•  Maharashtra Tourist Attractions
Overview

Maharashtra, India's third largest state in area is located in the western part of the country. India's second largest state in population after Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra has a population of 96,752,247. Maharashtra shares boundaries with the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karanataka and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. While the cool blue Arabian Sea makes up the western coast of the state. Maharashtra is a historic land and the name of the region first appeared in a 7 th century inscription and in the account of famous Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang. In the year 1960, a separate Maharashtra state was carved out from Bombay presidency and Central provinces. 

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, which also serves as the commercial and entertainment capital of the country. One of the four metros of India, Mumbai is also a major arrival point for overseas visitors. A cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is often referred to as the city which never sleeps and one can enjoy a variety of entertainment activities all through the night. Gateway of India, Prince of Charles Museum, Maha Laxmi Temple, Jain Temple and Haji Ali Tomb are some of the attractions of the city. Besides Mumbai, Maharashtra has a number of other important cities and towns namely Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nasik.

Destinations To Visit In Maharashtra
Visit Places on Interest during the tour:   (not all Places can be covered choose the best)

Gateway of India :

Gateway of India is the principal landmark of Mumbai and thronged by thousands of visitors everyday. A conventional Arch of Triumph, Gateway of India was conceived after the visit of King George V to India in 1911 and officially opened in the year 1924. Architecturally its designs have been derived from the 16th century Muslim styles of Gujarat. Built of yellow basalt, the gateway stands on the Apollo Bunder, a famous meeting place of the city's people in the evenings.

Marine Drive :

Officially called as Netaji Subhash Road, Marine Drive was built on land reclaimed in 1920. Marine Drive runs along the shoreline of Back Bay, starting at Nariman Point, passes Chowaptty Beach and runs up to Malabar Hill. One of the Mumbai's most famous attraction, Marine Drive is backed with the high rising buildings and visited by large number of people in the evening.

Chowpatty Beach :

Mumbai's famous beach, Chowpatty Beach attracts large number of visitors every day. Although the sea water is not too healthy for bathing or swimming, but the Chowpatty Beach offer plenty of other activities. Here you can enjoy Mumbi's popular snack, bhelpuri and kulfi ice cream. Besides, you can enjoy other leisure activities on the Chowpatty Beach.

Jain Temple :

Built in 1904, the marble temple is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Adinath. The temple is constructed on the lines of typical modern Jain temples, i.e. the mirrored style. The walls of the temple are elegantly decorated with images of incidents in the lives of the Tirthankars.

Mahalaxmi Temple :

The oldest temple in Mumbai, the Mahalaxmi temple is dedicated to the goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi temple houses the images of goddess and her two sisters, which are said to have been found in the sea.

Haji Ali Tomb :

Haji Ali Tomb is dedicated to a Muslim Saint who was drowned here. You can reach the tomb buildings by a long causeway which can only be crossed at low tide. Besides Muslim, people of other religions also visit the tomb in large number every day.

Prince of Wales Museum :

Prince of Wales Museum also called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastusangrahalaya is an impressive colonial building surrounded by a huge garden. The museum was build in 1905 to commemorate King George V's first visit to India. The first part of this museum was opened in the year 1914. Prince of Wales Museum houses archaeological findings dating back to 2,000 BC from the Indus Valley Civilisation and has a fine collection of Indian art and artefacts across the country. Amongst the most interesting collection are a very rare collection of miniature paintings, idols and bas reliefs from the Elephanta Caves, Buddha images and models of the Parsi Towers of Silence. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10.15 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays.

Mahalaxmi Temple
Other Museums : Close to the Prince of Wales Museum is the Bombay Natural History Society which has an interesting collection of preserved specimens. Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum earlier called the Victoria and Albert Museum is located in the Veer Jeejamata Udyan. The chief attraction of this museum is larger than life elephant stature from the Elephanta Island.The Nehru Planetarium is also a popular destination for amateur astronomers and the Nehru Centre organises the exhibitions and international trade fairs on a regular interval. Visit the Mumbai Harbour, where the Vikrant, an ex-warship has been converted to a maritime museum.

