Heritage Site & Palaces OF MAHARASHTRA

Heritage Site & Palaces

Trace Our Historical Roots

A nation is known by its history. To that extent, Maharashtra has some of the most well-preserved ancient heritage sites which continue to provide a link to the past. The caves at Ajanta and Ellora near Aurangabad, for example, are a striking reminder of an age of Buddhism at its peak. There are about 800 caves spread across various districts but of these the 32 caves at Ajanta stand out distinctively because of their architectural splendour, legacy, and artistic masterpieces. The caves include paintings and sculptures representative of Buddhist religious art with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales.

So is the case with the caves of Ellora which date back to the Rashtrakuta dynasty, about 1,500 years ago. The 34 caves are actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the hills of Charanandri and you will find here evidence of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain ‘viharas’ and ‘mathas’ that tell the story of how social and economic order was often represented through religion. Elsewhere, there are as important heritage sites, including the huge crater at Lonar which is ranked among the world’s five largest craters and the third-largest salt water lake in the world.

But if it is a profusion of colour and natural beauty that you wish to see, head to the Kaas Plateau, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in the Sahyadri range of mountains, this unique ecosystem bursts into a landscape of flowers during the monsoon season. And if its peace you seek, there can be nothing better than a visit to the Global Vipassana Pagoda near Gorai in Mumbai, which also has Asia’s tallest stone structure rising majestically against a background of the shimmering waters of the Arabian Sea.

And just off the city of Mumbai is the Elephanta Island, which is not only an island playing host to a bounty of nature in the form of lush plantations of palm, mango and tamarind trees but is also home to ancient cave temples carved out of rock. In fact, the heritage sites of Maharashtra will leave you spellbound and have you turning the pages of history tomes to know more.

  • A pristine natural environment with hills, waterfalls and forests; a wild life sanctuary and an ancient temple! Bhimashankar offers the ideal setting to find spirituality. It is also the perfect place for adventure lovers with a plethora of treks. Moreover this is where you can find the shekru the giant flying squirrel which is also the state animal of Maharashtra.
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  • Front view  Aga Khan PalaceT

    The Aga Khan Palace in Pune occupies a prime position in the history of India’s freedom movement for the fact that Mahatma Gandhi, his wife, secretary and others were incarcerated here from 1942. It now serves as the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society where the making of ‘khadi’ continues to be a prime activity. This imposing palace where one can feel an intense connection with the past is also known for its beautiful and serene gardens.

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  • As you stand at Mumbai’s most well-known spot of tourist interest – the Gateway of India – the most overwhelming desire you will experience is to step into a boat and explore the Arabian Sea. But this need not just be a whim. It can serve a purpose too if you take the ride to visit the Elephanta Island which is just 10 kilometers from Mumbai. Not only is the island host to a bounty of nature in the form of lush plantations of palm, mango and tamarind trees but is also home to ancient cave temples that have been carved out of rock and which have been declared a World Heritage Site.
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  • One of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Maharashtra, Ellora dates back to about 1,500 years ago, and is the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 caves are actually Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religious monuments carved in the rock. They were given the status of World heritage Site in 1983.

    Created between the 6th and 10th century, the 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves carved in proximity at Ellora are proof of the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.

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  • If unique art motifs in temples are what attract you, the group of temples of Markandi or Markanda Deva in Gadchiroli district of Vidarbha would be worth a visit for they certainly stand as an embodiment of the finest traditions of sculptural and architectural art of the Vidarbha region. Also, the surrounding landscape of small hillocks and the river flowing below have made Markandi a pleasing tourist attraction.
     
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  • If ever you have wished to be surrounded by a bounty of colourful flowers and nothing else for quite a distance, the Kaas Plateau is where you should be. Just 25 kilometers from the bustling city lies this pristine and wonderfully unique ecosystem nestled in the Sahyadri Mountains. The metamorphosis that takes place here during the monsoon season is like witnessing Mother Nature unfolding a miracle for the world to be astounded with.

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  • At Khidrapur, close to Kolhapur, the multi-dimensional temple of Koppeshvara is more than just an aesthetic achievement; it reflects the deeply felt spiritual understanding of the architect and the depth and range of its all-encompassing narrative in stone.

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  • A town in the Buldhana district of Vidarbha, Lonar’s claim to fame is the huge meteor crater that is not only visually dramatic but also of ecological and scientific interest. It is made all the more interesting because the crater is believed to have references in the most ancient Indian texts such as the Valmiki Ramayan. And in addition to the crater, Lonar in itself is a beautiful place, just ideal for a short break to get away from urban pressures.

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    A town in the Ramtek tehsil of Nagpur district, Mansar is one of the prime archaeological sites in the country, known for many interesting excavations that have resulted in the discovery of various shrines, a palace complex identified as Pravarapura which was the capital of the Vakataka king Pravarasena II and an extensive temple complex. It’s a place that beckons historians, the curious and the tourists in equally large numbers.

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    The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture.
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