The Land of the Marathas, Maharashtra is the 2nd most populated and the 3rd largest state in India. The state is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the primary language spoken here is Marathi. Being in the western region of India, Maharashtra has been blessed with an abundant supply of natural resources and the significance of the region has been mentioned in the ancient texts. The state of Maharashtra has a unique location of being situated between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. This makes the state a biodiverse region rich in flora and fauna. The Krishna, Godavari, Bhima etc. are the rivers that run through Maharashtra. The state is also the richest state in India and contributes 13.3% of the country’s GDP and 15% of the country’s Industrial output. It is thus a major state in India which has tons of places and attractions a tourist must explore.
Formerly known as ‘Bombay’, Mumbai is the largest city and the capital of Maharashtra. It is also the most populated city in India and the 5th most populous city in the world. The city that we see today is a collection of 7 islands which were joined into a single metropolitan through land reclamation techniques in the 18th century under the rule of the British East India Company. The city is often nicknamed the Manhattan of India and is home to the famous Indian film industry or ‘Bollywood’. You might need more than a week to explore all the attractions in this city alone, with a huge number of historical monuments, beaches etc.
Aurangabad is named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and is one of the most prominent tourist places in Maharashtra. The city is famous for its historical monuments and the ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora which are a national heritage site. The culture of this town is heavily influenced by the Mughal and the Muslim culture of Hyderabad and Marathi and Urdu are the main languages spoken here. The city has various lakes and the special cuisines in this region of Maharashtra are mouth watering.
The city of Kolhapur is located at the banks of the Panchganga River and one of the Princely states of the Marathas. The city is considered to be the heart of the Maratha Empire and is famous for its various historical monuments and cultural heritage of the Marathi people. The climate is pleasant all year round with heavy rainfalls during the monsoons. The best time to visit the city is during any of the major Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vijaya Dashami and Navaratri. The special ‘kolhapuri slippers’ and the kolhapuri cuisines are worth trying out.
Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in Maharashtra and is located at the Western Ghats. The average elevation of the place is approximately 1,353 meters above sea level and is the source of the Krishna River. The water originates from a spout which is shaped like the mouth of a cow and is situated at an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. The city is a famous summer retreat for the people in Mumbai and is famous for its lakes and trekking hotspots.
Solapur is located on the Karnataka state border and the main languages spoken here are Marathi and Kannada. The city is located at the Deccan plateau and enjoys a moderate and dry climate most of the year. The ancient temples and lakes are also a great place to visit in Solapur. The Siddeshwar Temple is an ancient temple built in the 16th century and is visited by an average of 35 lakh pilgrims in a year.
Another great hill station located at the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra,Matheran is located at an elevation of approximately 800 meters above sea level. The city is famous for its cool and less humid climate and is a popular summer retreat for the population of Maharashtra. The British influence on the architecture is pretty evident and is well preserved by the officials. The train ride to Matheran is of special mention as it is a slow ride that will give you ample time to experience the intoxicating surroundings.
Alibag was developed under the Naval Chief of the Maratha Ruler Shivaji. It is a coastal town and is famous for its white sandy beaches which are often unpopulated and cleaner than Mumbai beaches. The attractions can be covered in a day or two and there are plenty of cheap and hospitable lodging facilities. The various temples are also worth visiting as they display a brilliant Hindu Maratha architecture.
Located on the Western Ghats, Khandala is located between the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The city is easily accessible and is a popular hiking getaway near Mumbai. The various trekking locations and viewpoints allow some magnificent views of the entire valley and the Western Ghats. The ancient rock cut caves of Karla and Bhaja are also a must visit along with the Bhushi Lake. The rock formations and cliffs in Khandala have been famous since ages and it is a popular weekend retreat for the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra.
Nashik is located in the North-Western region of Maharashtra and is located on the banks of the river Godavari which also originates here. The place is mentioned several times in Hindu Mythology and has been famous for being one of the cities that host the Kumbha Mela of India once every 12 years. The town has a huge number of tourist attractions including museums, gardens and a huge array of ancient Temples which are sacred and have been regarded highly important in the Hindu mythology. The city boasts of its authentic Marathi cuisines which must be tried.
Ratnagiri is a sea port located near the Arabian Sea in the State of Maharashtra. The town has been mentioned prominently in the Hindu mythology and is famous for its Temples. The place contains several different breathtaking natural phenomena like the Rajapur Ganga which is a collection of 14 pools of water which appear almost once in every 3 years. The old palaces and forts are also great places to explore on your trip here.
Maharashtra contains a rich cultural heritage and historical importance. It is also one of the prime states in India and a hub to various cultural and modern arts. The hospitable people and the immense number of places to visit it is essentially a tourist capital of India.
11. Ellora Caves