A friend was in town, on work [know him for about a decade+, from Chennai, lives in Dubai] We had met up and spent nearly all day together the last time he visited [ April 2023]. Had also met another friend of his [ his college junior, who’s a mini-Chef, lives in Pune]. Anyways, fast forward to 2024, he was once again in town and messaged us both asking if we could do lunch on Tuesday.  Plan was in place. He was staying at the Taj Blue Diamond Hotel, Koregaon Park.

I had gone past the place but didn’t know much about it. But yesterday, discovered it was quite a historical place and was the 1st ever 5-star hotel in Pune. Got back home, and did some digging around…

Gudi padwa
Gudi Padwa, a vibrant spring festival, marks the Marathi and Konkani Hindu New Year. Falling on the first day of the Chaitra month in the lunisolar calendar, it signifies fresh beginnings, bountiful harvests, and the triumph of good over evil.

The Symbol of Gudi:
Central to the celebrations is the ‘gudi,’ a colourful flag hoisted outside homes. Made from a bright cloth (often green or yellow) tied to a bamboo staff, it’s adorned with mango leaves (symbolizing prosperity), neem leaves (known for medicinal properties), and a garland of red flowers. A sweet candy necklace (gathi) and a metal pot complete the display, representing prosperity and victory.

About Blue Diamond Hotel

The Blue Diamond, affectionately known as “Blue D” by locals, is more than just a luxurious hotel in Pune. It’s a piece of the city’s history, interwoven with the transformation of Pune itself.

In the 1970s, Pune was a sleepy town. Then came the Blue Diamond, the city’s first five-star hotel. Its grand entrance and blue facade ushered in a new era of glamour. For many Pune residents, the Blue Diamond holds special memories – a first fine-dining experience, a celebratory dinner, or even a life-changing business deal.

As Pune blossomed into a modern metropolis, the Blue Diamond evolved too. Today, it’s a luxurious boutique hotel that retains its old-world charm. The dramatic sky atrium, sweeping staircase, and sun-drenched pool all contribute to a unique atmosphere. But the Blue Diamond isn’t stuck in the past. Modern amenities and a global outlook ensure it caters to today’s discerning traveller.

The hotel’s restaurants are another nod to both tradition and progress. Mystic Masala offers regional specialties, while Whispering Bamboo serves up comforting Chinese fare. The all-day diner, Latitude, features bistro-style buffets, reflecting the international vibe of Koregaon Park, the neighbourhood the Blue Diamond calls home.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a Pune local looking for a nostalgic escape, the Blue Diamond offers a unique experience. It’s a chance to unwind in luxury while soaking up a bit of Pune’s history. 

Friend said he chose the hotel cos the food is amazing – good South Indian spread for breakfast, and they have a melt in your mouth Mutton dish on their menu as well. We had lunch at Mystic Masala Restaurant on the 1st floor. Each of the landing along the stairs leading the restaurant had a beautiful saree on the wall. There was a lovely flower Kolam, and each table had a mini-Gudi on it. We chose the Gudi Padwa Thali special [unlimited & pure veg]

The food was simple and delicious… I love Maharashtrian food and surprised myself with my knowledge of the local food when the platter arrived. Friend was trying this food for the 1st time, and so he too was impressed with my knowledge of not just the dish names but the ingredients, and how they were prepared. 😀 
Vadam as we call it in the South – jevvarisi vadam made with sago [look like cups] and Omapodi vadam [ that look like an intricate bigger version of jalebi]
Kothimbir vadi
Alu Wadi
Batata Wada
Aloo sabzi
Katachi amti
Alu Chi baji
Masala bhat
Peru salad
Plain Roti
Puran Poli
Gavachi Kheer
The food was simple, delicious and we were 3 happy bunnies by the end of the meal. Conversations flowed easy, we caught up on each other’s lives, work, other things for a while. From there, we headed to another favourite jaunt- Vohuman Cafe for a cup of chai before heading our separate ways!! 
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