Monuments of Maharashtra

  • Post last modified:25 August 2021
  • Reading time:21 mins read

Maharashtra has a lengthy history that had in turn contributed a lot in the overall history of India. Maharashtra witnessed different eras and dynasties. These all make Maharashtra – a state of historic and magnificent monuments.

Different schools of art and architecture can be seen in these monuments. The Gateway of India in Mumbai is one of the most eminent monuments in India. It is regarded to be the preliminary destination for tourists who visit Mumbai.

The Chand Minar in Daulatabad gives a glimpse of mughal architecture. The Maharajah’s New Palace in Kolahapur has a museum called Shahaji Chhatrapati Museum. The architecture of the palace is a combination of Jain and Hindu influences from Gujarat and Rajasthan, and local Rajwada style.

Agakhan Palace is hugely popular and significant monument of Maharshtra, as it is associated with the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Khuldabad, Kesari Wada, Lal Mahal, Raste Wada, Shaniwar Wada and Vishrambag Wada are other popular historical monuments of Maharashtra.


Top 12 Most Popular Historical Monuments of Maharashtra

  1. Gate Way of India
  2. Haji Ali
  3. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
  4. Ajanta Cave
  5. Ellora Cave
  6. Elephanta Cave
  7. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
  8. Bibi-ka-Maqbara
  9. Hazur Sahib Nanded
  10. Aga Khan Palace
  11. Shaniwar Wada
  12. Shri Siddhi Vinayak at Saddhatek

Gate Way of India

Mumbai is most legendary monument is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India.

It is located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area, South Mumbai and overlooks the Arabian Sea. The structure is a basalt arch, 26 metres (85 feet) high. It lies at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the water’s edge in the harbour of Bombay.

It was an unsophisticated jetty used by the fishing community which was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other prominent people. In earlier times, it would have been the first structure that visitors arriving by boat in Mumbai would have seen. The Gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai and is the city’s top tourist attraction.

The structure was erected to commemorate the landing of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder when they visited India in 1911. Built-in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911.

The final design of George Wittet was sanctioned in 1914 and the construction of the monument was completed in 1924. The Gateway was later the ceremonial entrance to India for the Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay. It served to allow entry and access to India.

The monument has faced three terror attacks from the beginning of the 21st century; twice in 2003 and it was also the disembarkation point in 2008 when four gunmen attacked the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower.

Haji Ali

Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most admired religious places in Mumbai, visited by people of all religions alike. Haji Ali Dargah is one of India’s most famous and exalted landmarks situated about 500 yards from the Mumbai shoreline in the middle of the Arabian Sea off Lala Lajpatrai Marg. The structure was erected on a set of high rising rocks and was given its present day shape in the early 19th century after the Trust was legally formed as an entity in 1916.

Haji Ali Dargah is the complex housing the tomb of the Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.). Along with the tomb, there is also a Masjid at Haji Ali. This monument has been sentinel to the shores of Mumbai since a long time.

The structure has white domes and minarets reminiscent with the Mughal architecture of the period. The Dargah is a renowned pilgrimage site among Muslims. Non-Muslims are also allowed to visit the Dargah. The white-coloured structure attracts visitors in large numbers.

About 10 – 15 thousand people visit the Dargah daily. The number of visitors increases to 20 – 30 thousand, on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Lakhs of devotees visit the Dargah on the second day of Ramadhan Eid and Bakri Eid (Eid-ul-Uzha), and during which the pathway leading to the Dargah Complex looks like a Sea of Humanity.

People from all parts of the world without restrictions of caste, creed and religion visit the Dargah to offer their prayers and for the fulfilment of their wishes by the blessings of the Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.). Some pray for wealth, others for health, children, marriages, etc. have their wishes being granted at all times.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly Victoria Terminus, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historic railway station which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways in Mumbai, India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji station, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, was built in 1888. Designed by the British architect F.W. Stevens, the structure became a symbol of Bombay (Mumbai) and the city was labeled the ‘Gothic City’ due to this magnificent building’s architectural styles.

Apart from being the hub for major mercantile activities, the CST is the perfect amalgam of British and Indian designs. In the past, ‘Bori Bandar’ station, located along the Eastern parts of Mumbai, was the place for commercial exchanges and trading activities. In the 1850’s, the Great Indian Peninsular Railway operated in this area and gave it the name ‘Bori Bandar’, starting its first rail service, covering a total distance of 34 km to Thane.

