MAHARASHTRA - THE MARATHA EMPIRE
Pune, Shirdi, Shani Shingnapur, Aurangabad, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Chandrapur, Ajanta Caves, Goa
Maharashtra - offers an abundant diversity of riches. Longstanding bastion of the Maratha Empire and home to legendary Raja Shivaji, it's history is testimony to its glorious past. The diversity and colourful cultures, festival and people gives you a glimpse of this vibrant and beautiful land. Its India's third largest state by area and also the richest state.
Pune is the centre of traditional Marathi culture, in which education, arts, crafts, and theatre are given pride of place. After Shivaji, the early 18th century saw the emergence of the Peshwas, who grew from being ministers at the court into a major political power. The landmarks in Pune include the Shaniwar Wada - a palace built by Bajirao - I; Kelkar Museum - a one man's collection of fascinating Indian artifacts and Kasturba Gandhi Smriti Mandir (The Aga Khan's Palace) now Pune's historical landmark.
Shirdi is the abode of the saint Sai Baba mystical, town that exudes intense devotion. Pilgrims throng for a brief "darshan" at the Samadhi Mandir, the shrine of Sai Baba where his mortal remains were interred. His saying "SAB KA MALIK EK" means there is only one God and He is the Master of all.
The city named after Aurangzeb is also a historical town with a number of attractions including the famous Ellora and Ajanta caves nearby. The Bibi Ka Maqbara, built in black marble is considered to be an imitation of Taj Mahal. Ellora is famous for its beautiful sculptures all based on the stories of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The Devgiri Fort en route is an invincible fort built in the 12th century. Ajanta is a world famous site where one can find the most beautiful paintings and sculptures in the caves of Satpura Hills.
Goa also known as 'Pearl of the Orient' is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. By day its sun, sea and surf and by night it's fun, fish and feni (the local firewater). The goan beaches are, however, only a part of the attraction-the magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples, churches and old houses have also made it a firm favourite with travelers around the world.