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If you’re planning a trip to India, this article is for you! Whether you’re visiting India for the first time or already have some experience of the subcontinent, the question arises: where to go in India? This article compares two of India’s must-see states, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, to help you choose your holiday destination in India.

The geographical context of a trip to India, between Maharashtra and Rajasthan

First of all, it’s important to remember that India is a federal country made up of 29 states and 7 territories. And each of them is larger than France. Like our own beautiful regions, these faraway lands all have their particularities: landscapes, history, population, spirituality, and traditions. Everything is different. All Indian tours include the splendors of Indian culture, Hindu temples and monasteries, and lush plantations. With so much to see and experience, how do you know where to go in India?

How does it compare with France?

For a vacation in France, your choice is between Brittany and Normandy, or between the Alps and the Pyrenees, or even between the Vosges and the Massif Central.

So, it’s time to get out the map of India to situate the states of North India, at the foot of the Himalayan foothills, and those of South India. Maharashtra and Rajasthan seem to be neighbors to the north-west.

When it comes to knowing where to go in India, distances and travel times take on a different dimension. Maharashtra and Rajasthan are 1000 kilometers apart. As a reminder, this is equivalent to crossing France from Lille to Marseille. Hesitating between the two is like asking yourself whether you’ll spend your vacations in Germany or Spain. Right away, you realize that the choice depends on a complex overall picture. The rupees you spend are just one detail.

What’s more, the means of transport in India are not the same as those you use on a daily basis. The train in India is a journey in itself. This 1000 km route between Maharashtra and Rajasthan requires at least 20 hours’ driving. As much as for Paris-Athens. So, before you leave, it’s best to think carefully about which direction will offer you the best stay in India.

What are the criteria for deciding where to go in India?

In the same way that you set priorities when choosing a vacation destination in France or Europe, your trip to India must suit your tastes. Above all, it’s essential to ask yourself the right questions.

What do you prefer for your vacation?

  • Natural places or urban architecture?
  • Seaside leisure or cultural visits?
  • European comfort or the reality of local life?
  • Etc…

Let’s take a quick look at some of the characteristics of Maharashtra and Rajasthan that will guide you in your choice to go to India.

Two disparate states: Maharashtra and Rajasthan

This chapter does not pretend to judge which state is the best. With the greatest of respect, we recognize that each has its qualities and weaknesses. On the other hand, it is essential that you find the destination in India that most closely matches your aspirations. Logically, the best state is the one that will offer you a dream vacation and make you want to come back to India.

Rajasthan, the glittering country

Rajasthan is India’s largest state. It’s the place to go in India to climb the mountains bordering Pakistan. It also has a desert, but no sea. Its economic activity is based mainly on agriculture. In terms of monuments, you can visit majestic palaces that are the equivalent of our Loire castles. Certainly not in terms of architectural style, but in the spirit of their construction: built in times of peace by dynasties of maharajas anxious to prove their power. These buildings are vast, solid and sumptuously decorated by artists supported by the powers that be. Think François 1er and Leonard de Vinci in Indian style.

The stability of the local authorities ensured that the buildings were regularly maintained, so that they have remained in excellent condition ever since. In fact, most of them were transformed first into trading posts in colonial times and then into luxury hotels at the time of Independence.

The Taj Mahal hides a sad tourist reality

Of course, monuments like these attract a lot of people. They’re crowded, everywhere, all the time. The whole world sums up where to go in India as a visit to the majestic tomb.

In truth, the Taj Mahal is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, but at the gateway to Rajasthan, just 250km away. This is why many Europeans confuse its location. But once you’ve arrived in India, the detour is nothing to sneeze at.

The mythical Taj Mahal, for example, receives 8 million visitors a year, or 22,000 per opening day. In fact, behind this average are frightening peaks of 70,000 visitors in a single day. What’s more, overwhelmed by tourists, some Indian monuments have resolved to open at night too, to dilute the flow of the human tide and better respond to the public’s pressing demands.

With serious consequences

So many people, on such a regular basis, has dramatic consequences for the monument and the local economy. In fact, both intentional and unintentional damage is rife. For example, the foundations are shaken by the weight of the crowds. Also, the marble floor is worn away by the friction of footsteps and trampling. Similarly, Agra’s pollution turns the walls yellow, impregnating the white marble.

In the same vein, imagine Disneyland, the Château de Versailles, the Eiffel Tower or Mont Saint Michel on a summer weekend. So much so that the Indian government recently took drastic measures to reduce the number of people in the Taj Mahal.

