Category Archives: Maharashtra

Mumbai – The Financial Capital of India

Mumbai, the Financial Capital of India

All major national and International companies have their Offices and showrooms in Mumbai. It is the financial capital of India as this is a major business hub. The City is known for the Stock Market, Gold and Silver market, wholesale cloth market and import-export trade. Most tourists only know Gateway of India.

It has very good connectivity with the entire World from the International Airport and major ports. Being the Capital of Maharashtra State, there is good bus transport connectivity from each and every City of Maharashtra. Navi Mumbai is an extension of the Metro City.

Mumbai, the Capital of Maharashtra State

Most of the people visit Mumbai, the financial capital of India for Job and Business. While you are here for any work, you can visit a few tourist places also in this busy City. Local trains are the best way to travel in this City but those are extremely crowded all the time, and as a tourist, you should avoid them. Instead, use the Bus service or Taxi service to visit tourist places.

Gateway of India

It is a famous monument in Mumbai and entire India. All Maharashtra State Government buildings and minister bungalows are in Mumbai. Public Bus service (BEST) is very good in this City. The old name of this City was ‘Bombay’.

Mumbai
Mumbai CST

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station (CST)

It is the main railway station on the Central Railway Line and was earlier known as Victoria Terminus or VT. The other terminus of the Western railway is Churchgate Railway Station. The City runs on Rails and the local train is the heartline of this vast City.

Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir 

 Siddhivinayak is a temple of Lord Ganesh. It is in Prabhadevi area. It is one of the richest and well-known temples in Mumbai. You need to go through security checks and on specific days the temple may be very crowded. Good to visit on weekdays. Mumbai Ganesh Festival is also very popular and millions of people visit the Ganesh Pandals during this ten days Festival each year.

A quick list of places of tourist places is as below. Considerable information is available on each of these tourist places. If will stay in Pune (Another big City in Maharashtra), consider visiting Mumbai as a weekend Trip from Pune.

  • Elephanta Caves
  • Kanheri Caves
  • Essel World Amusement Park & Essel World Water Park
  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park / Borivali National Park
  • Jijamata Udyan (Ranicha Baug)
  • Haji Ali Dargah
  • Juhu Beach
  • Marine Drive
  • Bandra-Worli Sea Link Bridge
  • Taraporewala Aquarium

Stone Lifting at Khed Shivapur Dargah near Pune

Kamar Ali Darvesh Dargah Dargah


Pune City to Khed Shivapur distance is only 25 Km.

If you drive from Pune towards Satara, you will come across a Toll Booth in a small town of Khed Shivapur. Take a U-turn just before the Tool Booth and on the left-hand side, you will see an entry gate to a Dargah. Hazrat Kamar Ali Darvesh Dargah at Khed Shivapur near Pune is a famous place. It is not famous because it is a Dargah but there is an interesting this to see and experience here.
Khed Shivapur Dargah, Pune
Khed Shivapur Dargah near Pune

In front of the Dargah, there is a small open space. Here you will find a large round stone weighing around 90 Kg lying on the ground. If eleven people touch only their Index finger below the stone and say ‘Kamarali Durvesh’ and lift the stone, you can lift it. People visiting the Dargah feel that it is some kind of act of god.

The people who studied the science behind this tell that this is because of ‘collective force theory’. I tried it myself with other people and it works. Only men can try this act. The Dargah is completely renovated with white marble. Parking is a problem at this place and better to park outside the lane going towards Dargah. You can walk from there from the narrow lane.

Food Joints on the Highway

Bhel Joints near Khed Shivapur
Bhel Joints on the highway, Pune Satara Road. Image courtesy Team-BHP.
On the way back to Pune, you will see famous ‘Bhel Joints’ (food stalls) on the road-side and you can taste the famous ‘bhel’ here. It is a common tourist halt on Pune-Satara-Bangalore highway. Locally the road is known as Pune-Satara Road but it is NH4 (National Highway # 4) which is same as Mumbai to Bangalore Highway. You can visit this place on a Weekend from Pune. You can combine this tour with other nearby tourist places.

Sinhgad or Sinhgarh Fort near Pune

Sinhgad Fort Trip from Pune City

For hundreds of years, Sinhgad Fort or Sinhgarh Fort (Lion Fort) near Pune is a prime picnic destination. People from Maharashtra. visit this fort throughout the year. There are trekkers and there are people who just want one day of outing. For any reasons, you can start from Pune City in the morning and come back by evening. The distance between City and Fort is just 25 Km.
 
