11 Best Places to Visit in Maharashtra

Occupying the westernmost edge of the subcontinent, Maharashtra is the financial, commercial and the entertainment capital of India. The 720 kms long Konkan coastline is home to some of the most pristine and exotic beaches in the country. Blessed with a rich natural biodiversity, a variety of forts, stunning hill stations and temples, Maharashtra is every traveller's dream destination.

The state is also the epitome of rich, well-preserved cultural heritage.

Best Places to Visit in Maharashtra

Planning a holiday in Maharashtra? Check out some of the best places to visit in Maharashtra:

1. Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves are located near Aurangabad and are a historical marvel. The earliest set of caves here dates back to the 2nd century while others can be dated back to 5th or 6th century. A UNESCO world heritage site, these caves also fall under the category of one of the 7 wonders of India.

The caves were built by the Buddhist saints using just a hammer and chisel making it a unique rock-cut cave in the world. The cave displays a variety of murals, sculptures, paintings and other remnants of the past depicting the Jataka tales and the life of Buddha.

Designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ajanta Caves are finest examples of ancient rock-cut caves. There are 29 caves in total and were built during second and sixth century BC. Visiting these caves would add more excitement to your vacation.

2. Shirdi

Known for the iconic Sai Baba Mandir, Shirdi is a holy little town just a couple of hours outside of Mumbai. Shirdi has been historically related to Shirdi wale sai baba’s home. The Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan trust is also known for being one of the richest temples in the world. Shirdi is known for being a peaceful place where all religions are treated equally and fairly.

It is considered as the only place where all the heads bow down with the aim of restoring peace and showing their faith to the lord. Devotees can pay their respects to the baba’s footprints in the temple shrine.

3. Bibi Ka Maqbara

Always wanted to see the Taj Mahal but could not travel? Bibi Ka Maqbara to see in Aurangabad, the Taj Mahal should be at your travel destinations. Bibi Ka Maqbara took inspiration from the world-famous monument – Taj Mahal. The beauty and eminence of this monument attract tourists from all around the world.

4. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling Mandir

Situated in the holy town of Trimbak in Nashik district, Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple is among one of the Maharashtra Jyotirlinga Tour. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple is a marker of the origin spot for Godavari River, which is the 2nd longest river in peninsular India. The current standing temple was built during the rule of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao after it was destroyed by the invaders.

Placed between the 3 hills of Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri, this unique temple houses 3 lingas representing Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The excessive presence of water on the lingas has eroded them but they are also said to represent the eroding nature of humanity.

Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra is the most sacred place for the devotees of Shiva. It is one of the many Jyotirlinga which are spread all over India. Trimbakeshwar is situated on the banks of river Ganga. Experience the Indian art of living in this place.

5. Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad is a comparatively larger fortress and requires more walking. This fort has a very rich history about which you will get to read there. During monsoon it looks the best, although please carry a raincoat too. It even has a small pond inside.

6. Bhimashankar Temple

Situated on the Sahyadri Hills, Bhimashankar is an ancient shrine and a very well-known Jyotirlinga of India. Located in the village of Bhorgiri, recently, the temple has also been protected by declaring it a wildlife sanctuary. The temple is said to mark the place of origin for Bhima River.

As per historical accounts, the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga had emerged from the river itself. Other than spirituality the region is also a famous trekking destination for adventure lovers.

7. Chorla Ghat

Nestled in the Western Ghats on the Maharashtra-Karnataka-Goa border, Chorla Ghat is the place to go if you are looking for peace and seclusion. The best feature about this destination is biodiversity. In addition, it is home to many waterfalls with a lush green environment, making it a perfect place for nature lovers and the opening of many adventurous avenues, such as hiking, hiking and jungle walks.

Located at the tri-junction of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Chorla Ghat is a quiet vacation spot for those traveling India as a couple. Apart from its lush carpeted hills with the dark stem of the plant loaded with large buds that, what makes this place even more interesting is its unique blend of bio-diversity.

8. Ellora Caves

When in Aurangabad, one should not miss this marvelous piece of sculpting art – Ellora Caves. Carved grandly and beautifully, Ellora Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. The Ellora festival aims in bringing the rich ancient culture of Aurangabad into spotlight. Held annually in Soneri Mahal, this festival is the vibrant blend of classical and folk performances.

9. Kailasa Temple

The famous Kailasa temple of Ellora was built on the model of the Virupaksha temple. This temple is 1400 to 1500 years old built by Rashtrakuta Kings. The temple is cut out of a single igneous rock weighing about 400,000 tons.

Not a surprise it is the largest monolith temple on the planet. The top of the superstructure over the sanctuary is 32.6 metres (equivalent to a 9 stories building) above the level of the court below. Imagine carving a massive rock to create this. It is to remind you that this volume is created by removing stone manually.

The carvings inside it are intricate to blow your mind. The story of Ramayan is engraved in the wall and so is the story of Mahabharata. The details in the pillars is mind blowing. The shrine has windows, inner and outer rooms, gathering halls, and a massive stone lingam at its heart – is carved with niches, plasters, windows as well as images of deities. The court yard is 82 x 46 m.

10. Lonar Lake

Lonar, located in Buldhana district is famous for crater, also known as Lonar lake or Lonar crater, formed over 50,000 years ago due to the collision of a meteorite on the surface of the region. It is a meteor impact lake and the only known hyper velocity impact crater in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.

11. Aurangabad

This small town in Maharashtra is a treasure house of history for a family vacation and is one of the best places in India. The city is full of grandeur and beauty. Normally winter is the best time to visit Aurangabad as the weather is cool and perfect for sightseeing. Take your family to see the historical and beautiful Ajanta Ellora caves.

Named after the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, Aurangabad is a slice of living history. The city is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Maharashtra. The historical city is known for its rich heritage and for Ajanta Ellora Caves that are situated next to the city. Some of the must visit sights and sounds here are Daulatabad Fort, Bibi Ka Maqbara, mausoleums and so much more.

Steeped in rich history against the backdrop of ancient mythologies, Aurangabad is a place that will catch you by surprise and leave a lasting impression in your soul. Aurangabad Caves are a group of 12 rock-cut Buddhist Shrines. Carved with precision, these caves represent aesthetic culture of Maharashtra. Aurangabad Caves are indeed an architectural marvel of the state.

Soneri Mahal is the last standing palace of Aurangabad. The Rajput styled architecture exhibits ancient pottery, sculptures and other antiques.

The exquisite Pitalkhora Caves which were discovered in 1853, are made up of 14 rock-cut structures which have fine architectural styles and paintings. For those engaged in historical expeditions, these caves would be another feather in their cap!

Located just 3 kilometers away from the Aurangabad Railway Station, Siddharth Garden and Zoo is one of the prime tourist attractions of Aurangabad. The place enjoys presence of diverse wildlife, colourful flowers and sparkling aquariums.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum is one of the prime cultural houses of India. Being one of the main heritage buildings of the city, this museum stands against well-decorated garden and pleasing atmosphere.

Panchakki obtained its name from the grinding mill which was designed to provide grains for pilgrims. Amidst the sheer utility of this building, its beauty was not compromised at least. There is a reason why this spot is the prime attraction of Aurangabad. Plan a wildlife safari and explore wildlife in the nearby Gautala Sanctuary.

Kalyan Panja