Clinching the Indian Western Coast, Maharashtra is a dream destination of numerous holidaymakers visiting India. From the dream city of Mumbai to tranquil hill-station of Mahabaleshwar, from historic tales of Aurangabad to spirituality oozing Nashik, the diverse facades of Maharashtra often baffle human soul.
A vibrant mix of various cultures and traditions form the state of Maharashtra. The locals here, known as Maharashtrians, come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. A number of tribes, including Bhils, Mahadeo, Kolis, Gonds and Warlis, are also settled here, adding to the vibrancy of the state. From handloom weavers busy creating complex patterns in silks and cottons to leather artists crafting ubiquitous ‘kohlapuri’ slippers, Maharashtra has many crafts to lure travellers. Though Marathi is the official language of the state, one can find people speaking Hindi and English too.
The state is blessed with some great art forms, dances, and music, which can be experienced during the festivals. Lavani is the most popular dance form of Maharashtra, performed by the locals as well as professional dancers.
If you wish to explore a destination where you can untangle your tired nerves then Maharashtra is a charmer. The state boasts some great scenic locations where you can spend some time close to the Mother Nature without being disturbed by the hectic city life. Visit Panchgani, a pristine hill station with an overwhelming view or head for Malshej Ghat, offering a bag full of flora and fauna. Explore Kamshet to fly high by indulging in paragliding or unveil Dapoli to capture awe-inspiring sunsets at the beaches. Diveagar also remains on the list of honeymooners planning holidays to Maharashtra due to its far stretched coastline, good enough to relish a stroll, hand in hand.
Visit Maharashtra and pamper yourself with the best adventure experiences. Thanks to this state’s varied terrains, a huge coastline and flourishing forest reserves, it has become a popular choice among adventure lovers. Bhandardara, Pratapgarh and several forts in the Sahyadri Ranges are popular destinations for trekking. Those who wish to participate in Paragliding can find numerous options in Pune and Mumbai.
Due to the far stretched coastline, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation or MTDC along with several other private entities bring to you great water sports. In addition, the Sport of Sailing is also quite popular in Maharashtra.
Explore the wild side of Maharashtra by visiting the Melghat Tiger Reserve. It is perhaps the best place to spot tigers living in their natural habitat. Bharmragarh Sanctuary is known for housing leopard, jungle fowl, wild boar and sloth bear, living peacefully in the moist deciduous mix forests. Wildlife lovers also love spending some time at the Bhimashankar Wild Life Sanctuary, one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots of the world. The Radhanagari Sanctuary is yet another getaway that fills the travellers with immense thrill of sighting wild while strolling through dense forest areas. Apart from this, one can also visit the famous Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a perfect home to 274 species of birds and 42 kinds of mammals
Maharashtra is truly a land where numerous cultures blend together. Of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, Maharashtra is home to five situated at Aundhya Nagnath, Parali Vaijnath, Bhimashankar, Trimbakeswar and Grishneshwar.
The extremely popular Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai is worshipped by every local here. The idol of Shree Siddhivinayak, exhibited in the temple, was carved out of a single black stone, and travellers from all across the world visit here to take the blessing of the almighty. Akkalkot is another popular sight where pilgrims can be seen heading for the shrine complex of Shri Swami Samarth. The shrine complex is renowned with the name of Vatavruksh Mandir and acts as a popular spiritual destination among locals. Many travellers also head for the Shri Mahalaxmi Temple of Kolhapur, one of the Shakti Peethas in India.
Apart from these, Haji Ali Dargah is another must visit spiritual destination in Maharashtra, visited by Hindus and Muslims alike. The dargah has been adorned with multihued mirror work and features ninety-nine names of Allah written on the pillars.
Maharashtra is a sheer paradise for shopping lovers. Street markets of Mumbai such as Chor Bazaar, Mutton Street and Zaveri Bazar are perfect to bag every item at knock down prices. Do not forget to use your bargain skills in these markets to crack the best deals. Those looking for up-market shops can visit the shopping arcades of five-star hotels like Oberoi and Taj Mahal. State emporiums at the World Trade Centre are also ideal for buying various souvenirs. Those visiting Aurangabad can buy himroo shawls, mashroo and kimkhab weaves. Shopping in Kolhapur promises cotton textiles, including the famous Kolhapuri saris. The state is also known for its leather sandals and Kolhapuri chappals. Apart from this, shopping in Nashik brings to you brass statues and beaded necklaces, available almost in every local market here.
The local dishes of Maharashtra are known for being lip smacking and delicious. The locals here are crazy for Maharashtrian cuisine, oozing strong aromas of spices. Rice is the staple food of Maharashtra. Quintessentially from Pune, Misal Pav (cooked sprouted lentils with raw chopped onions and tomato) is a popular snack. Pitla Bhakri is a rural food of Maharashtra and is often cooked in the local houses.
A holiday to Maharashtra can never be fulfilled without tasting the delectable Vada Pav (deep fried potato based patty sandwiched between a square of bread). Other than this, for the lovers of non vegetarian food, Maharashtrian dishes made out of mutton, chicken, fish and other seafood are highly popular. Do not forget to treat your taste buds with Puran Poli and Shrikhand, two popular sweet dishes in the Maharashtrian cuisine.
The locals of the state are known for their fervour towards festivals and fairs. Among the popular festivities, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most prominent one. The festival is celebrated to bring the idol of Lord Ganesha home. The locals then worship it for ten days and immerse it into water at the end of the festival. Elephanta Festival, celebrated in February, is another popular event that showcases the rich culture of Maharashtra.
Ellora Festival is also a grand event that brings out a plethora of talents in music and dance. Many world famous artists partake in this festival to showcase their talent. Travellers must not miss a chance to participate in the Pune Festival when the city of Pune remains immersed in vibrant cultures and traditions of Maharashtra.
The best time to visit Maharashtra is from September to April when the state remains happy with a blissful weather. The months between June and September must be avoided due to heavy rainfall experienced by the state.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is one major international airport in Maharashtra. The airports of Nagpur and Pune also operate a few international flights apart from domestic one.
The largest railway station of Maharashtra is known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, located in Mumbai. The station is well connected to all the parts of the country. Apart from this, travellers can also take train facility from other cities like Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, AMravati, etc.
Those travelling by road can visit Maharashtra with great ease as there are a number of National Highways and State Highways crisscrossing the state. Also, as many cities in the state enjoy coastline, international travellers can plan a sea tour to the state and land at the international naval port at Mumbai.
Maharashtra has well maintained state and national highways which link all the cities and towns. One may find numerous state roadways buses and private operators offering pleasant travel experiences. Car rentals are also available in abundance. For short distances, auto rickshaws are the perfect picks.
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