India is best described as a feast for the senses. Every single one of them. This is instantly apparent the moment you step off the plane- no matter which city you land in. We often get sucked into the spots deemed popular by our favorite Instagrammers which leads us to overlook the destinations that are equally as awe inspiring. Almost always there is more to be discovered in a destination, and this couldn’t be truer for India. The Taj Mahal or Jaipur are not on this list because there is so much to be discovered in the Maharashtra region alone. You probably won’t even think twice about the Taj Mahal.
I recently had the opportunity to experience and explore this state with the tourism board of India, Incredible India, by way of luxury train on the Deccan Odyssey. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to share these hidden gems with you. The itinerary I traveled on was the ‘Maharashtra Splendor’- you can see it in motion through my vlog over on my YouTube channel But, there are 5 other itineraries for you to choose from! Options are endless. Anyways, let’s get to why you’re here: the 7 spots in the (VERY) underrated Maharashtra state of India that you simply can’t miss.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has daily flights from international travel hubs making Mumbai the perfect starting point for your Maharashtra journey. There is so much to be discovered in Mumbai, it’s as if it is its own world, separate from anything you’ve ever seen or experienced before. A series of juxtapositions and fascinating polarities are around every corner you turn. Some of the can’t miss spots are the largest outdoor laundry in the world, the Gateway of India, Colaba Fish Market, Elephanta Caves, and catching the sunset along the iconic Marine Drive.
Godvari Ghats, Nashik
Located in the center of the holy city Nashik, the Godvari Ghats are sacred baths where many Hindu rituals are performed. On any given day, locals and travelers alike flock to the area to shop at the markets and witness the ancient Hindu practices.
Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ellora Caves is one of the largest stone cut temple complexes in the entire world. Ellora Caves dates back to 600 AD, you will definitely feel like you stepped back in time.
A vibrant town known for its ancient temples and winding alleyways, Kolhapur is best explored by foot. Start in the center at the 1,300-year-old Mahalakshmi temple and let your curiosity guide you from there. The Palace Museum and Town Hall Museum are two must-sees in this ancient city as well. While you’re here, pick up a pair of Kohlhapuri chappals. Chappals are hand-crafted leather sandals unique to this area. And, if you’re anything like me you must purchase a sari too!
Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
These rock cut caves date back to the 2nd and 1st century B.C. Each of the 29 caves is carved differently and depicts different Buddhist stories about the life and rebirth of Buddha.
In the southern part of the state, is this oceanside city widely known for its beaches. The real discovery lies in its capital area, Panjim. Home to ancient churches, heaps of Portuguese culture, ruins of the St. Augustine tower, a labyrinth of alleyways leading to delicious bakeries and small boutiques, and countless photo opps. You can’t miss Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro in the heart of Panjim. A seemingly hole in the wall bakery with delicious Portuguese and traditional Goan treats. Pinaca, an eggy treat made of rice, coconut oil, Goan jaggery and spiced with cardamom is a must have! Perhaps the areas best kept secret are the Pinaca from Confeitaria 31.
Located in the holy city of Nashik, Naroshankar Temple dates back to the 18th century. The layout of this temple is striking because it is on a platform. This layout draws you into its ancient allure of hand carved sculptures and engravings of animals. It’s enough to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
I hope my small corner of the internet has inspired you to experience India for all that it is. It was a lifetime goal of mine to share this beautiful place with the rest of the world and I am beyond grateful to have this platform to do so! For more of my adventures in India, don’t forget to head to my vlog and subscribe to my YouTube channel!