Skip Navigation

Maharashtra

Photo © Clarabell

Travel Guide Asia India Maharashtra

edit

Introduction

Maharashtra is one of the 28 states of India, and is located in the southwest of the country. It is the richest state in India [1] by quite a long shot, thanks in no small part to the state's capital, Mumbai, which is also the financial capital of India.

Top

edit

Geography

Maharashtra size is 308.000 km² making it the third largest state in India. The Arabian Sea makes a natural border on the west coast, and clock-wise the other bordering states are Gujarat, the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.

Top

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

  • Ajanta Caves - a complex of Buddhist caves representing some of the best of early Buddhist art; World heritage site.
  • Bhimashankar - one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in India.
  • Ellora Caves - world famous for its caves of three religions, total 30 caves are divided into Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves, World heritage site, Ellora is also adob of Grishneshwar, the 12th Jyotirlanga in India.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

Top

edit

Weather

Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. However, dew, frost and hail also occur sometimes, depending upon the seasonal weather. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May and the monsoon season between June and September. Summers are extreme with March, April and May as the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22 °C and 39 °C during this season. Rainfall starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August also gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September to the state. Winter season is a cool, dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze; pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12 °C and 34 °C during this season. Rainfall in Maharashtra differs from region to region. Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, receive heavy rains of an average of 2,000mm annually. But the districts of Nasik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimetres. Rainfall particularly concentrates at the Konkan and Sahyadrian Maharashtra. Central Maharashtra receives less rainfall. However, under the influence of the Bay of Bengal, eastern Vidarbha receives good rainfall in July, August and September.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

By Train

Maharashtra is also well connected with other parts of India by the Indian Railways. Maharashtra is served by the Western Railways, Central Railways and the Konkan Railway divisions of the Indian Railways.

Train travel is quite cheap compared to travelling by road. Trains in India, although faster than cars/buses, are quite slow due to the terrain and also due their sheer length (it is not unusual for a train to have up to 24 coaches). Therefore, do not expect high-speed railway connections. Travelling a distance of about 600 km takes about 10-12 hours.

Mumbai is the headquarters of the Central and Western railways. Trains to Mumbai from other parts of India are abundant and you should have no difficulty to find one which suits you if you check the Indian Railways time table. If you intend to travel through the coastal region (Konkan) to Mumbai, it is highly recommended to take one of the several trains on the Konkan railway line. The journey is full of beautiful scenery, from sea coasts and rivers to mighty waterfalls and green forests amidst farming villages and towns. The line also has the highest railway viaduct in Asia and the longest railway tunnel in India. The journey from Margao, Goa to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai takes about 12 hours. However, do not make this journey during the monsoons (June-September) as landslides are frequent and the railway tracks frequently sink in the soft, wet ground. Pune is an important railway junction on the Cental Railways and receives trains from all parts of India. It is also an important terminus for trains leaving to many cities.

Nagpur is another important junction on the Central Railways. Being close to the geographical centre of India, trains travelling north-south as well as east-west pass through Nagpur and stop there. Therefore, Nagpur is pretty much reachable directly by train from most of the major cities of India.

Most other major cities in Maharashtra also have direct rail connectivity with other parts of India, but trains may be fewer in number. An alternative is to change trains from one of the major junctions/termini in Maharashtra, from where there are many trains to other parts of Maharashtra. Major railway junctions are Manmad, Bhusawal, Wardha, Purna and Kurduvadi, apart from the cities mentioned above.

By Car

Ten National Highways connect Maharashtra to other parts of India:

1. NH 3 connects Mumbai and Agra. Passes through Thane, Dhule, Nashik.
2. NH 4 connects Thane and Chennai. Passes through Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur.
3. NH 6 connects Hazira (Gujarat) and Kolkata. Passes through Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amravati, Nagpur, Bhandara.
4. NH 7 connects Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Kanniyakumari (Tamil Nadu). Passes through Nagpur.
5. NH 8 connects Mumbai and New Delhi.
6. NH 9 connects Pune and Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh). Passes through Solapur.
7. NH 13 connects Solapur and Mangalore (Karnataka).
8. NH 16 connects Nizamabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh). A tiny length passes through Sironcha on the eastern tip of Maharashtra.
9. NH 17 connects Panvel and Kochi. Passes through Mahad, Chiplun, Sawantwadi.
10. NH 222 connects Kalyan and Nirmal (Andhra Pradesh). Passes through Ahmednagar (Nagar), Parbhani, Nanded.

There are numerous other roads but the National Highways are the best maintained of all. Some highways may require you to pay tolls at the state border. Many highways have a police checkpost at the state border, although they will not stop you if you don't arouse their suspicions.

