Maharashtra – The Hub of Captivating Historical Sites
Maharashtra is dotted with several historical sites. All of them, ranging from monuments to palaces to forts, are a reflection of the region’s fascinating past. Regardless of whether these incredible structures served as royal residences or military fortifications, their architectural excellence is worth admiring.
If Maratha architecture is worth admiring for its sturdiness, then Mughal structures enchant onlookers with their excellent artwork and fabulous designs. Of course, one cannot miss out the colonial era buildings which stand out in their own right. This blog brings you the most captivating historic sites of Maharashtra, which you should definitely visit.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
To explore the bustling Mumbai city, you must first begin with the Gateway of India. Built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British monarch, King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, it is the pride of Mumbai.
This elegant structure consists of four turrets and intricate latticework carved into yellow basalt stone. Short steps behind the arch lead down into the water.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
One of the most important historical landmarks in Mumbai is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus in Mumbai. A UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maharashtra and one of the busiest railway stations in India.
It is a brilliant example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Glimpses of Indian traditional architecture is also evident in this fabulous building.
Ajanta Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
These historical caves of Maharashtra captivate visitors with every visit. The 32 caves at the World Heritage Site of Ajanta display spectacular Buddhist architecture, legacy and artistry. The narratives adorning the “chaityas” (prayer halls) and “viharas” (residential cells) are truly special.
The 34 caves at Ellora, dating back to 1500 years, are a combination of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu caves carved into rocks. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.
Vijaydurg Fort, Sindhudurg
Vijaydurg Fort, a major Maratha stronghold, was also known as “Gibraltar of the East,” because it was considered to be impregnable. The fort consists of 27 bastions, three of which are three-storied!
Some of the remains of the fort which a visitor can witness are, the prison, storage area for food grains, an enormous water tank and a cannon. This fort also has two amazing underground routes.
Kanheri Caves, Mumbai
Kanheri Caves are one of the oldest historical sites in Maharashtra. Located in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali, Mumbai. These caves date back to the 1st century BC. They are famous for their natural basalt formations, ancient Indian style of architecture and the incredible 109 special entrances to the caves. Congregational halls with large stupas suggest that these were Buddhist shrines.
Rajgad Fort, Pune
Rajgad Fort is worth visiting because it was the capital of the Maratha Empire upto 1672 CE, and also because it’s a great example of glorious history of Maharashtra. The two-layered fortification at Sanjivani Machi is simply marvelous.
One can also find a big-sized hole at Suvela Machi, along with a narrow gallery which is secured with a curved fortification.
Pandavleni Caves, Nasik
Pandavleni Caves, dating back to almost 2000 years, is perhaps amongst the oldest historical sites in Maharashtra. They are a group of 24 Hinayana Buddhist caves, dating back to 1st and 2nd century BC. Cave 3 and Cave 10 are the most beautiful caves here.
Tourists can visit the various shrines, monasteries, water tanks, pillars etc. inside the caves.
Daulatabad Fort, (Near Aurangabad)
Daulatabad Fort represents the architectural excellence of Medieval Deccan. Spread over an area of 234 acres, its main attractions lies in its moat, court buildings, stepped wells and a temple dedicated to Bharat Mata, besides others.
The other interesting thing to watch out for is Hathi Haud – a gigantic water tank. The Royal Bath, constructed during Tughlaq period, is also worth visiting.
Pratapgarh Fort (Near Mahabaleshwar)
Pratapgarh Fort, apart from its immense historical significance, is also quite fascinating architecturally. Since it consists of two parts, the lower and upper fort, locals describe it as being a “fort within a fort.” The upper fort consisted of several important buildings, like the Temple of Mahadev.
However, the most interesting fact about this fort is that it’s still inhabited by families who are direct descendants of the original Maratha soldiers.
Lohagad Fort (Near Lonavala)
There are several historical places in Maharashtra, and Lohagad Fort is one of them. The fort is home to several caves, one of which is the Lomash Rishi Cave. The main highlight of this fort is the 1,500m long and 30m wide natural wall made of stone.
There is also an enormous hole on its eastern side which is visible from any train passing through this region.
Even though there are just 15 caves at Karla, it’s one of the eminent Buddhist rock-cut cave site in India. The main “chaityagriha” (prayer hall) here is the largest in India, and is important from an architectural and inscriptional point of view.
The various pillars inside the hall bear inscriptions in Brahmi script and Prakrit language. Paintings belonging to the 5th to 6th centuries CE can also be found here.
Korlai Fort & Lighthouse
Korlai Fort is a Nizamshahi – Portuguese fortification built on a rocky ridge called “O Morro de Chaul.” Visitors who approach this fort from the western side also witness the lighthouse.
The highest portions of the fort contained the residences of the ammunition stores, storage’s, chapel and the captain’s residence. The fort offers panoramic views of the enchanting landscape.
Murud Janjira Fort
Another great example of glorious history of Maharashtra is Murud Janjira Fort. With its 40ft high impregnable walls, it’s considered to be an architectural marvel. The fort, spread over 22 acres, has 19 towers and numerous turrets, each of which had a cannon installed on it.
One of the main attractions here are the three huge cannons – Kalal Bangdi, Chavari and Landa Kasam.
Rajmachi Fort is a strategic fort overlooking Borghat (ghat between Mumbai and Pune), which was a historical trade route. There are two fortified structures in Rajmachi, Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. Shrivardhan Fort is worth exploring due to its secret tunnels leading to many battlements.
One can get amazing views of the surrounding plains from the Manaranjan Fort. At the base here, one comes across some simple rock-cut caves.
I think the curiosity of any history buff will be aroused by the places mentioned here, all of which lie in a single state of India. If you are looking to go on a historical trip to Maharashtra, then you must check out our special holiday packages for Maharashtra.