The city of Mumbai happens to be in one of the richest cultural regions of India. These dramatic coastlines and the verdant mountains for centuries have been the site for battles and great dynasties. Family Travellers love to step out of the city and its maze of steel and glass for historical trips into the countryside. And we are road tripping kind of people, as you well know. By hiring self-driving cars, one can easily concoct an impromptu plan and enjoy a weekend or day trip with friends and family. Here are some recommendations for historical destinations around Mumbai that will give your children a glimpse of the rich culture and history of the state.
Located just around 80 kms away, Lonavala is not just a picturesque getaway, but it is also a place that is brimming with heritage. The Karla Caves are one of the most well-known historical attractions here. These caves are home to ancient Buddhist sculptures and art, including an impressive pillared corridor carved out of the mountainside rock. Some of the shrines are more than 2000 years old, offering a glimpse into a lost chapter of India. The Lohagad Fort is another prime spot for history buffs. One can explore the ramparts and catch mesmerizing views of the surrounding gorges from its summit.
Alibaug, apart from providing a seaside escapade, has many history lessons in store. The Kolaba Fort is located on an island and some of the highlights here are old temples and carvings of animals and other local motifs. The Korlai Fort is a reminder of the Portuguese influence in India’s West Coast – the lighthouse here is one of the town’s most popular attractions. Alibaug was home to a thriving Jewish population at one time. You can experience a bit of this slice of history at the Maget Avot Synagogue.
A 330-km drive across the heartland of Maharashtra, a trip to Aurangabad is always worth it. The city with its Mughal-influenced architecture is a perfect base to visit the Ellora and Ajanta Caves (my childhood memories of school trips!), rock-cut cave temples that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These caves include many well-preserved sculptures and paintings that chronicle Buddhist and ancient Hindu teachings and stories. The more medieval attractions of the city include the Daulatabad Fort, Bibi ka Maqbara and the Tomb of Aurangzeb.
Pratapgad Fort, Mahabaleshwar
Apart from these listed destinations, there are many other options. Pune’s landmarks remind visitors of the mighty Peshwa dynasty while Pratapgad Fort near Mahabaleshwar was where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeated Afzal Khan in 1659 to begin a period of Maratha domination.
Driving on one’s own terms is the best way to experience these destinations. Privacy, freedom and comfort are guaranteed and one can enjoy spontaneous stops and detours. When looking for a car rental Mumbai has the best options. App-based platforms like Zoomcar allow travellers to choose from a wide range of hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. 24/7 on-road support adds a layer of security to the experience, making rentals a favoured form of transport for long trips.
The forts and the sculptures provide a unique historical context to the captivating landscapes of Maharashtra. Not only will the children enjoy soaking in the old-time regality of the massive forts and imagining the bygone eras, these trips will also make your together-time memorable and fruitful. And you will, of course, enjoy these remnants of an old legacy and relish new experiences along the way.