HOP-OVER DESTINATIONS

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» West India
» Maharashtra
Location: Southwestern Part Of Maharashtra
Formerly Known As: Poona
Also Known As: Queen Of The Deccan
Best Time To Visit: October To March

Baneshwar
Baneshwar is situated 30-km down south of the Swargate area in Pune. It's an ideal spot for a one-day trip. The famous temple of Lord Shiva has been built amidst a green forest. Since the temple is situated in 'Ban' - Jungle or dark woods - hence it was named as 'Baneshwar'. The temple is simple and lovely with a light stand, water tanks, and a big bell. The feeling of tranquillity is enhanced by the gentle swaying of the huge 'Gulmohar' trees as you approach the temple. There are idols of Devi Laxmi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahadev in the temple. There are five Shiva Lingas here in trench, which can be easily seen with the help of light.

Shivthar Ghal
Shivthar Ghal is a small place near Pune, which is a must-see especially in the rainy season. This Ghat is situated north of Varandha Ghat. The caves situated here are famous because Saint Ramdas (Shivaji's Guru or teacher) had written the famous "Dasbodh" here. It took almost 12 years to complete Dasbodh as Ramdas Swami dictated it and Kalyan Swami wrote it down.

Karla Caves in MaharashtraKarla and Bhaja Caves
Karla and Bhaja Caves are the largest Chaitya Caves in India that date back to 2nd century BC, which are situated near Lonavala. The Chaitya among the caves is the biggest of its kind and well preserved. They are the pinnacle of modern Maharashtra and were carved thousands of years ago. Although as exquisite as the more, famous Ajanta and Ellora caves, these caves are less crowded and make for an extremely pleasant outing.

Shree Chintamani Temple At Theur
Theur is a village that lies along the river Mulamutha in Haveli Taluka 30-km away from Pune and is one of the most ancient areas of Maharashtra. It is believed that at Theur, Morya Gosavi attained 'Siddhi' (knowledge) and the Chintamani Ganpati temple was erected by Shri Daharnidhar Maharaj Devji, son of Maurya Gosaviji.

Katraj Snake Park
The Snake Park came into existence in the year 1986, with the active aid of Pune Municipal Corporation. As on date, this reserve houses a collection of a wide range of reptiles, birds, and others. The most valuable one is the six-year-old; nine feet long King Cobra. A group of beautiful temples of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Vishnu and Kartikeya, and of Goddess Parvati makes it an increasingly attractive sight.

Khadakwasla / Panshet
Khadakwasla and Panshet are the two major dams providing water to the entire Pune City. Khadakwasla dam was constructed in pre-independence period in 1867. The dam is a major one and Puniites enjoy their holidays here. It is one and half hour drive from Pune and two and half-hour drive from Mumbai. The amazing view of Sinhagad and Peacock Bay is again a major attraction of Khadakwasla.

Ballaleshwar Vinayak Temple
Palicha Shree Ballaleshwar is situated 110-kms from Pune. It is one of the Ashtha Vinayak temples dedicated to Ganapati who is known here as "Ballaleshwar". This temple is named after a devotee 'Ballal' of Pali. Nana Phadnis constructed the temple in the year 1770.

Moreshwar Moregaon
Moregaon village is located in the Baramati Taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra. It is at a distance of about 50-km from Pune and this region is also known as the Bhuswananda. It gained prominence as it houses a shrine of Mayureshwar Vinayak, one of the Astha Vinayak shrines. It is considered, as the foremost shrine of Ganesha. Morya Gosavi built it in the 14th century.

Mahaganapati Temple At Ranjangaon
Ranjangaon is a small village located around 50-km from Pune on the Pune -Aurangabad Highway, which houses a temple where the deity is known as Mahaganapati because of the size of the statue. The statue has ten trunks and twenty arms. It is believed that Mahaganpati was hidden to prevent its destruction from non-believers. This temple is visited by thousands of devotees during the Bhadrapad festival.

Bhimashankar
Bhavagiri is a small village 50-km north west of Khed, which houses Bhimashankar (also spelt as 'Bhimashankara') is one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' of Shiva. Nana Pandnavis constructed this beautiful temple, which is located just 110-km away from Pune in the ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. Bhimashankar is a very important pilgrimage place in Maharashtra. Bhimashankar is also the source of the river Bhima, which flows southeast and merges with the Krishna River near Raichur.
Lonavala-Khandala Lake in Maharashtra
Lonavala & Kandavala
Lonavala and Khandala are two charming little hill stations on the western slopes of the Sahyadris, 5-km apart, that straddle the Mumbai - Pune highway at an altitude of 625m. Quite popular as health resorts and blessed by the nature in bounty, the hill resorts have plethora of places of Tourist Attraction such as beautiful Hills, deep green valleys, huge lakes, historic forts, waterfalls etc. Lonavala and Khandala offer breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls during the monsoon, and the surrounding mountains of the plains spread out to the horizon. A trip to these holiday resorts can be combined with that on the Karla, Bhaja, and Bedsa caves, which are very near from Lonavala.

Lohagad And Visapur Fort
Lohagad and Visapur Fort are located near to Malavali, 52-km away from Pune. These majestic forts were built in the 18th century atop an impressive hill. They are separated by a 1-km ridge and are ideal for trekking and can be toured in a day from Pune.

Matheran
Matheran is a fascinating hill-station, 80-km east of Mumbai in Alibag district and it is situated at an Altitude of 800m. This little hill paradise has been left largely undisturbed, since the time when an Englishman, Hugh Mallet, Collector of Thane, discovered it in 1850 and declared it a fine place for shady walks. Panchgani in Maharashtra

Shivneri Fort
The Shivneri Fort is located at a distance of around 3-km from Junnar (125-km from Pune). The prominent historical figure of the state of Maharashtra, Chatrapathi Shivaji was born in this hill fort in 1627.

Panchgani
Panchgani is an idyllic mountain retreat in the Krishna valley. Tucked away in the Satara district of Maharashtra, Panchgani is a well-known hill station of Maharashtra on the highway to Mahabaleshwar from Pune. It derives its name from the five hills around it. Situated at an altitude of 1334 m, the 18-km approach to the Panchgani is breathtaking, offering heart-stopping views of the River Krishna on one side and the coastal plains on the other. It is far from the noise of Pune and the endless hustle-bustle and pollution of Mumbai metropolis. It is the first hill town one reaches from Mahabaleshwar on the Pune road.

Jejuri
Jejuri is one the popular pilgrim centres of Maharashtra, located 38-km away from Pune and 60-km away from Solapur. It houses a temple dedicated to Lord Khandoba. Khandoba, popularly known as Khandobachi Jejuri, is one of the important Gods worshipped by Dhangar, the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. It is believed that Khandoba, is a god of Sakamabhakti i.e. the God who fulfils all the desires of his devotees. Jejuri is popular for its old Deep Mala.

Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar, Queen of all Hill Stations, is situated at an altitude of 1372m in the heart of Sahyadri Hills in Satara District. The hill station has a legendary past. The name 'Mahabaleshwar' is derived from a temple of Lord Mahadev and three Sanskrit words, Maha (great), Bal (power) and Ishwar (God). But, some say that the name 'Mahabaleshwar', which simply means very mighty God, seems to have a mythological past.

Rajgadh
Rajgadh fort is about 85-km from Pune, this fort has great historical relevance, as it was Shivaji's favourite fort. Practically speaking, a two-hour bus drive to Wazheghar, or Bhutonda or Pali are the three options one is having that will take one right to the foothills of this legendary fort.



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