Maharashtra, a key state in Western India is the third-largest by size and the second-largest by population. It contains India’s most industrialized Mumbai–Pune region and is one of India’s more advanced, well-irrigated, and agriculturally most productive.
Things To Do In Maharashtra
Historically speaking, the state of Maharashtra is quite important. It has been inhabited since 4th century BC and then ruled by Pravarapura, Nandivardhana, Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, and Yadav dynasties until the birth of Maratha empire.
The history continues with Marathas at wars with foreign Muslim invaders, to the courage of Chhatrapati Shivaji to Maharashtra under British rule, eventually India’s Freedom Movement.
Top Cities in Maharashtra
Here are nine of the most notable cities.
- Mumbai — the capital of Maharashtra, also the commercial capital of India
- Pune — the cultural capital of Maharashtra, called the Oxford of the East with old town, museum and excellent restaurants
- Nashik — the city of pilgrimage, also known as the Grape city
- Nagpur — the city of Oranges, at the geographical center of India
- Ahmednagar — over 500 years of history with traces of Nizamshahi, Shahjahan, and Peshwas
- Amravati — educational hub in east Maharashtra, the home of Goddess Ambadevi
- Aurangabad — the city of 52 doors, famous for its Mughal monuments
- Kolhapur — the home of Goddess Ambabai
- Nanded — a holy city of Sikh Religion
Maharastra is huge. It stretches from the west coast to the interior regions and its climate varies with its geography. The best way to explore the nature and wildlife is to visit the National Parks.
Chandoli National Park
Formerly a wildlife sanctuary, this park forms part of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve with Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. This area is home to the Bengal Tiger and Indian leopards, sloth bears and bison. Sambar deer and blackbuck are also present. There is also several species of amphibians, reptiles and birds as well.
Gugamal National Park
This is a part of the Meighat Tiger Reserve, this park has a large variety of mammals, fish, and butterflies. The water crocodile was reintroduced into the Gagda and Dolar rivers.
Navegaon National Park
A popular forest resort with a lake found in the Navegaon hills with a diverse variety of mammals, fish and birds. Opportunities exist for a jungle safari, sailing on the lake or staying in a tree-tophouse.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Also known as “Borivali National Park”, it’s a large park with a wide diversity of plant and animal life. The Kanheri caves within the park are also an attraction. Many mammals can be seen roaming the park. Many types of butterflies have been seen in the park as well as birds and reptiles. It is one of the most visited parks in India.
Tadoba National Park
The largest national park in Maharashtra designated as a Tiger reserve, besides tigers, one may see Indian leopards, sambar deer, Indian python, and Indian cobra. With nearby Tadoba Lake, a large diversity of birds can be appreciated by the avid bird-watcher. A variety of butterflies and insects are also found here. For visitors, jungle safari trips via Gypsy vehicles and buses with local guides can be arranged.
Places to Visit
- Ajanta — a complex of Buddhist caves representing some of the best of early Buddhist art
- Ellora — world famous for its caves of all three major Indian religions (Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain), a World Heritage site. Ellora is also adobe of Grishneshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas
- Elephanta Islands
- Ashtavinayak — Eight Temples of Shree Ganesha
- Bhimashankar — one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in India
- Lonar — has Earth’s only meteor crater in basaltic rock
- Sevagram — Mahatma Gandhi’s “village of service”
- Prince of Wales Museum, in Mumbai
- Windmills at Chalalewadi
- Mulshi — a major dam
- Astavinayak yatra
Hill Stations in Maharashtra
Popular hill stations in Maharashtra are:
Beaches and Resorts
Coastal Maharashtra (Konkan) has some of the very beautiful beaches. With a 720 km coast line, there are beautiful beach destinations almost every 50-100 km, starting from Dahanu in the Northern part of the State to Sindhudurg, at the Southern tip.
Some popular beaches are:
- Juhu beach, Mumbai
- Bordi beach
- Gorai-Madh beach
- Girgaon beach, Chowpaty
- Alibag beach
- Nagaon beach
- Kashid beach
- Murud-Janjira beach
All of the above beaches are well-developed and have multiple accommodation options, great views, and easy access.
Do river rafting, mountain biking, and kayaking at Kolad.
Trek the Sahyadri
The Sahyadri range of mountains is an impressive hill range int he western parts of Maharashtra running north to south. There are many peaks in these ranges with medium height, highest being ‘kalsubai’ peak.
Many of the hills have been converted into Forts by Chatrpati Shivaji and later maratha rulers, some forts are even older. Many of the forts are in ruins, but still, there is a lot to see and experience. Every fort has its own importance & interesting bravery stories of Shivaji & his soldiers.
Hence trekking the forts and hills in the sahyadri’s has a charm of its own. Especially in the monsoons, its a place to die for, with lush greenery and pure waterfalls abundant in the hills. The treks range from very simple to absolutely tough. These western ghats are accessible from major cities like mumbai, pune, and nashik.
The principal language spoken is Marathi. Hindi and English are widely spoken and understood. Mumbai is fairly cosmoplitan, with many languages, including English being spoken.
Konkani is a minority language closely related to Marathi, spoken by the eponymous Konkani community. Though Konkanis are common in the Konkan region, they are a minority everywhere.
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June 8, 2018 10:07 am