Maharashtra in India is one such region where one can go again and again as it has so much to fulfill travel thirst. For first time traveler it’s a fascination and for repeat traveler it’s an obsession. It offers a diverse mix of ancient caves, temples, forts, rugged mountains, wild lives, beaches, heritage, food and an aspirational modern urban landscapes. Be it the dreamy firefly treks in the woods of Western Ghats or the lovely orange orchards of Nagpur or colorful rural life or heavenly monsoon destinations, or stupendously soothing beaches of Konkan, this state is Nature’s bounty.
The name Maharashtra is made up with two words Maha means ‘Grand’ and Rashtra means ‘Nation’ and true to its name, this western state is a grand nation bigger than many European countries and has ages old culture and tradition. With a long list of things to do, this state has to be in your must visit destination.
Maharashtra is my top travel destination
My association with Maharashtra goes back to 2004 when I stayed in Mumbai for 3 years. I still miss those late-night chai (Tea in english) vendors, dreamy night life, cultural festivals in south Mumbai, breezy beaches, hued marine drive & Pani Puries (Golgappa) at street vendors with red cloths. I have spent quite many evenings at Marine Drive and Worli Seaface and I even, sometimes, feel the writer in me was born somewhere in Mumbai overlooking the tides of Arabian Sea while soaking in the windy drizzles and breezy oceanic smell. The city gave me the reasons to discover myself and thus seek myself.
Post 2008, my job again gave me ample opportunities to travel across the breadth and length of state exploring rural life and meeting local people. I have been to interior villages, have sipped ghastly sweetened tea at farmers door step, worked in the sugar farms, enjoyed authentic native food and the while capturing the rural landscape. My job-related sojourns preside my blogging days and then I had no camera to capture or no diary to take notes. During those rural escapades, I also explored cities like Nashik, Pune, Kolhapur, Sangli, Aurangabad, Nanded and Nagpur. Though, Mumbai is the epicenter of Maharashtra, however, the real Maharashtra is beyond Mumbai for me and I find locals so filled with pride of their culture and tradition, heritage and history.
Inspiring facts on Maharashtra to make you travel ready
Officially formed on May 1, 1960, Maharashtra has Mumbai as its Capital and Marathi as the State language. One of the wealthiest states in India, Maharashtra’s gets a perfect blend of traditional culture and contemporary living. The best of both worlds perfectly preserved and cherished in every corner makes this state a must-visit. Every single thing about this state is peculiar – from the food, to dance, language, culture, market and yes, Bollywood. With several UNESCO world heritage attractions spread across the state, Maharashtra has a touch of British architecture and the expensive and modern Antilia in its kitty.
I strongly believe that Maharashtra must be a part of your vacation plan and that one decision to get away from mundane & day to day life will refresh your senses. Packing your bags and taking a tour of a different city is altogether a therapy for both mind and heart. When it is about experiencing a whole new culture and living, reasons to travel to Maharashtra would leave no room for any other destination. This state knows the balance and holds the true spirit of Incredible India.
So here, I list 12 unique facts and reasons to explore this mesmerizing state called Maharashtra. Start from all these travel facts that will instantly make you want to be there. Lets explore what the state has to offer in terms of feast, fun and feels, lets have a quick ride into the culture that awaits to embrace you in its arm.
Sula Wines, Nasik – Home to India’s only vineyard with a guided tour
India’s Napa Valley, Nashik is home to Sula’s estate vineyards which offers India’s only wine testing tour. A winery, Sula Vineyards, has established itself as first love for wine enthusiasts and is a perfect weekend getaway as you can feast on some of the Sula charms including Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel in India right in the middle of grape vineyards. Currently, Sula has two wineries at Dindori and Nashik in Maharashtra.
Kaas Plateau – Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flower
Maharashtra has its own Valley of Flower 25Km from Satara in Sahyadri Sub Cluster of Western Ghat. As it is a part of Western Ghat, it is also classified as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2012 and since then it has become a prominent tourist destination. The best time to visit Kaas Plateau is post monsoon season to witness flowers bloom with the best of their colors carpeting entire plateau. A stroll in this valley gives you a feeling of tranquility and you come back filled with refreshing fragrance of nature.
Lonar Crater Lake – A unique bowl of bio-diversity
A notified National Geo-heritage Monument, Lonar Lake is a saltwater lake located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra. Incredibly old at 50,000 years, the Lonar crater is the biggest and best preserved hypervelocity impact crater formed in basalt rock and is the only of its kind on earth. A landlocked water body, a saltwater lake has a concentration of salts. What makes it unique is its ecology that is vastly different from the surrounding flat landscape making it an exceptional ‘bowl of biodiversity.’
Shani Shingnapur – A strange town with doorless houses
The strangest of all, houses in Shani Shingnapur have no doors. This village in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is 3 km away from Admednagar-Aurangabad Road. Famed for its temple dedicated to Shani, the planet Saturn the village is devoted to its beliefs. People have their beliefs that whoever steals anything from the houses will witness the consequences as the wrath of God Shani Maharaj and will lose the eyesight. Shani is considered a very powerful lord in Hindu texts and being the most revered place of Shani, people visits Shani Shignapur from all across India.
