Maharashtra, India’s third-largest state, has an expansive canvas of iconic places and legendary sights. As we celebrate the birth of the state with Maharashtra Day, here’s a list of places you should not miss when in the land of palm-fringed beaches, endless mountains and bustling cities!
-By Aishwarya Menon
From the solitude of scenic beaches to ancient art in caves, hidden cultural gems, fantastic flavours and timeless tales of tradition, Maharashtra has everything to turn you from a traveller to an explorer. Take a look!
For The Beach Lovers
#1 Bassein Beach
Perfect for those who love exploring, this charming place is barely known. Located just 77kms away from Mumbai, Bassein Beach is very similar to India’s sultry state of Goa, with a similar Portuguese heritage. When at Bassein, set out to explore the ruins of the Portuguese forts and visit the dense and lush green forests nearby, or just simply sit back and gorge on delicious Portuguese food.
Want to do something more? Venture 10kms further and visit the Buddhist relics, hot springs, temples, ashrams and more! With a round-up of interesting experiences, this unique place deserves to be explored.
For The Adventurers
#2 Lohagad Fort
One of the best and most popular places near the hill station of Lonavala, Lohagad Fort gracefully perches itself atop a hillock at an altitude 1,033m above sea level. Set along the majestic Sahyadri range, the fort’s strategic location helped guard it against enemies making it a military marvel.
An ideal destination for trekkers of all ages, Lohagad is accessible, easy and lush green. Depending on which route you take, you could come upon Buddhist caves, a small temple, the intricate gates of the fort, all kinds of birds and plants, and even small waterfalls during the monsoon. However, the highlight of the Lohagad trek is the ‘Vinchu Kata’ fortification, which resembles a scorpion’s tail. With so much to see, it’s time you plan that trek now!
For The Water Babies
#3 Randha Waterfalls
One of the best waterfalls in Maharashtra and India, the spectacular Randha Falls is formed by the River Pravara as it plunges 170ft into the deep gorge. Nestled in the lush greens of Bhandardara, this is a popular spot for those looking to escape the chaos of city life.
The falls have the power to amaze, especially during the monsoons. Plan your trip during the rainy months and you could even catch a glimpse of the beautiful Umbrella Falls, the brimming Bhandardara Lake and the gushing Randha Falls. Reconnect with yourself, refresh your spirit and splash around in the lap of nature at one of Maharashtra’s best known sites.
For The Spirituals:
#4 Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga
Mentioned in Shiva Puranas, and believed to be the last or 12th Jyotirlinga on Earth, Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is a beautiful temple in Aurangabad. Located near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora Caves, the smallest of the jyotirlingas is carved from red rock.
The temple draws devotees from all over the world, especially during Mahashivratri. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is famous for intricate Dashavatras of Vishnu carvings, the many legendary tales, the holy water spring inside the temple, and more. This is a must visit for every explorer looking to cover Maharashtra.
For Art & History Lovers
#5 Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Considered one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves boast of magnificent paintings and well-carved sculptures.
Turn back time with a visit to these ancient art galleries, with walls adorned with rock paintings, sculptures and frescos. Often referred to as the finest example of Indian art and tolerance, these caves hold a curious combination of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu monuments. A visit to these caves is sure to inspire your spiritual side as you discover the rich heritage of India.
Encounter beauty, charm and adventure in the land of mystery; India. It is here, where deep-rooted traditions of hospitality and generosity come alive. Experience a milieu of experiences that are sure to leave even the most discerning travellers sated, yet hungry for more!
Interested in exploring Maharashtra?