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Religious Places in Maharashtra

Afghan Memorial Church

The Afghan Memorial Church of St. John the Baptist, also known as St John's Church is located at Colaba, Mumbai. It was established in 1847 AD and consecrated 11 years later as a memorial to those who fell in the First Afghan War of 1843 and Sind campaign of 1838.

The roof of the Afghan Memorial Church is built of varnished teakwood with hammer beam style ribbing, while the flooring is done with chancel made of encaustic tiles in-laid with coloured clay imported from England.

The Church has a beautiful altar, tall pinnacles, 21 lancet windows with exquisite stained glass fixed in the triangular apexes, on either side of the nave. The remaining portions of the nave windows were fitted earlier with Venetians instead of glass, but it has changed with coloured glass windows.

There are 30 lancet windows glazed with coloured quarries in the clerestory. At the west end of each aisle are triplet windows, one in the south aisle behind the organ is filled with plain glass but the one in the north aisle behind the side altar is a memorial window.

Mumbai is well connected by air, rail and road with all the important places within and beyond the state. To reach the church Taxis, city buses and local trains are available. Mumbai offers tourist a wide range of accommodations.

Amba Devi Temple

Ambadevi Temple is situated at the heart of the city of Amaravati, Maharashtra, which is 155 km from Nagpur. The presiding deity is Amba Devi (Goddess of Shakti). According to legends, it is believed that Shri Krishna married Rukmini after abducting her when she came to pray at the Amba Devi temple. The Goddess Amba is popular amongst the devotees from Vidarbha.

The nearest airport and railway station are situated at Nagpur. Amaravati is connected by road as well; tourists can also take buses from Nagpur or hire taxis. Accommodation is available at Dharamshalas and in the rooms let by locals.

Ambarnath Temple

Ambarnath Temple is on the Mumbai-Pune railway line at Akoli. Ambarnath Temple is said to be the only temple of its kind in India. The temple, which dates back to 1060 AD compared in the fascinating and delicate complication of design to the famous Dilawara Temples of Mount Abu. One can hardly or rarely come across a temple, which can compare even remotely with the Ambarnath temple. It is believed that King Mahamandaleshwar built the temple in the memory of his predecessor.

Fairs are held once a year during Shivartri, and thousands of pilgrims flock to the temple on this event. Nearest airport from here is Mumbai. There is a railway station at Ambarnath. State transport plies buses regularly to Ambarnath from almost all important places in Maharashtra. The ancient Shivalaya of Ambarnath is also worth visitin

Anwa Temple

Anwa Temple is located 10 km away from Golegaon near Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Presiding deity is Lord Shiva, and the temple dates back to 12th century. The temple has a sanctuary and a mandap (open hall) with decorated pillars. Anwa is a small village on the main road leading from Aurangabad to the Ajanta Caves.

Anwa village gained importance because of Anwa Temple. The pillars of the temple has beautifully carved sculptures and decorated pillars. The temple has also images of Vishnu, Ganesha and other divinities.

As Anwa is very close to Ajanta, it is very convenient to travel by road from Golegaon. Private car or taxi is the best mode of transport. For accommodation small budgeted hotels are available at Ajanta. One can also stay at the government guesthouse.

Ayyappa Temple

Mumbai's Ayappa Temple is regarded to be the only Ayappa Temple outside Kerala state. The original name of this temple is Mini Sabarimala Shree Ayyappa Temple. It is situated atop a hillock surrounded by hills and valleys within the area of NCH Colony. A tiny stream originating from the vicinity adds the sanctity and beauty of the temple environment.

Ayappa Temple is a unique temple resembling the Holy Shrine of Shree Dharma Shastha (Ayyappa) at Sabarimala, Kerala, crowning the Western Ghats. This temple attracts thousands of devotees throughout the year.

The major festival is 'Mandala Makara Vilakku' festival (mid November to mid January), which starts with the Mudhradhanam for the devotees who undertake pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Festivals apart from the usual Hindu festivals which are celebrated here are 'Pankuni Uttiram'- the birthday of Shree Ayyappa, 'Prathista Dinam', 'Vishu' (New Year)- April 14th, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vijaya Dashami, and Deepawali.

