5 Places to Visit in Maharashtra
Sprawling across 30,000 rugged kilometres of Western India, Maharashtra is the third largest state in the country. Naturally bound by it’s physical features, the region is one of the remarkable diversity with the 700 kms long narrow Konkan coast, the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats and the dry deciduous zones of the Vidarbha. It is a land of old fortresses, rock cut caves rich with murals and sculptures, of beautiful hill resorts and beaches and various animals and bird sanctuaries. It’s capital Mumbai (Bombay) makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major arrival point for overseas visitors.
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Mumbai a cluster of seven islands, derives its name from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the Koli fisher folk, its oldest inhabitants.
Once a Portuguese princess’ dowry and later an adornment of neo-gothic British architecture, Mumbai today, is more than just a metropolis. It is infact an enigma of mud huts &skyscrapers, age old tradition & high fashions, the industrialists’ haven & movie makers Hollywood. A lovely natural harbour and winding creek set off the city of Mumbai from the long, narrow coast of Western India.
Mumbai pulsates with activity. It is a city that is disciplined by no time frame-neither by day nor night. Mumbai is also the country’s financial powerhouse, the nation’s industrial heartland, and its economic nerve centre. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, night clubs, and discotheque, theatre and music gourmet restaurants and interesting sightseeing-Mumbai offers the visitor a heady mix of all this and more.
The tourist places to visit in Maharashtra is designed to help the tourist discover this amazing city & get the feel of its unique flavour. With a listing of hotels, eating places, bazaars, sightseeing, conducted tours & other important information to turn your journey into a memorable experience. Mumbai is among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
Tourist attractions to visit in Mumbai (Bombay) of tourist attractions are Afghan church, St. john’s church, chowpatty beach, gateway of india, Haji Ali, Haji Ali mosque, headquarter of western railway, high court, jain temple, kamla nehru park, mahatma jyotiba phule market, malabar hill. mani bhawan, mint, municipal corporation building, nehru plantarium, nehru science center, netaji subhash road, marine drive, pherozshah mehta garden, race course, rajabai tower, raudat tahera, taraporewala aquarium, town hall, victoria terminus, weavers service center, world diary, veermata jeejabai bhosle udyan.
Weekend getaways of tourists to visit from mumbai are Ajanta Ellora caves, Matheran, Ambernath, Elephanta Caves, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Ambernath, Kanheri caves, Karla Caves, Gorbunder, Karnala Bird Sanctuary and fort, Madh, marve, manori beaches.
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In 1819,a party of British officers out hunting the hills north of Aurangabad came across some caves. It was a spectacular setting; a horseshoe shaped cliff overlooking a steep tumbled in a series of cascades around the hills, were thick forests.
In the facade was awe-inspiring, exploration of the interiors of the caves, many of which clogged with debris was mind boggling. For the party had stumbled on a piece of art created over 2000 years ago and which as was determined later had fallen into disuse many centuries ago. That was the accidental discovery of Ajanta caves.
Ajanta caves,29 in all virtually, trace the evolution and development of Buddhism in India. Created out of Hard Rock with the barest of implements, the cave range between the 2nd century BC and 7th century AD.
With the conversion of emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC began the golden age of Buddhism. However around 2nd century AD Buddhism split into sects, Hinalaya, or the old system which had limited appeal and Mahanaya,a religion which was aimed at the masses. Ajanta Caves are among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
The caves at Ajanta cover both the systems. During the heydays the colony of caves was a living entity with monks and scholars, pupils and artists.
Though, in later centuries the caves and their inhabitant suffered persecution under Muslim ruler, much have survived of the original glory.
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Aurangabad is a convenient base for organising visits to the famous rock-cut temples of Ajanta an Ellora. The town is named after Aurangzeb, the last of the six great Kughal Emperors, who built a mausoleum here for her wife. The Bibi-ka-Maqbara is a pale imitation of theTaj Mahal at Agra, built by his father Shah Jahan, but nevertheless, this royal resting place has its own splendour and grace.
106 and 30 km respectively from Aurangabad, the remote sites of Ajanta and Ellora were so well chosen by religious communities for their seclusion that their rock-cut wonders remained forgotten until accidentally discovered in the 19th century. Minks and artists worked for hundreds of years, showing an amazing knowledge of rock formation, hammering out temples and halls and statues and covering he walls of Ajanta caves with intricate frescoes, all which still stagger the imagination. The thirty four rock-cut caves of Ellora and the thirty of Ajanta are among the wonders of ancient art. Spanning almost half a dozen centuries, they offer a rewarding insight into the great religious forces that have moulded India.Brahamanism, Jainism and Buddhism and later, the splitting of Buddhism into Hinayana and Mahayana system are all displayed in the painting and sculptures of the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Aurangabad is among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
Tourist attractions to visit near Aurangabad are Pitalkhora Caves, Aundha Nagnath, Parli Vaijnath, jyotirlinga, shirdi, Jayakwadi Project, Paithan, Grishneshwar temple, khuldabad, Daulabad fort, view point.
