is the third largest state in India and the fourth most visited state in the country by domestic tourists. From enigmatic caves, majestic forts, white sandy beaches to charming hill stations, abundant wildlife and revered holy places, you name it, this state has it all.
But above all, it is Bollywood
that gives it an edge over all the states in the country. Many international and domestic tourists descend to this state just to visit the entertainment capital of the country. A wonderful destination for those who love traveling, the state of Maharashtra has a mesmerizing aura that is hard to ignore.
Famous Cities in the State You Will Love to TravelMumbai
The city that never sleeps, Mumbai is the epicenter of modernization and liberalization in the country. It is the capital city of state of Maharashtra and also the entertainment capital of the country. With a fast paced life, the city offers everything, from lip-smacking street food to delicious fine dining delicacies, from bargain shopping to exclusive boutiques
and high-end brands. Moreover, the city is also known for its vibrant cultural life.
But above all, Mumbai is known for its film industry, locally known as Bollywood. The city also caters to romantics and adventurous through its nightclubs, sporting activities, beaches, theaters and pubs. Nashik
Home to many holy temples and religious sites, the town of Nashik is a bustling city with a perfect blend of modernization and the ancient. Moreover, one can also find numerous forts, majestic temples and industries including the famous The Security Printing Press
of the Government that prints the country’s’ currency notes.
Nashik is also known for its widespread production of fruits and vegetables. In fact, Nashik has the highest yield of strawberries, grapes and onions in the country. It is also home to Sula Vineyards, which is the vanguard of the Indian wine revolution. Pune
Also known as Oxford of the East, Queen of the Deccan and the cultural capital of the state, Pune is marked by magnificent forts and land as a testimony to its glorious history.
Known for its education, crafts, theater and arts, Pune is home to the oldest university of India, plus a number of other colleges that attract both Indian and foreign students from all over the world. It is now slowly becoming a cosmopolitan city with an important commercial center.Aurangabad
One of the most popular tourists destinations in the state, Aurangabad is known for its World Heritage Sites – Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Named after the Mughal Emperor – Aurangzeb, the city offers all modern amenities and comforts to the tourists. Sunheri Mahal Museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum, University Museum and Bani Begum Gardens are some of the popular tourist spots in the city. Nagpur
Popularly known as the Orange City
, Nagpur is the second largest city in the state. It is also the second greenest city in the country. An infinite metropolis, Nagpur is the primary transport hub of India
, with all the major highways intersecting over here.
Surrounded by lush green gardens, wide roads, religious sites, vibrant cultural life
in the form of exhibitions, folk programs and tribal dances, Nagpur is a must visit city in the state of Maharashtra. It is also known for its energetic festivals including Ganesh Utsav, Kalidas Mahotsav and Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din, which are celebrated with a lot of passion and zest over here.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Maharashtra
The state is known for its diverse range of tourist attractions including mysterious caves, holy temples, majestic forts, beautiful wineries, breathtaking mountain ranges and of course, pristine beaches. Then, there is Bollywood, the main source of entertainment in India. Here are some attractions that one must see while visiting the state:
Caves of Maharashtra
Built over a few centuries, the caves in the state of Maharashtra are known for their extraordinary charm and appeal. Situated in the dangerous Sahayadri Mountain Ranges, these caves, especially Ajanta and Ellora have been to home to monks belonging to different religions.
Visited by thousands of tourists, both domestic and foreign, every year, these caves have always had a charm that attracts the visitors. Be it the mesmerizing sculptures at Ellora Caves or the beautiful paintings in the Ajanta Caves or the celestial presence in the Elephanta Caves
, a visit to any one of them can never be forgotten.
Some popular caves in the state of Maharashtra include Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves and Pitalkhora Caves.
Forts of Maharashtra
There are around 350 forts in the state of Maharashtra
and each fort in the state represents the bravery and glory of the soldiers who took their last breath on Earth over here. Standing as silent guards, these forts have not only witnessed the changing times but have also hidden inside them the grandeur history of the state.
Every fort in Maharashtra has a temple inside the premises, which was considered a powerful inspiration to the soldiers stationed there. About 500 kilometers from the capital city of Mumbai are the popular twin forts – Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg forts, the best sea forts constructed by Shivaji.
Another popular fort in the state is the Shivner Fort, situated about 120 kilometers from Pune. This is the place where Shivaji was born. One must definitely visit the Pratapgad Fort, as this is the place where the sweltering battle between Afzal Khan and Shivaji was fought. Moreover, one should also not miss the beautiful architecture of Lohagad and Visapur Forts, Murud - Janjira Fort, Arnala Fort, Ajinkyatara Fort and Harishchandragad Fort in the state.
