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  Maharashtra | Cities | Hotels and Resorts | Temples | Wild Life

Maharashtra, a state where a millennium of culture weaves a tapestry of myriad charms. The spiritual solace of centuries. The sylvan serenity of the countryside. The stillness of a thicket disturbed only by a tiger flashing past, or the symphony of tradition from its varied population. All abound in a unique togetherness. A state as vivid as vivacious, Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, both in terms of population and area. Its booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors. The first well known rulers of Maharashtra were the Satavahanas (230 BC to 225 AD), who were the creators of Maharashtra, and have left a plethora of literary, epigraphic, artistic and archaeological evidence. The Maharashtrians' love for art and culture is quite evident in their intense interest in drama. Their approach to music and dance is rather lusty. Maha Shivaratri, Gokulashtami, Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi are the main festivals of this fun loving state. No matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it here. Whether it is lazing on the sun - swept sands of the 720 kms coastline, or a peaceful self-exile in the awe-inspiring mountains, or quiet worship at some famous shrines, or revelation in cave architecture, art and culture or challenging treks or abundant wildlife thrills, Maharashtra has it all.


A city which is called the economic capital of India, a city of entrepreneurs, a city of skyscrapers, a city of clubs and pubs, a city of dreams, of horse races and cricket, a city of suburban trains, and a place full of contradictions. You Can Advertise Here The enigmatic city of Mumbai was a cluster of seven islands of Koli fishermen who lived on the shores of the Arabian Sea and worshipped Mumbadevi. Hence, the place got the name Mumbai. Mumbai was given by Portuguese as dowry to Charles II of England when he married Catherine. The group of seven island was leased to the East India Company who offered freedom of business and religion to persons who came and settled here. Initially a few Parsis and Gujarati came but soon a sizeable population began to thrive here. This was way back in the 17th century. Today also Mumbai is a city of migrants. People from all over the country have come and settled here. This gives the society of Mumbai a multi-lingual and multi-cultural colour.

Gateway of India Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is the fastest moving, most affluent and industrialised city in India. Mumbai is part of India's beautiful west coast, that runs down from Gujarat, through Mumbai to Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. The city has a natural harbour, which was developed by the British. It is one of the most busy ports of India, handling approximately 40 percent of India's maritime trade. Mumbai (till recently 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. Mumbai is a group of seven islands which are today known as Colaba, Mahim, Mazgaon, Parel, Worli, Girgaun and Dongri. Large expanses of open sea have been filled in, and tidal swamps have been reclaimed for furthering the land area. These reclaimed areas include Churchgate and Nariman Point.Mumbai is home to people of all Indian creeds and cultures. It is a fascinating city, throbbing with life, and, for many people, the gateway to India.
Sightseeing Mumbai

Gateway of India, the principal landmark of Mumbai, was the principal port when the visitors came to India by ship. The gateway was conceived, following the visit of King George V to India in 1911, and was officially opened in 1924. Its architecture is akin to the conventional Arch of Triumph, with elements derived from Muslim styles of 16th century Gujarat. Near the gateway is the Colaba Causeway, which extends to the end of Colaba promontory, the southern end of Mumbai Island. Sassoon dock is always interesting to visit at dawn, when the fishing boats come in and unload their catch.


MUMBAI FORT : The area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort, since the old fort was once located here. There are a lot of impressive buildings from Mumbai's golden period here. St. Johns church, dedicated to the soldiers, who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838, and the first Afghan war of 1843, is also worth a visit. The Prince of Wales Museum, built to commemorate King George's V visit to India, was opened in 1923. It is modelled on the Indo - Saracenic design, and has sections for art and paintings, archaeology, and natural history. The Jehangir Art Gallery is within the compound of the Museum, and displays paintings of modern Indian artists. Flora Fountain is also nearby, and is the business centre of India, housing many of the major banks and offices. It was erected in 1869 in honour of Sir Bartle Frere, who was governor of Mumbai from 1862-67. Close to the fountain is the Cathedral of St. Thomas begun by Gerald Aungier in 1672, but formally opened in 1718.


