Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) are known to cause various clinical manifestations including acute gastroenteritis. Although HPeV infections and their genotypes have been detected in human patients worldwide, no such reports are available from India to ascertain the association of HPeVs in acute gastroenteritis. The present study was conducted to determine the clinical features and genetic diversity of HPeVs detected in children hospitalised for acute gastroenteritis. Stool specimens (n = 979) collected from children aged ⩽5 years hospitalised for acute gastroenteritis in Pune, western India during January 2006–December 2010 were included. HPeV RNA was detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (5′UTR) followed by genotyping using VP1 gene-based PCR and phylogenetic analysis. HPeV was detected in 13·9% (136/979) of the cases, co-infections with other enteric viruses were found in 43·4%. HPeV was more frequent in children ⩽1 year age with infections reported throughout the year. A total of 102/136 (75%) HPeV strains were genotyped, which comprised 13 different HPeV genotypes. Of these, HPeV1 was the most predominant genotype detected and phylogenetically clustered with the Harris strain which is rarely reported. The study documents circulation of heterogeneous HPeV genotypes. Two variant strains of HPeV4 and ‘RGD absent’ HPeV5 and 6 strains were also detected. This is the first report of HPeV with diversified genotypes identified in acute gastroenteritis patients from India.