Mani Bhawan :

Mani Bhawan is the building where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1934 has been converted into a museum. Located near the August Kranti Maidan, the museum has houses Mahatma Gandhi's books, photographs and personal belongings. The museum is open from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Kanheri Caves :

Located in Borivali, a suburb of Mumbai, the national park spread amidst hills and forest. In Sanjay Gandhi National Park you can spot a variety of wild animals that include leopards. The park is also very popular for 109 Buddhist rock-cut caves that were used as Viharas (monasteries), equipped with beds and prayer halls. The caves dating back to 1st century AD reflects the austerity of the Buddhist practices.

Tourist Attractions Around Mumbai
Elephanta Caves :

A short ferry ride from the Mumbai Harbour takes you to the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri (the local name meaning fortress city), the home to 7 th century rock-cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Elephanta caves are located two-third of the way up two hillocks, at the centre of the island. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the main central cave houses the Maheshamurti, a three-headed sculpture of Shiva resplendent in all his forms namely the creator, preserver and destroyer. Besides, the cave also has delicately-carved panels depicting the life of Lord Shiva. The Elephanta Festival organized by the MTDC is a great time to visit as a programme of classical music and dance is organized against the magnificent backdrop of the caves.

Vajreshwari :

Set at the foot of Mandakini mountain, Vajreshwari is a town for tourists and pilgrims alike. Situated 81 km north of Mumbai, Vajreshwari is famous for its hot springs, temples and ashrams. Visit the popular Vajreshwari Temple, take a dip in the hot springs at Akoli Kund and the Nitanand Mandir at Ganeshpuri. If you are looking for some more adventure then visit the Agni Kund behind the temple where the water is so hot that it can cook rice within a few minutes.

Lonavala - Khandala :

Located 104 km away from Mumbai, the charming twin hill resorts of Lonavala and Khandala provide a welcome break from the heat and crowds of the city of Mumbai. Perched 600 mts above sea level on the western slopes of the Sahyadri range, the resorts offer a cool, exhilarating climate and a pleasant gateway. During the monsoon the resorts look more picturesque, with the waterfalls gushing down steep ravines and mists rolling into the valley.

Bhaja and Karla Caves :

Karla is 114 km away from Mumbai and it is the site of some of the best preserved and biggest Buddhist chaitya caves (prayer halls) dating back to 80 BC. Just three km from Karla are the caves at Bhaja, on the southern side of the Visapur Fort, dates back to around 200 BC. Bhaja is a complex of 18 caves, 10 of these are viharas (monasteries) and the rest are chaityas. Near by are another group of caves at Bedsa.

Matheran :

Matheran is situated at a distance of 108 km from Mumbai on Mumbai - Pune highway. Set at a height of 800 m, Matheran is known for its red soil and clean air, and also for the monkeys. A charming town, Matheran is also home to some interesting colonial buildings. Motor transport is ban in this town, so horses and hand-drawn rickshaws are the only mode of transport. After a thrilling winding ride up the hill in a toy train or by car or bus, you have leave the vehicles at Dasturi Naka, 3 km outside the town limits. Further a long walk or horseback ride takes you to Matheran, a tranquil town with spectacular views that can be appreciated from various scenic points.

Kashid :

Kashid is 139 km from Mumbai and a four-hour journey by road. A stunning beach, Kashid is nestled between two outcrops of rocks. Enjoy the bright sun on the beach and pass some good time. Also visit the massive Revdanda Fort built by the Portuguese.

Daulatabad Fort : One of the finest examples of war strategy and intrigue, Daulatabad Fort is situated between Aurangabad and the Ellora Caves. The magnificent hilltop fortress of Daulatabad Fort lies at a distance of 13 km from Aurangabad. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, known as the 'mad sultan of Delhi, built this fort in 14 th century. Daulatabad fort is surrounded by five km of sturdy wall, while the central bastion tops a 200 mtr high hill. Climb to the top of the fort for getting fantastic views of the surrounding areas.

Ellora Caves : Located at a distance of 30 km from Aurangabad, Ellora Caves are one of the finest examples of ancient Indian art. A World Heritage Site, Ellora Caves reflect the essence of three distinct religions namely Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The caves of these three religions coexist harmoniously in a spectacular display of high art. Ellora Caves comprises 34 rock-cut caves that include 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and five Jain caves. It is believed that the rock temples of Ellora were constructed under the aegis of the Rashtrakutan King Krishna I.

