Bassein Fort, now in ruins, was under the Portuguese a
thriving fortified city from 1534 to 1739 when it was sacked by the Marathas. The ruins of the Portuguese Fort still stand
almost hidden by brushwood and palm groves. Some of the walls and churches can still be seen.
About 10 kms to the northwest
lies Nalasopara village, the capital of the Konkan region from 1500 BC to AD 1300. Many Buddhist relics were discovered here.
Nalasopara is believed to have been the birthplace of the Buddha in a previous life. To the north, is the Agar of Agashi and
to the south is the Agar of Bassein.
An hour by bus from Bassein station are the Vajreshwari Temple and Akoli Hot Springs.
Also easily accessible is Ganeshpuri with the Sadguru Nityanand Maharaj Samadhi Mandir, the Bhimeshwar Temple and other ashrams.
Getting There: From Mumbai, Bassein Fort can be reached
easily by local train up to Bassein or Vasai Road station on the Western Railway and then by auto-rickshaw or taxi. By road,
it is 77 kms along the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway.
Shrouded in mist and myths is the Gavali tribal fort of
Gavilgad or Gavaligad, on the Chikhaldara plateau, now under the Melghat Tiger Project. Featured in the epic, the Mahabharata,
this is the place where Bheema killed the villainous Keechaka in a herculean bout and then threw him into the valley. It thus
came to be known as Keechakadara - Chikhaldara is its corruption.
At Gavilgad, the bloody history continues, though the
serenity of the dense forests around it camouflage the turbulent past. Built by the Gavlis, or cowherds in the 12th/13th
centuries, the fort was occupied later by the mighty Gonds, the last of the sub-continental powers to fall to the Mughals.
Today although no signs of dramatic battle remain, the fort walls and ramparts still stand. Four gates guard the strategic
entrances with only a cool wind whistling past them. There is no trace of the tunnel, reputedly linking it to the nearby Gond
fort at Narnala. You could trek to Narnala, or drive through the thick forest to discover yet another blend of Gond and Mughal
Weather: Chikhaldara has an annual rainfall of 154 cms.
Temperatures vary from 39 C in summer to 5 C in winter. October to June is the best time to visit.
Getting There: The nearest railhead is Badnera on the Central
Railway branch line, 110 kms. Chikhaldara, 763 kms from Mumbai, is connected to most major cities by road. Regular ST buses
connect Chikhaldara to Amravati, Nagpur, Wardha, Akola and other cities.
Rising dramatically over 600 ft above the Deccan plain
is the arresting sight of Daulatabad. Once known as Devgiri, this fort served as the head quarters of the powerful Yadava
rulers. In the 13th century, Mohammed bin Tughlak, the Sultan of Delhi, made it his capital and renamed it Daulatabad,
or City of Fortune.
One of the world's best preserved forts of medieval times, surviving virtually unaltered, Daulatabad
still displays many of the internal contrivances that made it invincible. A series of secret, quizzical subterranean passages
lie amidst the fort. Its defense systems comprised fortifications of double and even triple rows of massive walls. A fortress
conquered only by treachery!
The most notable structures at Daulatabad are the Chand Minar, Jami Masjid and royal palaces.
The tapering 30-metre high tower of the Chand Minar is divided into four storeys, and was faced with glazed tiles and carved
motifs. The Minar probably served as a prayer hall or a victory monument in its time. The Jami Masjid was a mosque built by
the Khilji ruler of Delhi, Qutubuddin Mubarak. The palaces consist of spacious halls, pavilions and courtyards. The fort is
open till 6 pm.
Weather: The tourist season extends almost through out
the year in the Aurangabad region. April to July are the summer months which are fairly warm. The rainy season, from August
to October is very pleasant, and the winter months, from November to March are the coolest.
