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BeachMaharashtra, literally means ‘The Great Land’. As the name itself suggests, Maharashtra has a great diversity of riches to offer. The World Heritage listed cave temples of Ellora and Ajanta rank among the world’s most stunning feats of art and architecture. Popular hill stations like Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala and Khandala in Maharashtra are endowed with abundant natural beauty and attract many tourists every year. It’s booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors.

Located in the northern center of peninsular India, the state of Maharashtra consists of the high Deccan plateau, which is separated from the straight Konkan coastline by the Ghats. One of the three major regions of the state is the Sahyadri range with an elevation of 1000m. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is a narrow coastal lowland, just about 50km wide and with an elevation below 200m. The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers preventing easy movement. These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.

During third and fourth centuries BC, the region of Konkan remained under the control of the Mauryans, whose policies led to great advancement in the fields of trade and Buddhist learning in the region. Then the Satvahanas came to rule this region, who were the creators of Maharashtra and have left a plethora of literary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological evidence. In succession came the great rulers of the Vakataka, Chalukya, and Rashtrakuta empires making Maharashtra a great center of culture and art. Yadavas were the last of these kingdoms that lost their power and a long period of Muslim rule started here. From the middle of the 17th century, a new group of warrior people came to dominate the scene in Maharashtra and elsewhere in India called Marathas. It was only after defeating the Marathas that the English could establish their control on India.


Mahalaxmi Temple, MumbaiThe glittering and bustling city of Mumbai is the largest metropolis as well as the financial, commercial, industrial and celluloid capital of India. It is the cosmopolitan city with the potpourri of cultures and glamour. Mumbai is also the capital of Maharashtra, and is the hub of cinema and film industry; the Indian Hollywood, which is known as Bollywood.

Mumbai was initially a cluster of seven islands of Colaba, Mumbai, Mazagaon, Old Woman's island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel and Matunga Sion, inhabited by the Koli fishing community. It became an important trading center and port city after the English King Charles II gave it to the East India Company in 1668. The islands were named 'Bombay' by the Portuguese meaning 'good bay' in Portuguese. In 1996, it was officially renamed Mumbai, the name being derived from Mumbadevi, the goddess of the Kolis.

The islands were earlier ruled by a succession of Hindu dynasties, invaded by Muslims in the 14th century, and then ceded to Portugal by the sultan of Gujarat in 1534. In 1662, these islands were given to the English King Charles the Second, as a part of the wedding dowry for the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. In 1668, Bombay was given to the East India Company. In the 18th century, the city grew into a major port with the shifting of the shipbuilding industry to Bombay from Surat. Bombay played a formative role in the struggle for Independence, hosting the first Indian National Congress in 1885 and the launch of the Quit India Movement in 1942. Bombay later became the capital of the state of Mahrashtra. Mumbai as it is called today offers a beautiful range of attractions for its visitors. From nature lovers to science freaks to the common tourists, the city of dreams Mumbai, has something special to offer to everyone.

Mumbai is located on India's central-western coast along the Arabian Sea. The city developed for 150 years in isolation from its hinterland and still seems to belong in a different world, to the huge predominantly Hindu state of Maharashtra, which encompasses a 500km coastal strip, a portion of the Western Ghats and a significant part of the Deccan plateau.

Colaba: Every visitor to Mumbai comes to look at the exaggerated colonial marker known as the Gateway of India, a yellow basalt arch of triumph officially 'opened' in 1924. The Gateway of India is a historical gateway built in British style. This is an exaggerated colonial marker conceived after the visit of King George V in 1911.

Prince of Wales Museum: Prince of Wales Museum is designed in the Indo-Saracenic style. It is one of the finest buildings constructed during British rule. Prince of Wales museum was constructed in honour of the Prince of Wales on his first visit to India.

Mahalaxmi Temple: One of the famous temples of Mumbai, Mahalaxmi temple is devoted to the Goddess of wealth, Mahalaxmi. Idols of Hindu goddesses; Mahalaxmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali are also situated in the temple.

Tomb of Haji Ali: The Mosque at the tomb of Haji Ali is a magnificent piece of architecture standing on an island. Hundreds of devotees arrive everyday to pay homage to the saint, Haji Ali.

Marine Drive: Built on land reclaimed from Back Bay in 1920, Marine Drive runs along the shoreline of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty Beach to the foot of Malabar Hill. It's one of Mumbai's most popular promenades and a favourite sunset-watching spot. It is also called the Queen's Necklace because of the dramatic curve of its streetlights at night.

Chowpatty Beach: Chowpatty is a famous beach that offers fun activities such pony rides, acrobatic performances, food and juice stalls etc; together with a wonderful view of the coast. Chowpatty beach holds a special attraction both for tourists as well as for local people. The attraction of Chowpatty enhances many folds during Maharashtra's most famous festival of Ganesh Chatturthi. Images of lord Ganesh, the elephant headed god, is paraded through the city streets and immersed in the sea.

Kalbadevi Bazaar: Trip to Mumbai is incomplete without a visit into the bazaars of Kalbadevi, north of Crawford Market. The narrow lanes of this predominantly Muslim area are hemmed in by laundry-draped chawls, and seething mass of people that often bring Mumbai's traffic to a standstill. It's in complete contrast to the relative space, orderliness and modernity of South Mumbai. Apart from the shopping opportunities, this area is also home to the Jama Masjid and the Mumbadevi Temple dedicated to the patron goddess of the island's original Koli inhabitants.

Juhu beach: Located 18 km north of the city centre, it's a major beach site on the shores of the Arabian Sea and is one of the posh localities of Mumbai where one can find the ostentatious bungalows of famous film personalities of Bollywood. It's also a favourite film-shooting site among the filmmakers as many film shootings are often held here.