For that matter, think of the fake Lascaux cave to protect the real thing from the damaging effects of tourism. Without coming up with this panacea, the Indian state is trying to find a compromise between conflicting interests. The most significant brake is the sharp increase in the entrance fee. A disincentive for the natives, which is an injustice. Since then, the famous mausoleum has become a magnet for foreign royalties at the expense of its own population. This information changes the perception before ticking off where to go in India on a map.

Tourism as theater

Human nature is so constituted that we feel more comfortable in the presence of our reference points, even if they are false. Such is the case with the preconceived ideas that tourists project onto the Indian population.

For example, most Westerners expect to see Indians dressed in traditional garb. Saris and kurta. As if Alsatian women still wore their giant bow headdress! So, to avoid disappointing tourists, Indians adapt and artificially wear the expected outfits. In this way, they put on a show of pretended authenticity, constructed from scratch.

By contrast, as you move away from the hotspots of mass tourism, the effects of globalization lessen. In fact, in more remote regions where you can go in India without fear of being fooled, your observations will not be parasitized by shoddy pretences.

Maharashtra, a quiet memory

Beauté du Maharashtra

This is the most populous state to visit in India. Thanks to its geographical location, it concentrates the country’s industrial activity. As a result, most of India’s major companies have their headquarters in Maharashtra. As a result, urbanization is dense and modern. Nonetheless, you’ll have the pleasure of cooling off by the sea on dreamy sandy beaches. What’s more, you can discover authentic local life with fishermen who work according to traditional methods.

The same goes for the fortresses and Buddhist temples that will remind you of our most ancient monuments. Indeed, built in times of war on the hillsides during the ongoing conflict against the Mughals, they resemble our medieval castles. Small, numerous, set high up on the hillside with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Clearly, the military urgency of the time reduced maintenance work to a strict minimum, leaving no room for artistic patronage. As a result, the decoration is sober and robust. The monumental sculptures are often carved out of the mountain rock. These sanctuaries have endured the ravages of both invasions and diluvian monsoons, which have repeated themselves tirelessly every year since the dawn of time.

As a result, the partial preservation of these remains bears witness to the region’s major historical events. As with a medieval castle, after an exotic trek you’ll visit in the company of other enthusiastic travellers. Small, dedicated groups with whom you’ll enjoy sharing the moment.

Sustainable tourism is a militant act

The state of Maharashtra is the ideal place to go in India to escape mass tourism. What’s more, your stay and presence here will benefit the local population. Indeed, under the influence of local tourist agencies like Akvin Tourism, the inhabitants of small villages understand the importance of promoting their heritage. Traffic flow, the layout of public spaces and the quality of accommodation are gradually improving, while retaining their Indian patina. Far from overtourism, you’re helping to build the region’s future by practicing eco-responsible tourism. In fact, the price of admission tickets for a visit corresponds to the fair price of salaries and daily maintenance, with no strategic ulterior motive for restraint. What’s more, in the surrounding shops, the cost of living is that of everyday life. True, Indian tradition encourages you to negotiate prices, but you’ll still pay realistic prices for your purchases.

Indian wonders you’ll love to discover

Maharashtra ou Rajasthan, Ou voyager en Inde ?

The caves of Ellora

There’s a wide gap between the good intentions of the tourism authorities and the reality on the ground. The extraordinary sacred caves of Ellora have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. This certifies the exceptional nature of the site and gives reason to pay close attention to this unique work of art. Yet relatively few people know where to go in India to admire monuments of this value in the history of mankind. So, choosing Maharashtra over Rajasthan opens the door to a more mysterious universe, reserved for those who have seen the secrets hidden deep in the mountains.

Get 100% out of your vacation in India

The brief description of the two emblematic states where to go in India, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, gives an idea of what your days in India will be like.

If you want to make the most of your stay in India, choose Maharashtra. You’ll visit more places without wasting time in long queues. What’s more, you won’t be frustrated by the odd glimpse of a monument drowned out by the crowds. Or worse, being turned away at the entrance because the maximum number of visitors for the day has been reached.

Luckily, in Maharashtra, your days will be filled with a wide variety of activities that are as close as possible to local life.

  • Understand the secret life in Mumbai’s slums.
  • Cross the Charthana bazaar in a rickshaw
  • Dreaming in Bollywood movie sets…
  • Buy a sari in Paithan
  • Join the pilgrims in Nashik
Nashik, Où aller en Inde ?