Getting There: Aurangabad is the gateway to the region,
and is generally where you would arrive or depart from. Aurangabad airport is conveniently located, around 10 kms east of
the town, and is directly air-linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur. By rail, Aurangabad is well connected to Mumbai
and other cities. There are two trains that depart daily from Mumbai. The Tapovan Express leaves Mumbai early morning arriving
in Aurangabad by late afternoon, while the Devgiri Express is an overnight train. Daulatabad Fort is a part of the MTDC tour
to Ellora from Aurangabad, but it can be accessed by private taxi or by the local bus that runs between Aurangabad and Ellora.
Where valour is etched on every
stone and the soil has turned red seeped by the blood of martyrs! From the time when a Koli chieftain, Nag Naik stoutly defended
this fort (AD 1328) against the might of the Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq for nine months to Jaswant Singh, Aurangzeb's commander,
who dragged his guns up the fort's steep shoulders to avenge the insult to Shaista Khan, who was rebuffed by Shivaji, this
fort has been infused by tales of bravery.
It was here that Shivaji's general, Tanaji Malusare launched an attack to recapture
the fort. In the ensuing battle, Tanaji valiantly laid down his life, but captured the fort. A grieving Shivaji is known to
have said,"Gad ala pan sinh gela" (The fort is won but the lion has gone). And this is how the fort got its name: sinh (lion's)
Lokmanya Tilak, the freedom fighter had a bungalow atop here and Gandhi ji is said to have asked for water
from Sinhagad, whenever he was imprisoned at Pune, a few kilometers away. You can visit the memorial to Tanaji, or the tomb
of Rajaram -- Shivaji's son -- who died here. And if you are fortunate, you may find a priceless jewel or an ancient coin
as Sinhgad used to serve as a storehouse of wealth for Pune merchants.
The fort can be scaled from its many approaches. You can trek from Donaje upto the top. Donaje can be reached conveniently
by bus from Pune, 25 kms away. Another shorter and less steep climb is from Kalyan village past the Kalyan Darwaza.
Once naval bases, Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg bear testimony
to Maharashtra's martial supremacy during Shivaji's reign. Vijaydurg or Victory Fort was strengthened around the seventeenth
century by Shivaji, to whom it owes its finest features -- the triple line of walls, the numerous towers and the massive interior
Once seized by the British and renamed Fort Augustus, Sindhudurg or the Ocean Fort at Malvan port has history
etched all over. Constructed by Shivaji in 1664, at a site personally selected by him. The construction of a sea fort is a
stupendous task, and at Sindhudurg no efforts were spared. Over 2000 khandis (4000 mounds) of iron were used for
casting and the foundation stones were laid down firmly in lead. Even today, as one approaches the fort past a rocky reef,
navigable through a narrow channel, one marvels at the transportation of such heavy material through such choppy waters. Within
its precincts are temples holding the shrines of Maruti, Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimai, Mahapurush and also of Shivaji -- the
only such shrine in the country.
As for Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg beaches, they offer the visitor one of the most serene
and beautiful coastal views in India.
Getting There: Rajapur and Kudal respectively are the nearest
railheads on the Konkan Railway. Sindhudurg by road is 510 kms and Vijaydurg is 425 kms from Mumbai via the Goa highway.
Mahur(Mahurgad), is a well known religious place and a birth place
of Lord Dattatray, which is visited by thousands of devotees and pilgrims throughout the year. The ancient Mahurgad Fort constructed
in the 12th century, is just two and a half kms. from the place. There are many temples in Mahur like Anusuya temple, Kalika
Temple. The most important one is the temple of Renuka Devi, which has a special place in the Hindu pilgrimage. A big fare
is held here every year on the occasion of Vijaya Dashmi (Dussehra).
Nearest Airport is Nagpur, 200 kms.
Mumbai - Ahmednagar - Paithan - Jalan - Washim - Pusad
- Mahur, 717 kms. Mahurgad - Kinwat, 50 kms.
The nearest railhead is Kinwat, 50 kms. but Nanded is 126
ks. is the more convenient railhead on South Central railway.
