Mumbai - A Surprise That Never Sleeps
Ramadan Plaza Palm Grove
Mumbai is a perfect place. It is a city of glamour, of pretty people, of Bollywood, the model brigade, the Page 3 fashionistas, and the upstarts. Registered as the political capital of Maharashtra and financial capital of the nation, Mumbai pulsates with energy. As soon as you will smell the Marathi aroma in Mumbai, you will be greeted by one-of-its-kind Victoria Terminus, Mumbai's World Heritage Railhead, a lavish Gothic structure with stained glass windows, turrets and spires. Spend an evening at the magnificent 'Gateway of India', built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V. Stroll around amidst hoardes of pigeons and tourists and couples with a packet of 'Bhelpuri' and spend an evening like never before. Savour a cup of coffee at the Taj Mahal Hotel's coffee shop while enjoying a splendid view of the brilliantly lit Bombay Harbour. Walk a few steps to reach the majestic statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji on horseback, a popular backdrop for family photographs.
Remember to visit the Prince of Wales Museum for an inspiring experience. Applauded as an art enthusiast's delight, the museum affords an excellent collection of Indian sculptures and Tibetan art. Ask your tour operator to take you to Haji Ali's Mosque. A cruise on the sea is indeed a delightful experience. Faith seems to thicken and reshape at this place of worship, the way that agglomerations around sand create pearls in oysters. At night, religious convocations called 'mehfils' are held in the mehfil khana, a voluminous hall meant for this purpose. The hall echoes with the resonance of the Holy name of Haji Ali, and you will be overwhelmed to behold the devotion augmenting with the rhythm of the Qawwalis.
Sprawling Pearls of Enchantment In Maharashtra
Shirdi Sai Baba
Lonar Crater and Lake
Capitalising a vernacular culture, it is obvious that Maharashtra caresses history on every pages of time. The best part of the Marathi terrain is that it has something for everyone. One can visit numerous forts built on steep precipitous hills of the Deccan plateau - Purandhar, Raigarh, Pratapgarh - standing in mute testimony to Shivaji's valorous exploits. Drive 20 km from Sinhgarh Fort to reach Pune, the second largest city in the state. Don't miss an evening at the Osho Commune at Koregaon Park, the ashram of Bhagwan Rajneesh, where you can savour divine euphoria and soothe your weary soul. Travel 195 km northeast of Mumbai to touch the sands of the holy city, Nashik. Embellished with pristine bathing ghats and sacred temples lining the Godavari river banks, Nashik is one of the four cities where the Kumbh Mela is held in every 12 years. Spend a day or two of your holiday vacation at the charming twin resorts of Lonavala and Khandala, a picturesque representation of bubbling Maharashtra. Perched 600 mt on the western slopes of the Sahyadri range, these resorts offer a cool, invigorating climate and a pleasant getaway, and are best to visit during the monsoons. Don't miss a chance to visit Aurangabad, nestling on the right banks of Kham River. Keeping pace with modernity, Aurangabad also caresses architectural wonders like Biwi ka Maqbara.
Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Ajanta - Ellora Caves
A magnificent example of poetry in stone, an anthology of exquisitely carved rock caves is what you would feel while visiting the world famous Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Nestling at about 30 km from Aurangabad, the Ellora caves are the epitome of ancient Indian art. The caves reflect the essence of three distinct religions - Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism - coexisting congrously in a stunning display of intellectual art forms. Drive around 100 km from Aurabgabad city centre to reach the eminent Ajanta Caves. Declared as a world heritage site, the cave is believed to be constructed somewhere between 200 BC and AD 650 by Buddhist monks. Wander around these ancient relics and you can witness how human emotions have been carved out of languid stones by impressive craftsmenship, each more dramatic than the other. Visit the Pandava Caves or the Mahishasurmardini Cave, each displaying excellent diversity in chiselling and of course, perfection.
Lose Yourself on The Beaches
In the great land of Maharashtra, where the land and the sea meet, breathtaking sights of sheer beauty mark the pristine coastline. Among the beaches of Mumbai, the most well known is Juhu, smiling with its unsurpassable attraction to bathe. On Maharashtra's beaches, you can tan your skin in the glory of the sun or bask in the splendour of the sunset. After a true madman show on the beach, refresh yourself with a sip of tender coconut water available at numerous sea side stalls. Tourists can also enjoy a horse ride or camel ride on the golden sands of Juhu, before walking ahead for the famous ISKCON temple at a stone's throw. The Chowpatty Beach throbs with colour and merriment and is a magic of fairground at night with pony rides, acrobat monkeys, fortune tellers, fishermen and holidayers. The broad and sandy stretches of the shore offer fascinating strolls for sightseers.