Here you’ll find travel reports about Maharashtra. Discover travel destinations in India of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

108 travelers at this place:

  • Day27

    Bird Excursion & New Year's Eve Gala

    December 31, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 24 °C

    Our 30th Anniversary arrived!

    Johan had arranged a birding trip to two local reserves. The trip was led by a local ornithologist Asif N. Khan who works for BNHS, an area conservation agency. Jules joined us for his first ever birding excursion. We spent the morning birding on the edge of the Western Ghat in the Karnala bird sanctuary. The early afternoon we visited a wetland saved from by development by Asif's organization. No easy feat as 95 percent of the mangrove wetlands and islands around Mumbai have been filled in. I sighted 31 separate species, Johan probably double that. The mountain highlight for me was a scarlet minivet. The water highlight was a flock of 48 flamingo.

    We made it to the New Year's Eve celebration at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club last night. It was also our 30th anniversary so Nancy and I ducked out at 12:01. Another amazing evening. This morning we treated ourselves to a room service breakfast at the Grand Hyatt here in Mumbai.
    Here's a link to a countdown video from the evening:

    Tomorrow we're off to Jaipur in the morning.
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  • Day32

    The Slums of Mumbai

    December 20, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Now we've all seen Slum Dog Millionaire and to be honest this a slum tour was not on our cards at all until we met a fellow traveller recommended it and said it was a really interesting tour. So we decided to do it today. We jumped in the uber and went to Dharavi to meet our guide Mosin. To be honest I didn't have a clue what to expect but we had heard it is more about the positive and business side of the slum.

    Mosin was very very well educated and was quite a fascinating guy. He was brought up in the slums but was a true business man at heart. He had got into Ruskin University in Cambridge for his Masters and was just waiting to hear back with regards his visa. He was doing the very same tour we had with a guy from Zurich and then did 3 consecutive tours with the same guy. After the last day he found out that this was a test and that he had been invited to give a Ted Talk! At first, I honestly didn't know what to believe but he sent us a link! How incredible is that?!!

    The tour was really really eye opening he knew his facts and figures really well and was so proud to have come from the Slums. There is a lot of political issues going on with regards to taxes, services and actually getting rid of the slums at the moment but surprisingly the people in the slums don't want it to change for various reasons. The slum has various sections including residential, services ie schools, hospitals and shops and also a commercial centre. They have a huge manufacturing sector where they take plastic, metals, textiles etc and sell them to various countries. They are unbelievably self reliant. They even wired in their own electricity and water pipes so that they could connect to the mains. So yes their taxes and service costs might be dubeous but wow they are pretty entrepreneurial and self sustaining. We were told that the slum area alone generates $3 billion dollar for the economy each year with 1 million residents. The average daily income is between $8-10 a day.

    The tour was supposed to last anywhere between 1.5-2.5 hours. Ours was over 3 hours because we loved it so much and were asking so many questions about everything from what sights we have to see in Mumbai to everything about the Slums. It was really really interesting. We even met his friend who at the age of 20 now exports leggings to China from a tiny tiny room in the slum. He even gave me a free pair! So if you see me rocking out some Just Do It leggings then they're the ones haha

    After the tour he put us on the next train (he even bought our train tickets!) to churchgate where I ate for the first time today. Honestly I was still full from yesterday and had a huge stomach ache so I decided to let it settle down. We tried the famous Egg and Veg Frankie. Yum yum yum. We also knew that we were going out for dinner and Cyrus had warned us not to eat!

    Then we went to the Foreigner Tourist office at the train station to attempt to book our tickets for our Christmas destination. For Christmas we decided to meet up with Charlotte who we met in Kochi at the beginning of our India trip. She was already at the destination and had found us accomodation which was so kind. But... Just as we were in the queue I decided to connect to Will's WiFi and double check everything was OK and she sent me a message saying the accomodation had been cancelled! At the time both myself and Will didn't know what to think or feel as honestly we were loving our time in Mumbai, so to be honest if we could stay an extra few days that would be amazing! However, if we could get to the new place that would also be fun. In the end Charlotte was an absolute life saver and booked us a new accomodation and then we finalised our train tickets. Finally Christmas is sorted!

