Maharashtra, one of India’s most populated states, holds great appeal for travel enthusiasts, a state that combines the city’s hustle and bustle with a long-preserved heritage. Maharashtra is the home of prominent and majestic ancient buildings. Every age has left behind rich stories and monuments, from Maratha’s ruling days to the British colonial period.  Each of the historical places in Maharashtra has a lot to tell about their golden days. There are magnificent examples of craftsmanship that architects must look at, from the forts to well-known ruins, ancient caves, to temples. Maharashtra’s wealth of historical places makes it a perfect treat for architects who love to travel and adventure. 

Mumbai, the city of dreams, Pune, an educational city, and cities like Aurangabad and Nashik are full of Indian heritage and tradition! Maharashtra is a treasure chest which one will fall in love without any doubt!

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Rajabai Clock Tower, Mumbai ©
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52 Gates, Aurangabad ©
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Tomb of Salabat Khan, Ahmednagar ©

1. Gateway of India, Mumbai | Historical Places in Maharashtra

The Gateway of India, known as India’s most famous landmarks, was built in 1924 along the Mumbai Harbor in Maharashtra. This huge building, situated at the end of Apollo Bunder, portrays a commemorative monument. It was built in honor of King George V and his wife, Queen Mary, when they went to India.  Designed with a mixture of indissoluble concrete and yellow basalt, India’s Gateway reflects the Indo-Saracen architectural style.  This spectacular monument’s central dome spans about 48 feet in diameter.  With intricate latticework, it has 4 turrets clearly carved.

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Gateway of India © Ashwin Kumar
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Gateway of India ©

2. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

Previously known as Victoria Terminus in the British era, this wonderful railway station is among the ancient landmarks of Maharashtra, built-in stone with Victorian and Gothic influences for its architectural elegance. This 18th-century building is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture, a blend of craftsmanship by Indian artisans and British architects.  Observe the interesting turrets, pointed arches, wood carvings, balustrades, ornamental metal, inscriptions, and ironworks while visiting the place. There is a museum on the premises.  This station is one of the 32 Indian World Heritage Sites and one of India’s busiest railway stations.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus © Vistas from Soni Rakesh
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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ©

3. Ajanta-Ellora Caves, Aurangabad | Historical Places in Maharashtra

Though Ajanta and Ellora are two separate sites, they are known together. The Ajanta caves are located 107 km from Aurangabad, Maharashtra gives visitors a panoramic view of the whole site. Ajanta has 29 caves reflecting the architectural wonder and excellently portraying painting, sculpture, and stone carving. Ellora has 34 caves, and among those, Kailash Temple is significant as it is the single largest monolithic structure in the world. These rock-cut caves’ ancient beauty will take anyone’s breath away, yet the place is peaceful and serene.

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The Ajanta ©
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The Ellora © Arian Zwegers
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Kailash temple © Arian Zwegers

4. Raigad Fort, Raigad 

Raigad fort symbolizes historic sites in Maharashtra and boasts of the triumph of Maratha situated at the height of 2690 feet. Located in the green valleys on three sides, the fourth one sees a sequence of stairs leading up. which is why partly for that the enemy was never able to defeat one of the best historical places in Maharashtra.  Shivaji Maharaj called Raigad Fort the capital of the Maratha empire and presided over it. Shivaji Maharaj ashes are buried nearby. In addition to the scenic appeal, witness the ancient tales of the Maratha Kingdom. The sites of Raigad incorporate a wall called Hirakani Buru located at a mountain, Mena Darwaja, Nagarkhana Darwaja, Mena Darwaja, Rani Vasa, Palkhi Darwaja, etc.

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5. Harishchandragad Fort, Ahmednagar | Historical Places in Maharashtra

Harishchandragad, an ancient hill fort in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra situated at an elevation of 4672 feet, is one of the historic sites in Maharashtra, built in the sixth century by the Kalchuri dynasty. First, the citadel was constructed, and the caves were cut out much afterward when Saint Changdev was meditating here. The fort was transferred from the Mughals to the Marathas, who conquered it in the 18th century. Remains of Microlithic human settlers have been found here. The numerous Puranas, such as Matsyapurana, Skanda Purana, and Agnipurana, have multiple references to Harishchandragad.