VICTORIA TERMINUS:- One of the most popular promenades of Mumbai is the Marine Drive, built on land reclaimed during 1920, and runs along the shoreline of Back bay, starting at Nariman point, and sweeping around by Chowpatty beach upto Malabar hills. Chowpatty beach is one of Mumbai's famous beaches, and is a popular spot for people seeking evening outs. It is also a scene for the vibrant annual Ganesh Chaturthi festival. A major landmark of this vibrant city is the VT or Victoria Terminus which was designed in Italian Gothic style by F. W. Stevens. The first train to steam out of Mumbai was from here to Thane in 1853 .Modeled on the lines of the St Pancras Station in London, Victoria Terminus is undoubtedly the Raj's piece de resistance, Complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses. It is Gothic architecture at its best, an awesome edifice that most citizens view with deep pride. At the top of the central dome stands the triumphant figure of Progress. The station was christened to commemorate Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 when India's first steam engine puffed out to neighboring Thane, about 45 kms away. Today it has been rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after the Maratha warrior. And the old steam engines have been replaced by electric ones. But to the 2.5 million commuters who push past its massive portals everyday, this is still VT, the pulse of a throbbing city.

TARAPOREWALE AQUARIUM:- is also on Marine drive, and has both fresh water and saltwater fishes. On top of the Malabar hills are the Hanging Gardens and Kamala Nehru Park, which offer superb views over Mumbai. Some distance away from Malabar Hills is Mahalaxmi Temple, the oldest temple in Mumbai, dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth. Haji Ali tomb and mosque is located nearby, and can be reached by a long causeway, which can be crossed at low tide. Other attractions of Mumbai include the Juhu beach and the Nehru Planetarium. Taraporewala Aquarium on Marine Drive has a good collection of sea and fresh water fish and other marine life. There is a proposal to convert this into an underwater oceanarium, where people can undertake an undersea walk, surrounded by marine life. It is open on all days except Mondays.

AJANTA AND ELLORA CAVES:-The state of Maharashtra is home to the enchanting Ajanta and Ellora group of caves. The cave shrines were all cut out of rock, by hand, and rank amongst some of the most outstanding specimens of ancient Indian architectural heritage. The 34 caves at Ellora and the 29 caves at Ajanta, were hidden from the public eye, till they were accidentally rediscovered in the 19th century.


Battered on all four sides by the waves, with its imposing stone walls standing 40 feet high even at high tide is the majestic island fortress of Murud-Janjira. Never conquered by enemy forces for over 350 years since its construction by Malik Ambar (15th century AD), an Abyssinian regent of the Ahmednagar kings, Murud-Janjira is probably the only impregnable fort on the 720-km stretch of the Maharashtra coast. Visitors can still see the ruins of the palaces and stately mansions of the invincible Siddis, who prospered within the stronghold. The short boat ride to and from the mainland is enjoyable.


Devotees from all over India visit Shirdi and pay their respects at the shrine of Saibaba - the contemporary saint of Maharashtra. The town is considered holy by people belonging to all faiths and pilgrims are seen in large numbers here, all through. Fairs are organised on Ramnavmi, Guru Pournima and Dussera. The Dwarkamayi mosque and Sakori Ashram are popular places to visit.

Flora Fountain
The Flora Fountain erected in 1869 in honour of Sir Bartle Frere (Governor of Mumbai in 1862-67), now bustles with busy life and is the many business centre housing many major banks and offices. Gerald Aungier began the Cathedral of St. Thomas  in 1672, which was formally opened in 1718 to the fountain.

Marine Drive
Also called the Netaji Subhas Chandra Marg, it is a promenade along the water front. The drive runs from the Nariman point to Chowpatty beach and ends at the Malabar hills. The drive is built on the land reclaimed from the Back Bay along the Arabian coast. The place is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. In the night the whole drive is lit by street lights that give it are very unique expression. Due to the street lights some call it the necklace of the Queen.

marine drive gateway of india

Hutatma Chowk - Also known as the Flora fountain because of the fountain. It is located at one of the established business center of Mumbai. The chowk is named after Roman God of Abundance. It was erected in 1869 in honor of Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay who was responsible for shaping much of Bombay.
Haji Ali Mosque

Haji Ali Mosque - This mosque is located in the causeway protruding into the Arabian sea. The white mosque is the tomb of Saint Haji Ali. Haji Ali was a wealthy Muslim who renounced the world and proceeded to Mecca. It is said that he died in Mecca and the casket miraculously drifted and came to the spot where the mosque is built toady. The mosque can only be approached during low tide. The mosque is surrounded by refreshment stalls and other kinds of shops which take away the sombre of the place. The rocks behind the mosque is a good place to catch sea breezes.

