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The Sketched Story: Drawing Pune Anew

The 800-year-old Nageshwar Temple is hidden among the peths of Pune. The Peshwas added the Sabha Mandap (assembly hall) during the 18th century. The city has numerous such ancient treasures of which I have yet to discover many
Photographer: Sketches: Harshad Arole


I grew up in Pune, Maharashtra, but it was only when I returned to the city after 15 years away that I truly set about discovering it. The old wadas, the many temples, the British architecture, the labyrinthine alleys in the peths (localities), and the urbanisation brought about by the information-technology wave – all these drew me in, absorbed me. I felt sheer joy and excitement in stumbling upon spots that I had never known existed.

Urban sketching is all about drawing on location and capturing what you observe. It is a way of discovering the essence of a place by capturing the history, geography, customs and lifestyles of the different communities that inform the space. It increases our appreciation of the environment that we have created, and it is a very social activity, because we share our experiences and impressions.

I love the simplicity of urban sketching; all you need is a drawing tool and a blank book. I have not been sketching very long, but just looking back at my early pieces brings back vivid recollections of the place, the atmosphere, the emotions I felt. For me, the satisfaction I get from my sketches can never be paralleled by photography.


Old educational institutions dot the cityscape. Sited a little outside the main city, Deccan College is one of the oldest colleges in India. This gem of a building is a treat for architecture sketchers
Photographer: Sketches: Harshad Arole
Dotted with innumerable shops, Laxmi Road passes through a large section of the old city. Although the road always bustles with modern commercial activity, some really amazing pre Independence Era buildings still bring out the charm of old
Photographer: Sketches: Harshad Arole
Sometimes sketching from a parked car offers the best view of the street. I was enjoying a fresh cream roll and a cup of hot tea while working on this textbook streetscape
Photographer: Sketches: Harshad Arole