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6. Bibi ka Maqbara, Aurangabad

Even though they call it the Taj Mahal of the Deccan, the tomb in Aurangabad, Maharashtra is exquisite on its own.  Here is Dilras Banu Begum, also recognized as Rabia-ud-Daurani, the very first wife of Aurangzeb. The tomb was built by Aurangzeb in remembrance of his beloved wife, Rabia-Ul-Daurani, which became one of Maharashtra’s major attractions. He attributed this spectacular architecture to his son, Azam Shah, who was born only four years before the passing of Rabia-Ul-Daurani.  

The mausoleum was built by her son Azam in 1660. It was commissioned to design by Ata-ullah, son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, who is presumed to be the Taj Mahal’s chief architect.

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Bibi ka Maqbara © Danial Chitnis
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Bibi ka Maqbara © Danial Chitnis

7. Aga Khan Palace, Pune

The Aga Khan Palace, built-in 1892 by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, is one of the many ancient buildings in Maharashtra and a heritage site in Indian history for several notable events.  It was said that Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturba, his wife, and Sarojini Naidu were imprisoned in this palace. 

On the grounds of this very palace, Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes are buried. The palace heads the Gandhi National Memorial Society, apart from being famous for its architectural beauty, and also promotes khaki-making to provide the poor with a livelihood.

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The Aga Khan Palace ©
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The Aga Khan Palace ©Soumya Sharthak Mishra

8. Shaniwar Wada, Pune

Shaniwar Wada is an exceptional example of the Maratha Empire architecture shown in the glorious past period in India. It describes the Maratha Kingdom’s historical story. Moreover, an iconic place to visit in Maharashtra. The Shaniwar Wada’s foundation stone was laid by Peshwa Bajirao I in 1730. It was constructed for symbolizing the courageous hearts of the Marathas, who fought hard to keep their glory intact. The walls have a beautiful wooden gate representing Mughal architecture, which is another example of how the palace was made secure. 

Long iron spikes are tucked into the fence, which could minimize the enemy’s assault and keep elephants away. In addition to this, you can see a garden that fits the Mughal architectural style. It also has a lovely fountain, right in the middle of the garden, resembling a 16-petalled lotus. Besides, the boundaries marked on the ground, which could say about all the spaces, can be seen.

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Shaniwar Wada ©

9. Chand Minar, Daulatabad

Included in the list of Maharashtra’s best monuments dating back to historic times is the Chand Minar in Daulatabad. One of the eight tallest towers in India is unusual as it is called the ‘Tower of the Moon.’  The fine example of Persian architecture dates back to the 15th century. It was built as a celebration of the capture by King  Ala-ud-din Bahmani of the Daulatabad Fort. The 30-meter-high tower has four storeys and 24 chambers with a small mosque at its base. Marvel at the excellent characteristics of indigenous Indian architecture features, as well as the blue Persian tiles. It was initially planned to make powerful announcements and to keep an eye on the enemy.

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Chand Minar ©
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Chand Minar ©

10. Elephanta Caves, Mumbai | Historical Places in Maharashtra

The Elephant caves on the island of Maharashtra are thought to date back to the Silhara Kings period.  However, there is no legit proof to strengthen the fact; there are also some theories associated with its formation. In reality, the Portuguese who arrived in India renamed the island Elephanta. Elephanta Caves are the epitome of Indian architecture reflecting deep-rooted Indian myths in every corner of it. The largest cave in the Elephant cave houses the image of Ravana rising the Kailash peak. 

Furthermore, in Ardhanarishvara, you can see the display of Shiva and Parvati inside the same body. When you look at the architecture on its southern wall, you will be shocked by the majestic sculptured forms of Uma Maheswara, Ardhanariswara, Gangadhara, and Kalyanasundaram. Further, in the west, sculptured pictures of Nataraja and Andhakaasuravadamoorthy, Yogiswara, and Ravana Anugraha Murti’s images must be discussed in the east.

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Elephanta caves ©

11. Ambernath Shivalaya, Ambernath

This magnificent Shikhara style temple located in Maharashtra was built in 1060 AD by the Shilahara dynasty of King Chhittaraja. Intricate stone carving works can be seen in the temple. There is a legend about the roots of this temple. It is said that the temple was built by the Pandavas during their exile (agyatvas). 

