The state of Maharashtra, one of the largest in India in terms of both size and population, stands mostly on the high Deccan plateau which stretches east some 800 km. from the Western Ghats. It has the Arabian sea on the west, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, Madhya Pradesh on the east, and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to the south.
Maharashtra means "The Great State". Historically this was the main centre for the Maratha Empire, which defied the Mughals for so long, and which, under the fearless rule of Shivaji, carved out a large part of central India as its domain. Maharashtra's many inland and coastal forts are a legacy of Shivaji and, to a lesser extent, the Portuguese.
Maharashtra is an economically important state.
Fast Facts of Madhya Pradesh
Places to Visit
Visit the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, an imitation of the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb as a tomb for his wife. The Himroo factory produces beautiful cotton and silk fabrics. Panchakki is a water-mill within which there is a tomb of a Muslim Saint. Ghrishneshwar Temple is one of the five Jyotirlinga sites in Maharashtra where Lord Shiva is worshipped. Of special interest to art and culture buffs are the Buddhist caves. Paithan, an ancient taluka town 56 kms to the south of Aurangabad, is famous for its' exquisite saris. The splendid cave paintings of Ajanta and the rock-cut caves of Ellora are World Cultural Heritage sites.
This hill station, situated at an altitude of 1372 metres, was the summer capital of Bombay Presidency during the British rule. It is famous for its scenic beauty, splendid views, Venna lake, and strawberries.
Just 38 m below Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani gets its' name from the 5 hills around it. The way to Panchgani is absolutely spectacular. Panchgani has some lovely architecture and houses a boarding school which is almost a century old.
10 km northeast of Mumbai, lies the Elephanta Island, known for its great cave shrine excavated in the 6th century. The island was named by the Portuguese, after the majestic carved elephant on the island. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where the cave temple of Elephanta stands. The temple houses large pillars that seem to hold the ceiling which is made of cross beams. The sculptures display the changing moods of Lord Shiva, and reflect the immense faith of the unknown architects. In the month of February, the island hosts the Elephanta Festival. Artistes perform outside the caves in the open, filling the atmosphere with dance and music.
Marve - Manori - Gorai
These 3 beaches lie to the north of Mumbai
An important ship-building centre in the 17th century, the Marathas defeated the Portuguese here in 1739. The Portuguese fort now stands in ruins amidst the dense palm grove. The Vajreshwari temple, Akloli hot springs, Sadguru Nityanand Maharaj Samadhi Mandir at Ganeshpuri, Bhimeshwar temple and other ashrams are at a short distance away from Bassein.
Murud - Janjira
The majestic fortress of Janjira is three centuries old. Set on an island, it can be accessed by boats. Murud, which houses this famous fort, is also popular for its enchanting beach and stretches of coconut and palm groves. A little further away are the two beaches of Nandgaon and Kashid.
Mandwa - Kihim
These beaches are easily accessible from Mumbai. Kihim, a slightly unusual beach, is a treat for nature-lovers, and was a popular haunt of Dr. Salim Ali, the famous ornithologist. Also of interest is the Kolaba Fort.
Dahanu - Bordi
The 17 kms long coastline offers up these unspoilt beaches. Dahanu has a plethora of fruit orchards and is most famous for its chickoos. Udwada the most famous shrine of the Zoroastrians is accessible from Dahanu. The sacred fire in this splendid temple has been kept alive for almost a thousand years.
Shriwardhan - Harihareshwar
The sun kissed sands of the spectacular Shriwardhan beach open up to the endless span of Shriwardhan Bay. The town of Harihareshwar, is known mainly for its splendid beach, and the magnificent Harihareshwar temple.
Vijaydurg - Sindhudurg
Once-upon-a-time, these were naval bases. Both have splendid beaches. The Sindhudurg or Ocean fort spans over 48 acres. Within its premises are temples dedicated to Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimai, Mahapurush and Shivaji, the last being the only shrine of its kind in India.
Vengurla - Malvan
Vengurla, on the southern part of the Maharashtra coastline, boasts of a long stretch of shimmering sand. It also houses the famous Shri Devi Sateri temple and the Rameshwar temple. Nearby are the Vengurla rocks, also known as Burnt Islands. The Sindhudurg and Padamgad forts are housed in the old township of Malvan, a former trading centre. Today, Malvan houses salt pans and is famous for the China clay pottery and mouth-watering Malvan cuisine.
Ganapatipule, one of the ashta (eight) Ganapatis of India, houses the popular Svayambu Ganapati Temple. Pawas a nearby village has the ashram of Swami Swaroopanand.
The Tilak Smarak, believed to have been the home of the great freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, is the landmark here. The Patit Pawan Mandir was the first temple built for non-Brahmins by another great freedom fighter, Swatantryaveer Savarkar. Ratnagiri also has the Bhatye Beach, the Coconut Research Centre, Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (sea-port) and the seafood processing centre at Mirya. The Thebaw Palace, built for the king and the queen of Burma in 1910-11, is also worth a visit.
This is a completely different kind of spa, where you can learn Vipassana, the 2500-year-old art of meditation. This cloistered world offers frequent ten-day residential courses in which no contact with the outside world is permitted. A demanding daily schedule is followed which includes about ten hours of sitting meditation, complete silence and no communication with fellow students. Additionally, special courses and long courses of 20, 30 and 45 days are periodically offered for advanced students.
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