Celebration in Nashik

There, you’ll take the time you need to admire the landscapes of the national park and soak it all in at your own pace. On your return, you’re sure to realize just how intense and enriching your stay in Maharashtra has been. You’ll want to return to India, and this time you’ll have no doubts about where to go in India!

Choose where to go in India for a unique experience

A trip to India is never trivial. It’s bound to be a milestone for you. In fact, you prepare it carefully well in advance and relive the memories for years to come. So don’t let others interfere with what’s so special about your holiday. Your sense of wonder must remain intact before you leave and after you return.

Discover India’s mysteries for yourself

India is like any other country: as soon as you tell people where you’re going in India, they’ll tell you all about it, either first-hand, second-hand from an acquaintance or from a TV documentary. You won’t be able to escape the many “You’ll see this and that…”. And then there’s the waving of photos and postcards of iconic monuments, seen and re-seen by all and sundry.

Nothing like it to spoil the preparations for your trip. When you get there, you’ll be left with a disappointing impression because the element of surprise is gone.

To counter this risk, get out your secret weapon for where to go in India: Maharashtra!

A name that sounds like a magic formula, that nobody knows how to pronounce, let alone write. Of course, the probability of your interlocutor knowing it is so low that you won’t risk the #alertspoiler!

Voyager dans le Maharashtra

Travelling in Maharashtra

Your best memories of India are precious

In the same way, when you return to France to recount your trip and share your impressions, there will always be an intruder to interrupt you and slip in “Ah yes! So did we when…”. Bim, your anecdote downgraded to the level of uninteresting banality.

You’ve got to admit, it’s depressing!

Slap the killjoys on the back with a new anecdote. Off the beaten track, as Maharashtra so often offers, you’

ll bring back exceptional memories that will stay fresh for a long time. For example, a night in a wada near the Ajanta caves, discovering the last capital of the Mughal empire or taking part in the festival of lights, Diwali, in small villages with the locals.

Experience authentic India

Are you planning a trip so far away that you find yourself “right at home”? If so, you won’t find anywhere to go in India that meets your expectations. Indeed, an international hotel chain or “all-inclusive resort” is not a meaningful embassy of a trip to Rajasthan or Maharashtra. Among other things, full board adapted for Westerners deprives you of true Indian gastronomy.

Immerse yourself in the heart of India

Traveling to India means a complete change of scenery and intense culture shock. So it’s a good idea to immerse yourself in the country by living with and like the Indian people. With this in mind, a homestay is the first step. You’ll observe the spontaneous daily life of a family who will be happy to share their way of life with you. You’ll chat with them during a convivial and sincere chai break.

Likewise, the choice of tourist agency to advise you on where to go in India is crucial. It’s obvious that a travel agency based in Europe and offering a wide range of destinations worldwide is not a specialist in India. But a local agency like Akvin Tourism, based in Aurangabad, the former capital of Maharashtra, has in-depth knowledge of the country. Your guides, Vincent and Akash, live in the area year-round, and know the local merchants and craftsmen from whom they usually buy supplies for their personal needs. Just as you know your baker and pharmacist.

With the driver option, they’ll take you to where they do their own shopping: street restaurants for memorable Indian cuisine. In your free time, you’ll venture into the alleys they’ve pointed out to you for a safe stroll around the old town. You’ll know the best places to buy souvenirs, groceries, saris, jewelry and more…

The sincerity of an Indian guide

Likewise, during excursions, by regularly returning to the same villages, they have built up close relationships with the locals. This can open unexpected doors for a tailor-made trip to India. Besides, they don’t choose the places they visit for the lure of commissions that are as secret as they are attractive to them. As a matter of principle, their selection criteria prioritize curiosity and interest in the group they’re accompanying – you.

Choosing where to go in India, between Maharashtra and Rajasthan

To sum up, the key points for choosing where to go in India take into account your aspirations as a traveller:

  • Your usual criteria for choosing a vacation destination
  • The type of tourism you enjoy
  • The desire for a unique experience all your own
  • A shared journey to the heart of the country

With these factors in mind, it’s easy to decide where to go in India, and whether to visit Rajasthan or Maharashtra.

Plan where to go in India

If, like us, you like :

  • Tourism that respects the local population
  • Discovering unknown places
  • Sharing unique moments
  • A private tour in a small group

Contact us to organize your vacation in India

Akvin tourism

Author Akvin tourism

I have been passionate about history and religions since my adolescence. I devoured the courses on Egypt and ancient Greece. For 5 years, I fell in love with a region of India, Maharashtra. Every day, I research its history on its culture. With this blog, I would like to introduce you to an extraordinary region through its history, its men and women and its culture.

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