Called the Oxford of the East, Pune is a bubbling cosmopolitan city. A large student hub, this city loves art, culture and theatre. The Sahyadri hill range of the Western Ghats makes this destination ideal for hiking and wildlife spotting. A shower of rain brings the city alive. The Agha Khan Palace of Pune is a sprawling complex with emerald green gardens and sprawling lawns, perfect for a casual stroll. The Shaniwarwada is an ancient structure built by the Peshwas and the ruins of this marvellous architecture can still be seen in the city. Dedicated to the brave hearts of the Indian Army, the National War Museum is a popular tourist destination and houses militia paraphernalia. Those interested in meditation can get day passes from the Osho International Meditation Resort, which is very popular with tourists. Handcrafted beer, baked goodies at the Kayani Bakery on East Street and eateries such as Touche the Sizzler, Malaka Spice and Dario's will complete your trip here.
Famous for its many temples and ghats, Nashik is one of the holiest cities in India. And for those looking for something more, there are the Sula Vineyards to explore. The eventful history of Nasik is evident in its various forts, including Harihar Fort and Ramshej Fort, that are sprinkled all over the city. The Sita Gufa or the Cave of Sita is believed to be the spot from where Goddess Sita was abducted by Ravana, while Panchvati is believed to be the asylum of Lord Rama during his exile. The Timbakeshwar Temple of Nasik is as much an architectural masterpiece as it is a religious centre. Carved intricately, this much-celebrated temple is perched on top of the Brahmagiri hills. Indulge your senses at the Sula Vineyards, which offer an insightful and entertaining tour that offers information on wine manufacturing and a chance for wine tasting. Nasik offers an impressive assortment of Maharashtrian food that is lightly influenced by the neighbouring states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Popular restaurants include Barbeque Ville Veg Aroma and Aster The Coffee Shop. For accommodation, Nashik has options in all segments – budget, mid-range and luxury hotels.
A rapidly developing city in Madhya Pradesh, Indore is the perfect example of a small town packed with the right kind of holiday experiences. Especially if you are a foodie! The Sarafa Bazaar which is open till the wee hours of morning is a must visit and should not be missed! The market opens only around midnight and this is perhaps what makes it a little more special. The bazaar offers a plethora of street food and it's one of the best foodie experiences you can have in the country. Other than that, you can visit the beautiful Central Museum. The museum houses collections dating back to the pre-historic era and if art and history interest you, do head here. Indore is also at a prime location for tons of tourist spots including Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, Patalpani and Maheshwar. If you are in the mood for trekking, you can head to Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary for a bit of adventure. The summer months here are quite harsh, so it's best to go during winter. The people of Indore are warm, welcoming and quite adventurous so if you happen to know an Indori, you will have a chance to explore a different side of the city.
The destination of the World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves where you find a new meaning of beauty, Aurangabad was named after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The city is located at the banks of the Kham River and known as one of the most historically significant cities of Maharshtra. You will also find the best museums out here which include the three most important ones. These are the Sunehri Mahal Museum, University Museum and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum. apart from recieving all other modern facilities and amenities during your trip, you can laze away the afternoons in the beauty of the Bani Begum Gardens too.
Located on the banks of the river Shipra, Ujjain is a city famous for its many temples and religious centres. The Ram Mandir Ghat of Ujjain is the site for the world renowned Kumbh Mela, which is one of the largest peace gatherings to take place in the country. The calm and cool waters of this ghat are believed to cleanse those who take a dip of their sins. The most famous temple is the Mahakaleshwar Temple, which is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India. The intricate construction of the temple is an architectural marvel in itself. Considered to be the most important among the eight Bhairavas of Lord Shiva, the Kal Bhairav temple is also situated here. Perhaps the most important educational destination of ancient Ujjain would be the Ved Shala Observatory, where scholars and astronomers would convene and unravel the many mysteries of their disciplines. Relatively simple in architecture, this spot is a must visit. The cuisine is predominantly Indian with Punjabi cuisine and Rajasthani thalis being a favourite amongst a majority of tourists. Popular restaurants here are New Sudama, Shivam Restaurant and Aarti Restaurant. Hotels are very easily available here, and you can easily find one which suits your budget and taste. The aura of the city is sure to engulf you. Visit Ujjain to delve into and experience the sanctity of India.
One of the most sacred towns in India, Shirdi, also known as Sainagar or the Land of Sai, is located in the state of Maharashtra. Considered to be the place where the saint Sai Baba lived till 1918, it houses the great Sai Baba Temple. The temple is the burial site of Sai Baba and holds a lot of importance for devotees from across the country. Entry to the temple is free but to escape the crowd, there are special passes available for a certain amount. Don't miss the evening aarti and also be prepared for a huge rush to enter the temple. Gurusthan is another significant spot. It is the tree where Baba was often seen meditating. After visiting the tree one can collect Udhi which is a powder given to visitors and devotees. You can also visit Dwarakamayi; situated adjacent to the temple, which is the mosque where Sai Baba lived for 60 years till his samadhi in 1918. Devotees go there to watch Dhuni, the fire that was lit by Baba 100 years ago and is still ablaze.