MAHARASHTRA- A TREASURE CHEST
The land of Bollywood films – Maharashtra is one of the pre-eminent states of India known for its forward thinking and vibrant spirit. It is known for its savory Vada pav, 720 km of affair with the shore line, caves, monuments and ancient temples. Not to forget the tale of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj– one of the most renowned kings in Indian antiquity who is still remembered to the very day. Given the rocky terrain of the state, forts and monuments played a vital role in its history. They marked the triumph of the military and existence of different rulers, each of them holding onto a story. To mention a few, the Gateway of India, Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Shaniwar Wada, etc.
When one thinks of Maharashtra, Gateway of India is the first monument that pops into the mind. It arguably is the most popular tourist attraction across the country. The yellow basalt and concrete gateway with Muslim and Hindu motif embellishments is an important artefact which was initially considered to be the entry/exit access to Britishers to India through waterways. It is also the spot where the British’s last ship left. Mumbai’s Taj Mahal was built with a whopping 21 lakhs, facing the Arabian ocean with a view which is ethereal and breath-taking. It was built by a well known British architect George Wittet to honour the Royal monarchy who arrived in India is not only a historic monument, but also stands as an epitome of marvellous architecture.
Another marvellous monument, Bibi-Ka-Maqbara of Aurangabad, Maharashtra is quite exquisite in terms of its architecture. It was built by Azam Shah, son of Aurangazeb and Dilras Begum. Aurangazeb appointed Azam Shah to build Bibi-Ka-Maqbara as a tribute to his beloved first wife Dilras Begum who goes by the name of Rabia-Ul-Durani as well. The mausoleum was built during the 16th century as a symbol of love and respect for Dilras. In this pearl mosque rests the late Begum hence the name-Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, which translates to the Tomb of the Lady. Since the structure resembles Taj Mahal, the mausoleum is also called Taj of Deccan. With its beautiful arches and an intriguing story, this memorial stands with pride and is deemed to be a precious jewel of Maharashtra.
If there is any monument that acts as a synonym to Pune, it is Shaniwar Wada. Built in the 17th century by Maratha ruler Peshwa Bajirao, was the grandest of all time. It got the name ‘Shaniwar’, which literally translates to Saturday, because the first rock of this building was laid on a Saturday. This historical building holds more chronicles than any other in the state. After the British captured Shaniwar Wada during the 18th century, the whole monument was burnt to ashes due to a fire which lasted for 7 days. Only the stone part of the Wada survived. What’s intriguing is that when Narayan Rao inherited the throne at Shaniwar Wada, he was atrociously murdered by his aunt and uncle. Locals believe that at night, the ghosts of Narayan Rao and others who were burnt during the fire, roam the grounds of Wada with their heart wrenching cries which is why visitors are not allowed to visit after 6:30pm and during full moon/ no moon nights. If you think you are a ghost buster, you must visit the place!
There are many more artistic buildings to talk about in the financial capital of India that hold historical values. It is one of the most populated states that combines the never sleeping city and long preserved history. The wildlife, along the Western Ghats, tiger reserves and beautiful hill stations with its serene views will make anyone fall in love with the state. It is an exceptional fairy land and the perfect treat for architects who love travelling. Maharashtra is diverse and rich with various cultures and is indeed a treasure chest waiting to be explored.
Written by : Pranaya Chilamkuri
Editor and Team lead : Atul Sharma