Bahubali Hill Temple

Bahubali Hill Temples are located 27 km south of Kolhapur, Maharashtra on the Bahubali Hills. Huge devotees thronged the temple to worship the 28-feet tall marble statue of Bahubali and visit the temples of the 24 Tirthankaras or saints. These hills are popularly known as 'Kumbhojgiri'. A Celibacy Resort was established in 1935 and named after the sage Bahubali who mediated here about 300 years before.

This temple looks very beautiful and splendid. The scene of the forest and the village farms looks full of delight and beauty. People visiting these temples have to climb about 400 steps. A fair is held here on the 15th day of the bright half of the month of Kartak, on the 15th day of the bright half of the month Chaitra and on the 10th of day the dark half of the month of Magasar

Visitors can take a train from the nearest railway station at Hathkalangad, about 8 km away, on Kolhapur - Miraj railway line. This temple is at a distance of 31 km from Kolhapur. There are steps for climbing the hill. Bus service and private vehicles are available. They go to the foot of the hill. The Swetambar Jain Trust provides accommodation for the devotees.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Bibi Ka Maqbara is situated 5 km away from Aurangabad. Aurangazeb's son, Prince Azam Shah built it in 1678 in the memory of his mother Begum Rabia Durani. This mausoleum is a replica of the famous Taj Mahal.

Despite the layout and surrounding of the tomb is very much similar to Taj Mahal, somehow the architecture fails to produce the magic of the Taj. Hence, it is considered to be a poor imitation of the Taj Mahal.

The chief architect of the monument is a Persian called Ustad - Ata - Ullah. The inscription on the walls of the tomb reveals that it cost precisely Rs. 665,283 and 7 Annas to build this monument.

Bibi Ka Maqbara has four towering minarets like Taj Mahal. An octagonal lattice-screen of white marble surrounds the raised plinth supporting Rabia Daurani's grave inside the tomb. The tips of its pillars are made of red stone. The monument becomes so beauty when its reflection falls on the water as soon as the sun's first rays fall on it.

MTDC organizes a fair every October as the Bibi Ka Maqbara festival. Aurangabad is well connected through air, train and road. Accommodation facilities are available at various hotels at Aurangabad.

Kailash Temple

It is believed that the construction of the Kailash Temple was started in the mid 8th century under the direction of King Krishna I (757-775) of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. This temple is world's largest monolithic structure carved from one piece of rock and the most extensive rock-cut projects ever undertaken.

Kailash Temple is situated near the village of Ellora, 30 km from Aurangabad. The temple is considered as one of the most astonishing buildings in the history of architecture. This is one of the largest 34 excavations at Ellora, which took almost a century. Kailash Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The idol measures 109 feet wide by 164 feet long.

Kailash Temple has number of images of deities, animals, and other mythical creatures from the puranas in a manner that leaves one in rapturous delight. Entire panels were carved showing scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

Every December, MTDC organises the Ellora festival of music and dance at the Kailash Temple. Ellora is well connected by all means of transport. Accommodation is available at the hotels in Aurangabad.

Osho Ashram

Osho Ashram, also known as the Osho Communal Centre is located at the greenery area of 17 Koregoan Park of Pune, Maharashtra. The Ashram offers a variety of expensive courses on meditation.

Osho Ashram attracts a number of devotees each year including a large number of them from the western countries since early 70s even though Osho expired in 1990.

Facilities of swimming, sauna, tennis, massages, beauty parlour, basketball courts and Bistros are available at the Ashram. There is a rock garden of 5 hectares called Osho Park in the side of the Ashram. The nearby Nulla Park, also known as Osho Teerth is a beautifully maintained garden, transformed from a swamp. The garden opens for public from 6 to 9 in the morning and 7 to 10 in the evening.

Nearest airport and railhead is at Pune. The city is well connected by road with all the places in Maharashtra and other parts of the country. Accommodation is available at the hotels in Pune.


Pandharpur is located in a place, which is 65 km away from Sholapur on the banks of river Bhimarathi. This place is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra.