Ajanta Caves : Ajanta Caves are situated about 100 km from the city of Aurangabad. The caves were discovered in 1819 by a group of British army officers during a hunting expedition. Presently the world famous Ajanta Caves are one of the chief tourist attractions in India. There are 30 caves in Ajanta and they served as monsoon retreats or varshavasas for Buddhist monks between 200 BC and about 650 AD. 

Other Attractions 
Ellora Festival : Each year during the winter season, the Ellora Festival of Classical Dance and Music is organised against the dramatic backdrop of Ellora Caves. During Ellora Festival India's leading artists perform amidst the beautiful rock cravings. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organises this annual festival and it is a must-participate event. 

Rajneesh Ashram or Osho Commune Interntaional : Pune is the headquarters of the Bhagwan Rajneesh's non-religious Osho Commune International. Rajneesh Ashram is located in Koregoan Park, a relatively spacious superb of Pune, 2 km east of railway station. Shree Rajneesh is both one of the most popular 'export gurus' of India and also the most controversial. Every day you will find around 5,000 followers in Pune, about 1,000 live in the ashram. About 90 percent of his followers are westerners and the Germans constitutes the biggest single group. Rajneesh Ashram is neat and clean, and modern with neat little touches. With a daily income of around $68,000 the commune has transformed the twenty acres area of ashram into an exclusive playground with cafes, swimming pool, clinics and a shop selling books, videos and cassettes of Osho. 

Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum : Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is one of the real delights of Pune city. Dinkar Gangadhar Kelkar (1896 - 1990), apart from being a renowned Marathi poet, spent much of life travelling and collection arts and crafts from all over India. In 1975, Dinkar donated his collection to the state government as a permanent museum dedicated to his son, Raja, who died at the age of twelve. Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum is housed in a magnificent red and green Rajasthan style building. The museum has a wonderful collection of artifacts and objects of daily usage. Here you will see the Peshwa and other miniatures, a coat of armour made of fish scales, an impressive collection of musical instruments, carved doors and windows, hookah pipes, strange locks, oil lamps and a wonderful collection of betel nut cutters. The museum is open daily from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm.

Shaniwarwada Palace : Shaniwarwada Palace stands in the centre of the old part of the town where narrow and winding streets form a maze. Constructed in 1736 by the Peshwa ruler Bajirao I, the massive palace was the chief residence of the Peshwas until the British arrived in 1817. Shaniwarwada Palace was also burnt down by fires in 1791, 1812 and 1828 and now only the imposing high walls survive. Inside the palace there is a beautiful garden and small signs proclaiming the rooms used to stand there. Shaniwawada Palace is open every day from 8 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. 

Aga Khan Palace and Gandhi Memorial : Aga Khan Palace is set in a tranquil gardens, across the River Mula, 5 km northeast of the city centre. In the year 1942, Mahatma Gandhi his wife Kasturba Gandhi and other noted freedom fighters were interned at the Aga Khan Palace. In 1969 Aga Khan donated this palace to the state and now it is a small museum houses captioned photos and rooms occupied by the freedom fighters. A small Khadi shop in the memorial sells handloom cloth and products made by local villagers. Aga Khan Palace is open daily from 9 am to 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm to 6 pm. 

Panchalesvara Cave : Panchalesvara cave lies to the west of the city, just across the river Mula. Hewn from rock just like other caves in Maharashtra, the Panchalesvara cave dates from the Rashtrakuta period (8th and 9th centuries). The roughly excavated cave has broad, square, unfinished pillars, bearing numerous chisel marks and even today appears to have been in use for a 1,000 years. You can see locals or devotees at prayer at most time of the day. The principal shrine contains a shivalingam, while the subsidiary cells hold images of Ganesha, Lakshmi, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. 

Tribal Museum : Run by the Tribal Research and Training Institute, the Tribal Museum is dedicated to the protection and documentation of the surviving culture of tribal groups of Maharashtra. Tribal museum's collection of photos, costumes and artifacts provide an introduction to the little-known world of tribals. Highlight of the museum is the fantastic collections of dance masks and Worli wedding paintings. Located 2 km east of the railway station, the museum is open from 8 am to 5.30 pm daily. 

