Discover new sites in the state that has it all – beaches, hills, forests, caves, ancient sites and exciting cities! This issue of Maharashtra Unlimited transports you in regal comfort on the luxury train ‘The Deccan Odyssey’. From the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora, to the tigers of Tadoba, this is the journey of a lifetime. Read about the ancient temples of Hottal and the fading art form of Chitrakathi in this issue.
The Forgotten History of Pandavleni: Nashik Caves
Text and photos by Manjiri Bhalerao
Listen to the Murmur of the Waves: Murud and Harnai
Wouldn’t you like to take a short break from your chaotic urban life and go to a serene place with breathtaking vistas of the sea and its coastline? Wouldn’t you love to dig into typical Konkani cuisine with its fish preparations made from the fresh catch of the day? Wouldn’t you want to sink your feet into soft sand and stare at nothing but palm trees? All this turns into reality at the twin tourist destinations of Harnai and Murud.
Text by Ashutosh Bapat
Photos courtesy of Parag Purandare
Chitrakathi: A Fading Art Form
As a traditional art form of the Konkan region, Chitrakathi is quite unique and unlike any other because it engages the audience with nothing but mythological fables narrated with the visual help of pictures drawn on paper. This form of art was a speciality of the Thakar community and practised with vigour and passion when it had royal patronage. Unfortunately, its decline into oblivion has been quick and would have been totally lost had it not been for the Gangavanes who continue to showcase it and have also built a museum to keep it alive.
Text and photos by Ashutosh Bapat
Raigad: A Fort fit for a king
There is no other fort that can compare in Maharashtra when it comes to Raigad not only because of its impressive fortification and for being the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj but also for the fact that the steep climb to reach it or even a ride on the ropeway is an experience that you will never forget in your lifetime, says P. K. Ghanekar.
Text by P.K.Ghanekar
Photos courtesy of Suhas Asnikar
Explore Saswad and Beyond: Weekend Getaways
Though mostly known for the many temples that abound in this region, Saswad also offers a perfect getaway to relax in the lap of an idyllic rural landscape and take in the sights and experiences of unruffled lakes and rolling fields along with the quintessential socio-cultural milieu of Maharashtra.
Text by P.K.Ghanekar
Photos courtesy of Manjiri Bhalerao, Ashutosh Bapat and Suhas Asnikar
Deccan Delight: Explore the Splendors of Maharashtra on the Deccan Odyssey
Embark on a mesmerizing voyage of discovery through time and cultures through the Maratha heartland equipped with state of the art amenities offering you a lavish and pampering ride. There can be no greater luxury and old world charm on wheels than the splendour that is the Deccan Odyssey!
Text and photos by Ranadeep Bhattacharya and Judhajit Bagchi
Hottal: The Village of Temples
Hottal in Nanded district may not be on the regular tourism map but is well known among those who like to study the architecture and designs of temples. As Dr. Maya J Patil (Shahapurkar), Deputy Director, Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra, finds out, the temples here are icons in the true sense of the word for the motifs and sculptures that adorn their walls.
Text by Dr. Maya J Patil
Photos courtesy of Dr. Maya J Patil (Shahapurkar) and Vilas Wahane
Meherabad: Experiencing Spiritual Silence
Avatar Meher Baba is one of the well-known saints of Maharashtra whose ashram and final resting place at Meherabad attracts the faithful from across the world. What makes the place very unique is the silence that invariably draws you closer to Baba’s thoughts and teachings. Khursheed Dinshaw visits Meherabad to learn more.
Text and photos by Khursheed Dinshaw
A World Apart: Toranmal
While the hill stations of the Sahyadris are well known, if one wishes to enjoy genuine beauty of nature, cool comfort of the mountains, and virgin beauty of a glittering lake, one must visit Toranmal, which is situated in the Satpuda ranges. Unforgettably fascinating during the monsoons, the innumerable lotuses blooming in the Lotus Lake gives the tourists the impression that they have entered ‘a world apart.
Text by Narsingh Pardeshi
Photos courtesy of Jitendra Marathe
The NEF Mountain Triathlon
The NEF Mountain Triathlon organized by the National Education Foundation (NEF), Pune is a race that includes 800 meters open water swimming, 30 kilometres trail cycling and 10 kilometres trail running all clubbed together, to be completed in a time slab of 6 hours.
Text and photos by Nikhil Shravage
When Bagheera Met Baloo: Nagzira
Nagzira is in the Eastern part of Maharashtra, which borders Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. This area (part) of the country comprises some of the last remaining pristine forests of India – other than of course the Western Ghats, North East and widely distributed and unconnected patches. Recently, Nagzira’s protection status received a strong impetus when it became the part of Navegaon – Nagzira Tiger Reserve, complimenting the excellent habitat that has supported a strong wildlife population including the charismatic tiger.
Text and photos by Anirudh Chaoji
A Glimpse of Indian History: History Museum, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad
The Department of History and Ancient Indian Culture of the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad has set up a unique museum that offers a collection of miniature paintings, sculptures, texts, coins, weaponry, pottery, textiles, etc. which put together take you on a journey of India’s rich and diverse past.
Text by Neelambari Jagtap
Photos courtesy of Neelambari Jagtap and Sudhir Balkhande
Makar Sankranti and Ratha Saptami: The Promise of New Beginnings
Two festivals, two vivid celebrations, but united in spirit: celebrating all that is good, bright and positive in life. Both Makar Sankranti and Ratha Saptami have their origin in the movement of the sun, and they embody the promise of new beginnings backed by fresh hope. In these chaotic times, we sure could do with every reminder that life is innately empowered to reinvent—and renew itself.
Text by Kalyani Sardesai
Photos courtesy of Saloni Luktuke
A Touch of Spice: Saoji Cuisine
Saoji or Savji, write it anyway, this food from central India will make your eyes water, and your palate yearn for more. The food is what has made the Saoji Community famous, especially its hot and spicy non vegetarian delicacies.
Text and photos by Prachi Bari