Maharashtra (Marathi: , ) is a state located on the western
coast of India.
is India's third largest
state by area
and second largest by
Maharashtra is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Gujarat and the
Union territory of Dadra and Nagar
Haveli to the northwest, Madhya Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the east, Karnataka to the south, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, and Goa to the
The state covers an area of or 9.84% of the total
geographical area of India. Mumbai, the capital
city of the state, is India's largest city and the financial
capital of the nation. Marathi
is the official and most widely
In the 17th Century, the Marathas
under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji
against the Mughals
who were ruling a
large part of India. After the third Anglo-Maratha war
, the empire
ended and most of Maharashtra became part of Bombay state
under a British Raj
. After Indian independence, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti
demanded unification of all Marathi speaking regions under one
state. The first state reorganization committee created the current
Maharashtra state on May 1, 1960 (known as Maharashtra Day
). The Marathi-speaking areas
of Bombay state
, Deccan states
(which was part of Central Provinces and Berar
united to form the current state.
Maharashtra is the richest state in India, contributing to 15% of
the country's industrial output and 13.2% of its GDP
in year 2005-06.
The name "Maharashtra" is a combination of Marathi
words "Maha" meaning Great, and "Rashtra"
meaning Nation. Maharashtra literally means "Great Nation".
The Nāsik Gazetteer states that in 246 BCE Maharashtra is mentioned
as one of the places to which mauryan
sent an embassy, and
Mahārashtraka is recorded in a Chālukyan inscription of 580 CE as
including three provinces and 99,000 villages. The name Maharashtra
also appeared in a 7th century inscription and in the account of a
Chinese traveler, Hiuen-Tsang
. In 90
A.D. Vedishri, son of the Satavahana king Satakarni, the "Lord of Dakshinapatha, wielder of
the unchecked wheel of Sovereignty", made Junnar, thirty
miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom.
early fourteenth century the Devgiri Yadavs
were overthrown by the northern Muslim powers. Then on, the region
was administered by various kingdoms called Deccan Sultanates
Pre Medieval history
Not much is known about Maharashtra's early history, and its
recorded history dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E.
, with the use of Maharashtri Prakrit, one of
the Prakrits derived from Sanskrit
Maharashtra became a part of the Magadha
empire, ruled by emperor Ashoka
. The port town of
Sopara, north of present day Mumbai, was the centre of
ancient India's commerce, with links to Eastern Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin.
With the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire, a local dynasty
came into prominence
in Maharashtra between 230 B.C.E.
The period saw the biggest cultural
development of Maharashtra. The Satavahana's official language was
, which later developed into
. The great ruler Gautamiputra Satkarni
(also known as
") ruled around 78 C.E.
He started the Shalivahana era
, a new calendar, still used
by Maharashtrian populace and as the Indian national calendar
empire gradually disintegrated in the third century.
During (250 C.E.
– 525 C.E.
eastern region of Maharashtra, came under the rule of Vakatakas
. During this period, development of
flourished. Later, in 753
C.E., the region was governed by the Rashtrakutas
, an empire that spread over most of
973 C.E., the Chalukyas of Badami expelled the
Rashtrakutas, then the region came under the Yadavas of Deogiri.
Maharashtra came under Islamic influence for the first time after
the Delhi Sultanate rulers Ala-ud-din Khalji, and later Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of
the Deccan in the 13th
After the collapse of the Tughlaqs
in 1347, the Bahmani Sultanate
of Gulbarga took over,
governing the region for the next 150 years. After the breakup of
the Bahamani sultanate, in 1518, Maharashtra split into and was
ruled by 5 Shahdoms, namely Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of
Bijapur,Qutubshah of Govalkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of
Rise of the Marathas
By the early seventeenth century, the Maratha Empire
began to take root. Shahaji
Bhosale, an ambitious local general in the employ of the Mughals
and Adil Shah of Bijapur, at various times attempted to establish
his independent rule. The attempts succeeded through his son
Shivaji Bhosale. Marathas were led by Chhattrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale
, who was crowned
king in 1664. Shivaji constantly battled with the Mughal emperor
and Adil Shah of Bijapur. By the
time of his death in 1680, Shivaji had created a kingdom covering
most of Maharashtra and nearly half of India today (except the
Aurangabad district which was part of the Nizam's territory) and
Gujarat in very small life span.