You should see all entry and exit gates of this Fort. The first gate you see is ‘Pune Darwaja‘ (Pune Door). Tanaji Samadhi (Resting place of Tanaji Malusare, a warrior in Shivaji’s kingdom) is a place to visit on the fort along with some small temples. The Kalyan Darwaja on the rear side of the Fort. There are many other small places to visit. Roam around the complete fort for a couple of hours and you can see more historical remains. Kondhaneshwar Mandir (Temple) is another place to visit. The Sinhgad Fort was once known as Kondhana.
 
You can get a nice view of Khadakwasla dam, the valley, and Sahyadri Hill ranges. It is a very good place to visit in any season. You can identify Sinhgad from distance due to a two-step structure of the topmost portion of the hill. There is also a tall TV signal broadcasting tower on the hill.

How to reach Sinhgad Fort?

Sinhgad Fort was a prime Fort in the kingdom of King Shivaji and the battle of 1671 is historical. You can get local Pune Municipal Transport buses to reach the base of Sinhgad Fort. You have a choice to walk from the base which is about 12 Km of walk and can take from 2 hours to 4 hours.
If you are going by your own vehicle, you can take the Car till the top of the Fort via a different road. There is an entry fee for vehicles and in the rainy season, it is difficult to get parking space.

Village Food at Sinhgad Fort

You can get Tea, Lemonade, buttermilk, fruits, curd, Village Lunch (Pithla-Bhakari) inside the Fort area on small ‘dhabas’ . These small huts are permanent over here. The food rates are also fixed and it is not a costly place. Only vegetarian food is allowed on the Fort for last few years. There is a drinking water well called as ‘Dev Take‘ to get cold nice drinking water throughout the year. You can also buy drinking water bottles here in small shops.

Monsoon at Sinhgad

Monsoon is a very busy period over here as you can actually walk through the clouds. The place is full of tourists on all holidays and there is no booking at this place. There is no specific timing to visit and you can visit the fort throughout the day. If you are in Pune, you can spare one day to visit Khadakwasla Dam and Sinhgad Fort. Consider for Weekend Trips near Pune.
 

Adlabs Imagica – A Family Holiday Destination

Adlabs Imagica Theme Park

Imagica is a  famous Holiday Destination between Pune and Mumbai near Khopoli. It is owned by Adlabs Entertainment Limited. We would like to cover some tips for the Travel lovers. Pune to Imagica is 80 Km, Mumbai to Imagica is 70 Km.
This place has Theme Park, Amusement Park, Snow Park, Waterpark and Novotel Imagica Hotel. While going from Pune to Mumbai via Express Highway, you have to take a turn near the second Toll Booth and take the road towards Imagica direction boards. While coming from Mumbai, you have to take a turn near the first Tollbooth on the Express highway.
 
You can purchase single park or multi-park tickets over here and can spend an entire day in amusement! This is a good destination for a family fun or a to be visited with a group of friends. If Novotel rates are affordable for you, you can stay at the Hotel for a night and can cover all parks in 2 days. A costly place but worth visiting at least once. Daily intake capacity of this place is 15,000 visitors.
 
You can’t take disposable bottles, large size bags, food items inside the park and better to leave such items in your vehicle. Entry fee is there for each park & you can buy tickets online as well as do the hotel booking also online. Lockers are available at the venue but won’t fit very big size bags or sacks. All type of food and beverages are available inside the park. Plenty of parking space is there and parking charges are extra.

Rides in Theme Park

 
You can enjoy every ride multiple times and there are no restrictions on rides. Summer and Winter holiday season are very busy here and you may have to wait in long queues to get to a ride. There are separate rides for Kids, Family and Thrill rides also like roller coaster., dare-to-drop, deep space, Scream Machine, etc.
 
The Dinosaur Park inside the Theme Park is great to visit for everyone along with Alibaba and 40 thieves and Wrath of Gods. The evening parade is a fun to watch. Similarly, Water Park also has considerable # of rides and clean water. You can enjoy the entire day in either of the Parks. View of India through the virtual plane is a nice idea. Overall a good fun-filled trip at a Cost! Consider for Weekend Trips from Pune.

Exploring Aurangabad with Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Aurangabad City

  • Pune to Aurangabad – 230 km by road
  • Mumbai to Aurangabad – 327 km by road
  • Nasik to Aurangabad – 187 km by road

A big City in the Maharashtra State of India. Over the last decade, the City has grown a lot in terms of total population, the number of Businesses in this City and the way the commercialization is happening here. You must have heard about Ajanta Caves, which are near Aurangabad City.