Temples and Gardens : Visit the Empress Gardens which has fine tropical trees and a small zoo nearby. The Empress Gardens also has a moated Ganesh temple in the middle. Take an evening stroll in the Bund Gardens, located on the banks of the river. The Parvati Temple is situated on the outskirts of the town atop a hill. From the temple you will good view of the city. The rock cut Panchaleshwar temple, another interesting temple of Pune. Built in 8th century AD, the temple resembles in style to the rock temples of Ellora. Just close to Panchaleshwar temple there is a fine equestrian statue of Shivaji.

Tourist Attractions Around Pune
Sinhagad : Sinhagad or the 'Lion Fort' is 25 km south-west of Pune atop an almost perpendicular cliff in the Bhuleshwar mountains. Originally known as Kandana, the ruined fort of Sinhagad can easily be visited in a day trip from Pune. In 1647 Shivaji, on hearing that his general Tanaji had died after defeating the unprepared forces of Bijapur. Shivaji said "I have won the fort, but lost the lion", to commemorate Tanaji's heroism, the fort was renamed as Sinhagad. Surprisingly, even today you will find a few families live in small houses within its 12 m high walls. 

Mahabaleshwar : Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station of Maharashtra located 120 km north-east of Pune. Set at an altitude of 1,372 mts above sea level, Mahabaleswar boasts of the network of marked hiking trails through the woods and assorted vantage points, with views over the peaks and down to the plains. You can also enjoy boating on the central Yenna Lake and shop for locally made jams and honey in the lively market. 

Pratapgarh : An hour's bus ride takes you to the 17 th century fort of Pratapgarh, 24 kms away from Mahabaleshwar. Reached by a climb of 500 steps, the fort is connected with one of the most notable feats in Maratha chieftain, Shivaji's dramatic life. At Pratapgarh you can see Afzal Khan's tomb, a Mughal general and a memorial to Shivaji. Also enjoy the superb views of the surrounding hills. 

Panchgani : Just 19 km from Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani or 'Five Hill's is also a popular hill station of Maharashtra. Panchangani is situated at a height of 1,334 mts above sea level and known for its pleasant climate. 

Ambazari Lake and Garden : One of the major attraction of Nagpur, Ambazari Lake is situated on the western outskirts of the city. Ambazari Lake spread over 15.4 sq. kms, offering excellent opportunities for leisure activities. You can enjoy boating in the lake or go for a good walk here. The lake is surrounded by a picturesque garden, which is as popular as the lake. Developed as a modern garden by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, the garden has a musical fountain which adds a romantic flavour to this charming spot.. 

Balaji Mandir at Seminary : Dedicated to Shri Balaji, the temple is set amidst the tranquil and spectacular surroundings of Seminary Hills. Balaji Mandir also houses the idols of Lord Kartikeya, who is believed to be the commander of the army of Gods.
Maharaj Baug and Zoo : Nagpur's famous attraction, Maharaj Baug was laid by the erstwhile Bhonsle rulers. Now the beautiful garden is converted into a Botanical garden housing a zoo. You can see the rare species of birds and animals in this zoo.

Gandhi Baug : A beautiful garden, Gandhi Baug is named after India's national father, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Baug is a favourite place for locals and tourists visiting Nagpur. You may pass a good time here alongwith your family. 

Hegdewar Smriti Temple : Hegdewar Smriti Temple is one of the famous attractions of Nagpur. The temple is built in the memory Dr. Hegdewar, an eminent personality of the city. 

Sri Poddareshwar Ram Temple : Sri Poddareshwar Ram Temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Rama. In addition to Rama, the temple houses the images of Sita and Laxmana. 

Dragon Palace temple : Dragon Palace temple is a Buddhist shrine. It houses a statue of Lord Buddha in meditation. 

Sevagram : Sevagram was the home of Mahatma Gandhi in his later years. Here the Bapu Kutir, Adi Nivas and many other houses bear the hallowed memory of Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi.
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