According to the tradition, Pandavas planned to build the temple in 1 night, but they could not build the temple’s roof, so the temple remained unfinished. To this day, the Garbha Graha or the Sanctum of the Temple has no roof. This temple is a symbol of the artistic genius of 11th-century Indian architects and artisans. This is actually a beauty, and it is aesthetically appealing architecture.  Ambernath Shivalaya is built in the Hemadpanti style. This majestic sanctuary has three entrances to the east, north, and south. 

You can see pictures of Pandavas on the northern gate of the temple. Enthralling info about this temple is that it is made of a single stone. Originally, this temple was built on the banks of the River Walduni. As of now, this river has dried out, and it is only during the rainy season that this river comes back to life again. Earlier, as this river flowed near the temple, the devotees used to dive in this river first and used to go to give prayers and reverence to the Lord.

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Ambernath Shivalaya ©

12. Pratapgad Fort, Satara

Maharashtra has a huge heritage of hill forts, and Pratapgad Fort in Satara is one of the most precious jewels. Established in the 17th century under the Chatrapati Shivaji rule, the gigantic fortress stretches over lush western Ghats, acting as a shield against enemies.  Also known as the Fort of Valour, it is an iconic monument in Maharashtra.  It was the location of the historic Pratapgad Fight. 

A visit to the fortress is a journey to nature and a dose of architectural wonder.  Trek the daunting 450 steps from the main village to the very top of the fort, re-living the ancient ornaments and basking in natural beauty.

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13. Mount Mary Church, Mumbai

Bandra is an ancient suburb in Maharashtra with many churches concealed in its twisting leafy streets. Of these, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Hill, a Roman Catholic church in the region known as Mount Mary in Bandstand, is one of the most magnificent examples of its kind. 

Bandra is an ancient suburb with many churches concealed in its twisting leafy streets. Of these, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Hill, a Roman Catholic church in the region known as Mount Mary in Bandstand, is one of the most magnificent examples of its kind. This Mother Mary is a little basilica, at least 100 years old. 

However, this basilica’s origin goes back to the 16th century, when a Jesuit priest decided to create a chapel. The original statue came from Portugal. If not out of faith, Mount Mary is a must-visit to admire the semi-gothic architecture and the openness of the Basilica, made distinctive by its location.

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Mount Mary church ©


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Mount Mary church ©

14. Sindhudurg Fortress, Sindhudurg

Sindhudurg Fort is located on an island just off the coast of Maharashtra in the Arabian Sea. One of the Maratha Dynasty’s mighty structures, founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Sindhudurg Fort spans over 48 acres. The fortress of the 17th century was founded to protect against foreign colonizers’ expanding dominance, such as the French, English, Portuguese, Dutch, and enemies within India. 

The intriguing fort has 42 strongholds and is surrounded by many smaller forts. It remains unbreachable until the deadline. It is special not only for its welcoming charm but also for the smartness with which the entrance was built so that nobody could find it from the outside. In addition to the old days of glory, Sindhudurg provides scenic views. There is also a temple inside, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj and the valiant Maratha warriors who created such a clever architectural marvel.

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15. Devagiri Daulatabad Fort, Daulatabad | Historical Places in Maharashtra

Daulatabad Fort, a huge fortress city that was the seat of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi in the fourteenth century, moved his capital here.  The Kings of Yadava founded the structure itself in the twelfth century. The town surrounding the fort was called Devagiri before it was renamed Tughlaq.  

Righteously referred to as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Maharashtra,’ the Daulatabad Fort is a beauty lover’s paradise with its sprawling greens. This architectural beauty provides a mesmerizing view of the whole region after climbing around 750 steps and is one of Maharashtra’s best historical sites.

What stands out here is the architecture and the structure of the memorial. Daulatabad Fort is situated on a 200-meter-high conical hill. Thanks to the view from the top of the sight and because of its strategic position, enemies could not target the historical monument. Lost in the turning wheel of time, the Joseph Atabad Fort, also known as Devgiri in ancient times, is one of Maharashtra’s most charming historical monuments. 

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Daulatabad Fort © Kevin Standage
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Daulatabad Fort © Kevin Standage

Tamrin Afroz is an architecture student who loves traveling, painting, journaling, and experimenting with new ideas. She aspires to uphold local culture, tradition, and craftsmanship within the community, to conserve tangible and intangible heritage. Apart from architecture, she is an activist working on social issues and promoting girls' leadership roles.

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