Business India ×

Published on: March 3, 2021, 12:53 p.m.
Maharashtra reopens the doors to tourists
  • Bodhalkasa: a haven for those who seek adventure as well as nature’s beauty

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

In mid-February 2021, the Maharashtra state government’s tourism department announced 20 mini-festivals across the six regions of Maharashtra. This will take place across the state from Konkan, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur in February and March 2021 to boost tourism. The state tourism department has earmarked Rs100 lakh for organising these 20 festivals.

After a difficult year due to the pandemic, Maharashtra is all set to welcome tourists again, provide an opportunity to explore the state and join in on the festivities across its length and breadth. These marquee festivals will provide exciting opportunities for tourists to celebrate the cultural heritage tourism of Maharashtra. 

“Last year was painful due to Covid-19,” explains Dhananjay Sawalkar, director, tourism. “So, MTDC has decided to host these 20 mini-cultural festivals to boost tourism. This is happening for the first time in Maharashtra and we have covered all the regions from Sindhudurg to Nagpur. And some niche tourism products were taken into consideration in this festival, particularly the ones like the petroglyph scene in Ratnagiri and the Turtle Festival in Velas. These are the two special festivals. Apart from these, the Junnar Grape Festival and Nashik Grape Wine Harvest are also attractive places we plan to cater to.” MTDC’s aim is “to promote less explored and less known regions and places and create awareness about these regions and boost travel and tourism”. 

“Our main aim is to boost the local market and agro-tourism needs – the local farmers and vendors, who have suffered in the pandemic. Through these festivals, we will boost jobs and business,” says Sawalkar, demonstrating that Maharashtra is rich in culture and heritage. Major forts, such as Panhala fort and Laling fort will also be promoted. “In Marathwada, we have covered religious places, including 1,000-year-old temples. Also, we have covered one of the cultural sites from the Ramayana circuit, ie Ramtek, which is near Nagpur. Additionally, we have also covered wildlife and bird sanctuaries,” he says.

Some of the landmark festivals that will be held in Nashik district include the Grape Harvesting festival, Nandur Madhyameshwar festival, Bhandardara festival in Ahmednagar district and Laling fort festival in Dhule district. Pune district is going to witness the iconic Junnar Grape festival, while Satara district will host the Wai festival and Kolhapur district, the Panhala festival. In the Konkan region, one can visit popular festivals such as Vengurla (Sagareshwar) festival in Sindhudurg district, Shrivardhan festival in Raigad district, Katalshilpa festival and Anjarle Festival in Ratnagiri district.

The festivals planned in the Aurangabad division are: Ter Festival in Osmanabad district, Kapildhara Festival in Beed district and Hottal Festival in Nanded district. Similarly, Sindkhed Raja Festival in Nagpur district, Narnala Fort Festival in Akola district and Tipeshwar Forest Festival in Yavatmal district are planned under the Amravati region.

  • Konkan Prehistoric Petroglyphs Festival

The Nagpur division will also organise many festivals, including the Ramtek Festival in Nagpur district, Bor Dam and Wildlife festival in Vardha district and Bodalkasa Bird festival in Gondia district. “These festivals will be organised through the regional offices of the Directorate of Tourism, with the help of the local district administration. These mini-festivals will help feature less explored destinations prominently on the Maharashtra tourism map,” feels Sawalkar.

The Junnar Grape festival

The state government’s tourism department hosted a three-day Grape festival in Junnar, one of the prominent tourism destinations in Maharashtra during 19-21 February 2021. The festival is aimed at placing Junnar grape yards as the most-sought after tourist destination in the state and promoting grape agro-tourism.

Surrounded by the beautiful mountain ranges of Malshej, winding natural ghats, ancient caves and two Ashtavinayak temples, Junnar is perfect for tourism. Some of the key attractions of the festival include local food and rural rides, heritage walks and enthralling cultural programmes. The itinerary comprised visits to less explored places, such as grape farms, Junnar heritage walk areas, wineries, the Ozar Ganpati temple, the Gibson statue, the Lenyadri Ganpati temple, Tamhane museum, the Amba-Ambika caves and the Junnar weekly market. 

