coldest month, with an average of 69°F (20°C).

Tropical cyclones can occur in Pune, typically either right before or just after monsoon season. In the event of a cyclone, expats should follow all official directives and advisories.

Working in Pune

With several strong and continually growing industries, Pune is a great place to jumpstart or progress a career. Expats in sectors such as IT, manufacturing and education should find plenty of opportunities for career growth while working in Pune.


Job market in Pune

Pune has a long history of being a manufacturing city, dating back to the 1960s. Manufacturing continues to be one of Pune's most important industries. The city's industrial and warehousing sector has also been performing well and looks set to continue its pattern of growth.

Education and research are also major contributors to Pune's economy, which should be no surprise given that the city is a global education hub, having earned itself the nickname the 'Oxford of the East' thanks to its numerous high-quality tertiary institutions.

While Bengaluru continues to boast India's largest IT sector, Pune is offering it some stiff competition. The city has several IT parks housing hundreds of companies and shows no sign of slowing down.

Other major sectors include banking, automotive and electronics.


Finding a job in Pune

Expats with the right skills in the right industries should have little difficulty finding a job in Pune. Browsing online job portals is a good place to start, while getting in touch with recruitment companies in Pune and utilising social networks such as LinkedIn to make connections can also be valuable.

It's highly likely that expats will need a work permit to take up employment in India. It's important to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to matters of immigration, and any good employer will be happy to assist an expat in arranging the necessary paperwork.


Work culture in Pune

Generally speaking, the people of Pune are friendly and the work culture pleasant. That said, expats should always bear in mind that work culture varies between industries and from company to company. Those working in finance or business will likely experience a more formal workplace than, for example, those working in the creative arts.

When considering what to wear, expats should take their cues from coworkers. If unsure, it's usually better to dress up rather than down. Pune's weather can be hot and muggy, and on such days business wear tends to be less formal.

Cost of living in Pune

As Pune's economy continues to grow, largely thanks to its healthy IT and manufacturing sectors, the cost of living in the city also rises.

On a global scale, compared with other expat destinations, life in Pune is affordable, as indicated by its ranking of 201st out of 227 cities across the globe assessed for Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2022.

In the context of India, Pune is fairly pricey, although it remains significantly cheaper than the megacities of Mumbai (127th), New Delhi (155th), Chennai (177th) and Bengaluru (178th). Meanwhile, Hyderabad (192nd) and Kolkata (203rd) have a similar cost of living to Pune.


Cost of accommodation in Pune

Most expats spend the largest proportion of their salary on accommodation, usually about a third. Several factors will determine how much a person pays in rent, such as the type of accommodation as well as its size and location.

Prices can vary widely in different areas. City-centre properties are more expensive than suburban homes, but the latter will have more space to offer compared to the sometimes-cramped apartments in the city centre.


Cost of food and groceries in Pune

Pune offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to grocery shopping and eating out, ranging from budget to high-end options. Buying local, in-season produce will always be cheaper than buying imported or out-of-season items. Similarly, local restaurants generally cost less than restaurants offering non-Indian fare.


Cost of transport in Pune

Most expats drive in Pune, whether by car or scooter, as public transport here leaves much to be desired. Rental cars can be arranged at a fairly good price, or newcomers might look to purchase from fellow expats leaving the city. Those who don't want to brave the traffic themselves can hire a driver, a perk that companies sometime offer to high-level executives moving to the city for work. Taxis are another option, though this can become expensive over time.


Cost of education in Pune

Most expats relocating to Pune with children will opt to send them either to an international school in the city or a boarding school back home. Both of these are expensive options that come with high tuition fees, not to mention extra costs such as textbooks, uniforms, school lunches and bus fare.

One alternative that parents might consider is homeschooling, which is much cheaper. While there aren't government regulations supporting homeschooling in India, authorities won't interfere as long as a child is receiving some form of education.


Cost of living in Pune chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Pune in July 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

INR 37,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

INR 24,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

INR 18,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

INR 12,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

INR 80

Milk (1 litre)

INR 60

Rice (1kg)

INR 56

Loaf of white bread 

INR 41

Chicken breasts (1kg)

INR 275

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

INR 330

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

INR 310

Coca-Cola (330ml)

INR 36

Cappuccino

INR 170

Bottle of local beer

INR 200

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

INR 1,200

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

INR 0.95

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

INR 750

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

INR 3,000

Transport

City centre bus/train fare

INR 30

Taxi (rate per km)

INR 21

Petrol/gasoline per litre

INR 112

Accommodation in Pune

Finding accommodation in Pune is sure to be high up on any expat's priority list when moving to this sprawling city. Aspects to consider include budget and desired amenities as well as proximity to work and (if applicable) schools.


Types of accommodation in Pune

When looking for accommodation, expats may notice the acronym 'BHK', which stands for bedroom, hall and kitchen. So, for example, any property listed as '3 BHK' will have three bedrooms, a hall and a kitchen.

Different areas of Pune tend to have particular types of housing available. In the city centre and around industrial areas, apartments are the main form of accommodation, while suburbs further out tend to be more spacious and may have townhouses, bungalows and freestanding houses available.

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available in Pune, though the extent of provisions in a 'furnished' home can vary from bare bones to fully comprehensive.


Finding accommodation in Pune

New arrivals to the city might find the prospect of finding accommodation in Pune a daunting one. Those unsure of where to start would do well to hire a reputable estate agent. These professionals know the local property market well and may have access to listings before they're made public. Expats should be aware that they will be responsible for paying the agent's fee, usually equivalent to a month's rent.

Those going it alone should make use of online property portals such as Makaan and MagicBricks, both of which are popular in Pune. It also can't hurt to make use of one's connections when putting out feelers for available rentals. Speak to co-workers, employers and fellow expats about the house hunt. They may be able to give advice or, in some cases, may even know of an open rental home.


Renting accommodation in Pune

Leases

The law requires both tenant and landlord to sign a regulated tenancy agreement. Informal letting arrangements made verbally are illegal, so it's important that the necessary paperwork is completed. Most leases are for a period of 11 months to avoid the registration and stamp-duty costs associated with 12-month leases. It may be possible to negotiate for a shorter lease period if required.

Deposits

Historically, it was commonplace for landlords to ask for the equivalent of several months' rent upfront as a deposit – usually anywhere from six to 11 times the monthly rent. This left many tenants in the position of having to take out loans to afford a deposit. However, laws have now been put in place across India, stipulating that landlords may only request a maximum of two months' worth of rent as a deposit.

Any damage to the property that goes beyond normal wear and tear will usually be paid for from the deposit, with the remainder being returned to the tenant.

Utilities

In most cases, utilities such as water and electricity are extra costs on top of the rent. Tenants should investigate approximate utility costs and bear this in mind when budgeting.

Giving notice

If either party wants to break the lease before its agreed term is completed, notice must be given at least three months in advance.

Areas and suburbs in Pune

The best places to live in Pune

A city developing at breakneck speed, Pune offers a wide selection of areas and suburbs to prospective residents. The decision of where to live is a vitally important part of relocating, determining an expat's access to schools, healthcare, amenities, transport and entertainment.

Here are a few of Pune's most popular neighbourhoods.


Recommended areas in Pune

Pune

Aundh

Just around the corner from several IT parks, Aundh is an affluent neighbourhood popular among expat workers. There are several schools to choose from in the area, including a few international schools. Shopping needs are well taken care of by the several malls in Aundh.

Currently, a car is necessary to get around, but a metro line is planned for the future. Traffic congestion is one downside of living in Aundh, but at least those working nearby won't have far to travel.

Bhosale Nagar

Bhosale Nagar is a popular area brimming with new and upcoming residential developments. Like Aundh, this part of the city is growing rapidly thanks to its proximity to nearby IT parks. Many expats living here enjoy the convenience of being just a stone's throw from the airport, making international travel easy. The area also has easy access to good schools and hospitals.

Koregaon Park

An upscale area, Koregaon Park is favoured by expats for its luxury accommodation options, numerous entertainment offerings and proximity to Central Pune. This area is the city's nightlife hub, and the seemingly endless assortment of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes makes it easy to see why.

Unsurprisingly, this is an expensive area, but with Pune's best entertainment right on their doorstep, residents tend to agree that the price is well worth it.

Shivaji Nagar

Located at the heart of the city, on the west bank of the river, Shivaji Nagar is a sought-after area where residents have easy access to essential amenities such as schools, colleges and hospitals. A metro station is planned for Shivaji Nagar, but for now the area is served well by a busy bus stop as well as a railway station. Expats working in finance often find Shivaji Nagar a convenient place to live as the city's banking district is located here.

Education and schools in Pune

Known as 'the Oxford of the east', Pune is one of India's most prominent education hubs. The city is home to several tertiary education institutions, many of which are popular among international students.

Expats moving to Pune with children will find a decent selection of schools in the city. Most parents opt for one of the city's international schools as these tend to make for a smoother transition into life in India. There are also some good public and private schools in Pune, but families will need to contend with possible cultural and language differences.

It's worth noting that Maharati is a compulsory subject at all schools, including private and international schools. Students needn't be fluent, but at least a basic proficiency is required.


Public schools in Pune

Public schools either follow the curriculum of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) or the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). The ICSE is considered a more rigorous curriculum, but both are internationally recognised.

There's a high demand for English-medium government schools, and expats will have access to a number of these in Pune. There are also Maharati-, Hindi- and Urdu-medium public schools.

