There is no doubt that Maharashtra is best known for its capital, Mumbai, which is often called the city of dreams and is globally famous as a business and tourist destination. However, apart from this world-renowned tourist spot, there is much more to this state of varying lifestyles and cultures, making it a delight to visit in India.
Read on to know about the best places to see and explore in Maharashtra besides Mumbai:
Nestled in the country’s forested Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is a hill station famed for its picturesque beauty and mesmerising strawberry farms. It is one of the best weekend getaways from Mumbai. Often referred as the queen of hill stations in Maharashtra, it is a place with a fine collection of rivers and magnificent peaks. Besides, tourists would love to explore some thrilling trekking spots and beautiful waterfalls in the town. Pratapgad, Venna Lake and Lingmala Waterfall are some of the prominent tourist attractions here.
Surrounded by many historical monuments including Ellora Caves and Ajanta Caves, the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, Aurangabad is a city tempting a large number of tourists each year. It is named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and reflects a culture influenced by the Mughal and Muslim culture of Hyderabad. The major draw of the city is the 17th-century marble Bibi ka Maqbara shrine which is styled on the Taj Mahal and its nearby Shivaji Maharaj Museum which captures the attention with war weapons and a coin collection. Besides, Aurangabad caves, Chand Minar and Daulatabad Fort are some other interesting places to explore here.
A historic city, Kolhapur is situated at an elevation of 559 metres above sea level. It lies on the banks of the Panchganga River and is known to be the heart of the Maratha Empire. With a pleasant climate all year round and heavy rainfalls during the monsoons, Kolhapur makes for an ideal tourist destination in Maharashtra. People visit the city to explore its many historical monuments and the Marathi heritage. While Mahalakshmi Temple, Rankala Lake and Jyotiba are some major tourist attractions in the city, the special Kolhapuri slippers and Kolhapur cuisines are not be missed here.
A secluded and charming hill station near Mumbai, Matheran attracts tourists with its mild climate and well-preserved colonial architecture. Situated on the Western Ghat mountain range at a height of 2636 feet above the sea level, it is the smallest hill station in India but is quite popular for a short trip or a quick weekend getaway. The lush greenery, waterfalls and the lakes in the town are a sight to behold for nature lovers. While the entire town in itself is a delight to explore, Hart Point, Malet Spring, Mount Berry and Luisa Point are some of the most prominent tourist attractions not to be missed.
Famed for being one of the Hindu pilgrimage sites in India, Nashik is an ancient city lying on the banks of the river Godavari. This place is quite popular for being one of the cities hosting the Kumbha Mela once every 12 years. With a wonderful collection of museums, gardens and an array of ancient Hindu temples, Nashik is one of the world’s holiest cities. Besides, housing half of India’s vineyards and wineries, the city is also known as “the wine capital of India”. Pandavleni Caves, Muktidham, Kalaram Temple and Shri Someshwar Mahadev Temple are some of the beautiful wonders of the city.
Famed as the sister hill station of Khandala, Lonavala is one of the major hill stations in Maharashtra, lying at an altitude of 622 metres in the Sahyadri Ranges. The pleasant weather, scenic splendour and lush velvet meadows make it a beautiful spot for nature lovers. En route from Mumbai to Pune, Lonavala is surrounded by green valleys and attracts with its two Buddhist shines carved out of rock, namely, the Karla Caves and the Bhaja Caves. The major draw of the town is a type of candy which is called “Chikki” and is loved by tourists. Besides, Tiger’s Leap, Bushi Dam, Lonavala Lake and Imagica Adlabs are some of the must-visits of the town.
Situated on the south east edge of Maharashtra, Solapur is one of the top monsoon destinations in the state. The city lies at the Deccan plateau, on the Karnataka state border. Home to a significant number of monasteries, Solapur used to be the spiritual centre in the ancient India for the followers of Jainism. With its beautiful collection of the ancient temples and lakes, the city is an ideal holiday destination for families and makes for a perfect weekend getaway for the residents of Bangalore and Maharashtra. Solapur Bhuikot Fort, Killa Bag and Siddheshwar temple are the city’s prominent places to explore.