Maharashtra is the richest state in the country contributing at least 15 per cent to India’s total GDP. Bordered by the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra is home to the commercial capital of India – Mumbai. The Western Ghats is a prominent physical feature of this state. Global tourists know Maharashtra for its diverse geography, flora and fauna and historical cities. Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city known for its vibrant nightlife, bustling markets, the Marine Drive and the Juhu Beach. From the entertainment world of Bollywood to world class hotels and restaurants, this city has a package of things to offer to holiday makers. Indian Holiday offers information on what to do what not to do in Maharashtra during your vacation.
Things to do in Maharashtra
Here is a list of diverse things to explore in Maharashtra and number of places of interest.
Caves of Ajanta and Ellora – You cannot miss touring the Ajanta and Ellora Caves where the rock cut temples stand as perfect examples of magnificent work of architecture. The 29 caves of Ajanta and Ellora dating to the 2nd century are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These caves are easily accessible from Aurangabad. The Ellora Caves are around 100 kilometers from Ajanta. The Ellora Caves are also a repository of India’s architectural wealth. The 34 caves of Ellora are dedicated to the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain deities. Global tourists acclaim the sculptures and wall paintings here. The towers, gateway, pavilion and the assembly hall are all carved out of a single rock.
Gateway of India – Facing the Arabian Sea is the most important landmark of Mumbai, the Gateway of India. Previously used as a fishing jetty, this 26-meter structure was renovated during the tour of King George and his wife to Mumbai in 1911. The gateway built of yellow basalt features an excellent blend of Indo-Persian architectural style. Take a boat ride from here to reach the Elephanta Caves. You can also opt for river cruises on luxury boats for a couple of hours.
Elephanta Caves – These caves are located around 10 km from the city of Mumbai. The island on the Arabian Sea has a cluster of two groups of ancient caves. One consists of Hindu caves and the other belongs to the Buddhism faith. The rock cut temples here date at least to the 5th century. The Hindu caves depict sculptures and statues of Lord Shiva or the Shaiva sect. Designated as a World Heritage Site, the Portuguese called it the Elephanta Caves for its large elephant statue in the entrance. This place is worth a visit not only for its architectural significance but also known for its natural surroundings. There is also the serene village of Gharapuri on the southern end of this island. The ferry ride from Mumbai will be a memorable experience.
Marine Drive – This is the best place to discover Mumbai. The Marine Drive bay is an ever-bustling place where you will meet the young people relaxing or couples strolling down the road enjoying the view of the setting sun and the cool breeze. At the northern part of Marine Drive is the Chowpatty Beach. There are several fast food centers, luxury hotels, restaurants and bars overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Mumbai nightlife – Feel the pulse of city life with your visit to Mumbai in Maharashtra. The cosmopolitan culture is well reflected in the vibrant lifestyle of the people here. Mumbai is popular among the global tourists as a ‘city that never sleeps’. Most of the city bars, pubs and discotheques are concentrated in the area around the Juhu Beach, Chowpatty Beach, Santa Cruz and Marine Drive.
Haji Ali Mosque – Located in Worli, the Haji Ali Dargah is one of the remarkable examples of Islamic architecture. This mosque houses the tomb of Islamic merchant Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhani who made a pilgrimage to Mecca after renouncing his worldly possessions. At least 40,000 devotees visit this mosque on Fridays. The central shrine is enclosed with a marble courtyard. The pillars of the main hall are mirror studded. This 500 year old mosque in Mumbai is frequented by both domestic and international visitors.
Juhu Beach – This is one of the famous beaches in the state of Maharashtra. Juhu is one of the affluent and posh colonies in south Mumbai that draws locals, tourists and honeymoon couples to enjoy the Arabian shore. Evenings are often overcrowded here and the street food is undoubtedly the best in the city.
Bollywood – The Hindi film industry based in the city of Mumbai is called Bollywood. It is one of the largest film production hubs in the world. From the first silent film made in the city to introducing itself to world cinema, Bollywood has come a long way and today is an integral part of the fashion and entertainment industry in the country. You can catch up with your favorite star on a shooting set or watch a live musical, fashion or award show in Mumbai.
Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations – A major public celebration in the whole state and especially in Mumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi is the best time to visit Maharashtra. Life size Ganesh idols, pandals, lights and home celebrations and finally the immersion ceremony will make your trip here an enjoyable one.
What not to do in Maharashtra
Here are few tips for travelers to have a safe holiday in Maharashtra.
- Avoid rash driving; traffic rules are stringent in most cities of Maharashtra
- Do not drink and drive
- Single women should avoid boarding cabs/taxis late at night
- Keep the traffic police emergency number stored in your cell phone
- Keep your identity card/passport with you if you are out late at night
- Do not withdraw cash from ATMs at deserted locations
- Avoid mingling with strangers, get information from authorized tourist bureaus
- Avoid bookies, get your hotel reservation and travel bookings done yourself
- Report of any unwanted luggage to the nearest police patrolling center