A Journey to the Hidden Gems around Mumbai
Mumbai, the commercial capital of India is glamorous. But Maharashtra has lot more to offer than the hot and happening Mumbai.
The Historic City of Pune
Just at 153 km from Mumbai is the second largest city of the state, Pune. Pune has been the hotbed of Maratha politics and the ruling city of the Peshwas. It is a treasure of the rich cultural heritage of 1600 years. While the grand palace of Shaniwar Wada represents the blended architectural style of the Marathas and the Mughal.
the decorative Shinde’s Chhatri is an example of Vasthu Hara rules, intricate designs and carvings. The Raj Dinakar Kelkar museum gives you an opportunity to turn the golden pages of Maharashtra. While the 20th century pottery, rich paintings of the 17th century and multiple images of Lord Ganesha creates an awesome art gallery, the Mastani Mahal, within which the museum is located, is an architectural wonder in itself. The cave temple of Pateleshwara gives you an insight into the religious life of Pune; the temple has been beautifully engraved from a single rock. The David Synagogue is another attraction of the city. With its Gothic style pillars, clock tower and an exclusive women prayer hall, it is a pride of Pune.
The Cave City of Lonavala
Escape the heat this summer just at 83 km from Mumbai, at the hill station of Lonavala. Bask in the natural beauty at the Amrutanjan Point, or enjoy picnics with your family and friends at the banks of the Monsoon Lake. Nagphani Point is popular for trekking while natural walk through Ramachi Wildlife sanctuary offers you the rare sight of mammoth squirrels along with numerous birds. Besides the breathtaking beauty of Lonavala, the place bears the chronicles of Maharashtra at its forts and caves. The rock cut Bhaja Caves enshrine numerous Buddhist sculptures and hence is of immense historical value.
The Karla Caves are also Buddhist caves, supposed to be built by Buddhist nuns. These caves are spectacular with octagonal pillars, teak wood façade screens and sculptures of elephants decorated with ivory tusks. You may spend some solitary moments at the Koregad Fort, while the Lohagarh Fort of Shivaji narrates the gallant history of the Maratha rulers.
The Jungle Resort of Matheran
Another nature’s paradise lies at Matheran, just 89 km from Mumbai. Tourists visit this hill station to inhale some fresh air, as Matheran is still unpolluted banning vehicles from entering its premises. Blessed with bounties of nature, Matheran comes with 38 peak points. Rest your tired feet at the Alexander Point, witnessing a mesmerizing sunrise and sunset, or enjoy bird watching at the banks of the Charlotte Lake. The Hart Point offers panoramic view of the Western Ghats and is also one of the most serene points for meditation.
The Awe-inspiring Creativity of the Elephanta Caves
Located just at 10 km from Mumbai, this UNESCO world heritage site is an epitome of Indian architecture. The Elephanta Caves originated during the 6th and 8th century. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this group of rock cut temples houses fine sculptures exhibiting different aspects of Shivaism. Besides the three headed Shiva image, life seems to be frozen in the Shiva Nataraja and Ardhanarishvara deities.
The Natural Bliss of Mandwa and Kihim
Just at 10 km from Mumbai, the palm fringed beaches of Mandwa and Kihim beckons tourists seeking some special moments with their loved ones.
Hence if you are at Mumbai, get set on a weekend trip at any of the above mentioned places to fall in love with the nature and culture of Maharashtra.