Other popular forts in Maharashtra include Chakan Fort, Gavilgad Fort, Daulatabad Fort, Kandhar Fort, Mumbai Fort, Narnala Fort, Panhala Fort, Purandhar Fort and Raigad Fort.
Beaches in Maharashtra
With a coastline of almost 530 kilometers on the Konkan Coast along the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra beaches start from Dahanu and Bordi in the North till Goa in the South. From crowded and posh beaches like Marine Drive
and Juhu Beach
to serene and peaceful Harnai and Bassein Beaches, Maharashtra beaches are known for their pollution-free and clean environment. There are also beaches for adventure lovers like Velneshwar and Shriwardhan – Harihareshwar, which are also known for its exciting water sports.
While some beaches in the state are known for their hustle-bustle, there are some that are known for their rich history. However, all of them are famous for their great location, delicious seafood, water activities, cool waters, soft sands and a clean environment.
Take a trip down the memory lane on Vijaydurg – Sindhudurg and Dahanu – Bordi beaches, by discovering the remains of ruined forts and even the presence of Portuguese culture on some beaches.
Some popular beaches in Maharashtra include Bassein, Ganapatipule, Harnai, Juhu Beach, Mandwa Kihim, Madh Island Beach
, Marine Drive, Marve Manori Gorai
, Dahanu Bordi, Murud Janjira, Tarkali, Shriwardhan, Velneshwar, Vengurla Malvan and Vijaydurg Sindhudurg.
Hill Stations in Maharashtra
If you look at the geography of Maharashtra, you will see that nestled quietly in the majestic Western Ghats are the small but clean and peaceful hill stations of the state. These towns, some about 6600 Feet high, offer a refreshing change from the hustle-bustle of city life. These hill stations of Maharashtra are probably the only place in India where one can clearly look at the merger between land and sea. Most of these towns are easily accessible from the capital city – Mumbai; otherwise these hill stations can also be easily reached via rail, road or air from any part of the state.
Some popular hill stations in Maharashtra include Mahabaleshwar, Matheran, Bhandardara, Chikhaldara, Malshej Ghat, Panchgani, Jawhar, Amboli, Panhala, Khandala, Lonavala, Karla, Toranamal and Vajrai.
Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in Maharashtra
With an abundant wildlife, Maharashtra is home to several species of flora and fauna including crocodile, gawa, tiger, wild deer, sambars, neelgai and many rare migratory birds. To develop and protect these areas, the government of Maharashtra has taken many steps to preserve the wildlife by building wildlife sanctuaries and promoting these regions as tourist attractions.
Many modern facilities such as night safaris, jeep rides, audio-visual amenities, an exhaustive library, efficient transportation and comfortable accommodation have been set up at these sanctuaries for the comfort of tourists. Most of the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the state have beautiful lakes and waterfalls inside the premises.
While Tadoba National Park, Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park, Bharmragarh Wild Life Sanctuary, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary
and Chikhaldara Wildlife Sanctuary are the important and most popular wildlife sanctuaries in the state, many tourists also visit Chaprala Sanctuary, Dajipur, Nagzira, Navegaon Park, Tipeshwer and Pench National Park
. Do not miss the exciting Pench Jungle Camp, a special accommodation facility at Pench National Park.
Museums in Maharashtra
There are about 36 famous museums in the state of Maharashtra, each unique in their own way with different kinds of antique items and art showcased.
A look at the Tribal Museum in Pune would give the visitors an insight into the unique and colorful life of the tribes in Maharashtra. The famous Coin Museum in Nashik is known for its wide variety of coins starting from the ancient period to the modern times.
The Prince of Wales Museum
in the capital city of Mumbai has a huge display of artifacts from the Indian history along with numerous priceless miniature paintings and Tibetan and Nepali artworks. The art and craft displayed in these museums are almost five thousand years old.
Moreover, there are certain museums in the state that are based on the replicas of craniates, insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and fishes from the Indian subcontinent. Some museums in Maharashtra are known for their perfect demonstration of antique pieces from the pre-historic period and various sculptures from Mathura, Gandhara and Gupta era.
