Maharashtra Tour | Maharashtra Tour Packages | Maharashtra Hotels

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Maharashtra - Quick Facts

Area: 307,713 sq. km.
State Capital: Mumbai
Population: 112,372,972
Season: Sep to April
Average Temp: 25-270C
Annual rainfall: 2318mm
Climate: Tropical Monsoon
Best Time To Visit: Oct-Feb
Language: Marathi, Hindi, English, Gujarat

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Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, both in terms of population and area. Its booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors. The name Maharashtra first appeared in a 7th century inscription and in a Chinese traveler’s account. Its name may have originated from 'rathi', meaning 'chariot driver', referring to builders and drivers of chariots, who were known as 'maharathis', or 'fighting force'.

The physical character of Maharashtra is predominantly that of a plateau. The Western Ghats flank the western coast of the state. The Satpura range covers the northern part of the state, while the Ajanta and Satmala ranges run through the central part. Maharashtra is contiguous to the Arabian Sea on the western side, while Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are its neighbours on the northern side. The eastern part of Maharashtra has its boundary with Madhya Pradesh, and on its southern side are the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The third - largest state of India, both in area and population, Maharashtra was formed in 1960, when the Marathi and Gujarati linguistic areas of the former Bombay state were separated. Bombay (Mumbai) city became the capital of the new state.

The first famous rulers of Maharashtra were the Satavahanas (230 BC to 225 AD), who were, actually, the creators of Maharashtra, and have left behind a plethora of literary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological evidence. Then came the Vakatakas who established a pan - Indian empire Under them, Maharashtra witnessed an all - round development in the fields of learning, arts and religion. After the Vakatakas and a brief interlude of the Kalachuri dynasty, the most important rulers were the Chalukyas. Many other rulers followed the Chalukyas, but it was much later under Shivaji, that Maharashtra evolved as a cohesive entity.Descendants of a warrior tribe, the people of Maharashtra are very honest, hard working and hospitable. Filled with a zest for living and always on the move, their regard for women is legendary. Maharashtra, predominantly a Hindu society, with Ganesha as the principal deity, is also home to a host of other religious groups, including the enterprising Parsi community. Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati are widely spoken in this state.

The Maharashtrian love for art and culture is evident from their avid interest in theatre and dramatics. Their approach to music and dance is rather lusty. Mahashivaratri, Gokulashtami, Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi are the main festivals of this fun - loving state. Maharashtra boasts of a rich treasure trove of handicrafts and textiles. Maharashtrian sarees with their distinctive weave, colour and attractive 'pallus', priceless antiques, leather goods like shoes and handbags, jewellery and the very ethnic Kolhapuri sandals, are just some of the attractions the state has to offer.

No matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it in the state of Maharashtra: whether it is lazing along the 720 kms long coastline; or a peaceful retreat in the mysterious mountains; or quiet worship at some famous shrines; or revelation in cave architecture, art and culture; or daunting treks; or close and thrilling encounters with the impressive wildlife population. The important tourist centres in the state include Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Kanheri, and Karla caves; Mahabaleshwar, Matheran, Panchgani, Jawhar, Malshejghat, Amboli, Chikaldhara and Panhala hill resorts, and religious places like Pandharpur, Nasik, Shirdi, Nanded, Aundhanagnanth, Trimbakeshwar, Tuljapur, Ganapatipule, Bhimashankar, Harihareshwar and Shegaon - each complete in itself, and yet essential to the fascinating whole, that is Maharashtra.

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By Air
The domestic airport at santacruz which lies about 26 km from Nariman Point is served by leading international airlines. Sahara International Airport (30 kms) has Air India and all the other international flights operating to Bombay land here.

By Rail
Bombay is the headquarters of the central and western railways. Regular train services connect VT & Bombay central stations to different parts of India.

By Road
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation's buses supply on over 19,000 routes in the state, covering 1.2 million km, The Corporation has nearly 15,500 buses. In addition to the government services, cities have private and non-private taxis, auto-rickshaws, and intra-city buses, which run efficiently.
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Gateway of India
The ceremonial arch was built in 1927 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Constructed in honey-coloured basalt the gateway was designed by George Wittet, inspired by 16th century Gujarat Style. Historically the Gateway holds greater significance as the last of the British troops left Independent India by sea marched through its portals.

Flora Fountain
The beautifully sculptured fountain was erected in the memory of the Governor, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere as a tribute for his contribution towards the building of Bombay.

Marine Drive
This sweeping Queens Necklace, Flickering with a thousand light turns into the main thoroughfare linking Malabar Hill and the northern parts of the island to the southernmost points of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point and Fort.
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Chow patty
Situated at the northern end of Marine Drive it isd a stretch of sandy beach and attracts hordes of people during the weekends and on holidays. People enjoy the evening sea breeze and the children to play. A food- mart of stalls has become a permanent feature and offers a range of eatables from the local speciality snacks.

Juhu
Situded 30 km from the city it is a crowded beach with residential apartments and bungalows surrounding it. It seems as if the entire population of the area descends on the beach for a breath of fresh air. The central part has food stalls again similar to Chow patty. And a lot more in terms of fun-rides for children.


Ajanta Caves
Ajanta caves are at a distance of 99 km from Maharashtra's Aurangabad district. It is believed that Ajanta caves started carving from 2nd century BC and ended at 6th century AD. The entire course of the evolution of Buddhist architecture can be traced in Ajanta. Images interpreting the life stories of Buddha and animal figures were carved out from the huge rocks.

