Simultaneous observations of surface ozone (O3) with its precursors namely, carbon monoxide (CO) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) have been taken on diurnal scale from a tropical semi-urban site, Pune (18.54°N, 73.81°E) in India. We present the data for one year (2003–2004) period to study the salient features of these trace gases. The peak in amplitude of ozone is found during the noontime whereas in CO and NOX it is observed in the morning hours between 0800 and 0900 H. The concentration of these pollutants drop down considerably during southwest monsoon months and the diurnal pattern also become very weak. The diurnal trends of these gases are found to be different for different seasons, which are specific to the receptor site. Model simulations using 3-D chemical-transport model with regional emission inventories and observed winds have also been carried out. The comparison of model results with observations, on seasonal basis yielded a reasonable qualitative agreement. The relative role of local emissions and long range transport in the diurnal pattern for different seasons has been outlined, which reveals that the ozone is highly influenced by regional/long range transport in this region. The effect of precursor amounts in the morning on afternoon ozone peak levels has been investigated using the lag correlation study, which reveals that a time lag of 5–7 h is required for most of these precursor gases to photo-chemically produce ozone to its maximum potential. Results are discussed in the light of available topographic and meteorological conditions.