Festival of Ganesha – A unique festivity from the streets of Maharashtra
This is the most spirited and colorful festival of Maharashtra celebrated at every nook and corner. 10 day long festival was first celebrated at mass level during the reign of by Maratha rulers and reinstated by Bal Gangadhar Tikal with an aim to unite native people. Clay idols of Ganesha of varied sizes are crafted by skilled artisans months in advance and thousands of devotees take them home to worship and they are also installed at market places and housing societies.
It is customary to immerse these idols in a waterbody once the festivities are over with a prayer requesting the god to visit his devotees again the following year. From idol making to immersion, every part of this festival calls for grand celebration making this festivity unique to Maharashtra.
Food of Maharashtra – Rich, spicy and different
Food culture of Maharashtra is heavily influenced by not one but many other cultures; Gujarati brought with them their sweet and sour flavor; Zoroastrians infused some Persian cuisine; western ghat added some authentic spices which are native to this state; proximity of southern state had different kind of influence and then it had Konkan Culture, Central Indian Culture. All in all, Maharashtra now has a rich culture which is spicy, exotic and different.
Chatai Pav Bhaji, Puran Poli, Misal pav, Ussal Pav, Vada Pav, Sabudana Khichdi, Sabudana Vada, Thalipeeth are some of the top of mind delicacies that will definitely drag you to every possible joint at every given hour of the day. I would further recommend you to pack some of those spicy Kolhapuri flavours to extend your best days from this state. Don’t forget to dip into the Shrikhand bowl and do try some Kokam preparations.
Bollywood in Mumbai – Jewel of Maharashtra
Mumbai is a maximum city that never sleeps yet known as the city of dreams. It is home to the dream called Bollywood, the hub for all the Hindi Cinema celebrities is world’s largest film industry in terms of film production. This industry is where India’s Glam game begins. All you Bollywood buffs can especially plan a tour for this specific industry with gorgeous sets from your favorite movies and homes to some of your style icons. If luck favors you, you may even incidentally bump into some of your favorite stars specially in sub-urban area of Bandra.
Maharashtra – Heavenly Monsoon Destination
During monsoon months of June, July and August, Western pat of Maharashtra takes a different avatar which can very well rival Himalayan region and north western region of India for its verdant beauty and misty landscapes. I visited this heaven even before seeing the Himalayan ranges while traveling from Mumbai to Pune in August 2004 and when my bus passed through the fleeting clouds, I was actually on cloud nine.
For monsoon lovers, Maharashtra is the heaven on earth. Visit places like Lonawala, Panchgani, Amboli, Malshej Ghat, Chikaldhara, Mahabaleshwar and numerous other fort locations to have soulful of rains and enjoy unforgettable beauty of deep forest dotted with umpteen waterfalls. Maharashtra with its varied topography and hilly Western Ghats, offers perfect trekking opportunities through scenic vistas. Adventurous souls can opt for Matheran trek , Rahmachi trek Tikona Trek, Kalsubai Trek etc and indulge in absolute adventure.
Rural Maharashtra – Important aspect to explore
Being an agrarian state, it has a thriving rural life where people are mostly involved in farming and related services. The multicultural trend within India can be best seen in Maharashtra where people of all communities lives together in harmony. This region produces Cotton, sugarcane, soybean, onion, tomato, pulses, grapes and spices to name few. People in rural Maharashtra live an easy and simple life.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites of Maharashtra
When it comes to UNESCO world heritage sites, Maharashtra actually has the best mix of sites from ancient caves to Gothic buildings to natural sites. Maharashtra currently has four UNESCO World Heritage sites with the Ajanta-Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, the Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, the Western Ghats and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.
Konkan Region – Mesmerizing Coastal Maharashtra
Coastal region of Konkan, a rugged section of the western coastline of India, boasts of a 720 kilometres long coastline. This coastal region is home to some of the less known beautiful beaches and landscapes such as Ratnagiri, Mandawi Beach, Bhatye Beach and Beach etc. The best way to explore this part of Maharashtra is to take a road trip which will take you through best curvy roads and a long stretch will be along coast as well.
This coastline comes with a whole different community, The Konkani people. They are an ethno-linguistic community who inhabit the Konkan Coast of south western India and you could get into talking to them in Konkani language.
Dharavi in Mumbai – Biggest slum area of Asia
This huge slum area of Dharavi next to worlds one of the biggest stock exchange makes Mumbai a city of contradiction. Asia’s largest slum Area Dharavi is home to 1.2 million inhabitant in a space of 3 sq KM. A guided walk tour is highly recommended to understand this world of Dharavi which will blow all your senses as every moment will be unexpected. This slum area also offers immense opportunity for socially evolved souls to work in the area of women empowerment, girl education and vocational training etc.
This list could go on and on, as Maharashtra as one of the largest states and numerous districts in India has something fresh, thrilling and different to offer in every corner you discover. This state accommodates each one with open heart and has something to satisfy each traveling heart. So, if you are planning to soak in its rich history, beautiful nature or modern landscapes, you will not be disappointed. You definitely will come back again for its numerous shades, colorful hues and varied nuances that will invigorate your traveling mind and fill your hart with endless thrills from this unexpected land called Maharashtra.
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