Some important and popular museums in Maharashtra include Coin Museum (Nashik), Jehangir Art Gallery
(Mumbai), Mahatma Gandhi Museum (Mumbai), National Maritime Museum (Mumbai), Prince of Wales Museum (Mumbai), Raja Dinkar Museum (Pune), Chhatrapati Museum (Kohlapur), Shri Bhavani Museum (Aundh), Taraporewala Aquarium (Mumbai), Tribal Museum (Pune) and Veermata Museum (Mumbai).
Wineries in Nashik
Nashik has long been known for its holy places and religious sites, however, since the past few years, wine tourism has become the new buzzword in this upcoming urban center. In just a few short years, around 50 vineyards have open up in Nashik and many of them even have tasting rooms for the wine lovers. Here are some popular vineyards in Nashik:
One of the most popular wineries in the country, Sula Vineyards has come a long way since 1997 and has developed into a top-class winery in India. Located in Gangapur Dam, west of Nashik, there are many tours that take tourists over here. Alternatively, one can also hire a car or a cab to reach here. Know more...
Do not forget to attend the Sulafest
, the biggest wine and music festival in India, held every year between February and March. One day wine appreciation courses are also held every Thursday over here. York Winery
Opened in 2006, York Winery is another very popular winery in Nashik, located very close to Sula Vineyards. This family owned winery produces more of fruity and dry wines rather than sweet ones. This upcoming winery has been winning many awards and also has a very beautiful tasting room decorated in earthy tones. Chateau d'Ori
The second largest vineyard in Maharashtra, after Sula Vineyards, Chateau d'Ori is situated at the foothills of Nhera-Ori Hills in the Dindori District. Even though it is a little difficult to reach this place, however, much effort is being put to convert this 400 acre of vineyard into a popular tourist destination including three artificial lakes, luxurious accommodation and a tasting room. Its 2007 Cabernet Merlot was voted as one of the best wines in the country.
Religious Places in Maharashtra
Maharashtra is home to numerous popular and revered holy places and religious sites, which are visited by both locals and tourists regularly. Here are some popular religious places in the state that are visited frequently by people from all walks of faith:
Located about 122 kilometers from Nashik, Shirdi is the home of Maharashtra’s one of the most revered saint – Sai Baba of Shirdi. Also known as “Child of God”, Sai Baba preached equality between all religions and universal brotherhood. Thousands of devotees for all over the world descend to this small town to visit the abode of Sai Baba.
Devotees start queuing up early in the morning to reach the main temple. Special pujas and darshans of the Sai Baba idol are held on every Thursday. Besides the main temple of Shirdi Sai Baba, other important religious sites in Shirdi include Gurusthan, Shani Mandir, Kandoba Temple, Changdev Maharaj Samadhi, Narsimha Temple and Sakori Ashram.
Know more about what to visit in Shirdi hereAshtavinayaka
Literally meaning “Eight Ganesha’s”, Ashtavinayaka pilgrimage
covers the eight temples of Lord Ganesha, which are situated about 20 to 110 kilometers from each other, in and around Pune. Each temple has its own fascinating legend attached to it, which are as distinct from each other as the idols (murtis) kept inside each temple.
The form of each Ganesha statue and his trunk is different in each of the eight temples. According to the legend, the yatra of Ashtavinayaka is considered complete only when the devotee visits the first Ganpati again after visiting all the other temples.
The eight temples of Ashtavinayaka are Moreshwar Temple (Morgaon, Pune), Siddhivinayak Temple (Siddhatek, Ahmednagar District), Ballaleshwar Temple (Pali, Raigad District), Varadavinayak Temple (Mahad, Raigad District), Chintamani Temple (Theur, Pune District), Girijatmaj Temple (Lenyadri, Pune District), Vighnahar Temple (Ozar, Pune District) and Mahaganapati Temple (Ranjangaon, Pune District). Ghrishneshwar Temple
Located just half a kilometer from the famous Ellora Caves, Ghrishneshwar Temple preserves one of the twelve Jyotirlingas
that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. With a beautiful richly sculptured exterior walls, the temple was built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. Mahalaxmi Kolhapur
With a beautifully carved temple building in Kohlapur, Mahalaxmi Kolhapur attracts thousands of devotees from all over the country every year. Moreover, many members of the royal family often come here to seek the blessings of Goddess Amba Bai or Mahalaxmi. The temple premises also houses the shrines of other deities including Kartikaswami, Kashi Vishweshwar, Siddhivinayak, Sheshashayi, Shree Dutta, Mahaswaraswati, Shree Ram and Mahakali.Vithoba Temple
Located in Pandharpur in Solapur District of Maharashtra, Vithoba Temple is considered as one of the holiest places in the state among locals. Believed to be ‘The Supreme God of the Universe”
for Maharashtrians, the temple is also known as Vitthal, Pandhari or Pandurang.