Pandharpur preserves Lord Vithoba's image in a grand temple. Vithoba is a form of Krishna. The name Vithoba means Father Vitthala. Vitthala is said to have been derived from the word Vishnu in Kannada.

The worship of Vishnu - Vitthala at Pandharpur is derived mainly from the puranas and has been augmented by the contribution of the great Vaishnava saints of Maharashtra from the 13th to 17th centuries (Namdev, Jnaneshwar, Eknath, Tukaram).

The temple with its vast area has a total of six gates. The eastern entrance to this temple is known as the Namdev gate. The sanctum enshrines a standing image of Vithoba also known as Panduranga, Pandhari or Vitthala.

The image dates back to the 5th century. There are inscriptions in this temple dating back to the 13th century. Namdev, the 13th century saint was closely associated with this temple. Copper plate inscriptions of the Rashtrakootas place this shrine in the 6th century. There is also a shrine to Pundalik at Pandharpur.


Shirdi, a small village in Kopargam Taluk, in Ahmadnagar, Maharastra is regarded to be an important pilgrimage place in India as sage Sai Baba lived here till his death. It is about 285 km, which is 6 hours drive from Mumbai.

After his death, Sai Baba's fame has spread far and wide. Sai Baba believed and respected all religions. Samadhi Temple was started during the lifetime of Sai Baba, with a view to having a temple of Sri Krishna. But later, Sai Baba himself decided to live there. So, after Sai Baba attained Nirvana (eternal peace), His mortal remains were buried at the place. The articles and valuables, which were used by the Baba, are exhibited in a room here.

Dwarkamayee Masjid is the place where Baba lived for almost for 60 years. There is also a place called Chavadi where Sai Baba used to visit every alternate night. Gurusthan is the place where Sai Baba used to sit under a neem (Margo) tree. It is said that the leaves of this tree lost their bitterness with to the grace of Sai Baba. Samadhis of Baba's devotees like Abdul Baba, Nanavalli, Bhau Maharaj and Tatya are also there in Shirdi. There are also interesting and holy places related to Sai Baba.

Nearest important railway station is at Kopergaon, trains of major cities are available. The Shirdi Sai Sansthan provides boarding and lodging facilities but since large numbers of devotees throng the place, especially on Thursdays, one can find it difficult to get accommodation. But there are good hotels, which cater to the needs of all classes of devotees. Locals also let rooms on rent over here.

Siddhivinayak Temple

Siddhivinayak Temple is in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Siddhivinayak Lord Ganapati/Ganesh is worshipped in the temple. The temple dates back to 18th Century. Vinayak is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.

The present form of the temple was re-constructed five years ago. The temple has a Kalash, which is a pointed dome of 12 feet high Gabhara (sanctum sanctorum) weighing 1500 kg and plated in gold. So, it facilitates the 'Darshan' of Sri Siddhivinayak from either the area surrounding the Gabhara or the stage (Sabha Mandap) constructed to conduct pujas and festivities.

The idol of Ganapati is also called Chaturbhuj as it has four arms. A lotus is held in the upper right hand symbolises auspicious piety and a small axe in the upper left, a holy rosary of beads (Japmala) are held in the lower right and a bowl full of Modaks (a delicacy which is a perennial favorite with Sri Siddhivinayak) in the lower left. On auspicious Tuesdays, the serpentine queue of worshippers is over 2 km long.

Mumbai is well connected by air, rail and road with all the places in the state as well as the country. Tourists can take the city buses from any point of the city and reach this temple.

Takht Sri Hazur Sahib

Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib is the most important Gurdwara situated in Nanded, Maharashtra. It is one of the four high seats of Authority of the Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru died in Nanded and his ashes are buried in the Sach Khand Shri Huzur Gurdwara on the side of the river Godavari.

Different kinds of weapons of Govind Singhji's time are exhibited here. The Guru gave his last sermon to the Sikhs in this Gurudwara. The Gurdwara is beautifully architected with marble and golden plating. Corners of the roof of the first floor are decorated with domed kiosks on octagonal pedestals.

The sanctum has marble lining decoration with inset work in floral patterns on lower parts of the walls and stucco and tukari work on the upper parts as well as on the ceiling.

