Maharashtra Expedition

Maharashtra Expedition

 Day 01: Upon arrival in Mumbai, you’ll be greeted by our MTA representative and escorted to your hotel. Later, explore Elephanta Island, renowned for its sacred Hindu sculptures within the caves. Return to Mumbai for a panoramic tour, including Victoria Terminus, the Fort area, and Gandhi’s House (Mani Bhawan), a significant site of Gandhi’s political work from 1917 to 1934. Conclude the day with a visit to Hanging Gardens. Overnight stay in Mumbai.

Key Highlights: Elephanta Caves, Mani Bhawan, Hanging Gardens.
Note: Elephanta Caves are closed on Mondays.

 Day 02: Start your day with a hearty breakfast before embarking on a journey to explore the Kanheri caves, showcasing ancient Buddhist art dating back from the 1st century B.C. to the 10th century CE. Derived from Sanskrit, Kanheri means “black mountain,” nestled on a hillside accessible through rock-cut steps. Afterward, head to the Global Vipassana Centre, home to the majestic Global Vipassana Pagoda, a symbol of peace and harmony inaugurated by former President Pratibha Patil in 2009. Situated on a peninsula between Gorai Creek and the Arabian Sea, it boasts the world’s largest stone dome without any supporting pillars. Conclude your day with a return to the hotel for a restful overnight stay. Don’t forget, Kanheri Caves are closed on Mondays.

 Day 03: Start your day with a delicious breakfast before embarking on a journey to Pune. En route, make a stop at Lonavala to explore the ancient Bhaja Caves, which boast a history spanning over 2000 years, dating back to 160 BC. These impressive rock-cut caves, once home to Buddhist monks, served as a sanctuary for travelers. Admire the intricate rock excavations depicting scenes of dance and daily life from the 1st century. Next, venture to the renowned Karla Caves, another captivating Buddhist site near Lonavala, housing one of India’s largest Chaityas. Don’t miss the Ekvira Temple nestled within the Karla Caves. Conclude your day’s journey in Pune with an overnight stay, with inclusions of accommodation, breakfast, transport, and a knowledgeable tourist guide to enhance your experience. Highlights of the day include the Bhaja and Karla Caves, offering a glimpse into ancient Indian history and culture.

Day 04: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before embarking on your journey through Pune’s historical gems. Begin your day with a visit to Shaniwarwada, a majestic mansion commissioned by Bajirao I in 1730. Marvel at its intricate architecture and rich history, enhanced over the years by successive Peshwa rulers.

Next, immerse yourself in the poignant legacy of the Aga Khan Palace, synonymous with India’s struggle for freedom. Once a prison for national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, this architectural marvel now stands as a museum and memorial. Explore its exhibits and pay homage to Kasturba Gandhi, whose samadhi rests within its grounds.

Conclude your day with a visit to the Pataleshwar Cave Temple, a marvel of ancient craftsmanship dedicated to Lord Pataleshwar and Lord Shiva. Admire its stunning rock-carved architecture and intricate sculptures depicting Hindu deities. Spend the night in Pune, enriched by the day’s cultural experiences.

Key Attractions: Shaniwarwada, Pataleshwar Cave Temple, The Aga Khan Palace

Day 05: Following breakfast, an optional excursion awaits at the Osho Ashram, established by Rajneesh Chandra Mohan Jain, famously known as Osho Rajneesh. Referred to as the Osho Commune International of Pune, it sprawls across 32 acres. Later, the journey to Aurangabad with a possible stop at Shani Singapur, renowned for its temple dedicated to Shani, was deemed the ‘Alive Temple Town’ due to the belief in Shani’s presence in a self-emanated rock. Notably, this town operates without doors, as it’s believed Shani protects it from theft. Upon arrival in Aurangabad, check into the hotel for an overnight stay.

Highlights: Osho Ashram, Shani Singapur

Please Note: Osho Ashram’s visit is optional and entails direct payment.

Day 06: Following breakfast at the hotel, we’ll embark on a journey to explore the ancient wonders of Ellora Caves. Carved over 2000 years ago, these caves boast temples and monasteries crafted by Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain artisans. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ellora showcases the pinnacle of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 caves, hewn into the Charanandri hills, include 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu, and 5 Jain caves, reflecting the religious harmony of bygone eras. Protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, this site is a testament to India’s rich history. Next, we’ll visit the formidable Daulatabad Fort, towering 200 meters atop a conical hill. Renowned for its impregnability, the fort has thwarted numerous invasion attempts throughout history. Originally established as the capital by Muhammad-bin-Tughluq in 1327, Daulatabad, meaning ‘the abode of wealth,’ offers a glimpse into India’s storied past. Please note: Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays.

Day 07: Embark on a morning journey to Ajanta, a stunning complex of caves nestled in the Sahyadri hills. Carved from volcanic rock, these ancient caves boast 24 monasteries and temples adorned with vibrant wall paintings. After exploring this historic marvel, return to Aurangabad for an overnight stay. The package includes accommodation, breakfast, transport, and a knowledgeable guide. Remember, Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays.

Day 08: Start your day with a delightful breakfast at the hotel before journeying to Nashik. Upon arrival, explore the mystical Sita Gufa, the site where Sita was abducted by Ravana. Ascend a narrow staircase to discover caves adorned with idols of Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman, along with a revered Shivling. Next, marvel at the sacred Trimbakeswar Temple, housing one of India’s twelve principal Shiva shrines. While entry is restricted to Hindus, you can still glimpse its serene courtyard. Conclude your day with a visit to Sula Vineyards, the city’s pioneering winery, where you can witness the fascinating winemaking process. Learn about the winery’s origin, named after the owner’s mother, Sulabha, and immerse yourself in its rich history. Retreat for the night in Nashik, cherishing the day’s diverse experiences.

Highlights: Sita Gufa, Trimbakeswar Temple, Sula Vineyard

Day 09: En route to Mumbai, consider a detour to explore the renowned Dhamma Giri Vipassana center nestled in Igatpuri. Translating to the ‘Hill of Dhamma,’ this center stands as one of the globe’s largest for Vipassana meditation. Partnered with the Vipassana Research Institute, it’s a unique stop on your journey. Upon arrival in Mumbai, settle in for the night.

Key Stopover: Dhamma Giri Vipassana Center

Day 10: Enjoy a morning meal at the hotel before heading smoothly to the airport. No overnight stay included.

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