The temple, spread over a huge area, has six gates in totality. The eastern entrance to the temple is known as the Namdev Gate. Inside the temple, the main sanctum houses the idol of Vithoba, who is believed to be the mortal form of Lord Krishna or Lord Vishnu and his companion Rakhumai. According to the legend, it is believed that a holy dip in River Chandrabhaga can wash away all the sins of a person.
Besides the above, other important religious sites in Maharashtra include Tuljabhavani Temple (Tuljapur), Gajanan Maharaj Temple (Shegaon), Haji Ali Dargah
(Mumbai), Mount Mary Church (Mumbai), Parvati Temples (Pune), Pataleshwar (Pune), Chaturshringi Temple
(Pune), Osho Ashram (Pune) and Hazur Sahib Nanded (Nanded).
Nightlife in Maharashtra
With Mumbai as the capital of the state, there is no doubt that the nightlife in Maharashtra will be brilliant. One can find an array of pubs and discotheques in the state that cater to all types of preferences.
All the pubs and bars in the state play the latest sounds, where people can come and just unwind or dance till the wee hours of the morning. True to its tagline, Mumbai – The City That Never Sleeps
, is home to some of the best clubs, pubs and discotheques in the state. Many clubs in Mumbai apply the dress code rule, however it does pay off to dress up in Mumbai, after all you might brush shoulders with top Bollywood players.
Some clubs in Mumbai have couples-only policy and many even charge an entrance fee. For tourists who just want to relax, mostly all the hotels in the city have a bar or a pub, where guests can relax with a few cocktails. Some popular clubs in Mumbai include Tryst, Blue Frog, China House, Trilogy, AER, Prive and Hype. To know more about the nightlife of Mumbai, please click here
Pune is another city in Maharashtra, which is known for its vibrant and energetic nightlife. Even though there are numerous pubs, clubs and discotheques in the city, each of them is crowded with people who just want to unwind after a long day of work, especially during weekends. With amazing foot-tapping music, lip-smacking food, glittering dance floors and delicious cocktails, most of the pubs in Pune are crowded till the wee hours of the morning. Do not forget to miss the special nights such as Ladies Night, DJ Nights and many more.
Some popular nightclubs in Pune include Area 51, Wagaya, SOY Le Royce, The Ship Grill and Bar, Asia Blue, Aqua Lounge and 1000 Oak Bars. For a full list of pubs, clubs and discotheques in Pune, click here
Nagpur in Maharashtra is also known for its upcoming nightlife. Some clubs in the city that one can visit while their stay in Nagpur include 10 Downing Street, Moksh, King’s Lounge and Sheesha Pub. To know more about the nightlife in Nagpur, click here
Accommodation Options in Maharashtra
Maharashtra, being the third largest state in the country, offers a wide range of accommodation options of every budget and preference to its visitors. The state has a range of cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad that attract a number of tourists from all over the world throughout the year.
All the five star hotels in the state provide world-class amenities such as good location, spas, room service, multi-cuisine restaurants, conference rooms, convention halls, swimming pools, Wi-Fi and much more. Moreover, the courteous and well-spoken staff ensures that all the needs of the guests are timely satisfied. Most of the luxury hotels in the state can be found at urban centers and popular tourist spots like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
Hotel Hilton Towers, Hotel Leela, The Taj President and The Oberoi Group of Hotels in Mumbai are some of renowned five star hotels in the city. If you are in Pune, you can try Hotel Le Meridian, Hotel Maurya, Hyatt Regency, Four Points By Sheraton, The Corinthians Resort and Club and Hotel Taj Blue Diamond. In Nagpur, Hotel Chanakya, Radisson Blu Hotel, Hotel Centre Point and The Pride Hotel are some of the popular luxurious properties in the city.
The less-expensive options in the state like boutique hotels offer all the modern facilities to its business travelers and tourists. The cheapest form of accommodation like guesthouses, lodges, hostels, bed and breakfasts offer basic facilities like a bed and a bathroom.
Hotel Traveller's Inn, Sea Shore Hotel, Bentley Hotel Churchgate, Hotel Lawrence, YWCA International Guest House and ISKCON Hare Krishna Guest House, are some budget hotels in Mumbai. While, Hotel Alankar, Hotel Cozy Inn and Ginger Pune are some popular reasonably priced guesthouses in Pune. Popular budget hotels and guesthouses in Nagpur include Hotel Blue Moon, Hotel Gomti, Hotel Pritam, Hotel Grand, Midland Hotel and Hotel Jagsons.
