The long-standing bastion of the Maratha Empire and home to the legendary Raja Shivaji, Pune is marked by magnificent land and sea forts. Pune in Maharashtra was known as the ‘Punyanagari’, during the medieval days. It personified the political nave of the Peshwa Empire, before the British invaded it in 1817. Thenceforth, is plied as the cantonment town and also the, monsoon capital for the British, until India’s independence in 1947. Pune à la mode has become the centre of traditional Marathi culture, where arts and crafts, education and theatre are given pride of place. En route to becoming a cosmopolitan city, Pune is an important commercial centre and economic hub of India. The Automotive Research Association of India, which is responsible for the homologation of all vehicles available in India, is based in Pune. Each and every sector of the automotive industry is represented. Pune also has hundreds of large and small IT companies. A testimony to its glorious past ‘Old Pune’ with its narrow winding roads offers an interesting contrast to the open, spacious new city. However, the old-world charm and its many quaint characteristics, including the omnipresent cyclists, rickshaws and a daily siesta hour, are still retained by Pune. In the cusp of verdant hills and beautiful lakes, Pune has a temperate climate and is among the greenest urban areas in India. The confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers is the location of Central Pune. The northwestern outskirts of metropolitan Pune is traversed by the Pavana and Indrayani rivers, tributaries of the Bhima River. From tourists asunder, large number of working professionals and students also travel to Pune from Mumbai quite often. They ordinarily hire a car from Pune to Mumbai to save themselves precious time and money. Indian highways and state highways connect Pune to other cities. Pune is connected to Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolhapur via National Highway 4 (NH 4) and is also accessible via NH 9 to Hyderabad, and NH 50 to Nashik. State highways connect it to Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, and Alandi as well. India's first six-lane high-speed expressway, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, was completed in 2002, and has reduced travel time between Pune and Mumbai to almost two hours. Travelling by hired cabs also ensures that they can ride at their own pace and stop for a quick meal or photo session wherever and whenever they want.