    It was pretty late by the time we were done so we just jumped on a train back to our house to get ready for dinner. We got back just in time for Cyrus to pick us up. We met his beautiful daughter and neice too who were 8 and 12 and so unbelievably giggly and shy. They were really cute. Traffic was soooo bad so we ended up being a bit late for the dinner reservation but it was all fine in the end. Anyone who drives in Mumbai is a champion and super brave. I don't think is have the patience!

    For dinner we went to Barbecue Nation, uh oh more meat!! It was an Indian version of a Brazilian BBQ. First they give you unlimited kebabs of chicken, prawns, fish and veggies. For mains you help yourself to whatever you want from the buffet and for dessert you can get unlimited of whatever you want too. I hadn't been to an all you can eat since I was younger and there is a reason. I just can't eat so much and just having a plate of starters, mains and an ice cream made me feel really sick. Self control is not my strongest point! But it was really good fun. The restaurant was a family style restaurant and was full of birthdays too which was fun to see and sing Happy Birthday at.

    After dinner Cyrus dropped us off back at the house and we both died in pain haha I definitely don't think I'm coming back slim this time haha
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  • Day31

    Our First Local Train

    December 19, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    If I said I'm going to Mumbai what would you picture in your head? Remember all those documentaries that you've seen about the traffic and the ram packed trains with people hanging off? You're probably thinking oh my goodness they've done so well but now they've met there greatest challenge of Asian cities. Well let's see...

    Our first stop we decided to not attempt a rickshaw in fear of being robbed so we decided to walk for 40 minutes in 10am heat to a Parsi restaurant that turned out to only cater in advance for large orders... Wups... So we wandered around the area ate street food instead and I had Kanwi and Patra, two child hood favourite gujarati snacks. Will had a masala dosa and a Bhataka Pav (a deep fried spicy mash potato ball in a bun). We were then in desperate need of the loo and a sit down so we took refuge in the a McDonald's.

    When we gathered our senses again we jumped on the local train. Now I must admit my first experience of the local train was great. We accidentally got on the luggage cart but everyone was very friendly and we got a seat straight away. It wasn't super busy and we got all the way into South Mumbai in 45 mins for 10 rupees each. Me and Will noticed that from the outside it looks like the train is packed because men hang on the side and don't seem to move in. But the inside was completely empty!

    We then spent the afternoon seeing the sights of Mumbai. First Stop was Victoria Terminus, we then went for a quick Pepsi in an aircond cafe and then carried on with the day. We visited Fashion Street, which is a street full of fakes for super cheap, Hutatma Chowk, Flora Fountain, which was covered up due to the development of the new metro, Bombay High Court which was surrounded in very well lawyers and barristers, Rajabai Tower (Mumbai's Big Ben), David Sassoon Library, Jehangir Art Gallery, Prince of Wales Museum, the iconic Taj Hotel and Gateway of India where we sat and watched the ferry boats come into the Dock.

    In the evening we were spoilt to death by Will's friend from uni Adi. She met us with her driver near the Taj Hotel in her hot red Jaguar!! Sweeeeet!! She then took us to Leopalds Cafe which is a famous cafe for tourists owned by an Irani Zoroastrian and was involved in the 2008 terrosit attacks in Mumbai. There were still bullet holes in the walls that they have kept as a memorial.

    Then we jumped back in the Jag and went to the elite members only club - Cricket Club of India where we ate an Indian/ Chinese feast and I even had my first Old Monk. Old Monk is my favourite rum, it's an Indian rum, god I was in heaven! Honestly it was like we were back in the British Raj, with full table service. It really was an elite club full of quite old Indians that must be unbelievably rich! We were so honoured to be there!

    What an amazing 2nd day in Mumbai!!
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  • Day33

    Happy 10 Year Anniversary!!

