We truly doubt if the popular state of Maharashtra requires an introduction! The state located in central India is the center point for various activities in the country, it takes center stage on various topics ranging from politics and business to religion and travel. The state comprises of many well known destinations from the blur of lights that is Mumbai to the historic city that is Kolhapur. Maharashtra has much to offer travellers, both domestic and foreign.
You can easily spend many months exploring the charming nooks and corners of this stunning state. Be it on the road or by rail or sometimes even by flight, you will get to see, taste and live experiences that are unique to Maharashtra. On that note, let us take a look at our pick of ten things out of the many things that Maharashtra is famous for, so you can make sure to look out for these experiences on your next trip to the state.
1. Business of Bollywood
Bollywood is a lot more than entertainment that involves running around the trees. It is a business that is part of the estimated $25 billion revenue driven Indian entertainment industry. And this massive and largely popular enterprise, largely functions from the bustling city of Mumbai. A visit to the city will not leave you without a vivid experience of cinema. Entertainment and films have become a way of life here with tourist attractions including 'Amitabh Bacchan's House' and 'Sharukh's Mannat'. Chances are high that if you go for an early morning walk at the Juhu beach, you will run into various celebrities yourself!
2. The Land of Ganesha
Maharashtra adores the benevolent god known to remove obstacles and bless you with happiness and success. We are referring to Lord Ganesha, though he is much loved in all of the country, he is especially pampered in Maharashtra. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi can boggle your mind with its sheer scale and dedication! Popular temples such as the Shree Siddhivinayak in Mumbai and the Dagdusheth Halwai Temple in Pune are thronged by devotees and travellers everyday. Even special sweets such as the 'Modak' are made for Lord Ganesha.
As a traveller, you are sure to hear three names on the very mention of Maharashtra; and they are Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta Caves. These popular tourist destinations are definitely to be seen, but not because they feature as popular attractions! Rather because some of the oldest know wall murals and art exist within these caves. They are living examples of ancient culture, marvels that history has gifted us. The caves have Buddhist, Jain and Hindu influences, referring to a multi-religious society that traces its existence back to many thousand years ago. Ajant and Ellore are situated near Aurnagabad and Elephanta Caves situated on an island, one hour's ferry ride from Mumbai. Be prepared for sights that are larger than life!
Maharashtra is popular as a beach destination with its many towns and cities located close to the coast. The 720 km long coastline of Maharashtra means more beaches than we can mention here. But make sure to not miss some of these beaches; Bassein, Versoli, Ganapatiphule, Alibag, Chowpatty, Akshi, etc. If you are in Mumbai, you can also visit the Juhu Beach, that represents a cultural hotspot.
Festivals are celebrated with much pomp and show in the state of Maharashtra. Various festivals and we are not just referring to religious festivals but also others are celebrated with much grandeur. Ganesh Chaturthi is among the largest and grandest religious festivals to take place in the state and is followed with fervour across all its cities and towns. The other festivals that you should explore include; Banganga festival, a tribute to Lord Ram, Palkhi Festival celebrating the Maharashtrian culture and other festivals organised by the MTDC such as Elephanta and Ellora festivals.
Flipping the Pages of History
Maharashtra is popular for its many monuments, these stunning structures symbolise more than artistic talent, they are a treasured peek into the past. Right from the Gateway of India in Mumbai to the Aga Khan Place in Pune, the state has many historical monuments. There are also few places in Maharashtra, where you feel like you have stepped back in time such as its stunning forts. Maharashtra is the only state in India to have over 60 forts. They are all amazing to observe with a cover of green growing on the stoic stone walls after the monsoons.
There is no place like Maharashtra for monsoon travel. The dry and drab landscape dramatically transforms to luminescent green on the onset of rains, and this stunning sight continues into the winter after monsoons. Some of the popular trails for stunning road journeys are Pune-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-Kaas Plateau. Take to the stunning Ghats during the monsoon or post-monsoon season and the beauty will ruin you for all future travels.
Exciting Rail Journeys
If you are travelling to Maharashtra then one experience that should not allude you is the train journey from Mumbai or Pune to Goa. The train traverses some of the most green and lush landscapes that you will encounter in this part of the country. The intermittent streams, bridges, tunnels and waterfalls are sure to leave images of the journey etched in your memory for life. You can also explore IRTC's offering called the Deccan Odyssey, a royal experience aboard the train.
Mouth Watering Cuisine
No matter what we write, we cannot do justice to the sheer variety of foods that are available in the state. From the spicy snacks in Mumbai to the mutton gravy of Kolhapur and the orange barfi of Nagpur, Maharashtra indeed loves to pamper its visitors with food. Simple dishes that have received recognition across the world and you shouldn't miss are; pohe, misal pav, sabudhana kichidi, puran poli, shrikhand and the symbolic vada pav!
Art and Culture
Ranging from the Paithani sarees that is a traditional weaving process handed down over 2,000 years to the colourful Kolhapuri chappals, Maharashtra has plenty to offer in terms of shopping. In regard to cultural aspects, you can enjoy art such as Warli paintings that are specialised by the tribal people living in the Thane district. The state also boasts of interesting folk music and dances such as Lavani. The dressing of women in the traditional nine-yard saree called 'Navwadi' also adds to the colourful culture here.