Maharashtra is the third largest state in India and has tremendous wealth in the form of tourist places. Numerous caves, attractive hill stations, virgin beaches, revered holy places and wildlife in plenty - you name it and the state of Maharashtra has it. However, it is the Bollywood film industry in state capital Mumbai that gives Maharashtra an edge over other states of India. Maharashtra is a complete tourist destination in itself and a delight for those fond of travelling.
Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra. The city is known to give shape to dreams of many because of its plentiful resources. This is the reason it is often termed as the 'Dream city of India'. Mumbai is also regarded as the financial capital of India. The places worth your visit while in the city are Gateway of India, Hanging Gardens, Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Ali Shrine, Marine Drive and beaches of Juhu and Chowpatty. The city of Mumbai is also the 'headquarter' of Bollywood. A drive at the newly opened Bandra-Worli sea link at night is bound to leave you with long lasting memories.
Only 10 km off the Mumbai Coast, a host of caves are located in an island amid the Arabian Sea. The caves, dating back to 450-to-750 AD display fine sculptures depicting the glory of Lord Shiva. Regular motorboats from the boat jetty at the Gateway of India would take you to the islands. The caves have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city of Aurangabad is particularly famous for the heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. The mural paintings in Ajanta and the sculptures in Ellora along with their picturesque location would cast a spellbinding effect on you. The city owes its name to Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, who made it a viceregal capital to rule over Deccan. Here, the emperor built Bibi-ka-Maqbara as a tribute to his mother. It is an imitation of the famous Taj Mahal. Pan Chaaki and the Darwazaas are examples of exceptionally skilled architecture of the bygone days.
Ganapatipule is a small village in Maharashtra which has a long stretch of beautiful beaches. Sun kissed beaches and lush greenery seem to be in an eternal love affair in the chaste lands of Ganapatipule. There are also some water sports facilities here. A Ganpati (Lord Ganesha) temple is also located at the beach.
Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala and Khandala
Most of us have witnessed the breath-taking beauty of the hill stations of Maharashtra at least on television, if not in reality. Thanks to Bollywood and Aamir Khan, Khandala has been immortalized through a popular song in the conscience of every Indian. Mahabaleshwar is known as much for a temple as it is for being a popular honeymoon spot. The clean air, calm surroundings, placid lake and cascading waterfalls offer a retreat in striking contrast with the bustling cities.
Surrounded by five hills, Panchgani is a heaven on earth. The place has absolute beauty and picturesque surroundings.
Pench National Park
Sprawling over an area of 257 sq km in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hill ranges, Pench National Park offers a splendid opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife in the spectacular natural setting. Pench is also home to tigers, panthers, chital sambhar, barking deer, nilgai, black buck, gaur, wild boar, chausingha, sloth bears, langurs, monkeys, mouse deer, hyenas and flying squirrels, to name a few.
Shirdi is a town located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Devotees from across the world visit the Shirdi Sai temple, built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba. Besides this temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Kandoba Temple, Sakori Ashram and Changdev Maharaj Samadhi can be visited when one travels to Shirdi.
Well-known as the "Queen of the Deccan" and "Oxford of the East", Pune is one city in Maharashtra worth visiting for its rich historic past as well as dazzling modern charm. The green hills and beautiful lakes of Pune mesmerize visitors.
The Konkan coast comprises beautiful beaches which are in close proximity to Mumbai. The best time to visit the Konkan coast is between January and February. Tourists can enjoy camel rides, water sports, and horse cart rides during the peak season.
Nashik is a place of contrasts. While being at the city, you will be able to witness two types of culture, that of an old city as well as a winery region of the country. Starting from temples to caves and even wineries, there are number of things you can come across in Nashik.
Maharashtra is surrounded by Gujarat in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the northeast, Chhattisgarh in the east and Karnataka in the south. If you have time, do not miss a chance to visit either or all of these places.
The state of Gujarat has several temples and forts which serve as an important source of attraction for the tourists. These include Palitana Temples, Akshardham Temple and Sun Temple among many others. The Gir Forest in Gujarat is renowned for its wide variety of protected animals. Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple in Andhra Pradesh is the most visited temple in the world by pilgrims. The Jog Falls, Bannerghatta and Bandipur National Parks and Hoysala temples make for important places of tourist interest in the state of Karnataka.