India
Maharashtra

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

148 travelers at this place:

  • Day27

    Bird Excursion & New Year's Eve Gala

    December 31, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌫 75 °F

    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: https://photos.app.goo.gl/1ZZAGTnRyd4E8Zah9

    Tomorrow we're off to Jaipur in the morning.
    Read more

  • Day24

    Maharashtra and Bengali Blend

    December 28, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    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: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kCmZHJFUJ5c19AJD7

    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.
    Read more

  • Day25

    Reception

    December 29, 2018 in India ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

    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.
    Read more

  • Day23

    Maximum City pre-Wedding

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 84 °F

    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.
    Read more

  • Day23

    Family, Family, and More Family

    December 27, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 81 °F

    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!
    Read more

  • Day25

    Long Day of Travel to Aurangabad

    February 8 in India ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Today was our longest day of travel for the whole trip. Up at 5am and into an Uber to the station for our 6am train heading south to Aurangabad. We had a pair of bunks reserved so we spent the first few hours dozing before folding them up and sitting on the bench seat. Not the most comfortable, but manageable. The berths are arranged into two pairs in little compartments, and the two opposite us were empty which was nice so we spread out. Until we were halfway through lunch, and two local men got on - doh. Especially since one of them was constantly on the phone, yelling the entire time. I think that the constant noise of car horns, trucks and the like means that the locals are all slightly hard of hearing, and just talk at full volume by default. A minor irritant in the scheme of things.

    After 9 hours, and an hour behind schedule, we finally rolled into Manmad Junction and hopped off. The only direct train to Aurangabad ran overnight and had no seats available, so we had to catch connecting trains - a dicey proposition in India at the best of times. I'd booked our connecting train for 6pm, so that unless our train had the once-a-month luck of being 4+ hours late, we should be OK. Except that the previous day's train had arrived 4.5 hours late, and only 2 minutes before the 30 minutes late connecting train. So if we'd caught it yesterday, we would've had two minutes to change platforms and find our carriage - not an easy task when the trains are usually over a kilometre long!

    But in the end our train was only an hour late, and the connecting train was about 45 minutes late. So we had plenty of time to sit in the "upper class" waiting room and get bored. I'm not sure what upper class means in this context, probably just fewer mice or something - it definitely didn't mean zero mice!

    Finally got on our connecting train to Aurangabad as it was growing dark, and nothing especially eventful happened for the two hour trip down. Our hotel here is directly opposite the station (close enough to hear announcements), so we just walked over and headed to bed.
    Read more

  • Day26

    Ellora Caves

    February 9 in India ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Despite being a city that probably nobody has ever heard of, Aurangabad is semi on the tourist circuit in India. Outside of town are two sets of cave temples that are quite famous, and it was those we'd come to see. The closer of the two is Ellora Caves, and we bravely decided to get public transport here. After a tuktuk to the bus station, we had a rough idea of the bus to catch - but of course all the signs and announcements are in Hindi! It then becomes a game of picking the best person to ask; someone who'll understand questions, be willing to help, and isn't looking to profit from your interaction. In the end I picked a young guy who looked like he was heading to work as a programmer. He pointed out the right platform and made sure we got on when the bus arrived which was nice!

    When the bus arrived it was complete pandemonium, with pushing and shoving and a new trick I hadn't seen before - people throwing their bags through the window to reserve a seat! Funnily enough we didn't get a seat, but the trip was only 45 minutes so we survived. Better than Sri Lankan buses to be honest.

    So the Ellora cave complex is basically a large group of cave temples (36 in all), from the three key religions in the area. Some are Buddhist, some are Hindu, and some are Jain. The caves have all been hewn out of the rock over centuries by monks and the like, and are full of carvings of deities, religious scenes and so on. They were actually really incredible to see, and we were both really impressed.

    The highlight is the colossal temple #16, a Hindu temple carved from a single stone. It's considered be the world's largest monolith, and I could easily believe it. You have to keep reminding yourself that not only was this dug out of a rock, all of the sculptures and carvings were dug out too. Crazy stuff.

    Had a quick bite of lunch then got the shuttle bus up to the Jain temples, which were on the same site but a couple of kilometres away. These were likewise very ornately carved and intricate, and also connected internally which was really interesting and something we hadn't seen before. Was a lot of fun exploring, even if we did end up running out of time slightly before the shuttle bus left.

    Getting back to Aurangabad was a bit of an ordeal! We waited at the bus stop for an hour while several buses went past - apparently express services! They stop here outbound but not inbound for some reason. But nobody else would stop or even come close. Eventually we and a few other tourists waiting nearby gave in to the private minivan guys who'd been hanging around and trying to sell us tickets for the last hour. I wasn't keen on it, but we were also sick of waiting.