Gate Way Of India

When a visitor comes to Mumbai by sea he sees a 26 m high structure. This structure is called the Gateway of India. It is the icon of Mumbai. It was designed by Wittet and is built in the 16 th century architectural style of Gujarat. Gate way of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. After that function, this crypto-Moresque has welcomed many visitors. The Gate was formally opened in 1924. Today it is a famous haunt for the residents for Mumbai. Near the Gateway of India is Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in India (can we say one of the best in world). It is said that the Hotel was built in 1903 after JN Tata was refused in a hotel for being a native. Nearby are the statues of Swami Vivekanand and Shivaji astride his horse.

Nehru Centre

Nehru Planetarium

Powai Lake

Nehru Centre - It was in 1972 that the Nehru Centre was conceived by the late Shri Rajni Patel and others as a living memorial to the maker of modern India, who symbolized the ideals of enlightened curiosity, scientific temper, secular values, a world view and above all, a faith in the people of India. The foundation stone of this magnificient dream was laid by the late Smt. Indira Gandhi on November 2, 1972 on a six-acre plot leased by the Government of Maharashtra.

Nehru Planetarium- The Nehru Planetarium is a large domed building, popular with the city's amateur astronomers. Inside, various cubicles estimate your weight on each of the nine planets of the Solar System while in the domed interior, daily shows uncover the timeless mysteries of the cosmos. The place is usually packed with school children so make sure you buy your ticket in advance. Adjacent to the planetarium is the Nehru Centre, venue of numerous international trade fairs and local exhibitions. In the basement, the Nehru Auditorium usually boasts classical music and dance recitals, concerts and plays.

Powai Lake- Within easy reach of Bombay by car are several picturesque lakes. Powai Lake, 25 miles from Bombay, is a quiet stretch of water by the side of a motor road. It can be approached via King's Circle, Sion, and Kurla. or through Santa Cruz and Andheri. Lake Powai is smaller lake of the two, and is situated a little west of the campus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), one of the premier institutions of science and technology in India.

Prince of Wales Museum Priyadarshini Park Rajabai Tower

Prince of Wales Museum- a magnificent, but somewhat strange structure, built in a confluence of Gothic and Moorish styles, and crowned by a sparkling white dome. It boasts a good collection of ancient Indus Valley artifacts dating back to 2000 BC, plus some priceless Tibetan and Nepali Art. There is an entire gallery devoted to Buddhist tankha scrolls and another to Tibetan bronzes, but the chief attraction here is the collection of over 2000 miniature paintings from the various art schools of India. Next to the Museum is the Bombay Natural History Society, which has an extensive collection of local flora and fauna

Priyadarshini Park- A rocky wasteland near the sea has been reclaimed and transformed into a large park, which can only be described as a feast for the eyes, amidst the concrete jungle of Malabar Hill. It lies to the west of Napean Sea Road. Besides acting as a lung for the city, it has a large track for joggers, several tennis courts and a fully equipped gym and a health club.

Rajabai Tower- Next to the High Court, the Venetian -Gothic University has a Gothic clock tower 260 feet high that is curiously adorned with oriental figures. In the old days it used to play Rule Britannia, God Save the King and a Handel Symphony among sixteen tunes that changed four times a day; now the repertoire is limited to the wafting chimes of the Big Ben on the quarter hour. The Rajabai Clock Tower is named after the mother of a 19th century stockbroker, who contributed towards its construction; it has a spiral staircase , which is unfortunately closed to the visitors after several unhappy citizens hurled themselves from the top. Under the clock tower is the magnificent University Library, with what are undoubtedly some of the most exquisite stained glass windows in Asia. These have recently been treated by British conservationists and restored to their pristine glory. Well worth a look.

