10 Reasons to Visit Maharashtra, India


The cultural energy of Mumbai (Bombay). Originally a Portuguese colony in the 17th century, Mumbai (Bombay) has evolved into the commercial capital of India. This cosmopolitan metropolis is home to over 17 million people who speak over 12 languages and practice virtually every religion in the nation. Mumbai’s busy and high-paced streets lead visitors to world-class cultural institutions, fabulous shopping, spectacular dining and an incredible nightlife, pulsing with energy.

The historic UNESCO sites. The State of Maharashtra is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the majestic Ellora and Ajanta Caves. Composed of 34 monasteries and temples dating from A.D. 600, the Ellora Caves host sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, which illustrate the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India. The Ajanta Caves, 27 breathtaking rock-cut caves, are famous for their vivid frescoes that depict the life of the Lord Buddha and date back to the 2nd Century B.C.

The luxury. An excellent way to visit all of the major sites of Maharashtra is to board the elegant Deccan Odyssey train for a tour of the region. A joint venture between the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railways, the Deccan Odyssey train is a private, 96-passenger first-class hotel, featuring private elegantly appointed suites and bathrooms, two restaurants offering exceptional cuisine, a gym, and a spa. The train’s world-class staff ensures that every guest is treated like royalty, and make sure that the guided tours of Maharashtra’s many towns are flawless.

The mouth-watering flavors. Maharashtra’s cuisine is a product of the region’s many ethnic influences. Delicious meals relatively unknown outside of India can be sampled throughout the state, including the ever-popular bhelpuri. Sold everywhere, this sweet, sour and crunchy snack is a combination of fried thin dough mixed with puffed rice, boiled potatoes, chopped onions, peanuts, besan sticks, green coriander and sweet tamarind and chili chatnis, all topped off with a squeeze of lime.

The centuries-old forts. Over 350 spectacular, centuries-old forts around Maharashtra, commissioned by many of the rulers of the region, can be visited by travelers today. One of the most popular forts is the Jazira-Mehruba Fort in the coastal town of Murud-Janjira. The fort, built in 1511 by the Siddis, continues to stand tall after numerous attacks by the Portuguese, the British and the Marathas.

The nature Maharashtra boasts. 31 life-sanctuaries, 5 national parks, 2 tiger reserves, breathtaking valleys and countless miles of white sandy beaches on the coast of the Arabian Sea for visitors looking for a peaceful and energizing escape with nature. The eclectic shopping. Visitors can explore the cities and towns of Maharashtra for incredible shopping. Bargain hunters delight in Mumbai (Bombay) at designer boutiques run by world-renowned and local designers. Also, visitors can buy intricately-designed fabrics and silks, hand-made rugs, unique jewelry and religious artifacts like clay images of Lord Ganesha, the ever-popular elephant-headed God, at many local markets and abundant street fairs.