Public schools are usually underfunded with large class sizes and few resources. For this reason, most expats prefer to make use of private or international schools.


Private schools in Pune

Pricier than public schools but equipped with better facilities, private schools in Pune can be a good middle-ground for expat children. They are well attended by locals, providing the opportunity for expat students to experience the culture authentically in an environment that offers better resources and more individual attention.

On the other hand, private schools in Pune are often highly focused on academic results, with a teaching style that tends to forgo critical thinking in favour of learning by rote. This can be at odds with an expat family's own ideas of what constitutes a good education.


International schools in Pune

There's a good selection of international schools in Pune, most of which offer either the Cambridge curriculum (including the IGCSE and A-Levels) or the International Baccalaureate.

Some international schools teach an Indian curriculum, such as CBSE or ICSE, in addition to an international curriculum. Expat parents should be aware that there are a number of schools that position themselves as international schools (for example, by including the word 'international' in their name), but teach only the CBSE or ICSE. So it's best not to make assumptions about a school's offerings based on its name – parents should check school websites thoroughly and ensure they understand what the school offers.

Expats looking for a country-specific curriculum, such as that of France, Germany or the US, may have to look beyond Pune. Cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have a larger range of international schools than Pune, and many offer boarding. If this doesn't suit a particular family, or is too expensive, homeschooling is another option worth considering.


Homeschooling in Pune

Some expat families opt to educate their children at home. This is a good option for expats who want their children to learn the curriculum of a country not represented among Pune's international schools, or for those who wish to avoid their high fees.

Homeschooling isn't widespread in India, and the government takes a hands-off approach. In statements, officials have proclaimed that while they would prefer every child to be in school during the compulsory education period (ages six to 14), they will not interfere with or micromanage those who choose home education. This leaves parents free to homeschool, albeit with few laws and regulations to guide them. We recommend tapping into local homeschooling networks, whether online or in-person, for guidance.


Special-needs education in Pune

While integration is often the prevailing philosophy for managing children with special educational needs in Europe and North America, Pune tends more towards enrolling them into special schools. There are a number of these – public and private – throughout the city.

Some international schools take a more inclusive approach and have well-developed special-needs policies. The conditions covered and the extent to which children can be accommodated vary from school to school, so it's best to consult individual schools directly.


Tutors in Pune

Many expat families find tutors extremely useful in assisting their children to catch up to a new curriculum, work on local language skills, or get to grips with a problem subject. The period leading up to big exams is also a great time to enlist some extra help. Asking teachers and fellow parents for recommendations is a good way to find a tutor, though there are also many tutoring companies to be found online.

International schools in Pune

International schools are popular among expat families living in Pune. The most commonly offered curricula include the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge IGCSE. Some international schools also offer a local curriculum, such as the CBSE or ICSE.

Parents should be aware that, due to high demand, admission to international schools is competitive, especially in the case of the more prestigious institutions. It's standard procedure to be asked to send in the child's recent reports, but some schools will also administer tests or conduct interviews as part of the admissions process. It's always best to apply as far in advance as possible.

Below is a selection of prominent international schools in Pune.


International schools in Pune

Daffodil International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 3 to 18 years
Curriculum: Cambridge International Primary Programme, Cambridge Lower Secondary, Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels
Website: www.disindia.in

Indus International School Pune

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 3 to 18 years
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Website: www.indusschool.com/international-school-pune

Symbiosis International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 3 to 18 years
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate and Cambridge IGCSE
Website: www.symbiosisinternationalschool.net

Victorious Kidss Educares

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 6 weeks to 18 years
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Website: www.victoriouskidsseducares.org

Lifestyle in Pune

Having been named India's most liveable city on several occasions, Pune is well known for the high-quality lifestyle it offers residents. Whether expats are in the mood for a bit of shopping, a stroll outdoors, a bite to eat, or a drink, they'll find plenty of options in Pune.


Shopping in Pune

Pune is nothing short of a shopper's paradise. Sprawling shopping centres abound, including the likes of Amanora Mall, Phoenix Marketcity, The Pavillion and Seasons Mall. There's also some great street shopping to be done on Laxmi Road, Hong Kong Lane and the aptly named Fashion Street.


Nightlife and eating out in Pune

Clubs, pubs and bars galore line the streets of Pune. Koregaon Park is an especially popular nightlife district, where there's something to suit everyone's taste.

There are also plenty of restaurants to explore across the city, with some serving up local fare while others cook cuisine from around the world. A range of budgets is catered to, from cheap eats to fine dining.


Outdoor activities in Pune

Pune is situated in a beautifully green region of Maharashta, with a number of hilly areas just beyond the city dotted with the ruins of various forts, some of which are thought to date back more than 2,000 years. Hiking to these forts is a popular activity among locals and expats alike.