    December 21, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    We are in a really weird time zone at the moment. We are watching all our family and friends break up for Christmas and go to numerous celebrations and honestly I can't believe its the 21st December. We didn't even realise the meaning of the date until halfway through lunch haha But yes today is the official date me and Will decided to be Boyfriend and Girlfriend 😏 Anyway enough of the soppy stuff...

    Today we are meeting my dad's very good friends from his college days and I'm really excited to see them. I remember meeting them when I was much younger but I only remember Zarine being a very active, enthusiastic and energetic lady and Kersi being a calm collected man.

    Our first stop though was to go and watch the famous Dabbawallas. If you've seen any documentaries about India you will probably know about them. It's an amazing system where all the wives cook the mens food for their lunch at home. Then a man comes to all the houses and collects them. These are all then brought by train to town. They are then sorted and delivered by men on bikes to each persons desk at work. The Dabbawallas are illiterate and therefore have a number system for their delivery. It was unbelievable to watch!! Supposedly they only get wrong 1 in 6 million and they do 80,000-100,000 deliveries a day. That is more efficient than any other current delivery system! It was amazing to watch happen live. Its such a simple system but wow honestly I was amazed that it still works.

    We them went to meet Kersi and Zarine. They were just as I remembered them! They hadn't changed for 19 years!! I couldn't believe it. They were both unbelievably kind and showed us lots of sights in the area including Nariman Point over the sea and commercial district, horniman circle. Then we went to the famous Jimmy boy Parsi Restaurant where me and Will had a Parsi Laagan 4 course meal which they insisted we have. For starter I had Patra Ni Machi (Pomfret with chutney baked in banana leaf) with chapattis, Chicken Sali Boti with chapattis, Chicken Biryani and Parsi Custard for dessert. Obviously we couldn't eat it all so we ate most of the first two courses, had a rest, ate the dessert and packed up the Biriyani. Its possibly the best thing I've eaten in India so far. It was truly delicious. Cooked in a very homemade style and really authentic. Over lunch we talked all about our travels and their stories with dad. It was so so nice to hear. After lunch we then walked to where dad's home was when he was at college, then the famous Victoria Temrinus selfie point, Crawford market, then went for falooda and finally said our farewells. To be honest I'm feeling quite overwhelmed being here and hearing stories about my father but it's really helping me and making me stronger. I hope he's watching over us at the moment and keeping track of our adventure!

    Afterwards we attempted to sari shop but to no avail so we headed home as we were unbelievably shattered. On the way back we stopped at the largest outdoor laundry in the world, dhobi ghat. Well it was pretty impressive to be honest!

    As we were about half way back Adi rang and asked what we were up to. Honestly the only thing we had on our mind was that we wanted to lie down haha It was a Friday night and we probably were being quite lame. We were mostly home anyway so we decided to go back anyway, freshen up and then decide. At the spur of the moment we decided we might as well meet up with her and go for a drink. So we headed back out (by the way we aren't actually staying near the centre, it's about an hour away so us going out was actually quite impressive!). We met for drinks at Doolally which was a craft beer bar with boardgames. It was good fun. After a while we decided to see Adi's apartment and it was super swanky. They had gate men, a lift man and housekeepers. As we entered we were greeted by the most excited Shitzu I've ever met. He's only 4 months and he was bouncing off the walls!! Sooo cute!!

    After chatting endlessly we realised it was 1:30am so we booked an uber and headed home. The uber driver was an absolute disaster and although he had Google maps up he refused to use it. We eventually got home at 3am!! We felt soo soo bad waking up the housekeeper of the house we were staying in. But it's a very very different culture here. You have a person who does everything including opening doors for your own home.
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  • Day34

    Food Glorious Food!!

