Maharashtra is a large state in Western India renowned for its heritage sites, wildlife, pilgrimages, hillside (Western Ghats) and 600+ kms of coastline. Maharashtra is best travelled in monsoon when the entire state, especially the areas around the Sahyadris and the coast alongside, adorn a carpet green character and it's amazing just to drive around. Tadoba has emerged as the most popular national park for tiger sightings. Maharashtra is home to perhaps the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites in India and is therefore, a major heritage destination. It is home to some prime Hindu pilgrimages and is one of the most visited state for pilgrimages in India. Despite many attractions, it is still an emerging destination on the India tourism map and most Indians outside Western India are yet to discover its magnificent vistas.
Shirdi is the second most visited pilgrimage in India and is home to the Shirdi Saibaba Temple. Shirdi Saibaba is one of the universal pilgrimages where devotees from all religions and faiths arrive from all over India (especially Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharahstra and Gujarat) for darshan. Shirdi is where Saibaba was born and spent most of his life. Devotees visit the main temples and other temples linked to the life of Saibaba as depicted in "Sai Charitra" (the life story of Shirdi Saibaba). Today, Shirdi has the best hotels, restaurants and even an airport with direct flights from Hyderabad and Mumbai. The Darshan experience, even though very crowded over weekends, is well organised with the temple trust website providing for online darshan bookings.
Pune is the second largest city in Maharashtra and is a major IT / ITES / Auto industry hub of India. It is rich in cultural heritage and is an important base point to explore the pilgrimages of Ashtavinayak Temples, Jejuri, etc. Pune is an important access point to visit the hill stations of Lonavala (60 kms), Matheran (100 kms) and Mahabaleshwar (120 kms) and the industrial hubs of Ranjangaon (40 kms), Baramati (120 kms) and Ahmednagar (80 kms).
Mumbai is the financial capital of India, the capital of the state of Maharashtra and one of the four large metro cities of the country. Set on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is renowned for its colonial heritage and pilgrimages. South Mumbai, Mumbai CST Station and Elephanta Caves are listed as UNESCO heritage sites and are an important stopover for any heritage traveller. Siddhivinayak, Mahalaxmi, Walkeshwar and Haji Ali Dargah are some of the most renowned pilgrimages. Mumbai is the most popular access point to visit pilgrimages, hill stations and beach getaways of Western India.
Mahabaleshwar (4500 ft) is the most renowned hill station of Maharashtra and is known for its strawberries, view points and wide ranging activities. Visitors arrive here for good climate and superb views. Mahabaleshwar is at its best in the monsoon when the valleys around turn carpet green and misty with many spontaneous waterfalls. It is a popular getaway from the cities of Mumbai (250 kms) and Pune (120 kms) and combines well with other popular destinations such as Lonavala (150 kms) and Alibaug (100 kms).
Lonavala (2000 ft) is the most popular getaway of Maharashtra. Lonavala is home to hotels, villas and getaway resorts that are popular with travellers from Mumbai (110 kms) and Pune (70 kms). It is a midway point between Mumbai and Pune on the Mumbai-Pune expressway and is at its best in the monsoon, when it gets misty with many spontaneous waterfalls in the valleys around. Lonavala is an excellent base point to visit nearby IMAGICA (12 kms), an international standard theme park (amusement park, waterpark and snowpark).