Meanwhile, Peacock Bay and Khadakwasla Dam are great choices for those who wish to spend some time by the water. Those up for a bit of a walk should visit Devkund Waterfall, a beautiful natural water feature that can only be reached by a two-hour hike.


See and do in Pune

Aga Khan Palace

A sprawling palace originally commissioned by Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III in the late 19th century, Aga Khan Palace is most famous as a place of imprisonment for Mahatma Gandhi from 1942 to 1944.

Today, visitors can view a display of a number of Ghandi's personal possessions, including letters and clothing. The grounds themselves are beautiful, consisting of rolling lawns and the exquisitely designed palace.

Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple

This beautiful temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesh has stood for more than 130 years. Inside, there is a 7.5ft (2.3m) tall Ganesh idol, beautifully decorated with real gold. The best time to visit is during the annual Ganeshotsav festival (August/September), when the temple is lavishly adorned with flowers and lights.

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

This museum was established in 1920 by art collector Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar in memory of his son, Raja. The three-storey museum displays around 2,500 artefacts at any given time, with the greater collection amounting to more than 20,000 pieces. Here, visitors will find authentic Indian sculptures dating back to the 14th century, various arms and armour, as well as a collection of ancient musical instruments.


What's on in Pune

Holi (March)

Each March, the streets of Pune burst into colour as Holi parties take place all over the city. Participants throw brightly coloured powder and water balloons at one another, with everyone emerging covered in colour. The celebration continues as singing and dancing go on late into the night.

Ganesh Chaturthi (August/September)

The event of the year, this 10-day festival welcomes all and is not to be missed. Before celebrations begin, clay idols of Ganesh are placed in homes and public spaces throughout the city. These idols are considered 'divine guests' throughout the festival. Every day, worshippers offer the idols Ganesh's favourite foods, which are later consumed in celebration.

During the festival, newcomers can look forward to huge processions with traditional dance and drum performances. At the end of the festivities, the clay idols are submerged in water and dissolved, symbolising Ganesh's journey home to Mount Kailas.

Diwali (October/November)

In Pune, Diwali is traditionally celebrated with pahats. These events, beloved by locals, are early-morning outdoor music concerts, usually consisting of classical music performed by renowned local artists. Traditional dress is worn, and the pahat concludes with the lighting of lamps and lanterns, setting the scene for the rest of Diwali.

Getting around in Pune

Getting around in Pune is often an exercise in patience. The city's transport infrastructure hasn't been able to keep up with its rapid expansion. As a result, traffic tends to be heavy, especially during rush hour, while buses, trains and the metro are usually packed.

With a limited public transport system, most expats in Pune resign themselves to travelling by car, despite heavy traffic. Some expats find that hiring a skilled and experienced local driver can go towards relieving the stress of the daily commute.


Public transport in Pune

Bus

Buses are widely used in Pune and are run by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). The network is extensive, but buses tend to be crowded and uncomfortable.

Alongside the regular bus service, PMPML also operates a rapid-transit system known as the Rainbow Bus Rapid Transit System (RBRTS). While these buses are just as crowded as regular buses, they're faster because they use  dedicated bus lanes.

Metro

Currently, the metro has two lines, with an additional line under construction. Line 1 (the purple line) runs from PCMC to Swargate, and Line 2 (the aqua line) runs from Vanaz to Ramwadi. Line 3 (the red line) is planned to run from Quadron to Civil Court.

Apart from Line 3's construction, expansions are also planned for Line 1 and 2. The plan is for all three lines to eventually connect to Civil Court Station. The metro runs seven days a week, from 8am to 9pm or 10pm.

Train

The suburban train system is operated by Central Railway and connects Pune to Lonavala. It consists of just one line with 17 stations, but the government is considering extending this.


Taxis in Pune

Taxis are plentiful in Pune and can be booked in advance or hailed off the street. We highly recommend booking in advance from a trusted taxi company, as taxis off the street will often try to charge foreigners inflated prices.

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Ola are available in Pune. Expats often prefer these services because they are cheaper and more convenient than regular taxis.

Auto-rickshaws (motorised three-wheelers) are a common sight in Pune. They're speedier and cheaper than taxis but can make for a hair-raising experience.


Driving in Pune

Some expat employees are fortunate enough to have drivers provided to them by their employers. Those without this perk sometimes find this a worthwhile cost to bear on their own, while others prefer the flexibility and freedom of driving themselves.

New arrivals will be able to drive on their licence from their home country for a while but should start arranging an exchange for an Indian licence as soon as possible. Depending on where they hail from, expats may be able to do a direct exchange, while in other cases additional practical and theoretical testing is required before a licence can be issued.


Cycling in Pune

The natural scenery of Pune and surrounds makes for enjoyable recreational bicycle rides. However, a lack of cycling infrastructure makes it impractical and dangerous to cycle around in the city.