Located in Sahyadri hills near the west coast of India, Pune is a fascinating city with a healthy climate all year around. Pune is the second largest city of Maharashtra and was home for a long time to the Maratha leader, Shivaji.

The most important landmark of Pune is the residence of the self-proclaimed guru, Bhagwan Rajneesh, also known as Osho. The ashram in Pune still attracts thousands of devotees from around the world. Other tourist spots in the city are the Shaniwara Wada Palace and Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. The Tribal museum in Pune is an excellent museum which documents the cultures of Maharashtran tribal communities from Sahyadri and Gondwana regions. It also displays a vibrant collection of festival masks, paintings and other absorbing relics. The Gandhi National memorial in the Aga Khan palace is also an important landmark of Pune. The 8th century rock-cut temple, the Pataleshvara temple on a hill a little outside town is one of the most popular temples, dedicated to goddess Parvati. There is a famous Muslim shrine, the Qamarali Darvesh that has a stone that is reputed to levitate.


Bibi ka Maqbara (Poor man's Taj), AurangabadThe city of Aurangabad is famous for its ancient monuments and cultural heritage. Owing to its proximity with world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad has a great importance. It is the gateway to these world heritage caves. These sites have Buddhist, Jain and Hindu temples. The city boasts of Bibi-ka-Makbara, a tomb that has some resemblance to the Taj Mahal.

Aurangabad has played an important role in the history of medieval India by virtue of being strategically located at the intersection of North and South India. The heritage of Aurangabad is linked with different Muslim rulers and dynasties of India. The city was founded in 1610 AD, on the site of a village named Khirki, by a local Muslim noble Malik Ambar. His son Fateh Khan ruled it and named the city as Fatehpur in 1626 AD. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal ruler, took over this city in 1653 AD and renamed it as Aurangabad. Due to its strategic location in peninsular India, he made Aurangabad his capital. He used this city as a base to defeat the rising power of the Marathas.

The Aurangzeb caves situated near Bibi-ka-Makbara are among the most important tourist destinations in Aurangabad. According to archaeological evidence, these caves belong to the Buddhist period and believed to have been constructed before 11th century.

Ajanta & Ellora caves: Spectacular rock cut caves and cave paintings exist at two nearby places, Ajanta and Ellora. The site of the Ajanta caves is located 105 km northeast of Aurangabad. The 29 caves are built in a horseshoe shaped curve of the steep rocky gorge that rises above the river Waghore. These caves were built as secluded retreats of the Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning, and nerve centre of the Buddhist cultural movement. The Ajanta caves dating from 200 BC to 650 AD are also famous for their well-preserved frescoes (wall paintings), which vividly depict the lifestyle of that period.

The Ellora caves, 34 in number, are carved into the sides of a basaltic hill. Located 30 km northwest from Aurangabad, these caves are famed for their sculptures. These structures representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, were carved during the 350 AD to 700 AD period. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated to Hinduism, and 5 caves to the north are Jain. Jain cave is very famous for its Yakshi statue. The Buddhist Vishwakarma chaitya is another important site.

Bibi ka Maqbara: Another historic tourist destination in Aurangabad, Bibi ka Maqbara is a mausoleum that was constructed by Aurangzeb for his wife Rabia Durani. This mausoleum is also termed as the 'poor man's Taj' owing to it being a poor replica of the famous Taj Mahal in Agra. This Maqbara is set in the midst of spacious and manicured lawns decorated with fountains, pavilions and pathways.

Panchakki: Basically an ancient water mill, a mosque is located inside the main enclosure. The entire area is ornamented with dancing fountains.

Shani Shignapur: Located at a distance of 68kms from Aurangabad, this village is popular for the ancient temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shani. An interesting feature of this village is that not a single door, whether of homes or of commercial complexes has locks.


Rock-cut structures are one of the most primitive forms of architecture found in several parts of India. The Karla caves in Maharashtra, built by Buddhist monks, are one of the finest examples of this architecture. The caves are high on the surrounding hills. They were selected in accordance with the Buddhist prescription that the holy man should live neither too near nor too far from human habitation. Not too near to be distracted, nor too far to make begging rounds impractical or to put the monks out of reach of people.


Nestling in the curvaceous mountain ranges of the western ghats of Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar is situated at an altitude of 1372m. It is a paradise for nature explorers and peace lovers. Mahabaleshwar derives its name from the presiding deity "Mahabali" whose shrine at the old Mahabaleshwar Temple is a major attraction. Overlooking the Krishna and Koyna valleys, Mahabaleshwar, opens up a whole world of picturesque delight. A number of vantage points, excellent views, pretty waterfalls and a lake with boating and fishing facilities are some of its major attractions.


PanchaganiPanchgani is a picturesque little town near Mahabaleshwar in the shade of groves of casuarinas and silver oak. Protected from harsh winds by a tableland on one side and high cliffs descending into a valley on the other, Panchgani has a pleasant, bracing climate throughout the year. The hill resort derives its name from the five hills that surround it. Flocked by viewpoints, Panchgani is full of wonders, as it overlooks the scenic magnificence of the Krishna Valley, which extends many kilometers from east to west its numerous hamlets, cultivated fields and sparkling rivers.


Situated 101km southeast of Mumbai, Khandala, a small hill station offers a panoramic view of the lush green hilly environs. Khandala is one of the important hill stations in the state of Maharashtra and is the pride of the Sahyadri Mountains. The place endowed with abundant natural beauty and like Lonavala. Khandala is set amongst the hills and valleys of the Sahyadri mountain range.


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