By Bus

Bus services are provided by State Road Transport Corporations as well as by private bus companies.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) runs a comprehensive network of buses, popularly known as ST buses, within and outside the state. There are 3 classes of buses. The commonly seen red buses are inexpensive, non-AC buses intended for cheap travel. They run between various cities in Maharashtra and adjacent states. Particularly, they connect all the capitals of adjacent states (Gandhinagar/Ahmadabad, Bhopal, Raipur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Panaji) to at least one city in Maharashtra. But these buses are not very comfortable, especially for long distance travel as they stop at many villages en route. Another class is of semi-luxury, non-AC buses having separate cushioned seats per passenger. These are popularly known as 'Asiad' buses and have a green or purple top. The new fleet of luxury buses (Shivneri and Ashwamedh) provide more comfortable , air-conditioned travel at slightly higher prices, although the price is lesser compared to private buses. Look for blue coloured (Shivneri) or orange-brown coloured (Ashwamedh) buses bearing the MSRTC logo. (Some buses may have 'M.S.R.T.C.' written on the front windshield.) Typically, semi-luxury and luxury buses will stop only at a few places indicated on the route information in the front.

Tickets can be purchased on boarding the bus, but it is more convenient to reserve a ticket in advance (at a bus depot, authorised agent or online) to save the trouble of finding a seat for yourself.

State owned bus companies of some adjacent states (GSRTC, MPSRTC, APSRTC, KSRTC, KTC) also provide similar types of bus services to Maharashtra.

Many private buses also ply between major cities of Maharashtra and adjacent states. The service offered is quite similar to state-owned semi-luxury and luxury buses, but at higher (typically about double, or more during tourist season) prices. Seats in such buses can be booked from one of the numerous bus agents that run small agencies in any medium-sized (or larger) city.

Top

edit

Eat

There are lots of snack and side dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Some quintessentially Maharashtrian dishes are:

  • Vada pav - Popular Maharashtrian dish consisting of fried mashed-potato dumpling (vada), eaten sandwiched in a bun (pav). This is referred to as Indian version of burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney made from garlic and chillies, and fried green chilles. Interestingly rarly vada pav are home made. Very famous in Mumbai.
  • 'Chivda - Spiced flattened rice. It is also known as Bombay mix in Foreign countries especially Great Britain.
  • 'Kande Bhaje - Very famous dish made of cutted onions & 'besan'. Specially demanden in rainy season.
  • Pohe - pohe or poha is a snack made from flattened rice. It is most likely served with tea and is probably the most likely dish that a Maharashtrian will offer his guest. During arranged marriages in Maharashtra, Kanda Pohe (literal translation, pohe prepared with onion) is most likely the dish served when the two families meet. Its so common that sometimes arranged marriage itself is referred colloquially as "kanda-pohay". Other variants on the recipe are batata pohe (where diced potatoes are used instead of onion shreds). Other famous recipes made with Pohe (flattened rice) are dadpe pohe, a mixture of raw Pohe with shredded fresh coconut, green chillies, ginger and lemon juice; and kachche pohe, raw pohe with minimal embellishments of oil, red chili powder, salt and unsauteed onion shreds.
  • Upma or sanja or upeeth: This snack is similar to the south Indian upma. It is a thick porridge made of semolina perked up with green chillies, onions and other spices.
  • Surali Wadi - Chick pea flour rolls with a garnishing of coconut, coriander leaves and mustard. Lots of items actually..further delicacies can be obtained in any typical maharastrian home.
  • Matar-usal- pav' - It is a dish made of green peas in a curry with onions, green chillies and sometimes garlic. Its eaten with a western style leavened bun or pav. Another form of Matar usal is made in konkan areas or by brahmins especially in Pune - this has a gravy of coconut, coriander, ginger-garlic and green chilly ground together and then fried into a Phodni. Some water and green peas are added and boiled till the peas are cooked and have absorbed the taste of all the condiments.
  • Misal Pav - Quintessentially from Kolhapur. This is made from a mix of curried sprouted lentils, topped with batata-bhaji, pohay, Chivda, farsaan, raw chopped onions and tomato. Also some times eaten with yogurt. Bread is a must.
  • Pav bhaji - This speciality dish from lanes of Mumbai has mashed steamed mixed vegetables (mainly potatoes, peas, tomatoes, onions and green pepper) cooked in spices and table butter. The vegetable mix is served with soft bun shallow fried in table butter and chopped onion. Sometimes cheese, paneer (cottage cheese) are added.
  • Kothimbir vadi' - Coriander (Cilantro) mixed with chick pea flour and Maharashtrian spices. There are plenty of variants of this dishes some deep fried, some stir fried and some steamed.
  • Saoji curry is special gravy mainly used in preparing non-vegetarian (chicken and mutton dish); But can also be used to prepare vegetarian dish (Potato, Paneer or Soya Chunk). Saoji chicken or Mutton is famous for its spicy taste and is highly recommended to all the spicy food lovers. Nagpur is famous for 'Saoji chicken'.

Top

edit

Drink

Coconut water is very famous. Kokam Sharbat (Sharbet) is another special drink.

Top

edit

Sleep

There are loads of options, from budget hostels to luxurious hotels.

Top

Contributors

as well as Sam I Am (5%), alicoolcab (1%)

Maharashtra Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Maharashtra

This is version 12. Last edited at 14:31 on Aug 14, 17 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License