During the British rule, the station was eventually redesigned and rebuilt by F.W. Stevens, who named it as Victoria Terminus. The station got its name from the then reigning royal, Queen Victoria. The construction of the station took 10 years to complete and was opened to the Queen on the date of her Golden Jubilee in 1887. At the time, the building was the most expensive structure in Mumbai costing 260,000 Sterling Pounds. The station was built to handle main rail traffic and in 1929, a new station and an administrative headquarters were built by the Central Railway.

The entrance of the Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus is flanked by figures of a lion and a tiger representing the two countries-great Britain and India. The main structure is made of sandstone and limestone, and the interiors of the station are lined with high-quality Italian marble. Apart from the 18 railway lines, the CST also houses the main headquarters, the Star Chamber, grotesques and the North Wing. In 1996, the Minister of Railways, Suresh Kalmadi, changed the name of the station to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).

Ajanta Cave

Ajanta is world’s greatest historical monument distinguished by UNESCO located just 55kms from Jalgaon city and 105kms from Aurangabad City of Maharashtra, India. There are 30 caves in Ajanta of which 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries.

These caves were discovered in AD 1819 and were built up in the earlier 2nd century BC-AD. Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century BC-AD and some of them about the fifth century AD and continued for the next two centuries. All paintings show heavy religious influence and centre around Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.

Ellora Cave

These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. Ellora, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of ancient India to life. Not only is the Ellora complex a unique artistic creation and a technological exploit but, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

The Ellora Caves not only bear witness to three great religions (Buddhism, Brahminism and Jainism) but they also illustrate the spirit of tolerance, characteristic of ancient India, which permitted these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their communities in a single place, which thus served to reinforce its universal value. The caves, with their uninterrupted sequence of from 600 to 1,000 monuments, bring to life again the civilization of ancient India.

These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. Ellora, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from AD 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of ancient India to life. Not only is the Ellora complex a unique artistic creation and a technological exploit but, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

This rupestral ensemble constitutes one of the most beautiful expressions of the art of the Indian Middle Ages; they are noteworthy as three major Indian religions have laid joint claim to the caves peacefully since they were created. These breathtaking caves are definitely worth visiting for their remarkable reliefs, sculptures and architecture. It is not, like that of Ajanta, the expression of a single belief; rather it is the product of the three principal religions of ancient India.

Elephanta Cave

The Elephanta Caves (180 56’ 20” N; 720 55’ 50” E), taluka Uran, district Raigad is located on island hills about 11 km north-east of the Apollo Bandar, Mumbai and 7 km from the shore of the mainland, approximately covering an area of 7 km in circumference. The island is named after a colossal elephant found in the island, which is popularly known as ‘Gharapuri’.

At present, the statue of elephant is housed at Jijamata Garden in Mumbai. In ancient period, the place is variously identified as Puri which is mentioned in the Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II. It seems, different dynasties held their sway over this island, namely, the Konkan- Mauryas, Trikutakas, Chalukyas of Badami, Silaharas, Rashtrakutas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Yadavas of Deogiri, Muslim rulers of Ahmedabad and then by the Portuguese. The Marathas also had this island under their control and from them it passed into the control of the British.

There are seven cave excavations in the Elephanta group and these are datable from circa 6th – 7th centuries A.D. Among the cave excavations, Cave 1 is the most impressive which represents the evolved Brahmanical rock-cut architecture. The cave is also famous for its exquisite and vibrant sculptures. On plan, it almost resembles the Dumar Lena (Cave 29) of Ellora. The cave has a main entrance on the north with two other openings on the east and west respectively and a central hall with six rows of pillared columns, six in each row except on the western corner, where a shrine of the lingam is provided.

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

122 kms from Nashik is the abode of one of Maharashtra’s most revered saint — Sai Baba of Shirdi. Popularly known as the ‘Child of God’, Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood. Every activity at Shirdi revolves around the vast temple complex dedicated to Sai Baba.

Devotees start queuing up in the early hours of dawn to catch a glimpse and seek the blessings of the life-size statue of Sai Baba. Thursday is marked by special pujas and darshan of the Sai Baba statue.

There are other places of interest that devotees can visit as well including Dwarkamani Mosque where the Baba meditated and slept on alternate nights. Near the mosque, in a corridor is the dhuni or eternal flame that burns day and night. Other places of importance are the Gurusthan, the Kandoba Temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Changdev Maharaj Samadhi and the Sakori Ashram.

