Home / Features / Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra – The Maratha Influence

 

The latest Hyundai Venue becomes our chariot as we navigate through the cultural byways of the great state of Maharashtra.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

What is the essence of Maharashtra? That is a question that we intended to answer by touring this massive state in the compact and capable Hyundai Venue. Using a car equipped with the latest technology and design to experience history and culture, that’s almost poetic.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

Unlike our choice of wheels, our choice of dates for this trip was far from ideal because we found ourselves in the middle of an early onset of monsoon with imminent alerts along the charted route. However, we were in a car that could handle the weather and, on that trust, we headed for Aurangabad with some rain and an open highway for company. On this stretch, the Venue munched miles effortlessly, the three-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine was in its element and delivered a steady wave of torque which the seventh gear of the DCT put to good use.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

Having reached Aurangabad in good time, we elected to visit the famous Ellora Caves, a UNESCO world heritage site and among the best expressions of Indian art during the Middle Ages. Experts say that the work took place during the sixth-eighth centuries AD. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism have all laid claim to these caves peacefully. Of the 34 caves at Ellora (open for public viewing), yours truly and a majority of the other spectators were most impressed by cave number 16, the Kailasa Temple.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

This is the largest monolithic sculpture in the world and that means that the entire temple complex was carved by hand out of a single piece of rock—85,000 cubic metres, to be precise. Even if one knows nothing about art, the tenacity, perseverance, and perfection of the artisans is enough to inspire anyone. This is hard, unforgiving rock, not playing dough. There was no room for mistakes and yet in 2022, this marvel stands tall and proud, a testimony to the Indian Middle Ages and their skilled craftsmen.

Such skill is not lost today. Due to the onset of new technology and industrialisation, we just have to look closer. For example, we chanced upon a loom where the traditional paithani and himru sarees of Maharashtra were being made. These sarees are hand-woven and boast of intricate detail that simply beggars belief. So, when the salesman told us that a Marathi wedding is impossible without a paithani saree, it was easy to believe. Next time you go shopping, do check out one of these sarees and you will instantly see what I am on about.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

With that done, I pointed the Venue’s nose towards Aurangabad and set off to check out the Bibi-ka-Maqbara. In comparison to Ellora, this is modern architecture even though it was built in the 17th century AD. This creation of the Mughal era was commissioned by Aurangazeb as a tomb for his beloved wife, Rabia-ud-Daurani. Due to its stunning resemblance to the Taj Mahal, this monument is also known as the Dakkhani Taj (Taj of the Deccan). What’s interesting is that the architect of this project, Ata-ullah, was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri who is best known for his work as the principal designer of the Taj Mahal.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

With Apple CarPlay relaying directions to the car’s touchscreen display, we arrived at Ajanta just in time to catch the first bus up to the caves. Between Ajanta and Ellora, Ajanta is older. However, with the decline in Buddhism in India, the caves were abandoned and eventually consumed by the jungle until, in 1819, it was accidentally discovered again by a hunting party led by a colonial British officer. The guides at the monument informed us that the sculptures in the caves were disfigured on purpose by many rulers across the ages to discredit the site’s religious significance. That was rather sad to hear because many artisans must have toiled day and night to carve these caves into the wall of the mountain. However, the silver lining is that it is now a place of global importance and is treated with the respect it deserves.

Aurangabad offered us a refreshing glance at history and the Venue’s roomy, well-equipped cabin and impeccable ride quality ensured that we were always comfortable and entertained. The car’s remote start feature was also indispensable in making a quick getaway when we were chased by trinket peddlers.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

When in Nashik, it would be a crime not to explore a vineyard because it is something that the city is renowned for. Although it was not the harvesting season, the folk at Sula were kind enough to give us a tour of the property and gave us a detailed insight into wine-making sans the harvesting bit. At the end of it, we were also part of a wine tasting session, tasting being the key word. If you’re familiar with Hyundai’s “Be the Better Guy” programme, you will know that they do not promote drinking and driving and neither do we.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

Nashik grew smaller in the rear-view mirror as we headed towards Mumbai. Predictably, we got stuck in a traffic jam and we would have felt our youth slipping away in that endless line of vehicles had it not been for the Venue’s extensive entertainment system.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

Mumbai is a fast-paced city. Everyone is in a hurry and it is a hub of multiple cultures. One that offers the foodie a myriad of options in the realm of street food and so we decided to try some. A quick walk on Carter Road and Mohammed Ali Road resulted into many options. From the blue shawarma at Carter’s to the various small shops on Mohammed Ali Road, our taste buds were taken on a funky ride and they told us that it only gets better during Ramzan. Some of the roads here are busy and sometimes too narrow, so it helped that the Venue was compact and manoeuvrable.

The next point was Raigad Fort, once a pivotal part of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s empire. I was looking forward to experiencing this bit of Maratha history but the weather forced us to beat a hasty retreat. The Marathas were warriors that faced adversity and conflict head on but our camera equipment would stand no chance against the wrath of the elements.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

Pune was our last stop on the tour and straight away we made up for the lost opportunity of seeing some Maratha architecture by arriving at the iconic Shaniwarwada. This fortress has massive significance in the tale of the famous warrior, Peshwa Bajirao. Due to a mysterious fire in 1828, most of the fort was destroyed and all that remains today are its ruins. So, it takes good imagination to stand on the fort’s walls and reconstruct the grandeur. Or you could just watch a few scenes from the Bollywood movie, Bajirao Mastani. We rounded that off with a visit to the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum.

Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

During this trip, we also got to sample Maharashtra’s cuisine and each city’s specialities. Among them, vada-pav, misal-pav, and poha stood out as the favourites for breakfast wherever we went. Lunches and dinners were almost always thalis and they were rich in flavour and variety with each place adding its own signature twist to the food.

  • Hyundai Venue in Maharashtra

At the end of our tour of Maharashtra, one thing is for certain. We have only scratched the surface of what this supreme state has to offer. The Maratha culture is worth experiencing first-hand because there is simply so much to see and do in this massive state. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the supreme capabilities of the Venue.

Watch the first part of our adventure here:

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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