Temples and Spiritual Places
Maharashtra is the third largest and second-most populous state in India, blessed with diverse tourist places. Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra is home to the world famous Bollywood film industry. The name Maharashtra is derived from the words “Maha” (great) and “Rashtra” (state”). The modern Marathi language of the state is developed from the ancient “Maharashtri Prakrit” language. Apart from being one of the prosperous state in India, Maharashtra is also known for rich history, religious diversity and spiritual culture. It is also famous for its ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, mountain range of Western Ghats (Sahyadri), beautiful beaches of Arabian Sea, and pilgrimage destinations like Nashik and Shirdi.
Maharashtra is home to a diverse religious and spiritual sects. Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai and Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple in Pune and Ganpatipule Mandir in Ratnagiri, are some of the most famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra. The temples of Ellora, the architecture marvels of largest rock-cut temples on Earth and recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, showcases the monuments and artwork from Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The Kailash temple is Ellora is one of the oldest religious structures recognized for its sublime architecture.
Moving on from Aurangabad, Nasik is a prominent religious city in Maharashtra famous for hosting the Kumbh Mela that in held every twelve years, which holds spiritual significance in Hinduism. Trimbakeshwar temple near Nashik is an ancient temple and known as one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Not too far away from Nasik is the holy place of Shirdi, which is the birthplace of Sai Baba, a prominent religious figure. About 125 kms away from Nasik, Mangi-Tungi hills is another prominent place for religious tourism.
The Sach Khand Shri Huzur Sahib Gurdwara located in Nanded, is one of the most famous Gurudwara in Maharashtra. The structure is built at a place where the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh left his earthly life for heavenly abode.
Fairs and Festivals
Maharashtra cherishes the spirit of festivities with utmost delight and zeal. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the grandest religious festivals celebrated in the state when a massive number of people gather on the streets to worship Lord Ganesha. It is an 11-day long festival and the most popular one in Maharashtra. The festival of Gokul Ashtami (also known as Janmashtami) is celebrated with great enthusiasm too. People form pyramids and climb up to break a clay pot full of butter and milk suspended high up in the air as a ritual. This ritual is known as dahi-handi and is practiced to honour beloved Lord Krishna.
Another occasion celebrated with great pomp and glitter is the festival of Gudi Padwa, which signifies the commencement of a prosperous year. Maharashtra encapsulates the spirit of celebrations by enjoying a diverse, bright and vibrant festivals throughout the year.