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Maharashtra is regarded as a popular traveler’s destination in India because it offers a perfect blend of city tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism and religious tourism. Literally, the term Maharashtra refers to the “Great Nation” or “Great State”. The nickname is quite apt because of its huge size and immense variety of culture and religion. The state is one of the most coveted visitor destinations in the country and provides nearly all that an avid traveler looks for. Starting from wildlife reserves, unspoiled beaches, natural caves, hill stations, impressive citadels, waterfalls, prehistoric sacred sites, vibrant carnivals and fests, historic memorials to museums, Maharashtra attracts countless visitors round the year. The most visited tourist attractions in Maharashtra are as follows:
Mumbai is the capital and a top tourist destination in the state of Maharashtra. Previously, the city was known as Bombay and the name originated from the name of Mumba Devi, a deity who is locally revered in the area. Mumbai at present is a cosmopolitan city and the commercial capital of India. The city is famous for its energetic nightlife, scenic beaches, imposing mansions, and Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. Visit Chowpatty Beach, the Gateway of India, Flora Fountain, Afghan Church, Kamala Nehru Park, Haji Ali’s Tomb, Marine Drive, Mahalakshmi, Crawford Market, Race Course, Hanging Garden, Nehru Planetarium, and Prince of Wales Museum. You can also visit the Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves, Gorai Beach, Marve, Madh and Manori Beaches, Powai Lake and Sanjay Gandhi National Park in and around Mumbai.
Pune is regarded as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Situated in the Sahyadri Mountains close to the western shorelines of India, Pune is a wonderful place for travelers. The weather is conducive for good health and it served as one of the crucial foundations of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the famous Maratha monarch of the 17th century. The birthplace of Shivaji is the Shivneri citadel in Poona. The city of Pune is famous for its religious sites, academic institutes, and picturesque gardens. The most noted tourist attractions in and around Pune are Saras Baug, Shaniwar Wada, Raja Kelkar Museum, Parvati Hill, Bund Garden, Shinde’s Chhatri, and Kasturba Smarak (within Agha Khan Palace).
The city of Aurangabad was set up by Malik Ambar who served as the premier under Murtaza Nizam Shah the second. Established in the year 1610, it also became the capital of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb in 1653 and the name of the place was changed from Fatehpur to Aurangabad. The prehistoric caves of Pithalkora and Ajanta were unearthed in the 2nd century BC, at the time of the reign of the Satvahana Kings. The distance from Mumbai is around 400 km and there is an airport as well. People come here to see the Ajanta and Ellora Caves for watching exotic cave paintings and rock-cut caves. Visit places like Khuldabad, Daulatabad Fort, Paithan, State Archeological Museum, Nehru Udyan, Bibi ka Maqbara, Siddharth Udyan, Panchakki, Grishneshwar Temple, Pithalkora Caves, Aundha Nagnath, and Shirdi.
The number of caves in Ellora is 34 and you will find them at a distance of 30 km from Aurangabad. They were formed by cutting rocks of a basaltic hill. These caves feature the most exquisite instances of cave-temple architecture, and they are also famous for their delicately designed interiors and detailed frontages. The caves symbolize a blend of three religions; Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. There are 17 caves that are devoted to Hinduism, 12 to Buddhism, and five to Jainism.
The Ajanta cluster of caves was discovered in the 19th century. It is situated inside the Sahyadri Mountains, on its rocky side, over the Waghora River. There are 29 caves in all which were used as solitary places of retirement for the Buddhist monks. They carried out their teachings and customs in the Viharas and Chaityas, which acted as the hubs of the Buddhist enlightening campaign. You will be amazed to see the outstanding wall decorations in this place.
Mahabaleshwar is closely located to both Pune and Mumbai. It is the most famous hill station in the entire state. With an elevation of 1,372 meters, Mahabaleshwar offers many attractions to the avid traveler including viewpoints, picturesque waterfalls, scenic landscapes, and a lake with angling and yachting facilities. You can visit Babington Point, Elphinstone Point, Kate’s Point and Bombay Point. Also see waterfalls including Dhobi Falls and Chinaman’s Falls. Don’t forget to visit the Panchganga Temple and Venna Lake.
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