If you ever wish to explore the heart of Maharashtra, Nagpur will anything but disappoint you. It’s a melting pot of Maharashtrian culture; with everything from historical monuments to natural wonders dotting the city. Nagpur is the third most populous city in Maharashtra, and is steadily rising to be an economic hub. But that has not taken away from the inherent charm of the city.

Futala Lake is Nagpur’s crowning glory. If you visit Nagpur and don’t catch a sunset at Futala Lake, consider your trip incomplete.  The road leading to the lake is filled with street-side food stalls that sell some amazing chaat, that you must try. Nagpur is lovingly known as the Orange City, because of the abundance of oranges produced here. Catch one of the orange orchard tours that are conducted at many farms in the city where they take you through the entire process of growing oranges and the best practices to observe while planting oranges.

Nagpur is dotted with temples but if you had to pick one, let it be Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. The temple is modeled after the Akshardham Temple in Delhi. It’s an architectural marvel with intricately-carved statues and pillars that leave you mesmerised. Another important landmark in the city is the  Ganesh Tekdi Mandir. In Marathi, a ‘tekdi’ means a hill, which is where this 250-year-old temple is located.

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Find peace at the Deeksha Bhoomi, the largest stupa in all of Asia, constructed to honour Dr. Ambedkar. The stupa attracts Buddhists all over the world. For a scrumptious traditional Nagpuri meal, try the Saoji Waradi Chicken at Jagdish Saoji Bhojnalaya –  a blend of some of the strongest spices that make for its masala and gravy.

What’s a visit to Nagpur without some shopping. Shop at the oldest markets in Nagpur such as the Cotton Market – the biggest wholesale vegetable market; Sitabuldi Main Road known to offer everything under the sun from fashionable clothes, ethnic sarees, handicrafts to cottage industry items; and Sarafa Bazaar for jewellery shopping.

A great attraction, about 60km from Nagpur is the Khindsi Lake. The clear and clean waters are a great escape from the bustle of city, and offer a variety of water sports such as kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing and more. If you want to indulge in some wildlife, about 100km away in the Chandrapur District, the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project is one of the oldest and largest parks in India.