“Many cultural and entertainment programmes were arranged during the festival. It has provided a great opportunity to local farmers, self-help groups and local artisans to showcase their work to tourists,” says Sawalkar. Adds Supriya Karmarkar, deputy director, tourism, Pune: “Tourists were able to enjoy a special tour of farm-fresh grapes, consume and purchase beverages on the spot and witness the entire wine-making process at the festival. We have a variety of grapes and grape products such as raisins, black currents, grape juice, etc. Tourists had an opportunity to purchase freshly-plucked grapes directly from the farm. It wss a good way to help grape harvesters extend their reach, while giving them a chance to meet and exchange experiences with tourists, experts and business enterprises.”

  • Panhala: a quaint hill station located in Kolhapur district

Panhala festival

To showcase its rich culture and heritage, MTDC hosted the Panhala festival on 26-28 February 2021. During these days, the historic city of forts, Panhala, was all set to launch a three-day festival for travel enthusiasts in the state. Situated at a height of 3,200 ft above sea level, Panhala is a quaint hill station located in the district of Kolhapur. Through such festivals, the state government aims to feature less explored destinations prominently on the Maharashtra tourism map.

The marquee festival was inaugurated at Interpretation Centre on 26 February and an impressive set of historic weapons and vintage cars was displayed there. Additionally, there will be a variety of activities and competitions conducted at the festival, such as cycling, marathon, painting, etc, which were open to tourist participation.

MTDC hosted a two-day bird festival on 27 and 28 February in Bodalkasa for birding enthusiasts. The festival was aimed at creating awareness about the importance of bird conservation and promoting the rich avian diversity of Bodalkasa. Known for various tourist attractions like Bodalkasa Damand Nagzira Tiger Reserve, Bodalkasa has earned the reputation of being a haven for those who seek adventure as well as nature’s beauty. It has emerged as the favourite birding spot in the state as bird-watchers flock to it for sighting various types of birds. 

Apart from birding, the festival offered guided bird tours of the Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve and Bodalkasa. Also, there were lectures and talk shows by eminent ornithologists, which were designed to inform and make one a better bird watcher, as also various competitions for children and exhibitions of different products by the Department of Agriculture.

Cover Feature

Ola’s EVolution theory

Bhavish Aggarwal is confident of playing a big role in India’s EV revolution


Textiles goes circular

The textiles & apparel sector gears up to imbibe circularity into supply chain

Special Report

Will budget trigger a correction?

Market anticipates a correction amid budget expectations and investor activity

Corporate Report

India Cements: Facing a new normal

UltraTech buys stake in India Cements. What lies ahead?

Ola’s EVolution
Real and Happening
Coalition Challenge


Corporate Report



Corporate Report



The introduction of black pepper as an inter-crop in the sopari and coconut orchards, has enabled farmers to cultivate crops simultaneously

Skill Development

In 2020-21, the programme reached over 112,482 girls in urban and rural locations across six states in India, including 10,000 across Delhi


The event brought together stakeholders and changemakers to participate in a series of conversations on global trends and recent developments


The programme will focus on educating children on oral health and building awareness around the dangers of tobacco use


German BioEnergy enters Indian market

Published on Aug. 17, 2023, 11:54 a.m.

BioEnergy will showcase its innovative biogas technology in India


Ather looks to double its market share

Published on Aug. 17, 2023, 11:26 a.m.

Ather aims to produce 20,000 units every month, soon

Green Hydrogen

‘Kerala Hydrogen ecosystem a model for all states’

Published on Aug. 17, 2023, 11:06 a.m.

German Development Agency, GIZ is working on a roadmap for a green hydrogen cluster in Kochi

Renewable Energy

Adani Green eyes 45GW RE

Published on Aug. 17, 2023, 10:45 a.m.

AGEL set to play a big role in India’s carbon neutrality target