We're mid-way through January, and you're still unsure about your travel plans for the year? Good. Because The GUIDE has packed in the most interesting travel calendar that celebrates the best and the most vibrant destinations across Maharashtra to visit every month of the year. So, pack your bags and see how many you can cover!
Located in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, Lonar is an ideal place to start the New Year with its world-famous natural wonder — the Lonar Crater Lake. In nippy January, explore this fascinating sightseeing option, which is a saline soda lake, believed to be created by a meteor impact years ago. The blue waters amidst a sprawling emerald forest is a must-visit.
February: Elephanta caves
Get into the mood for a cultural experience and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site — Elephanta Caves. See the beautiful rock-cut caves on Gharapuri come to life with dance and music owing to the annual Elephanta Festival. Started in 1989, the event celebrates eclectic cultural performances by artistes from around the country.
If you love your wine and would rather soak in the experience of how it’s prepared, Nashik can be your haven. The city, which is the highest producer of grapes in India, boasts of 36 world class wineries and is often regarded as the wine capital of India. From wine fests to tastings, you can indulge in all that and more while you unwind in a relaxed ambiance.
Head for a quick escape to Chikhaldara, a hill station in Amravati district. Located in the Vidarbha region, it is the only coffee-growing area in Maharashtra. Apart from consuming the beauty of the place, one can also go the wildlife route and if lucky, one can spot panthers, sloth bears, sambar, etc. Other interesting excursions include Gavilgad and Narnala Fort.
May: Pench/ Tadoba
Reserve May for the wild cats! Watching animals in their natural habitat is an exhilarating experience. So, take a trip to Pench National Park that extends in the southern reaches of the Satpura hill ranges, along the northern boundary, or visit the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district.
963 kms (Pench) and
701 kms (Tadoba)
Most people living in Mumbai travel to Pune on some pretext or the other. But, this time, apart from the food and nightlife of Pune, witness the city’s Palki Festival that takes place in June and showcases the distinctive features of the Maharashtrian culture. During the 22-day festival, people perform collective singing, dancing and chanting, a spectacle worth a watch.
Monsoon is the most beautiful season in Maharashtra. It washes the state off its parched outlook and adds a dash of green. One of the best places to visit during this time is Bhandardhara on the Western Ghats. Located in the Ahmednagar district, Bhandardhara sits by the Pravara River, and is a blend of natural beauty, waterfalls and mountains.
August: Igatpuri/ Malshej ghat
These hilly getaways are bound to make your August rewarding. Just before the monsoons bid goodbye, head out to Igatpuri (a hill station in the Nashik District) or Malshej Ghat (a mountain pass in the Thane district). Both places offer tranquil locations and scenic views that are sure to round up things on a pleasing note.
121 kms (Igatpuri) and
126.9 Kms (Malshej Ghat)
September: Kaas Plateau
Explore Maharashtra’s ‘Valley of Flowers’ — The Kaas Plateau. Situated 22 kms from Satara, the plateau is full of wild flowers during the months of August and September. These flowers bloom on their own and stay for about 2–3 weeks. Kaas has more than 850 different species of flowers and other plants. Time for some floral fun!
October: Kolad/ Tarkarli
If you’re an adventure sports junkie and love water, October is when you should head out for the big splash at Kolad or Tarkarli. Located in Raigad, Kolad is a white water rafting hotspot, and is blessed with waterfalls, outdoor activities and trails. The pristine shoreline at Tarkarli in Sindhudurg is famous for snorkeling and scuba diving.
115.3 kms and 540.6 kms
India’s orange capital, Nagpur, blooms with oranges throughout November, and if this reason isn’t enticing enough, head to the city for its Kalidas Festival that takes place in this month. The Festival endeavours to bring back memories of the golden period of the Vidarbha region when Mahakavi Kalidas had penned some of his greatest literary works.
End the year on a cultural high by attending The Ellora Festival in Aurangabad. Aimed to put the historical and pictorial sites in and around Aurangabad in the spotlight, The Ellora Festival witnesses some of the greatest performances from the best-known exponents of Indian music and dance every year amid this stunning landscape.