Pune’s Ancient Roots
– Punnat - referred to by the Egyptians in 150 CE could be Pune
The story of Pune begins from a small hamlet at the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers. British traveller Lord Valentia who travelled through the Deccan between 1802-06 and wrote in the Poona Gazetteer, claimed that Poona is the same as Punnat, a place referred to as the centre for agate stones, by Egyptian historian Claudius Ptolemy way back in 150 CE.
Historians are however divided about the earliest reference to the city. Many Indian historians prefer to point to a later date for reference. They claim that the earliest mention of Pune is found in a copper plate inscription discovered at Talegaon, on the outskirts of the city near the old Mumbai-Pune highway. This copper plate mentions a land grant given by King Krishnaraj of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, on the occasion of a solar eclipse on the last day of Vaishakh i.e. the 23rd March, 768 CE.
– An inscription from the 8th century CE refers to a village of ‘Kumarigram’, today’s Koregaon in the district of ‘Punnak’.
The gift in question was the village of 'Kumarigram', today’s Koregaon, which was bound by the village of Khamgaon on the East, Khadir Hills on the South, Alandi and Theur on the West and the Mula river in the North. This area, is specifically mentioned in the inscription as lying in the district of Punnak.
Local Marathi folk stories meanwhile say that it was from the Punyeshwar temple, a Shiva temple destroyed during the course of Islamic invasions (located in what is now Kasba Peth), that Pune got its name.