    December 22, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Today we are spending the whole day with Adi. The plan is for her to pick us up in her swanky Jag and then we will go on a foodie/ finish off our sightseeing tour. She was going to an exhibition in the morning and as last night was an unexpected late one and traffic was so bad she wasn't able to pick us up till around 2pm. To be honest it was a good job as I was finally feeling a bit peckish again 😂

    First we drove through an area called Bandra which was quite the higher class shopping district. We then headed for our first stop for food at Bombay Canteen. Adi ordered quite a few dishes and to be honest we were happy not to make a decision for once and just role with it!

    Adi said we should also look at the menu and see if there is anything that we like the look of. Will saw a dish that was basically made from sheep's testicles. When we got talking to the bar guy he said it's pretty good so we went for it. Honestly we thought it would be minced up testicles... It wasn't... It was just 2 testicles in a porcini and cream sauce. I would rate it 4/10. None offensive but not very tasty.

    Then we carried on looking at the menu even though fullish/ new we would be going to another restaurant next, but we saw Gulab Nut, which was Gulab Jamun soaked in Old Monk Rum with Pistachio cream. Oh my goodness I died and went to heaven! It was my 3 favourite Indian things in one. I'm still dreaming of it whilst writing this blog days later!

    Our next stop was Shiv Sagar for Idli. My brother LOVES Idli so we thought we would try it. I must admit it's not my favourite but it's OK.

    Then we had a bit of a break and went to a shopping mall where Adi needed to pop in and see her friend's shop as they were having a beauty treatment sampling for customers. So we joined in and had a bit of a laugh. The lady was in disbelief when she tested my skin and the result was normal. When she asked how I wash my face, I replied "With Water", she then asked with facewash? To which I replied "No". She then asked do I use moisturiser or a cleansing routine. I said I don't and she just looked at me with horror. She was so surprised that I have normal skin and don't use anything at all. Will went through exactly the same process and it was pretty fun haha We then all got given samples and then headed off to our next place, Shanti Snacks.

    At shanti snacks we tried 3 different dishes and once again they were all super tasty! But this was the icing on the cake, we were now super full!

    We finished off the day sight seeing at Haji Ali Mosque (honestly if you go to Mumbai skip this. Its absolutely disgusting and dirty inside. You have to take your shoes off and the floor is just covered in food and litter, it's shocking!), a really lovely Jain temple and then we finally walked around Hanging Gardens at night.

    The night ended back at Adi's house were we sat and chilled out. It has been such an amazing last day and we are unbelievably grateful for all the love, kindness and generosity that everyone has shown us during our stay here. We are super sad to leave.

    Mumbai wasn't what we thought it would be. There is an obvious difference between the rich and poor, it is a bit crazy and busy, but honestly it's an Asian city! Everywhere is over populated and it just can't cope with it and I think all the documentaries that we watch just don't give the city fair justice.
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  • Day35

    Bye bye Mumbai - Hello Gokarna!

    December 23, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    In the morning Cyrus was an absolute god send and picked us up, took us on a bit of another sightseeing tour around the suburbs of Mumbai and told us about how the whole area used to be Marsh land and jungle. We then saw his home area and then went to a shopping centre for lunch and to sort out our airtel Sim card. It was a full packed day, so much so that we were nearly late for the train! Luckily we arrived just in time, however we didn't have time to grab a quick dinner. The train that we booked was a 12 hour train to Gokarna, but as we booked so last minute the only seats we could get was SL class. This is the most basic sleeper class you can book... I must admit when I ran onto the train I was gutted that this was happening. The train was a thousand degrees, it smelt sweaty, it had no windows and so when passing dusty areas the train would just fill with dust, it had way too many people but to be honest once it got going it got much better and turned out to be a pretty nice journey. Everyone stopped chatting and got in beds by around 9pm which was just perfect. Unfortunately our stop wasn't the last stop so we had to get up and ready for its arrival at 3am. Even more unfortunately the train was an hour late and we ended up arriving after 4am eek...

    When we arrived, after a bit of haggling, we jumped into a tuk tuk and soon arrived at our little hut on the beach. It was pretty spooky walking along the sandy beach at night.

