Maharashtra Tourism Maharashtra, the great land as the name itself suggests, has great di versity of riches to offer to the tourists. Overlooking the vast expanses of the Arabian Sea on one side, Maharashtra is a strong blend of very tra ditional and very contemporary, each co-existing with the other with the surp rising ease.
History The first well-known rulers of Maharashtra were the Satvahanas (230 BC to 225 AD) who were the founders of the Maharashtra and have left 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-sided development in the fields of learning, arts and religion. Some of the Ajanta caves and fresco paintings reached high-level mark during their rule. After the Vakatakas and after a brief interlude of the KaIachuri dynasty, the most important rulers were the Chalukyas followed by the Rashtrakutas and the Yadavas apart from the Shilaharas on the coast. The Yadavas, with Marathi as their court language, extended their authority over parts of the Deccan While the Bahamani rule brought a degree of cohesion to the land and its culture a uniquely homogeneous evaluation of Maharashtra, as an entity became a reality under the able leadership of Shivaji. With the rise of Shivaji, Maharashtra entered a new phase in history. Shivaji welded the Marathas into a powerful nation and become the rulers. The Peshwas who succeeded Shivaji built up a Maratha empire, which extended from GwaIior in the north to Tanjore in the south. The Maratha power received a set back at Panipat in 1761 AD when the Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah AbdaIi routed the Maratha forces. They recovered only to confront the British power and were decisively defeated in 1818 AD.
Hill Resorts: Lonavala – Khandala (625m), Mahabaleshwar (1372 m), Matheran (803 m), Panhala (831 m).
Popular Places: Mumbai (Bombay), Aurangabad, Ajanta, Ellora, Kolhapur, Nasik, Pune.
Mumbai (Bombay) Mumbai is home to people of all Indian creeds and cultures, a fascinating city, throbbing with life and for many people ‘Gateway to India’. Mumbai is a group of seven islands (Colaba, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, Worli, Girgaum, and Dongri) whose inhabitants, the Kolis have given the city its Indian name Mumbai, after their Goddess Mother Mumba Aai.
Places of Interest (1) Gateway of India (2) Hanging Gardens and Kamala Nehru Park on Malabar Hill (3) The Queens Necklace (4) Haji Ali Tomb and Mosque (5) Mani Bhawan (6) Prince of Walles Museum (7) Juhu Beach (8) Kanheri Caves (9) Elephanta Caves.
Hotel Accommodation: Hotel Centaur, Leela Kempinski, The Oberoi, The Oberoi Tower, The Taj Mahal Hotel, Centaur Airport, Holiday Inn, The president Hotel, Ramada Hotel, Hotel Sea Princes, Sun – N – Sand Hotel, Hotel Bawa International, Mercure Hotel Guestline, Fariyas Hotel, Hotel Midtown, Ritz Hotel, Sands Hotel, Hotel Airlink, Hotel Accord, Hotel Diplomat, Garden Hotel.
Aurangabad The present city of Aurangabad was founded by Malik Ambar, Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam II, in 1610 AD around khirki village. Aurangzeb renamed it Aurangabad.
Places of Interest (1) Aurangabad Caves (2) Bibi – Ka – Maqbara (3) Pan Chakki (4) Daulatabad (5) Bani Begum Gardens. Hotel Accommodation: Hotel President, Hotel Ambassador, Taj Residency, Welcome Group Rama International, Hotel Aurangabad, Hotel Amarpreet.
Ajanta Early in the 19th century a party of British officers scrambling over the thickly wooded slopes of the Sahyadri hills discovered these caves buried under debris and screened by foliage. Strung out in a sweeping horseshoe shape in an inner fold of the hills, the caves were a secluded retreat for Buddhist monastic orders and yet offered easy access to the trade routes that swung past here to the coast. With little more than hammer and chisel but with a deep faith inspiring them, these simple monks excavated chaityas, chapels for prayer and viharas, monasteries where they lived and taught and carried out ritual performances. The 29 caves at Ajanta, some unfinished, span a period of 800 years and contain numerous images of Lord Buddha. They depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 BC. Cave 1 houses some of the most well preserved wall paintings, which include two great Boddhisattvas, Padrnapani and Avaloketeshwara.
Ellora The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of Aurangabad.Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas, or halls of worship, and Viharas, or monasteries, Hindu and Jain temples. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5 th and 11 th centuries. AD, the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29). The sculpture in the Buddhist caves accurately convey the nobility, grace and serenity inherent in the Buddha. Caves 6 and 10 houses images from the Buddhist and Hindu faith, under the same roof, the latter dedicated to Vishvakarma, the patron saint of Indian craftsmen. The Vishvakarma cave is both a Chaitya and a Vihara, with a seated Buddha placed in the stupa. Its two-storied structure sports a colourfu1 pageant of dwarfs, dancing and making music. The Kailasa temple in cave 16 is an architectural wonder, the entire structure have been carved out of a monolith, the process taking over a century to finish. This mountain-abode of Lord Shiva is in all probability, the world’s largest monolith, the gateway, pavilion, assembly hall sanctum and tower, all hewn out of a single rock. The Jain caves are about a mile away from the Kailasa temple, amongst which cave 32, houses a beautiful shrine adorned with fine carvings of a lotus flower on the roof, and a yakshini on a lion under a mango tree, while cave 32 and 34 contain grand statues of Parasnath. The other Jain caves sport the images of Tirthankaras and one of them, also has a figure of Mahavira.
Kolhapur Kolhapur is located on the Panchganga River nestling along the Sahyadi ranges surrounded by hillocks and fortresses, woven around the temple of Goddess Mahalakshmi built in the 9 th century.
Places of Interest (1) The Mahalakshmi Temple (2) The New Palace – Shree Chhatrapati Shahi Museum (3) The Town Hall Museum (4) The Old Palace (5) Binkhambi Ganesh Mandir (6) Rankala Lake.
Nasik Nasik is a bustling township with an interesting blend of the ancient and the modern.
Places of Interest (1) Ramkund (2) Muktidham Temple (3) Coin Museum (4) Kalaram Temple (5) Andavleni.
Hotel Accommodation: Hotel Panchavati, Hotel Panchavati Elite Inn, and Hotel Panchavati Yatri. Pune Pune was home for a long time to the Maratha leader Shivaji.It later become capital of the Peshwas.The British captures the city after the battle of Koregaon in 1818 AD. One of the city’s most famous residents was the self proclaimed Guru, Bhagwan Rajneesh, later known as Osho.Although the died in 1990,the ashram he had set up in Pune still attracts thousands of devotees, sightseers, curious onlookers despite lot of controversy.
Places of Interest (1) Kasturba Samadhi in the Aga Khan’s Palace (2) Parvati Hill (3) Shanwarwada (4) Shinde’s Chattri (5) Raja Kelkar Museum.
Hotel Accommodation: Le Meridien, Hotel Holiday Inn, Hotel Blue Diamond, Hotel Panchshil, and Hotel Sagar Plaza.