India’s second largest city, Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is home to a few hundred captivating contrasts and creeds. Mumbai is bursting with frenetic bazaars, shaded avenues thronged by commuters and roads brimming with traffic. The dynamic Maharashtrian metropolis is also a powerhouse of India’s business and trade sectors. But regardless, the city’s ethos lies in its biggest railway station - Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, in people-watching and eating bhelpuri by the iconic arch of the Gateway of India and in the exquisite Taj Mahal Palace, that holds a decade worth of stories about both Bombay and Mumbai. A few other places to visit in Mumbai are Nariman Point - a legion of office blocks in the heart of the city and the Prince of Wales Museum for its eclectic architecture. Watching the sunset with a plate of vada pav at Marine Drive and experiencing the vibrant festival of Ganesh Chaturthi at Juhu Beach are few of the best things to do in Mumbai. One must also travel to Mumbai to be dazzled by the country’s biggest, and most prolific film and media industry, wherein if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a Bollywood star or two.
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.
The city of Thane is a great getaway from Mumbai. Its beautiful lakes, lovely locales, boat rides and old forts makes it a popular weekend spot for tourists. The most popular lake here is the Upwan Talao, which is also famous for hosting the Sanskruti Arts Festival. This sparkling lake also houses a Ganesha temple near its confines. Enjoy the thrill of water rides at the Suraj Water Park, which also doubles up as a picnic spot here. The Masunda Lake is another famous lake, which offers boating and water scooter facilities as well. Don't forget to try out the delicious local snacks that are sold here! Thane offers a chance to discover the unique flavours of Maharashtrian cuisine. Lodging here is not a problem with numerous hotels and guest houses available as per the tourist's requirement. If nature is something that you wish to explore, Thane is the place to be!
Popularly known as Baroda, Vadodara is great travel destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts. The town is known for the grand Laxmi Vilas Palace and the Fatehsingh Museum (both located in the same premises). Do keep aside an entire day if you are fond or art and culture since the palace is huge and deserves that kind of time. You can also visit Sayaji Baug, a lush, refreshing garden in the middle of the city. It is the perfect place to visit if you are travelling with children since it has a small kid's zone, a cafeteria, a small museum and a zoo. If you are in the city for more than a day, do visit Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum since it houses numerous rare and beautiful paintings, sculptures and murals from all over the world, collected by the royal family. Vadodara may not be a traveller's perfect destination, but it does have its fair share of history, culture and art.
A modern-day resort town, the hill station of Lonavala is around 106km from Mumbai. It makes for a great weekend getaway from Pune as well, if staying at luxury hotels, spending time with family at a massive waterpark, roaming the halls of a wax museum and go-carting sound like fun to you. If you are here during the monsoons, do check out the many gurgling waterfalls. You can even drive or take a local bus to the fascinating Karla and Bhaja Caves nearby. But if you would rather do nothing, then driving aimlessly through the green Sahyadri ranges all day, while stopping for the locally-made chikki candy is also a good way of indulging in tourism in Lonavala. There are even some yoga retreats that you can check into for some professionally-guided relaxation. If you have more time, you can combine a trip to Lonavala with a visit to the popular Lohagad and Visapur forts, located in Khandala.
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.