    As we didn't arrive till the early hours the next day we rested till about 12pm and then met Charlotte, from Kochi, at about 1pm. It was soo nice to be reunited!! Especially in such a beautiful, quiet, beach location. For the rest of the day we just chilled at the beach and caught up on the events from the past month. It was good fun, but not really worth taking up time on the blog! After dinner we Skyped my family for Christmas Eve and honestly it hit me how homesick I was. I ended up crying while talking to them. I was so upset!! Christmas is just such a nice time of year to be around family and friends and even though I know I have many many many years to do it properly it was sad to not be home and be part of it.
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  • Day24

    Maharashtra and Bengali Blend

    December 28, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    The wedding day arrived and found Augie and Nancy ill and confined to bed. Augie is still down some three days later. Yikes! This left Sophie and I to represent. And represent we did! Before we'd left the States Dolly requested our measurements so that she could have traditional clothing made for the occasion. We represented in style!

    The wedding was really interesting. The groom takes his place seated in an arched mandap at the front of the hall with the priest and close relatives looking on. After quite awhile the bride is lifted by her relatives and carried up to the front. She is holding her hands in front of her face and the groom has not seen her for some 12 days before this moment. He is lifted up by his relatives and the couple meets while seemingly floating on air. (this is all really apropos as they are both airline pilots) This is really no easy feat with a groom who tops out at 111 kilos. For the next hour or so the couple remain seated under the mandap with a Brahmin priest giving advice to the couple from the ancient traditions. The couple then make offerings and walk around the fire in the center seven times. Once this is done, they are official. The whole zeitgeist is really different from a western wedding. Most of the time the several hundred attendees aren't focused on the ceremony. They're milling about, socializing, and even getting a head start at the banquet table. Photos of the wedding can be found here:

    In the evening Johan and Mirtha were the first of our crew to head back to the hotel as Mirtha was also feeling a bit ill. Sophie and I sent them back with some electrolyte fluids and bananas for Augie and Nancy. Unfortunately we spent our last rupees on the food and forgot about having to secure a taxi back for ourselves. Fortunately a couple of guys from the bride's side noticed our predicament and went out of their way to deliver us safely back. The next morning Varsha commented, "It's India. This is how things are done here." Lovely.
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  • Day25


    December 29, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Another night, another gala.

    Nancy and Augie were still recovering this morning so Sophie and I headed down to the old part of town to take a look. We were accompanied by Johan and Mirtha. We caught an Ola (Indian Uber) and headed for the Chor Bazaar, or Theives Market. We walked through several city blocks of metal fabricators to get to the antiques and brass items. There were shops filled with old telephones, shops with old signs, and this being India a whole corner dedicated to the sale of automobile horns. Sophie found a place dedicated to drawer pulls and made some purchases. Around that time Mirtha was wondering where the clothing shops were and so we caught another Ola and headed to the Colaba Causeway where Sophie found a few more items and we were good to go.

    By evening Nancy had begun feeling a bit better and was up for attending the reception banquet. Augie was again laid low and stayed behind as we made our way back downtown. We stopped at the Colaba Causeway again so that Nancy could buy a dress. We then walked over to the Taj hotel, the grande damme of Bombay's old luxury. The hotel is opposite the Gateway to India monument so we strolled by there as well.

    Around 8pm we caught another taxi over to the reception venue. Several hundred people were in attendance. The reception was held within a military compound. Dhiman, the groom's dad had served in the Indian military and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Our family had given additional ID documents and filled out additional security forms to be allowed entry.

    We arrived to a glamorous scene right out of Hollywood. Everyone took a turn getting their photos taken on the red carpet. There were film directors, actors, and a chantuese in attendance. There was even a military Scottish style regimental band complete with bagpipes. Again the buffet was brimming and drinks were liberally replenished. To top it off there was a huge roller spool of ice cream! (there you go, Don)

    Hopefully Augie will be back up to snuff by New Year's Eve.
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  • Day23

    Maximum City pre-Wedding

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    We flew from Kochi to Mumbai the day after Christmas. We arrived in the evening and immediately fell into a whirl of activity, food, and color that has lasted for days. We came to celebrate the marriage of the nephew of our long time friends John and Varsha. After checking into the hotel we headed out into the Mumbai night to pick up Varsha's sister Pinky and their mother Neela. After a short visit to the house we climbed into cars and were driven to Pinky's favourite restaurant, Global Fusion. We arrived around 10pm and were informed That this is actually quite early for an Indian dinner. Global it was. Small plates kept arriving at regular intervals followed by visits to any one of ten food stations for main dishes. All good.

