Maharashtra is located along the western coast of India. The state boasts of thickly forested hills and valleys that are home to diverse flora and fauna, ancient caves, and a rich cultural heritage. Maharashtra is also known as the hub of the Indian entertainment industry or Bollywood as it is commonly called.
The state is a major tourist destination in India. According to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, 5,078,514 foreign and 119,191,539 domestic tourists visited Maharashtra in 2017. This tourist-friendly state offers a wide range of accommodation options including heritage hotels, luxury resorts, budget properties, and homestays.
Maharashtra Tourism Information
|Area||307,713 square kilometer|
|Main Cities||Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur, Thane, Aurangabad, Solapur, Jalgaon, Amravati, and Nanded|
|Official Tourism Website||https://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/|
|Major Railheads||CSTM, Mumbai Central, Andheri, Bandra Terminus, Nagpur, Pune Junction, Thane, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Kalyan|
|Airport||Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai), Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Nagpur), Pune International Airport, Aurangabad Airport, Nanded Airport, Kolhapur Airport, Solapur Airport|
History of Maharashtra
Archeological evidence indicates that this region was inhabited as early as the Chalcolithic period. The area was ruled by many dynasties including the Mauryas, Chalukyas, and Cholas before the Marathas from whom the state got its name. After the third Anglo-Maratha War, control over the region was passed into the hands of the British. While portions of Maharashtra fell into Bombay and Central Presidencies, some areas of Marathwada became a part of Hyderabad Deccan.
After independence, the Deccan states were brought together to form the Bombay State in 1950. In 1956, following the States Reorganisation Act, parts of Marathwada from the Hyderabad State and the Vidarbha region were integrated into the Bombay State while the southern part of this area went to Mysore State. Four years later, in 1960, the Bombay State was divided along linguistic lines to form Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Geography and Climate
Maharashtra is located along the south-west coast of India. It has a long coastline on the west and shares its borders with 6 states and 1 Union territory. Maharashtra is bounded by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in the north, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the northwest, Telangana and Chhattisgarh in the east and Goa and Karnataka in the south. The major geographical features in the state are the Western Ghats, the Deccan Plateau, and the Konkan Coastline. A number of rivers flow through the state including the Krishna, Bhima, Tapti, and Godavari.
The state has a tropical monsoon climate with dry summers, heavy rainfall, and pleasant winters. It is better to avoid visiting Maharashtra during monsoon. The best time to visit the state is between October and February.
Places to Visit in Maharashtra
- Beaches: Juhu, Marve, Chowpatty, Harnai, Murud, Velas, Ganapatipule, Shrivardhan, Dahanu Bordi, Diveagar, Guhagar, Velneshwar, Harihareshwar, Vengurla, Kihim, Tarkarli, Shiroda
- Temples: Siddhivinayak Temple, Ranjangaon Ganpati Temple, Vajreshwari Yogini Devi Mandir, Akkalkot Swami Samarth Maharaj Temple, Shree Aundha Nagnath Jyotirling Temple, Parali Vaijnath Temple, Lenyadri Ganpati Temple, Bhimashankar Temple, Ramtek Temple, Shirdi Temple, Birla Mandir
- Caves: Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Karla Caves, Elephanta Caves, Bhaja Caves, Bedse Caves, Kuda Caves, Pitalkhora Caves, Aurangabad Caves, Pandavleni Caves, Caves Of Mumbai
- Forts: Sinhagad Fort, Rajgad Fort, Tung Fort, Ghangad Fort, Pratapgad Fort, Shivneri Fort, Malhargad (Sonori) Fort, Korigad Fort, Purandar Fort, Lohagad Fort, Tikona (Vitandgad) Fort, Panhala Fort, Sindhudurg Fort, Raigad Fort, Daulatabad Fort, Suvarnadurg Fort, Fort Bassein, Murud-Janjira Fort, Vijaydurg Fort
- Hill Stations: Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Matheran, Mhaismal, Bhimashankar, Lonavala Khandala, Tamhini Ghat, Wai, Gaganbawda, Malshej Ghat, Amboli Hill Station, Bhandardara, Toranmal, Chikhaldara, Malshej Ghat
- Wildlife Sanctuaries: Tadoba Andhari National Park, Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Bhimashankar Wildlife, Radhanagari, Sagareshwar Wildlife, Nagzira Wild Life, Navegaon National Park, Melghat Tiger Reserve, Chikhaldara, Kaas, Rehekuri Blackbuck, Tipeshwar Wildlife
- Museums: Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Gargoti Museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Tribal Museum, The Coin Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mani Bhavan, National Maritime Museum, Museum of Arthropoda
- Lakes: Lonavala Khandala, Ghodazari Lake, Talao Pali Lake, Upvan Lake, Rankala Lake, Venna lake
- Waterfalls: Malshej Falls, Amboli Waterfall, Nangartas Falls, Pandavkada Waterfall, Randha Falls, Chinaman’s Falls, Dhobi Waterfall, Dabdaba Falls, Thoseghar Waterfalls, Sahastrakund Waterfalls, Vihigaon Waterfall, Lingamala Falls, Tamhini Falls, Umbrella Falls, Zenith Falls, Vajraj Waterfalls Bhambavali, Paabal Waterfalls
- Others: Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Essel World, Nashik Vineyards, Nanded Gurudwara, Gateway of India, Imagica Theme Park, Taraporewala Aquarium
Cuisine of Maharashtra
Maharashtrian cuisine includes both mild and very spicy dishes. Some of the popular regional cuisines include Kolhapuri, Malwani, and Varhadhi. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian items are equally popular here. Some of the iconic dishes Maharashtra is known for include Vada Pav, Puran Poli, Misal Pav, Pav Bhaji, Bombil, Aamti, Poha, Pithla Bhakri, Kolambi Bhaat, Pani Puri, Bhelpuri, and Modak. Solkadi and coconut water are popular thirst quenchers.
Shopping in Maharashtra
- Kolhapuri Chappals
- Embroidered wall hangings
- Leather goods
- Vintage Bollywood posters
- Mashroo & Himroo fabrics
- Warli art
- Paithani sarees
- Narayan Peth sarees
- Pithora painting
- Sisal grass handicrafts
- Silver filigree
- Ganjifa cards
Things to Do in Maharashtra
- Take a stroll on Marine Drive in Mumbai
- Try paragliding in Kamshet
- Visit the caves of Ajanta and Ellora
- Sample street food on Juhu Beach
- Try spotting a tiger at Tadoba Andhari National Park
- Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting at Kolad
- Explore the underwater world while snorkeling and scuba diving at Tarkarli
How to Reach Maharashtra
By Air: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, the second busiest airport in India, is the major airport serving Maharashtra. In addition to this, the state also has 3 international and 4 domestic airports. Direct flights operating from these airports connect the state to major Indian cities such as Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore as well as international destinations in the USA, Europe, Australia, UAE and other parts of the world.
By Rail: An extensive rail network run by the Central and Western Railway connects almost the entire Maharashtra to other parts of India. The Deccan Odyssey is a luxury train service for tourists in Maharashtra. Many premium and superfast trains like Duronto Express, Rajdhani Express, and the Jhelum Express connect the state with the rest of the country.
By Road: Maharashtra is well connected to cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Goa, and Bangalore through its vast road network. A number of National Highways pass through the state and the most important amongst them are NH 48, 66, and 52. Tourists can hire a taxi or book a seat on AC or non-AC buses run by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) or private operators to commute in and around the state.