Best Time To Visit Maharashtra
Due to a tropical climate in Maharashtra, tourists can visit the state throughout the year, except during monsoons. Even the hill stations in Maharashtra are not that cold during winters.
Summers can be hot in the state as the temperature varies between 22 degree Celsius and 39 degree Celsius during summers. April, March and May are the hottest months in Maharashtra, although some cities in the state might even experience thunderstorms during this time.
Monsoon season begins from the first week of June and it continuously rains till the month of September. July is the wettest month in the state, while the month of August also receives a heavy downpour. Maharashtra does not receive standardized rainfall throughout the state; it varies from area to area. In the districts of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, around 200 centimeters of rainfall is received every year. In Nashik, Jalgaon, Solapur, Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, parts of Kolhapur and Dhule, less than 50 centimeters of rainfall is received.
Winters are not that cold in Maharashtra. It starts from the month of November till the month of February with clear skies and cool breeze blowing throughout the season. The temperature varies between 12o
Celsius and 34o
Celsius during winters in the state.
The best time to visit Maharashtra is between the months of September and April, especially the coastal regions. Avoid going to coastal areas like Mumbai during the monsoons as it rains like devil between the months of June and September. The time between the month of September and the month of June is perfect for those who want to visit the hill stations in the state.
How to reach Maharashtra
Situated in the western part of the country, the location of Maharashtra is such that it is easily accessible by all four modes of transport – air, road, rail and sea. Therefore, getting to the state is not difficult for anyone. Below mentioned are the ways one can reach this beautiful state:
The best way to reach Maharashtra is via airways. The state is home to three international airports including Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
(Mumbai), Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport
(Nagpur) and Lohegaon Airport
(Pune). Out of which, the one in Mumbai is the busiest and also the largest. Almost 37 international airlines operate from this airport on various domestic and international routes including Asia, Middle East, Europe and New York. The airport houses excellent facilities for the travelers so that they can enjoy their trip in the country.
Within the state, big cities like Aurangabad, Nagpur, Pune and Nashik have domestic airports that cater to both domestic airlines and private commercial companies. Once you have landed, buses and taxis are easily available from each airport to the city. By Rail
Mumbai is the main city for railway transport in the state. It is the headquarters for both Central and Western Railway sectors of the Indian Railways. A huge network of railway lines connects the city to all the other regions and villages of Maharashtra and also the rest of the country. Once you reach Mumbai, you can go to almost any part of the country from here.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
in Mumbai is one of the busiest and the most important train stations in Maharashtra. One can easily reach the station by either hiring a cab or taking the city bus. Besides that, there are also many railway stations in other parts of the state including Nashik, Pune, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Amravati and so on.By Road
There are many National Highways and State Highways running across the state, which makes it easier for any traveler to reach Maharashtra by road. National Highway 17 and 6 are the most important highways in the state as it connects Maharashtra with the rest of the country.
All the highways, both nationals and state, are very well maintained by the state government with good roads, service stations and motels on each highway. The traffic on these highways is usually very heavy but highly disciplined. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) is the governing body for the transportation in the state and has many buses that provide comfortable inter-state and intra-state connectivity. Moreover, many car rental companies also provide chauffeur driven or self driven vehicles for rent to the tourists. By Sea
Since many cities in the state of Maharashtra
are located on the banks of Arabian Sea, one can also reach the state easily via ships. Mumbai is the only city in the state that has an international port
along with a few minor ports as well.
Some Quick Facts on Maharashtra
Area: 3,07,713 sq. km
Coastline: 720 km
Population (2011): 112,372,972
Climate: 39°C (summers) and 12°C (winters)
Spoken Languages: Marathi
Clothing Required: Light cottons in summers and heavy woolens in winters
Major Festivals: Ellora Ajanta Music Festival, Nag Panchami, Makar Sankranti, Gudhi Padwa, Mahavir Jayanti, Narli Purnima, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and Gokul Ashtami
Tourist Attractions: Mumbai, Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Khandala, Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Shirdi etc.
Border States: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa
Languages Spoken: Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Hindi
Highest Location: Kalsubai
Highest Point: 5,400 feet
State Animal: Indian Giant Squirrel
State Bird: Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
State Flower: Jarul
State Tree: Mango