Ellora Caves
Ellora caves are in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. Ellora showcases the experiments that had carried out by Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monks some 600 to 300 years back. It is believed that the structures were carved between 350 AD to 700 AD. There are 34 temples in total carved out of stone at Ellora caves, which can be divided into three eras - Buddhist, Hindu and Jain

Elephanta Caves
9 km by sea from Gateway of India. From Gateway Of India regular ferry service are available. A ferry ride across the harbor takes you to Gharapuri the local name for Elephanta. Almost at its centre the island rises into two conical hillocks. The island stone elephant was found when they landed there in the 16th century. These eight century rock-cut caves were hewn out of the hills and sculpted intricately. Three avenues made from four rows of massive columns cut into the main rock lead to the 18-ft high imposing structure of Maheshmurti- depicting Shiva as the creator, destroyer & Preserver. It has been often erroneously called the Trimurti.

Kanheri Caves
These are 2nd century Buddhist hill caves at Kanheri. Though there is no representation of the Buddha himself, symbolic representations of his religion are found. The caves lie about 40km from the heart of the city.

Excursions

Matheran

Situated at an altitude of 800 mts, this picturesque hill station is the nearest to MUMBAI lying 104 km away. Getting there is half the fun!. There are plenty of sites to visit- Lake Charlotee, Honeymoon Hill, Panthers Cave, Hart point and much more. It could be visited at any time of the year including the monsoons which have their own charm.
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The growth of crafts in society is a sign of the cultivation of sensitivity and the stirring and mellowing of humanism. It stands for man's endeavour to bring grace and elegance into an otherwise harsh and drab human existence. Actually, man's elevation from gross animal existence is marked by his yearning for something beyond the satisfaction of mere needs and creature comforts. It is the yearning that found natural expression in crafts.

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Crafts do not grow in isolation. They are basically in the service of the society. Society's culture can be measured from the arts and crafts it lived with. Arts and crafts find unhindered patronage and wide appreciation in a society that has been elevated to great cultural heights. Such society establishes values and norms that give the guidelines of life to all its members, rich and poor. Artists and craftsmen in such society exist as an integral part of it and crave to achieve excellence and reach to perfection in their work.

From the law-books, the Niti-Shastra, from the writings of Manu and Kautilya, we learn the responsibility of the state and the public to protect and patronize the artists and craftsmen. The system of taxation makes it compulsory for society to foster and support the artist and craftsmen Matsya Purana mentions that every home should have a door frame in carved wood as a sign of welcome to visitors.

This tradition of carved wooden frames and carved wooden balconies supported by brackets of animals, birds, and human forms is a part of architectural design of homes, palaces and temples as well as other community places built all over India.
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It is well known that Maharashtrians consider their food as 'Anna he poornabrahma' meaning they consider 'anna', or food, equal to 'Brahma', or the creator of the universe. Food is God, to be worshipped. Apart from this, the people of this state also believe in offering their food first to the lord as a thanksgiving for all that He has given. Especially, on festive occasions, some specific mithais (sweets) are offered such as Ukadiche Modak (Ganesh Chaturthi) and Satyanarayan Puja Sheera. Even inside the state itself, one can find distinguishing flavours and food styles that make eating an interesting activity altogether. Maharashtrian cuisine is divided into two, Konkani, and Varadi. Though quite different, both use a lot of seafood and coconut. Grated coconuts spice many kinds of dishes, but coconut oil is not very widely used as a cooking medium. Peanuts and cashew nuts are widely used in vegetables and peanut oil is the main cooking medium. Another feature is the use of kokum, a deep purple berry that has a pleasing sweet and sour taste. Kokum, most commonly used in an appetizer-digestive called the sol kadhi, is served chilled.

Among seafood, the most popular fish is bombil or the Bombay duck, which is normally served batter fried and crisp. All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are eaten with boiled rice or with bhakris, which are soft rotis made of rice flour. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.


Maharashtra is the canter of many religious and cultural traditions. In Maharashtrian villages, life revolves around fairs and festivals. Each festival comes with its own colors and Cuisine. People do up their houses and surroundings and there is an air of celebration. The festival time is surely a must visit Time in India, while the most hugely visible festival maybe the Ganesh Chaturthi, due to the large processions and the colourful images of Lord Ganesha, there are many festivals celebrated with as much enthusiasm and spirit.

Each festival signals the passing of old and beginning of new, and this in most cases is signifies by the victory of good over evil. Each festival has significance and its mark is always felt in the daily lives of the people in India, especially in rural India.
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Shopping in Maharashtra offers diverse varieties. As Maharashtra is a vast state, every region and every district has its own specialty. Mumbai offers wide ranges of shopping to visitors. There are marketplaces, which can be suited to every type of pockets. Chor Bazaar, Mutton Street and Zaveri Bazar are some of the important areas, where shoppers enjoy with delight.

The shopping arcades of five-star hotels like Oberoi and Taj Mahal offer a good variety of up-market shops. In central and suburban Mumbai, the Dadar, Bandra-Linking Road, and Juhu Road areas are good spots for shopping. Colaba and Flora Fountain (Hutatama Chowk) has full of shopping items like ethnic artifacts and departmental stores. State emporiums at the World Trade Centre, at Cuffe Parade are a perfect for buying souvenir, a rare artifact or textiles. The prices at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium (Apollo Bunder) and Khadi Village Industries Emporium (D.N.Road) are fixed. But the quality is genuine.

When we talk of shopping in Aurangabad, himroo shawls, mashroo and kimkhab weaves click on one's mind. We can't also forget the well-known fine paithani silk sarees. The silver inlay craft of Bidri ware too is world famous. Shopping in Pune too is like that of Mumbai. Jewellery, Maharashtrian traditional wares, pearl nose ring, necklace and the nine-yard sarees are readily available at Tulsi Baug. Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar or Deccan Gymkhana is another place for good shopping, while Mahatma Gandhi Road is a place with big stores.


Amravati | Aurangabad | Kolhapur | Mumbai | Nagpur | Nanded | Nasik | Pune.
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