6 bed Dormitory (5 Blocks), self - contained blocks (2) and restaurant.
Checkout Time: 12.00 noon.
(Post. khubi via Otur, District Pune - 412 409. Telephone
Malsej Ghat holds special value for hikers, trekkers and adventure
lovers. It is nature at its best. No Wonder then, that the most exotic migratory flamingoes choose it as their monsoon abode.
Close at hand is Shivneri Fort (approx 40 kms.)., birthplace of the legendary Shivaji. This unusual hill has Buddhist caves
dating to the 3rd century and is surmounted by an important historic fort.
is Mumbai, 154 kms.
Mumbai - Malsej
Ghat, 154 kms. via Murbad. Pune - Malsej Ghat via Alephanta, 164 kms. Alephanta Malsej Ghat, 39 kms.
Self contained rooms (17 blocks).
Checkout Time: 12.00 noon.
Murud - Harnai Fort
Dapoli, District Ratnagiri - 415 713 . Telephone (02358-33370) Mumbai - 8731869/ 8729838)
South of old harnai Fort, the palm-fringed beach of Murud is famous
for its clean, white sands and safe waters. Visit the Goa Killa or Harnai Fort, which is built on different levels. See Panhale
Kazi, the famous rock-cut monument, 30 kms. From Murud-Harnai. Stay in MTDC's luxurious tents. And definitely sample the local
Nearest airport is Mumbai.
Nearest railhead id Khed, 45 kms.
Mumbai - Murud - Harnai, 247 kms. Via Panvel - Pen - Lonere
Phata - Dapoli
State Transport buses ply from Mumbai, Pune, Mahad to Murad - Harnai.
1/2/4/6 bed self contained rooms are family huts available.
Checkout Time: 12.00 noon.
Reservation: Mumbai & Harnai.
(District Raigad - 413 510. Telephone (021447) 4078. Mumbai telephone 6174517, 6174518, 6174519).
Here you shall discover the charms of an island fortress. The beach
is clear and wide, fringed with palm trees. The fortress is 300 years old, and an architectural marvel. In fact, it was once
considered to be impregnable.
The palace of Nawab and the Janjira caves are also a must for tourists.
A few kilometers away are two undiscovered beaches - Kashid and Nandgaon.
is Mumbai, 165 kms.
is Panvel, 122 kms.
Mumbai - Murud
via Revdanda, 165 kms. Pune - Murud via Mahad, 230 kms. Alibag - Murud, 52 kms.
State Transport buses ply from Mumbai, Pune to Murud.
2/4/6 Bed self contained 14 rooms.
Checkout Time: 10.00 a.m.
Reservation: Mumbai and Murud.
(Tal. Sakoli, District Bhandara - 441 702. Telephone
Nawegaon, Vidarbha's most popular forest resort, is the ultimate adventure
spot. It is said to have been built by Kolu Patel Kholi in the beginning of the 18th century. There's a picturesque lake set
in the midst of hill ranges, with watch - towers that enable you to view wildlife.
Make sure you visit the deer park, the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary,
the three beautiful gardens and the children's park. Almost 60% of the bird species found in Maharashtra have been recorded
in Nawegaon. Every winter, huge flocks of migratory ducks visit the lake. Sign up for MTDC's jungle safari and you may see
a leopard, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital or a langoor.
Also stay in the unique tree - top retreat. And for more excitement,
hire a power or sail boat at the lake.
is Nagpur, 142 kms.
is Devalgaon, 1 km. on South Eastern Railway.
Mumbai - Nawegaon,
995 kms. (Mumbai - Dhule - Akola - Amravati - Nagpur - Bhandara - Nawegaon). Nagpur - Nawegaon, 132 kms. (Nagpur - Bhandara
- Sakoli - Nawegaon). Devalgaon - Nawegaon, 1 km.
State Transport buses ply from Bhandara, Nagpur and Devalgaon to Nawegaon.