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Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India, both in terms of population and area. Its booming capital Mumbai, makes it not only one of the most important states economically, but also a major gateway for overseas visitors.
No matter what kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it here. Whether it is lazing on the sun - swept sands of the 720 kms coastline, or a peaceful self-exile in the awe-inspiring mountains, or quiet worship at some famous shrines, or revelation in cave architecture, art and culture or challenging treks or abundant wildlife thrills, Maharashtra has it all.
Mumbai was given by Portuguese as dowry to Charles II of England when he married Catherine. The group of seven island was leased to the East India Company who offered freedom of business and religion to persons who came and settled here. Initially a few Parsis and Gujarati came but soon a sizeable population began to thrive here. This was way back in the 17th century.
The history of elephanta is the hoary mists of time. Crowning the island's easteem hill, and commanding a panoramic view of wood-land, marsh and sea, are the Buddhist stupas' or burial mounds and cisterns.
Way back in1819, a party of British army officers on a tiger hunt in the forest of western Deccan, suddenly spotted their prey, on the far side of a loop in the Waghora river. High up on the horseshoe- shaped cliff, the hunting party saw the tiger, silhouetted against the carved façade of a cave.
Nestled in the crook of the Charanadari hill in Deccan is a series of ancient temples and monasteries hewn out of the moutainside. Situated on the ancient north- south trade route or the dakshinapatha, the tiny mountain village of Verul - mutated today to Ellora -was a well- known stopover for traders, priests and pilgrims who plied the route to the western ports.
Today Aurangabad, it is known for some of the finest colleges and university in Maharashtra. And it is the fastest growing industrial town in India. But the charm and glory of its long past has not been lost. And its heritage is rich and varied - the result of the artistic and cultural influences of several dynasties since its first Stone Age inhabitants.
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