    Neela is quite a force. After Varsha's dad passed when she was nine years old, Neela took over a family of four girls. Dolly, Varsha, Pinky, and, Pappu. Varsha said that the girls grew up quick. She opened a salon and supported the family with its proceeds and help from extended family. The daughters have all grown into beautiful, successful women, each in her own way. They are also forceful women, again, each in her own way. I've watched them gently direct the men in their lives with everything from clear directions to subtle gestures over the past several days. It is Dolly's son Mikhail (named after Gorbachev) whose wedding we're here to celebrate.

    One thing about this family is that they are all into glamor and bling. Appearances matter. Knowing this Augie and I spent our first morning in Mumbai getting haircuts and a beard trim. Total came to 350 Indian rupees, or about $5. We doubled that as we tipped the barber and he was pretty chuffed. Sitting next to my oldest friend Jules in that shop watching my son getting a trim was a pretty special moment. Who would have thought that the two of us would one day be sitting in a shop in Bombay watching the chai walla dole out tea to a bunch of guys who are currently our age when we met some forty plus years ago.
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  • Day23

    Family, Family, and More Family

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Varsha and John invited quite a crew to this week of celebration. In addition to our family of four, we are joined by their daughter Devi and her boyfriend Ed and Ed's mother Lena. They also invited their good friends and long time neighbors Johan and Mirtha. Soon upon arriving Varsha and John informed us that we were not just invited to the wedding and reception, but to all of the family events as well.

    The first gathering happened today at the home of the groom and his parents Dolly and Dhimi. It takes place just before the wedding and is called the Haldi. Women from the groom's family burn incense, conduct a prayer, and spread purifying turmeric paste on the groom's body. The remaining paste is then taken to the bride's home where she receives a similar blessing.

    Neither bride or groom is supposed to leave their respective homes following this ceremony. Technically this was adhered to as Mikhail only traveled a few blocks to his aunt Pappu's house for a pre wedding party attended by close family and friends. The party was a thing to behold. Another lovely home, but this time there were women in attendance who specialize in Mehndi, or henna body art. Oh, and there was a sound system that would put even the most raucous University of Santa Cruz house party to shame. Oh, and there was a full bar and lots of uncles and nephews ensuring that no one had an empty glass. Oh, and there was a woman, Crystal, who sings in Bollywood movies and recently sang in a huge celebrity wedding of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. Oh, and so many interesting people that we ran out of time to meet them all. What a scene!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

State of Mahārāshtra, State of Maharashtra, Maharashtra, ماهاراشترا, Махараштра, Махаращра, महाराष्ट्र, মহারাষ্ট্র, Maháráštra, މަހާރާޝްތުރާ, Μαχαράστρα, Maharaŝtro, Maharastra, مهاراشترا, મહારાષ્ટ્ર, מהאראשטרה, Maharaštra, Mahárástra, マハーラーシュトラ州, მაჰარაშტრა, ಮಹಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ, 마하라슈트라 주, Mahārāštra, മഹാരാഷ്ട്ര, ମହାରାଷ୍ଟ୍ର, ਮਹਾਂਰਾਸ਼ਟਰ, Maharasztra, مہاراشٹر, مهاراشټرا, Maarastra, महाराष्ट्रराज्यम्, Maháraštra, மகாராட்டிரம், మహారాష్ట్ర, Маҳороштра, รัฐมหาราษฏระ, Maharaştra, מאהאראשטרא, 马哈拉施特拉邦

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