Like all other places in Marathwada region of Maharashtra, this City also faces severe water scarcity during the summer months and provided this problem is addressed properly, this City can grow as a great place for Tourism.

Why a major Tourist Attraction?

The key reason for Tourists getting attracted to this City is the proximity to the World famous Ellora and Ajanta caves. There will be hardly any Travel portal or blog or website related to travel in India, which would not have covered these two locations. The best season to visit these places is winter (Oct to Jan)

There is a lot of information published on these caves on various other government and private sites also. People who have lived in India (especially Maharashtra) are well aware of these places and millions of tourists visit the caves each year.

I will only touch base both the Caves in this Blog. This could be a very good Winter Trip for you. The Aurangabad City and Ellora may be one trip and only Ajanta can be the second trip from Pune. If you can stay for 2 to 3 nights at Aurangabad, you can cover all places in a single tour. 

grishneshwar temple, MH
Grishneshwar temple near Aurangabad

The temple picture at the top of this Blog is of Grishnewar Temple which is Lord Shiva temple. There are 12 such important Lord Shiva temples in India (called as 12 Jyotirlinga) and Grishneswar temple is one of them. This is very near the Verul/Ellora caves and you can visit it during your Verul trip.

Bibi-Ka-Maqbara

Aurangabad attractions
Aurangabad replica of Taj Mahal Image Courtesy : Maps of India

This structure is a copy of the World famous Taj Mahal at Agra but never became popular like Taj Mahal due to the Architectural differences. The structure is built on a large square platform with a dome at the center and four minarets at the corners of the square.

This is a mausoleum of ‘Rabia-Ul-Daurani’, the wife of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. This is believed to be constructed by Azam Shah, the son of this Queen. The location of this place is great and the structure is a part of a large enclosure. One of the World heritage sites.

 

Panchakki (Water-Mill)

This is a monument located in Aurangabad City and one who would like to see the scientific attitude of medieval Indian architectural should definitely visit this place. This place has a mosque and a large water tank.  The water coming to this reservoir is reaching here from by an underground tunnel only with the help of gravitational force. The water falls on the water-mill from a height and makes it work without any manual efforts. An interesting place to visit.
ellora caves, MH
Ellora caves (Verul), Aurangabad

Ellora Caves (Verul Caves)

Aurangabad to Ellora Caves – 30 km

The Buddhist Caves excavated between A.D. 450 and 700. The followers and Buddhist monks have excavated these 12 marvelous caves just 30 km from Aurangabad. Cave number 1 to 5 is a group and another group is Caves number 6 to 12. The division is based on the date of excavations.
The Buddhist group of caves gives an idea of the extremely simple life the monks were living with the ‘chaityagriha’ and monasteries we can see here. The beds of these monks made up of large carved stones tells us the story mutely. The architecture, paintings, carving, stone statues, everything seems a miracle. A must visit during the Aurangabad tour. Kailash Temple is the largest excavation in these caves.
ajanta caves
Ajanta caves. MH

Ajanta Caves

Aurangabad to Ajanta Caves – 100 km

Large excavations were carried in the hills about 100 km from Aurangabad from 2nd century BCE to about 480 to 650 CE.  The caves are marvel pieces of Paintings, carvings, statues, temples, elephants and much more; everything carved in black stone. The monks and Buddhist follower artists must have spent their entire life in carving these caves. The worship halls with Stupa are great architectural monuments.
Being a World heritage site, you will see constant efforts to maintain and retain the heritage. Visiting the 30 Caves one after another is an experience by itself. The different poses of Buddha in each cave and the light effects take you to another World for a half day tour in the area of Caves. Ajanta and Ellora are wonders of the World.

Explore the City

If you have young children with you, you can visit the Siddharth Garden and Zoo adjacent to the State Transport / Central Bus Stand in Aurangabad. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University is a large center of Education in this City and a place to visit for students and researchers. Try visiting some good restaurants and taste the spicy food and do some local shopping J
 

Aurangabad, because of its proximity to two World famous heritage sites, has several hotels in the City. You can find multiple restaurants in the City. For foreign tourists, there are many luxurious hotels in the City. The City is famous for its spicy Veg and Non-Veg food. The best way to travel in this tour is using your own vehicle. Consider for Weekend Trips from Pune.