5 Facts About Maharashtra That Will Get You Packing Your Bags NOW!

You made it to our Web site, so no doubt, you must be a travel buff (or will soon turn into one we hope!). But, we bet you had no idea about how incredible Maharashtra is as a travel spot, even though it happens to be the fourth most visited state by domestic tourists in our nation. Forget all about the hype about chowpatty, Bollywood celebrities and vada-paav – we’ve got some fun facts about Maharashtra that are going to knock your socks off and have you packing your bags right this instant. Read away and hit the road!

1. Getting Fort-y

According to Maharashtra Tourism, Maharashtra has the most number of forts in India compared to any other state – yep, over 350 to be precise, with 20 of them being sea forts. Bet you didn’t know that!

2. Wide Open

Maharashtra is one of the top border states, with easy access to a wide variety of states with diverse geography, including Goa, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

ajanta

3. UNESCO Champion

There are 35 World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO in India, out of which Maharashtra has the most (four!) – these include Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The Western Ghats (also known as the Sahyadri mountains) are also noted as World Heritage Sites, as well as one of the world’s ten hottest biodiversity hotspots – four of the thirty-nine properties that comprise the Western Ghats are actually in Maharashtra.

source: youthconnect.in
source: youthconnect.in

4. Rare, Mysterious Sights

Maharashtra is home to two very rare sights – Lonar Lake and Shani Shingnapur. Lonar Lake is a saltwater lake said to have been created by a meteor hitting the Earth – how cool is that! Shani Shingnapur is a unique village in which none of the homes or shops have doors, due to a rumor that anyone who has a door or locks it will be cursed; turns out there hasn’t been any theft reported. Incredible!

5. Variety Is the Spice of Travel!

Maharashtra is among one of the top spots when it comes to variety of hill stations AND religious spots – Igatpuri, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Matheran, Karjat, Khandala, Lavasa, Lonavala, Amboli, Chikhaldara,Jawhar, Panhala, Toranmal; if you love the hills, you’ll be quite pleased hill hopping here. And, if you’ve got a strong spiritual side, you’re in luck, too – Shirdi, Tuljabhavani Temple, Gajanan Maharaj Temple, Mahakalkshmi Temple, Haji Ali Dargah, Mount Mary Church, Parvati Temples, Osho Ashram, Huzur Sahib Nanded…the list of possible pilgrimage sites goes on and on!

Pretty neat, right? Maharashtra sure has a ton to offer everyone, whether it be hill stations to trek through, waterbodies to laze around at, caves to explore and religious sites to soul search at. If you want to tread the geographically rich terrain of Maharashtra, you might just love our Canvassing the Caves and Craters of Maharashtra package!

~ Amanda Sodhi

Six Times Western Filmmakers Went Rajasthan Bound

There is something very magical about Rajasthan. Extravagant palaces that carry tales as mesmerizing as its architecture, towering forts that have witnessed numerous battles and victories, limitless sand dunes so many caravans have treaded and intriguing tales that invoke much curiosity and amazement; at some point, everyone has certainly been drawn to this region. After all, it is ever-so-rich in terms of its culture and geography, which dates back to ancient times. And, guess what? Even Hollywood, Australian and European filmmakers haven’t been able to resist paying homage to this colorful and exotic Indian state through films. Here are six well-known films from the West that were shot in our very own enchanting and regal Rajasthan –

1. The Darjeeling Limited

This 2007 comedy-drama features an eclectic mix of actors including our very own Irrfan Khan in a cameo role, and was shot primarily in Jodhpur. The Himalaya scenes were surprisingly shot, guess where? – Udaipur!

source: wikipedia.org
source: wikipedia.org

2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Based on the novel These Foolish Things, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was shot extensively in Jaipur and Udaipur at locations such as City Palace, Tripola Bazar, Kanota Fort and the Step Well near Amer Fort.

source: licdn.com
source: licdn.com

3. The Dark Knight Rises

Which Batman fan doesn’t love The Dark Knight Rises? This epic finale to the Batman trilogy has several scenes, including the scenes with the prison pit, which were filmed in Jodhpur. This film put Mehrangarh Fort on the global filming map. Apparently Christopher Nolan and his team went nuts shooting in the 120 degree heat, though, but boy was it worth it!

source: denofgeek.com
source: denofgeek.com

4. Octopussy

All of you James Bond fans might recall the 1983 production, Octopussy which reaped $183.7 million at the box office off a budget of just $27.5 million – A huge chunk of the film was shot in Rajasthan as Bond follows Kamal Khan to his palace. Many scenes were shot in Udaipur at The Monsoon Palace, Lake Palace and Jag Mandir, as well as Shiv Niwas Paalce. And, it makes sense – Udaipur is completely picture-perfect for celluloid!

source: disneymoviesanywhere.com
source: disneymoviesanywhere.com

5. The Jungle Book (1994)

The Jungle Book went on to gross $43.2 million in theatres back in 1994, and we bet you probably didn’t know most of it was shot in Jodhpur and Mumbai. The fortress shown in the film is actually Meherangarh Fort, built way back in the 15th century!

source: lisimg.com
source: lisimg.com

6. Holy Smoke

The Kate Winslet 1999 Australian drama film Holy Smoke!, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, revolved around a spiritual awakening that happens on a trip to India. The team spent six days filming in Pushkar, and several scenes were also shot in Delhi.

Go ahead and revisit these six delightful films and let us know if you can spot each of the scenes shot in Rajasthan! And, if you want to explore these wonderful scenic locations that even filmmakers couldn’t resist incorporating into their projects, well look no further – you can hop on board our Best of RajasthanThe Desert Special Rajasthan and Supernatural Rajasthan packages.

~ Amanda Sodhi