Maharashtra bound
January 30, 2012 11:24 PM   Subscribe

Have you travelled in Maharashtra, India? What's it like? I'm thinking of spending a couple weeks there -- beaches, caves, temples, hiking, Mumbai -- a bit of everything. But it doesn't seem to be regarded as a particular highlight of India. Good idea or no?
posted by dontjumplarry to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I live in Maharashtra. MeMail me.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 11:56 PM on January 30, 2012

Are you traveling on whim or you have a plan? There are a lot of interesting things in MH but depends what you like and what your yardstick is.

For caves, visit Ajanta and Ellora. For history, Pune is a great place, although Indians have successfully messed it up (i.e. not at all preserved well). For beaches, konkan is a very good region (but don't expect it to be Goa, partying etc.). For hiking, there are tons of places, Sahyadri range is a great place. Mumbai, well, I doubt if you can stand it, too crowded and honestly not much to 'see', its a money place, rest everything takes a back seat here. Temples, again, there are tons, no shortage of them. Personally, I don't find them as decorative and attractive as South Indian temples (from touristic point of view).

Overall, I would say, MH has a lot to offer but not without local help. So either plan with local help or do a super thorough search. MeMail me if you want. Originally from Mumbai.
posted by zaxour at 2:50 AM on January 31, 2012

Seconding Ajanta and Ellora.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 3:35 AM on January 31, 2012

Haven't been to Ajanta and Ellora, but they're more or less the prime destinations for travellers in Maharashtra, so I'll just third them.

In Mumbai, you have the South city to go around, the Gateway of India and a couple of caves (at opposite ends of the city), Elephanta and Kanheri. There's a couple beaches in Mumbai, but they're too crowded and busy to be worth visiting. The better beaches are at Alibag, which is near Mumbai.

For hiking, you want the Sahyadri mountains. Two popular hiking spots I know of are the Raigad fort and Igatpuri.

Not a fan of temples, so I can't point any good ones.

One thing you'll want to look out for are forts. The Marathas built a bucketload of forts all over the Sahyadris - look for anything with a -gad or -durg suffix like Pratapgad, Raigad, Jaigad, Rajgad, Sinhagad, Sindhudurg etc. If you're interested in history, these are great spots to check out.

An excellent non-Maratha fort is Murud-Janjira, built by the Siddis and reachable only by a boat ride. I've taken this ride - it's pretty scary in the rainy season. Strongly not recommended if you have hydrophobia.

Pune's another great historical place with lots of Maratha sites to look at, along with the Osho Ashram, what be it.

Over in eastern Maharashtra, there's the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project in the Chandrapur district. They've got tigers there for tourists to look at, though I never saw any when I was there. It's still a nice-ish place to visit, and away from cities or towns, in case you want a look at the hinterlands.

Maharashtra isn't a very touristy place to start with, and the tourism ministry doesn't do much to promote it, compared to say, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh.

Source: I live in and have been around Maharashtra.
posted by Senza Volto at 5:44 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ajanta and Alora are nice, as is the near(ish) by lonar meteor crater. Matheran, Mumbai's Hillstation is pretty charming too and high enough to be a bit cooler.
posted by rhymer at 9:30 AM on January 31, 2012

Do not miss Matheran! It is a little kitschy but very, very cool. It's basically summer camp for Indian families-- very touristy per se but almost no foreigners. It's incredibly beautiful up there, and particularly refreshing after time spent in Mumbai.
posted by threeants at 7:08 PM on January 31, 2012

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