Dhobi Ghat Sanjay Gandhi National Park Sasoon Dock

Dhobi Ghat- A unique feature of Mumbai, the dhobi is a traditional laundryman, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly pressed to your doorstep. All for a pittance. The "laundries" are called "ghats": row upon row of concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone. The clothes are soaked in sudsy water, thrashed on the flogging stones, then tossed into huge vats of boiling starch and hung out to dry. Next they are ironed and piled into neat bundles. The most famous of these Dhobi Ghats is at Saat Rasta near Mahalaxmi Station where almost two hundred dhobis and their families work together in what has always been a hereditary occupation.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park- Originally planned as a wildlife retreat outside Mumbai, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park is now virtually engulfed by the growing city. Most of it is wild and unsafe, but breathtakingly beautiful, filled with dense forests and dotted with sylvan lakes. There are wild animals here, of course, but the only way you can see them is to take the Lion Safari at the entrance. Don't expect displays of predatory power though: most of the animals here are so used to tourists that they merely yawn at the passing buses.

Sasoon Dock- Another fishy area in downtown Colaba, Sassoon Dock is the Mecca of local gourmets and restaurateurs who forage for quality seafood at dawn, when the trawlers unload their booty. Baskets of shrimp, lobster, thin, bony mackerel and fleshy pomfret are sold here at wholesale rates by loud fishwives who sit on the wharf right next to the colourful boats. There are also cold storage places where you can buy the cleaned and filleted variety that is earmarked for export. Despite the pervasive smell and the chaos, however, Sassoon dock is an experience worth undertaking.

Town Hall Veermata Jeejabai Udyan Vihar Lake

Town Hall - Asiatic Library- With its old parquet floors, spiral staircases, wrought iron loggias, and exquisite marble statues of forgotten city fathers, the colonnaded Town Hall is perhaps the most regal and elegant of Mumbai's heritage buildings. It houses the Asiatic Society, a library with a collection of 800,000 antique volumes. One of them is a priceless first edition copy of Dante's "Inferno." There is also an impressive numismatic collection of over 1,000 ancient coins and a rare gold mohur belonging to the Mughal Emperor Akbar. You need permission to look at these treasures, but the public library is open to all and usually draws a large number of senior citizens who pore over the local newspapers in the fading grandeur of its reading room.

Veermata Jeejabai Udyan- Popularly called Ranee Baug after its namesake, the Victoria Gardens are now rechristened Jijamata Udyan. They are botanical gardens, sprawled over 48 acres and contain some of the oldest trees in the city, some dating back two hundred years! At the entrance is a charming Renaissance clock tower to match the Italian Renaissance-style Victoria and Albert Museum (now the Bhau Dali Ladd Museum) that houses an interesting collection of local archaeological finds. Just behind it is the Mumbai Zoo, a depressing place with animals in bare cast iron-and-stone cages. Avoidable. You can however, opt for an elephant ride on weekends, but the best bet is a stroll through the gorgeous botanical gardens or picnic on the well-kept lawns.

Vihar Lake- Within easy reach of Bombay by car are several picturesque lakes. Powai Lake, 25 miles from Bombay, is a quiet stretch of water by the side of a motor road. It can be approached via King's Circle, Sion, and Kurla. or through Santa Cruz and Andheri. Vihar Lake, a mile away from Powai lake, is less secluded, as it is one of the sources of Bombay's water supply. The lake, incidentally, is infested with crocodiles, which often bask in the sun.

Worli Fishing Village

Worli Fishing Village- Over two thousand years ago, Mumbai was an archipelago of seven islands, inhabited by the kolis. These tribal fisherfolk still live here in tightly knit communities that the passing centuries have scarcely touched. The best place to see them is in the 600-year-old Worli Fishing Village that stands on a sliver of land jutting into the sea. Plunge into one of its winding gullies and you will instantly be assailed by the smell of drying fish, and colourful koli women, their dark skins offset by chunky tribal jewellery. At the end of the village is a small Portuguese fort with remnants of an old armoury, soldiers' barracks and thick ramparts. Before the Raj, when Portugal ruled Mumbai, this was a strategic vantage point to counter attacks from the sea.

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