This particular trip to the cities of Kolhapur, Pune, and Mumbai, happened in May 2018. It was for 5 days. It was indeed a memorable trip and was fun-filled.
The first destination on this trip was Kolhapur. It is located in South Maharashtra, close to the Karnataka border. It takes a one-night journey (10 hours – 620km) to reach Kolhapur from Bengaluru. Kolhapur is also called as the cultural capital of Maharashtra due to its traditional heritage buildings and architecture. The most popular attraction in Kolhapur is Mahalakshmi Ambabai Temple.
This temple is almost 1400 years old and is also one of the 51 shaktipeethas. Other tourist attractions in Kolhapur include – Rajarampuri Palace, Panhala Fort, Rankala Lake, Rajwada, Panchganga Ghat, etc. It is also one of the gateways to the Western Ghats and connects to the beautiful Amboli Ghat.
Kolhapur is also heaven to food lovers, not only in Maharashtra but also in the entire country. Some of the famous delicacies in Kolhapur, include Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Poha, Tambda Rassa, Pandhra Rassa, Bhakri, Kolhapuri Bhel, Solkadi, etc. All of them are amazing and must-try recipes. The same day, we left for Pune (5 hours – 230km), via Satara. Pune is located in the Western Part of Maharashtra. It is the second-largest city in the state and hosts immigrants from various states of the country who have blended themselves into the local culture. We stayed at Conrad Pune. It was a fantastic hotel and we even spent one whole day enjoying the amenities in the hotel.
The next day, we went on a day tour to various tourist attractions in Pune. The day started with visiting Pataleshwar Temple, which is located underground. We also visited Shaniwar Wada, which is one of the best architectures of Peshwas and Marathas.
We also visited Agha Khan Palace, Japanese Garden, Saras Baug Ganapati Temple, Shinde Chatri, Dr. BR Ambedkar Museum, Chaturshrungi temple. Katraj Snake Park, Kamala Nehru Park, and the day ended with visiting Dagdhusheth Halwai Ganapati Mandir, Kasba Peth. Pune also has many forts such as Sinhagad, Malhargad, Parvati Hill, Lohagad, Shivneri, etc. which are magnificent and it requires hours to view them completely. We could not visit them, as we stayed in Pune only for 2 days.
This city also offers a variety of different cuisines, along with traditional Maharashtrian food. One of the best restaurants we visited in Pune was Mathura Veg., which serves traditional Maharashtrian thali along with many desserts. The food was truly wonderful. Other restaurants which we could not forget were Joshi Vada Pav, Kaka Halwai, Chitale Bandhu Sweets, and Basuri Hotel.
It takes almost 4-5 days to enjoy Pune completely. The third day evening, we left for Mumbai in a Taxi. The distance between the two cities is 160km and takes about 3-4 hours depending upon the traffic in Mumbai City. The expressway between the two cities is amazing. Vehicles go up to 120kmph-150kmph. Various hill stations come on the way, such as Lonavala, Khandala, Khapoli. The drive is simply amazing with many ghats and tunnels. However, traffic increases as we enter Mumbai City, starting from Navi Mumbai.
It is sometimes indeed a big nightmare to travel in Mumbai, due to the heavy traffic. The cost of living in Mumbai City is also very high compared to all the other cities in India. However, the people here are very hardworking. The next day, we hired a taxi and headed for a one-day tour across the city. The first spot we visited was Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which is spectacular and connects the two localities in Mumbai. It was built to avoid traffic in the city. We had to plan to visit Elephanta Caves. Before that, we also visited Mahatma Gandhi Museum.
The ferry to Elephanta Caves starts from Gateway of India and takes about 45 minutes to reach the Elephanta Caves Island. We also witnessed the Taj Mahal Hotel in front of Gateway of India. The ferry journey was also amazing. The caves are simply mind-blowing and date back to the times of the Rashtrakuta Empire.
There were also many Kannada inscriptions near caves. The statues are very beautiful. After returning from the caves, we headed to Marine Drive and saw the beautiful rocky beach. We also visited Mahalakshmi Temple and Haji Ali Dargah. The locality where Mahalakshmi Temple is located gives a traditional Maharashtrian feel.
The last stop for the day was Juhu Beach. We enjoyed the cool sea breeze and the beautiful sunset. We also tried the world-famous Bombay Bhel, Pani Puri, Gola Ice Sorbet, and many other street foods in front of the beach. We were quite tired for the day and headed back to the hotel to rest for the night. The next day was our last day in Mumbai, as we had to head back to Bengaluru the next day to vote for Karnataka Elections 2018. We got the chance to meet our relatives in Mumbai and visit a couple of places in the city. We visited Siddivinayak Temple and tried the tasty Modak there. We also visited the famous Haji Ali Juice Centre to try Custard Apple Milkshake and Raspberry Malai. This spot is known for these two dishes and they were mouthwatering.
We also went shopping in the local streets of Mumbai, near Dadar. We headed to Oberoi Mall in North Mumbai. We had lunch with our cousins and also played a few games there. We felt sad, that our trip was coming to an end, as we had to head back to the airport and catch our flight back to Bengaluru. We bid goodbye to our cousins and Mumbai, as we traveled back to Bengaluru.
I can never forget this trip in my life and would love to explore all these places in detail once again, in the future. These are the most important places to visit in Maharashtra like Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Panchgani, Alibaug, Matheran, Aurangabad, Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Shirdi, Nashik etc..,