    So we all piled in, thirteen of us into the 9 seater van. He stopped to let one guy hop off, and then five more got in! I was on a bench type thing in the rear right corner and there was a guy sort of in front and above me but not on me. I'm not quite sure where he was actually existing - he seemed to be floating in space! Though the worst one was the guy who sat in the driver's seat - who then got the driver sitting on his lap! Yes, our driver drove about halfway back while sitting on someone's lap. It was okay until he started going offroad, dodging trees and the like to get around queues of traffic. Yikes.
    Read more

  • Day27

    Ajanta Caves

    February 10 in India ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    After yesterday's fun with public transport, we decided to catch the specific tourist bus out to Ajanta Caves, which was quite a bit further (3 hours rather than 45 minutes). Some French girls we'd spoken to briefly said the road was pretty bad. The tourist bus left from near our hotel and was quite comfortable - large padded seats, air conditioning etc. And it was only 1/3rd full so we could spread out and recline. The journey out there passed without incident.

    Had some lunch at the on-site cafe which didn't quite sit right with me, I felt slightly off after eating it. But I soldiered on, checking out another series of mostly-Hindu caves this time, all arranged in a cliffside around a horseshoe bend of a river. Lots of impressive carvings here, mainly of Hindu deities like Ganesh, Shiva, Vishnu and so on. Quite a similar site Ellora yesterday, and just as impressive. A couple of the caves were large cathedral-style rock chambers with vaulted ceilings and excellent acoustics. You can just imagine the monks chanting their mantras.

    Hopped back on the coach at 3pm, ready to commence the journey back home. We set off, and soon stopped on a mountain pass road in a traffic jam. A pair of trucks had collided, causing one to lose a huge load of cotton (it's standard practice here to massively overload trucks). With the blockage being exacerbated by people driving on the wrong side of the road to skip the queue, it took us over two hours to get past the accident. Eventually we made it past and trundled our way back home. After stopping for a tea break, we didn't make it back to Aurangabad until about 8:30pm, which, considering we'd left home at about 7:15am, made for a pretty long day!
    Read more

  • Day30

    Elephanta Caves & Mumbai

    February 13 in India ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Feeling a bit better today so decided to head out and tackle the three (3!!) world heritage sites in Mumbai. After some breakfast at a western style cafe with tasty food and glacial service, we headed for the Gateway to India at the entrance to Mumbai harbour and caught a ferry across to Elephanta Caves.

    Here there were more Hindu rock art caves, pretty similar to what we'd just seen at Ellora and Ajanta, and sadly these were by far the least impressive. Only five caves here, and really only the first cave has something interesting in it - a huge three-headed statue of Shiva known as the Trimurti. It was quite interesting looking at the three-faced head sculpture and reading the Wikipedia article, learning about it. Apparently it represents the three aspects of Shiva, the chief god of Hindus.

    One side was slightly feminine, wearing jewellery and holding a lotus leaf, representing fertility. The centre face was serene and holding a shield, showing protection. While the third face looked furious and held a sword, representing destruction. It was probably the best single carving we'd seen in any of the three cave sites, but there was very little else here besides aggro monkeys and souvenir stands, so we beat a hasty retreat.

    Sailed back across the harbour in the early afternoon and started wandering. The two sites in Mumbai are the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Buildings, as well as a separate listing for the huge Chhatrapatti Shivastri Terminus railway station.

    Mumbai is actually probably my favourite Indian city, as the buildings are quite interesting. You can really see how important it was during the colonial era, as there's heaps of old buildings like that around. These days they're occupied by government offices, law courts, post offices and so on, but they're dotted around and very interesting to see. More trees here than elsewhere too, plus a large park in the centre of town called the Maidan. It was actually mostly green and of course had about 10 different cricket matches happening.

    Last stop as evening approached was the main railway station. Dating from the 19th century and formerly known as Victoria Terminus, it was renamed after independence for an Indian king of yesteryear. The building itself is magnificent, with Gothic flourishes, sculptures and incredible details all over the front and interior. I'd hoped to do the building tour which ran frequently in the afternoon (and which Shandos had done the day prior), but alas we were just too late. Oh well.

    Back to the nearby hotel where we went to the western-style cafe across the road for dinner. I managed a chicken burger for dinner even though it was way too spicy, but didn't feel up to a beer. Realised I hadn't had a single beer since arriving in India!
    Read more

  • Day36

    A Day at the Mall

    February 19 in India ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Decided to do about the least Indian thing possible for our last day here - we headed to the mall. Shandos has a conference the day after we arrive so needed to buy a couple of things for that, while I just wandered around the various shops looking at nothing in particular.

    Apparently it's the largest mall in India, and although it was fairly large there surprisingly isn't much competition. Western-style shopping malls just don't really exist here yet. The shops were all typical western brands and fairly expensive - honestly not much difference in price for the stuff I looked at versus the prices I'd expect back in Australia.

    We decided to splurge on lunch at a Jamie Oliver pizza restaurant which was tasty and quite cheap, though still comfortably our most expensive meal of the last three weeks. I think we paid about $30 AUD for two pizzas, a water and two non-alcoholic mixed drinks. Headed home in an Uber mid-afternoon and again just spent the rest of the day relaxing around the hostel.
    Read more

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

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now