Bibi-ka-Maqbara

The Bibi-Ka-Maqbara (19°55’ N; 75°15’ E) is a beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani alias Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb (1658-1707 A.D.). This mausoleum is believed to be constructed by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother between 1651 and 1661 A.D. An inscription found on the main entrance door mentions that this mausoleum was designed and erected by Ata-ullah, an architect and Hanspat Rai, an engineer respectively.

The marble for this mausoleum was brought from mines near Jaipur. According to Tavernier, around three hundred carts laden with marbles, drawn by at least 12 oxen were seen by him during his journey from Surat to Golconda. The mausoleum draws its inspiration from the world famous Taj Mahal of Agra (constructed between 1631 and 1648 A.D.) and hence it is rightly known as the “Taj of Deccan”.

The mausoleum was intended to rival the Taj Mahal, but, the decline in architecture and proportions of the structure had resulted in a poor copy of the latter. Even this decline cannot stop one appreciating the setting of the tomb complex in a garden setting with the mountain ranges behind providing as a backdrop.

A huge ‘U’ shaped gap in between the hills behind provides the perfect harmony in which the mausoleum is blended. The mausoleum stands at the centre of a huge enclosure measuring approximately 458 m. N-S X 275 m. E-W. Baradaris or pillared pavilions are located at the centre of north, east and western part of the enclosure wall.

The typical Mughal Char-Bagh pattern adorns the mausoleum thereby increasing its beauty and splendour through its symmetry and excellent garden layout. The high enclosure wall is crenellated with pointed arched recesses and bastions at regular intervals are provided to cut down the monotony. The recesses are divided by pilasters, crowned with small minarets.

Hazur Sahib Nanded

Hazūr Sāhib, also spelled Hazoor Sahib, more called as Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and also known as Abchal Nagar, is one of the five takhts (“thrones”, seats of temporal authority) in Sikhism. It is located on the banks of the River Godavari at the city of Nanded in the state of Maharashtra, Western India.

It is where the 10th guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji completed his last breath. The gurudwara within the complex is known Sach-Khand “Realm of Truth”. The structure is built at the place of death of Guru Gobind Singh. The inner room of the gurdwara is called the Angitha Sahib and is built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708. The construction of the gurdwara was done from 1832 to 1837 by order

Aga Khan Palace

The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in Pune, India. Built in 1892, it is one of the biggest landmarks in Indian history. The palace was an act of charity by the Sultan who wanted to help the poor in the neighboring areas of Pune, who were drastically hit by famine. Aga Khan Palace is a majestic building and is considered to be one of the greatest marvels of India.

The palace is closely linked to the Indian freedom movement as it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. It is also the place were Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai breathed their last breath.In 2003, Archeological Survey of India (ASI) declared the place as a monument of national importance. Historically, the palace holds great significance.

Mahatama Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai were interned in the palace from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944, following the launch of Quit India Movement. Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died during their captivity period in the palace and have their Samadhis located over there. Mahatama Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi have their memorials located in the same complex, near Mula River. In 1969, Aga Khan Palace was donated to the Indian people by Aga Khan IV as a mark of respect to Gandhi and his philosophy.

Today the palace houses a memorial on Gandhi where his ashes were kept. The then prime minister Indira Gandhi had visited the place in 1974 where she allotted a sum of INR2 lakh (US$3,600) every year, for its maintenance. The amount rose to INR10 lakh (US$18,200) till the 1990s, after which the national monument of India, was neglected for many years due to improper allocation of funds. There was a protest held at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near Pune railway station in July 1999 to protest against the worsening condition of the monument.

Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwarwada is a palace fort in the city of Pune in Maharashtra, India. Built in 1746, it was the seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire until 1818 when the Peshwas surrendered to the British. Peshwa Baji Rao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha empire, laid the ceremonial foundation of his own residence on Saturday, January 10, 1730.

It was named Shaniwarwada from the Marathi words Shaniwar (Saturday) and Wada (a general term for any residence complex). Teak was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone was brought from the nearby quarries of Chinchwad, and Lime (mineral) was brought from the lime-belts of Jejuri. The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire, but the surviving structures are now maintained as a tourist site. Following the rise of the Maratha Empire, the palace became the centre of Indian politics in 18th century.

Shri Siddhi Vinayak at Saddhatek

The Siddhivinayak Temple of Siddhatek is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of wisdom. The temple is one of the Ashtavinayaka, the eight revered shrines of Ganesha in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The temple is located on the northern bank of the river Bhima in Siddhatek in the Karjat taluka of Ahmednagar and the only Ashtavinayaka shrine in Ahmednagar district.

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