Nearest and convenient airport is Aurangabad. There is a railway station at Nanded. It is well connected by road with the important places within and beyond the state. Accommodation is available at the hotels in Nanded. Free lodging is provided at the Dharamshala, which is just beside the Gurudwara.

Jyotirlingas Tour

The five Jyotirlingas of Maharashtra are Aundha Nagnath, Bhimashankar, Ghrishneshwar, Parali Vajinath, and Trimbakeshwar.

Surrounded by thick dense forest, Bhimashankar is a major pilgrim place. About 25,000 pilgrims visit here to take part in the annual Maha Shivratri fair. Bhimashankar got its name due to the origin of River Bhima here.

Trimbakeshwar is a very holy place of Maharashtra. It is situated near Nasik.

It is believed that Aundha Nagnath is constructed by the eldest Pandav while they were in exile for 14 years. The Aundha Nagnath has great significance as it is considered to be the 8th of the 12 Jyotirlingas.

Grishneshwar temple is located at a distance of 11km from Daulatabad near Aurangabad.

Aundha Nagnath

Aundha Nagnath is one among the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. Among the 12 Jyotirlingas, 5 lie in Maharashtra. Aundha Nagnath is considered to be the first Jyotirlinga where Shiva is worshipped. It is believed that the Aundha Nagnath was built by Yudhisthira, the eldest Pandav, while they were send in an exile for 14 years.

The Aundha Nagnath has Hemadpanthi style of architecture spreading for over 60,000 sq ft area. The most unique part of this temple is that the idol of Nandi is not present in front of the shrine of Mahadeva. A separate Nandikeshwara temple is built beside the main temple. The main temple is surrounded by small temples of 12 Jyotirlingas on all four sides. In all total there are 108 Shiva temple and 68 shrines of Shiva are to be found here. Besides, there are idols and temples of VedavyasaLinga, bhandareshwar, Nilakanteshwar, Ganapati, Dattatreya, Muralimanohar, Dasavatar.

Another fascinating part of the Aundha Nagnath temple is that snakes flanking the Shiva linga with their hoods are often seen here. The temple has an exquisite architectural beauty. It has large corridors and a 8 pillared court hall. The Shiva Linga is located in Garbhagriha.

Getting There:
Nearest rail head is at Chondi, 21 km from Aundha Nagnath. By road Aundha Nagnath is 579 km from Mumbai, 359 km from Nagpur, 210 km from Aurangabad. State transport buses are frequently available.



Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated in the north of Pune, on the Sahayadri, by the banks of the river Bhima. It is from here that the Bhima River flows. It is believed that Lord Shiva was pleased by the devotion of a king named Bhimak of the sun Dynasty and is called the Jyotirlinga in the place. But according to the Shiv Purana the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated on the Mountain Brahmapur, district Kamrup of Assam. Lord Shiva had incarnated so that he could destroy the demons and protect his devotees and for the welfare of one and all.

It is believed that once upon a time in the place called Kamrup a great devotee by the name of King Kamrupeshwar would reside. He would be constantly abandoned in the worship of Shiva. During the same a demon named Bhima emerged and started harassing the people. He had heard many a things about the sublime devotion of Kamrupeshwar. He wanted to kill King Kamrupeshwar. No sooner he attacked the king absorbed in worship, his sword fell on the linga instead of the king. Instantly Lord Ashutosh appeared and destroyed Bhima along with his army.

Seeing this, all were elated. On the sincere request of the gods and sages he agreed to reside there eternally by the name of Bhimashan

Bhimashankar, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas Temples , can certainly be termed as a Pilgrim Paradise. The dense forests surrounding the high ranges also play an abode to the rare species of flora and fauna. Situated at the extreme end of the Sahayadri Ranges, this place gives a wonderful view of the world around you, the forts, the rivers and the hill stations around.


Grishneshwar Temple is an ancient pilgrimage site revered as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlinga manifestation of Lord Shiva. The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga shrine is located at a village called Verul, which lies 20 km from Daulatabad (near Aurangabad in Maharashtra) and approximately 100 kms from Manmad station. Located close to Daulatabad (once known as Devagiri) is the popular tourist attractions Ajanta - Ellora.

