My home state finally. I grew up here. Maharashtra is one of the most advanced states and one of the best to live in. I am proud of its history, cultural heritage, its status as a change maker and regional diversity and accommodating nature of its people.
Best of Maharashtra
1. Beautiful beaches
Maharashtra is located on the Western coast of India and has got a long coastline of about 720 km. Some of the best beaches in Maharashtra are (1) Tarkarli (2) Harihareshwar (3) Kashid and Kihim (4) Alibaug (5) Dapoli and (6) Ganapatipule. The coastal areas of Maharashtra enjoy a favorable climate.
2. Biodiversity and wildlife
Due to its varied climate, geography and topography Maharashtra experiences huge diversity in flora and fauna. The Western Ghats, also the Sahyadri mountain range, is one of the eight hotspots of biodiversity in the world. This mountain range – stretching through 1600 km, traverses through the state of Maharashtra, along with other states. Western Ghats are UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mahabaleshwar and Tamhini in Maharashtra receive very heavy rainfall are compared with Cherrapunji in Meghalaya.
Kas Plateau Reserved Forest also known as Kaas Pathaar located in the Satara district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the months of August and September the plateau becomes colorful as numerous types of wild flowers bloom. It is said to have 800+ species of flowering plants.
Some of the best national parks in Maharashtra are (1) Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve or Tadoba National Park (2) Melghat Tiger Reserve (3) Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary and (4) Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. Even the cities of Mumbai and Thane have Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
3. Ancient Indian Art
About 100 km from the city of Aurangabad and 60 km from Jalgaon are the rock cut caves of Ajanta. These caves are examples of early Buddhist architecture, cave paintings and sculptures and ancient Indian art. These caves date from the 2nd Century BC to 480 CE.
The cave temples and monasteries of Ellora are located about 25 km from Aurangabad. The elaborate rock carvings found here are inspired by Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The Kailasa temple is carved in a single rock. Both these sites are declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
4. Hill stations and weekend getaways
Maharashtra has a number of weekend getaways and hill stations. From Mumbai and Pune one can consider visiting – Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani, Ganapatipule, Harihareshwar, Alibaug, Matheran, Bhandardara, Lonavala and Khandala.
5. Military heritage – Forts in Maharashtra
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire pioneered a warfare technique called “Ganimi Kava” (guerilla warfare). Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built many forts to strengthen the Maratha Empire. These forts are built on the hills and by the sea and are an important part of the history. These forts with their arrangements for storage of food grains, water and techniques for defense of the fort show the prowess of Marathas in understanding the terrain and using it to their advantage. Some of the most notable forts are (1) Sindhudurg – a sea fort, (2) Raigad Fort, (3) Pratapgad Fort, (4) Daulatabad Fort, (4) Sinhagad Fort and (5) Panhala Fort.
6. Religious tourism
Maharashtra has a large number of religious sites. Some of these are (1) The Siddhivinayak and Mahalaxmi temples in Mumbai (2) Vithoba temple in Pandharpur (3) Sai Baba temple in Shirdi (4) Goddess Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur (5) Goddess Bhavani temple in Tuljapur (6) Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai (7) Gurudwara Huzur Sahib Nanded – the resting place of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (8) Mangi Tungi – the holy place for Jainism near Nashik (10) Jain temples Kachner, near Aurangabad (10) Jyotirlingas of Trimbakeshwar (Nashik), Ghrishneshwar (Aurangabad) and Bhimashankar (Pune) and (11) The Ashtavinayaka Temples
7. Maharashtrian Food
One can get all types of cuisines in Maharashtra. However the traditional Maharashtrian cuisine is quite famous. The flavors change according to region – for example on the Konkan side use of fresh coconut is widely made in curries, whereas in the Vidarbha region peanuts or dry coconut is used. The cooking style in Malvan region is called Malvani and comprises of mainly non-vegetarian fish based dishes. Traditional dishes in Maharashtra are (1) Poha (2) Vada Pav (3) Misal Pav (4) Kothimbir vadi mainly for breakfast, (5) Pithala and Bhakri or (6) Kadhi and Bhat (rice) for lunch / dinner (7) Shrikhand and Puran Poli are the sweet dishes. If you visit Kolhapur then the based on the color of the gravy for meat based curries the dish is classified as “Pandhra rassa” (white gravy) or “Tambda Rassa” (red gravy). In the Vidarbha region a very spicy traditional variety of chicken cooked is called “Saoji Chicken”.
8. Activities to do
- Paragliding: Kamshet about 49 km from Pune
- Trekking: Mostly during the Monsoon time – some of the popular treks (1) Bhimashankar (2) Harishchandragad (3) Lohagad Fort (4) Kalsubai Peak (5) Sinhgad Trek (6) Rajmachi and (7) Naneghat (near Malshej Ghat). Mostly easy to moderate and 1 or 2 day treks
- Rafting: In the Kundalika river, near Kolad
- Camping: Near Malshej Ghat and Pawna Lake
- Motorcycle riding: Rides to Bhandardara, Igatpuri, Nashik, Pune, Rajmachi (off-roading) and Malshej Ghat, Konkan, Goa and Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserver (TATR)
Nashik in Maharashtra is well known for high quality grapes, supported by climatic conditions. Nashik has emerged as the wine capital of India. The wines produced here have earned good reputation in India. Sula Vineyards, Nashik’s first winery organizes SulaFest a vineyard music festival. Wine testing tours and visits are available to many vineyards in this region.
10. Architectural heritage
Some of the architecturally significant buildings in Maharashtra are (1) Gurudwara Huzur Sahib Nanded (2) The Gateway of India (3) The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (4) Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (5) Mumbai High Court and (6) Mount Mary Church.
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