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Maharashtra is one of India's largest and least explored states,
with few travellers venturing into its cave temples or remote forts.
Maharashtra has a little of everything, a perfect mixture of India,
both ancient and modern.
It is a large, populous and economically important state. From
Mumbai most travellers head south to the beaches of Goa, southeast
to Pune and its famous ashram or northeast to the World Heritage
listed cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora.
The Western Ghats run parallel with the coast; the rest of the
state stands on the high Deccan plateau, stretching some 800 km
east.Maharashtra with Mumbai as capital was formed in 1960 when
the Maratha and Gujrati speaking areas were again separated. It
has strong links with Gandhi and India's Independence
How to get here
Bombay is well linked to major cities of India
Rail & Bus
Well connected by to all major cities and towns of India
Places to visit
Elephanta Island - Ratnagiri - Mumbai - Pune
- Ajanta Caves - Ellora Cave
.: Elephanta Island
10 km northeast of Mumbai, lies the Elephanta Island, known
for its great cave shrine excavated in the 6th century. The island
was named by the Portuguese, after the majestic carved elephant
on the island. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the
hill where the cave temple of Elephanta stands. The temple houses
large pillars that seem to hold the ceiling which is made of cross
beams. The sculptures display the changing moods of Lord Shiva,
and reflect the immense faith of the unknown architects. In the
month of February, the island hosts the Elephanta Festival.
Maharashtra means "The Great State"
The Tilak Smarak, believed to have been the home of the great freedom
fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, is the landmark here. The
Patit Pawan Mandir was the first temple built for non-Brahmins by
another great freedom fighter, Swatantryaveer Savarkar. Ratnagiri
also has the Bhatye Beach, the Coconut Research Centre, Ratnadurg
Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (sea-port) and the seafood processing centre
at Mirya. The Thebaw Palace, built for the king and the queen of
Burma in 1910-11, is also worth a visit.
Mumbai,formerly known as Bombay, derives its name from the local
deity Mumba Devi, whose temple is still there. The Portuguese predecessors
of the British preferred to think of the name as Bom Baim, the Good
Bay. Bombay was once a cluster of seven islands called Heptanasia
by Plotemy in AD 150. Mumbai is home to people of all Indian creeds
.: Pune (Poona)
The most important landmark of Pune is the residence of the self-proclaimed
guru, Bhagwan Rajneesh, also known as Osho. The ashram in Pune still
attracts thousands of devotees, sightseers, curious onlookers and
lots of controversy. The Shanwarawada Palace with its pleasant gardens
and huge outer walls is also a must visit in Pune.
The Raja Kelkar Museum withmajor exhibits like the 17th century
miniatures of musical instruments, antique potter, and unusually,
betel-nut cutters and brass padlocks. The Gandhi National memorial,
in the Aga Khan palace is also an important landmark. The 8th century
rock-cut temple, the Ptaleshwar Temple on a hill a little outside
town is one of the most popular temples, dedicated to goddess Parvati.
.: Ajanta Caves
It was only in the 19th century, that the Ajanta group of caves,
lying deep within the Sahyadri hills, cut into the curved mountain
side, above the Waghora river, were discovered. A group of British
officers on a tiger hunt, stumbled on these ancient works of art.
They depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200
BC to 650 AD. The 29 caves were built as secluded retreats of the
Buddhist monks, who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas
and Viharas, the ancient seats of learning, and nerve - centres
of the Buddhist cultural movement.
.: Ellora Caves
The Ellora caves,there are 34 of them carved into the sides of a
basaltic hill, 30 kms from Aurangabad. The finest specimens of cave
- temple architecture, they house elaborate facades and exquisitely
adorned interiors. These structures representing the three faiths
of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, were carved during the 350 AD
to 700 AD period.
The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated
to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain.