India’s third-largest and second-most populous state, Maharashtra is an expansive canvas showcasing many of India’s iconic attractions. There are palm-fringed beaches; lofty, cool-green mountains; Unesco World Heritage Sites; and bustling cosmopolitan cities (and gorgeous vineyards in which to escape them). In the far east of the state are some of the nation’s most impressive national parks, including Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Inland lie the extraordinary cave temples of Ellora and Ajanta, undoubtedly Maharashtra’s greatest monuments, hewn by hand from solid rock. Matheran, a colonial-era hill station served by a toy train, has a certain allure, while pilgrims and inquisitive souls are drawn to cosmopolitan Pune, a city famous for its ‘sex guru’ and alternative spiritualism. Westwards, the romantic Konkan Coast, fringing the Arabian Sea, is lined with spectacular, crumbling forts and sandy beaches; some of the best are around pretty Malvan resort, which is fast becoming one of India’s premier diving centres.