The Grishneswar Temple was constructed by Ahilyabhai Holkar who also re-constructed the Kashi Viswanatha Temple at Varanasi and the Vishnu Paada Temple at Gaya. The Grishneshwar Temple is also known by several other names like Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara and Grishneswara


Parali Vajinath

Parli Vaijnath is situated in Beed District. Swayambhu & Jagrit Sthan of Lord Sri Vaijnath, one of the twelve places of Jyotirling in India. Sri Ahilyabai Holker renovated this temple.

An imposing & majestic temple on a hill. As one enters the premises of the temple spacious stone steps and lofty Mahadwar attracts one's attention.

Here Sabhamandap & Garbhagriha are at the same level, which is rarely found in any Shiv mandir. Famous business centre. Thermal power station.

Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga

Jyotirlinga are set of 12 Shiva Temples spread all over India and considered holiest for Shiva devotees. Trimbakeshwar near Nashik, Bhimashankar, Off Pune and Grishneshwar near Ellora caves are three temples in Maharashtra. To add to this there is also Nagnath at Aundha and Parli Baidyanath that are considered by many one of the Jyotirlingas.

Shaktipeethas of Maharashtra

The four Shaktipeethas of Maharashtra are well described in Devi Bhagavata Purana. Himavanta (Lord of Himalayan mountains), worshiped Jaganmata for a long time to get her as his daughter. Pleased by his devotion, she appeared before him and gave the boon. Himavanta was very happy. But, he was clever. He asked her another boon to give Bhakti and Jnana so that he can take care of her properly. Jaganmata told him that one who wishes Bhakti-Jnanas from her is a real devotee and she will be more interested to bless them than any other. She told Devi Geeta to Himavanta.

In the Devi Geeta she mentioned few important places on the earth which she likes a lot. Out of them the top most priority goes to the four Shakti peethas present in Maharashtra. They are:

  • Hingula (Tulja devi) in Tulaja puram (Tuljapur)
  • Lakshmi (Amba bai / Maha laksmi) in Kolhapuram (Kolhapur)
  • Renuka in Matru pattanam (Mahur)
  • Jwalamukhi (Sapta shringi mata) in Saptashringam (Saptashringi)
Tulja bhavani in Tuljapur
Maha laxmi in Kolhapur
Renuka mata in Mahur
Saptashringi mata in Saptashringi

Significance of four Shakti peethas:

What does four Shakti peethas resemble? We can't tell why Jaganmata categorized these four shaktipeethas into a group. But many devotees gave explanations for this number four. The number four resembles the four parts of holy AUM. A kara, U kara, Ma kara and Mmm kara (Ardha matra). That is why they are also called as "Three and half Shakti peethas".

Shakti Part of AUM Guna Resembling God
Tulja Bhavani A kara Rajas Brahma
Maha Lakshmi U kara Satwa Vishnu
Renuka Mata Ma kara Tamas Maheshwara
Saptashringi Mata Ardha matra Trigunateeta Adi Shakti

According to Yoga shastras and Tantra shastras, Shakti is present in our body in the form of Kundalini. It is described as a female serpent which is sleeping in Muladhara Chakra turning it's body into three and half (3 1/2) circles. If it is activated with the help of Spiritual practices, it raises and passes to Sahasrara through Sushumna, a small passage in Spinal cord. The three and half folds of Kundalini are compared with the four forms of Shakti present in this list of Four Shakti peethas of Maharashtra.

I heard another important explanation from a devotee of Shakti. These four Shakti peethas are worshiped in Chandi Upasana. Navakshara Mantra and Chandi Yantra are important for Chandi. In that worship, we come across Nanda, Shakambari and Bheema Shaktis. The physical resemblances for them are:

  • Nanda : Tulja bhavani : Maya
  • Shakambari : Maha lakshmi : Shakti
  • Bheema : Renuka : Jnana and
  • Saptashringi mata is considered as the combined power for these three.

All these belong to Brahma prakriti, So Brahma maya, Brahma shakti Brahma ganana and Brahmi sthiti.



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