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About 30 km from Aurangabad is a sickle shaped hill, hewn into temples and monasteries. This is Ellora. Ellora’s shrines, chiseled called into perfection between the 4th and 9th century AD, are not exclusively Buddhist, but of the Hindu and Jain faiths as well. There are 34 of them, all sculpted out of the sloping side of a hill. The Buddhist shrines are relatively simple and austere. The Hindu temples carved between 6th and 9th centuries are marvellous elaborate. We see in these an attempt to surpass earlier Buddhist achievements in architecture and sculpture.
Recently, 28 new caves have been discovered by the archaeological Survey of India, a little above the previously known caves of Ellora. The new caves have been dated between the 9th century and 13th century AD. Ellora caves are among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
The new caves are in three cluster around pools of water formed by streams flowing into the Velurganga river. A local legend holds, that Lord Shiva created the river by striking the rock of the Ellora Caves with his trident to quench the thirst of Parvati. Though the new caves are not as significant as the earlier ones, the sculpture are of not same standard, the find is important as, it is believed there may be some more caves still left undiscovered. The new caves are still being restored.
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The name means “Jungle Head” or “Forest on top” and that is exactly what Matheran is. At 700 feet above sea level, 108 kms from Mumbai, Matheran is situated literally at the edge of the western ghats. With undulating hills cloaked in shady trees. it sprawls over an area of 8 square miles, comprising essentially of a central block and two smaller ridges of wings. Famous for its views, at various points the ground drops sheer to the plains far below, and if the day is clear, one can see not just the surrounding hills but also Neral, star adding the central railway line and in the far distance, Mumbai itself. Matheran is among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
APRIL 16,1853-INDIA”S VERY FIRST TRAIN STEAMS OFF
Hugh Mallet allegedly “discovered” Matheran in 1850 and its transformation into a popular hill station coincided with the introduction of the very first railway line on the Indian soil. The surveys of the first section of the historic line from Mumbai to Thane commensed in 1850 and three years later the first train steamed out. The Mumbai Times realized the importance of the event and critisized the Governor for not being present.”
SETTING UP THE LINE
Unlike the other hill railways, the credit for setting up the railway line to Matheran goes to an Indian. Abdul Hussain son of the business tycoon Sir Adamjee Pheerhoy of Mumbai was a regular visitor to matheran at the turn of the century, After having obtained reluctant consent from his father, young Abdul Hussain camped at Neral in 1900 to plan for the narrow gauge line. The construction of this line was authorised by the public Works Department. Abdul Hussain floated a company with the title of “Matheran Steam Light Tramway Company” with a share capital of Rs.10,00,000/- wholly owned by the Peerbhoy family. Work began soon after and the illustrated Weekly dated 11 th April reported that the work was progressing satisfactorily, “This is a prospect of it being opened in time for the hot weather traffic. The engineering difficulties have been surmounted, substantial work has been accomplished and Mr. Adamji Pirbahi, has the satisfaction that the cost is well within the estimate.” The line opened in March 1907. Mathran is among top tourist places to visit in Maharashtra.
WHAT THE TRAIN LOOKED LIKE IN 1906
“The passenger carriages, like the Darjeeling ones are tramcars in miniature, with two bunches well upholstered , each divided by arms into three seats. The bogie is roofed, but the front, back and sides are ordinarily open. Only two classes of passengers cars provided and in each train is capable of conveying a hundred passengers with their luggage. The saloon cames from the G.I.P. but all the other rolling stacks was built in Europe.” Illustrated Weekly, May 9th 1906.
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Area : 440 sq. km. sq. kms.
Altitude : sea-level
Temperature: Max Min
Summer 33.3C 22.7C
Winter 29.5C 19.4C
Rainfall : 212cms.annually(approx)
Clothes : Cotton
Mumbai is an international airport. Many international airlines operate flights to Mumbai from various part of world. Indian Airlines and many private airlines connect Mumbai with all major tourist centres in India.
Mumbai is the headquarters of the central and Western Railway. Regular trains connect it with all major cities like Almedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Calcutta, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Madras, Nagpur, and Trivandrum.
Mumbai is connected by good motorable roads with all major tourist centres.
Pune 163 km.
(via Panvel 51 km)
Nasik 184 km
(Via Bhiwandi 56 km)
Mahabaleshwar 239 km
(Via Mahad 179 km)
Shirdi 307 km
(Via Nasik 184 km)
Aurangabad 392 km
(Via) Pune 163 km, Ahmednagar 120 km)
Panji(Goa ) 597 km
(Via Mahad 179 km)
Hyderabad 711 km
(Via Sholapur 405 km)
Bangalore 998 km
(Via Pune 163 km,Satara 110 km, Hubli 411 km)
Chennai 1329 km
(Via Pune 163 km,Satara 110 km, Hubli 411 km)
Calcutta 2,236 km
(Via Dhule 339 km,Nagpur 623 km,Cuttack 843 km,Kharagpur 315 km)
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