Shivaji's son and successor Chhatrapatti
became the ruler of the Maratha kingdom in
1680. He was captured, tortured and brutally put to death by
Rajaram's nephew & Sambhaji's son, Shahu
declared himself to be the legitimate heir to the
Bhosale throne. In 1714, Shahu's Peshwa
(chief minister) Balaji Vishwanath, helped him seize the Maratha
throne in 1708, with some acrimony from Rajaram's widow, Tara Bai
The Peshwas (prime ministers) played an important role in expanding
the Maratha Empire in Northern and Central India. They were also
decisive in many battles, like Moropant Pingale in 1670’s Dindori
battle against the Mughals, Ramchandra Amatya in 1690’s Satara
Battle against the Mughals and, the Pant Pratinidhi Peshwa. By
1760, the Maratha Empire spread across parts of Punjab (in today's
Pakistan), Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh,
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and
Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, of the Bhat family, and his son, Baji Rao I
, bureaucratised the Maratha state. They
systematised the practice of tribute gathering from Mughal
territories, under the heads of sardesmukhi
(the two terms corresponding to the
proportion of revenue collected). They also consolidated
Mughal-derived methods of assessment and collection of land revenue
and other taxes. Much of the revenue terminology used in Peshwa
documents derives from Persian, suggesting a far greater continuity
between Mughal and Maratha revenue practice than may be politically
palatable in the present day.
At the same time,the maritime Angre clan controlled a fleet of
vessels based in Kolaba
and other centres of
the west coast. These ships posed a threat not only to the
new English settlement of Mumbai, but to the Portuguese at Goa, Bassein, and
On the other hand, there emerged a far larger domain of activity
away from the original heartland of the Marathas, which was given
over to subordinate chiefs as fiefs
Gwalior was given to
Scindia/Shinde, Indore to Holkar, Baroda to Gaekwad and Dhar to Pawar. Bhonsles
in power in Nagpur
suffering a stinging defeat at the hands of Afghan chieftain
Ahmad Shah Abdali, in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the
Maratha Confederacy broke into regional kingdoms.
Post-Panipat, the Peshwa's ex-generals looked after the regional
kingdoms they had earned and carved out for themselves in the
service of Peshwas covering north-central and Deccan regions of
India. Pune continued to be ruled by what was left of the Peshwa
British Rule and Post-Independence
With the arrival and subsequent involvement of the British East India Company
Indian politics, the Marathas and the British fought the three
Anglo-Maratha wars between 1777 and 1818, culminating in the
annexation of Peshwa-ruled territory in Maharashtra in 1819, which
heralded the end of the Maratha empire.
British governed the region as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area
from Karachi in Pakistan to most of the northern Deccan.
A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states
, retaining local autonomy in
return for acknowledging British sovereignty. The largest princely
states in the territory of present-day Maharashtra were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to Bombay Presidency in 1848,
and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central Provinces. Berar
, which had been part of the Nizam
kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the
Central Provinces in 1903. A large part of present day Maharashtra
remained part of the
British rule. The British rule was marked by social reforms and an
improvement in infrastructure as well as revolts due to their
discriminatory policies. At the beginning of the 20th century, the
struggle for independence took shape led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak
and the moderates
like Justice Mahadev Govind
, Gopal Krishna
, Vinayak Damodar
, Pherozeshah Mehta
and Dadabhai Naoroji
. In 1942, the
Quit India Movement
by Mahatma Gandhi which was marked by a non-violent civil
disobedience movement and strikes.
After India's independence in 1947, the princely states were
integrated into the Indian Union, and the Deccan States
including Kolhapur were
integrated into Bombay State
, which was
created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act
reorganized the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay
Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly
Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada
(Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region (Amravati and Nagpur divisions) from Madhya Pradesh (formerly the Central Provinces and Berar).
On May 1, 1960, Maharashtra came into existence when Bombay
Presidency State was split into the new linguistic states of
Maharashtra and Gujarat. Yashwantrao
became the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
The Arabian Sea in Mahad
Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km²
(119,000 mi²), and is the third largest state in India.
bordered by the states of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the
southwest. The state of Gujarat lies to the
northwest, with the Union territory of Dadra
Haveli sandwiched in between. The Arabian Sea makes up Maharashtra's west coast.
The Western Ghats
better known as
Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an
average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft).
Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris,near Nashik City is the
highest elevated point in Maharashtra.
To the west of these
hills lie the Konkan
50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat
Plateau. The Western Ghats form one of the three
watersheds of India, from which
many South Indian rivers originate,
notable among them being Godavari
River, and Krishna, which flow eastward into the Bay of Bengal, forming one of the greatest river basins in
are also the source of numerous small rivers which flow westwards,
emptying into the Arabian
To the east are major rivers like
Vainganga, which flow to the south and eventually into the Bay of
There are many multi-state irrigation projects in development,
including Godavari River Basin
. The plateau is composed of black basalt
soil, rich in humus
soil is well suited for cultivating cotton, and hence is often
called black cotton soil.
Western Maharashtra, which includes the districts of Nashik,
Ahmadnagar, Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur, is a
prosperous belt famous for its sugar factories. Farmers in the
region are economically well off due to fertile land and good
Protected areas of Maharashtra
, national parks and Project Tiger
reserves have been created in
Maharashtra, with the aim of conserving the rich bio-diversity of
the region. As of May 2004, India has 92 national parks
, of which 5 are
located in Maharashtra. A large percentage of Maharashtra's forests
and wildlife lie in the Vidarbha
- Chandoli National Park, located in Sangli district
has a vast variety of flora and fauna. The famous Prachitgad
Fort and Chandoli dam and scenic water falls can be found around
Chandoli National Park.
National Park, also known as Melghat Tiger Reserve is located
in Amravati district. It is 80 km away from Amravati.
- Navegaon National Park,
located near Gondia in the eastern region of Vidarbha is home to many species of birds, deer,
bears and leopards.
- Pench National Park, in
Nagpur district, extends into Madhya Pradesh as well. It has now
been upgraded into a Tiger project.
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park, also known as Borivali National Park is located in Mumbai and is the
world's largest national park within city limits.
- Sagareshwar Wildlife
Sanctuary, a man made wildlife sanctuary situated 30 km
Ancient temples of Lord Shiva and Jain Temple of Parshwanath
located in Sagareshwar are a major attraction.
- Tadoba Andhari Tiger
Project, a prominent tiger reserve
near Chandrapur in Vidarbha. It is 40 km away from Chandrapur.
Apart from these, Maharashtra has 35 wildlife sanctuaries spread
all over the state, listed here. The Nagzira (Bhandara district), Phansad
Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary are the important ones.
from the above, Matheran, a Hill station near
Mumbai has been
declared an eco-sensitive zone (Protected area) by the Government of India.
||Gross Domestic Product (millions of INR)
Favourable economic policies in the 1970s led to Maharashtra
becoming India's leading industrial state in the last quarter of
20th century. Over 41% of the S&P CNX 500
conglomerates have corporate offices in Maharashtra. However,
regions within Maharashtra show wide disparity in development.
Mumbai, Pune and western Maharashtra are the most developed. These
areas also dominate the politics and bureaucracy of the state. This
has led to resentment among less developed regions like Vidarbha
.Maharashtra's gross state domestic
product for 2008 is forecast to be at $150 billion at current
market prices. The state's debt was estimated at 36 per cent of GDP
In 2007 Maharashtra reported a revenue surplus of INR 810 crore
. Maharashtra is the second most urbanised state
with urban population of 42% of whole population.
Maharashtra's is India's leading industrial state contributing 15%
of national industrial output. 64.14% of the people are employed in
and allied activities.
Almost 46% of the GSDP is contributed by industry. Major industries
in Maharashtra include chemical and allied products, electrical and
non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum
and allied products. Other important
industries include metal products, wine
, engineering goods, machine
castings and plastic
wares. Food crops
, and pulses
. The net irrigated area totals
33,500 square kilometres.
Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra and the business capital of
India, houses the headquarters of almost all major banks, financial
institutions, insurance companies and mutual
in India. India's largest stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange
, the oldest in
Asia, is also located in the city. After successes in the information technology in the
neighboring states, Maharashtra has set up software parks in Pune, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nasik, Now
Maharashtra is the second largest exporter of software with annual
exports of Rs 18 000cr (30% of India's software exports).
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in
Mumbai is the busiest port in India. Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport in Mumbai is the
busiest airport in South Asia as per passenger volume.
The coast of Maharashtra has been a shipbuilding center for many
centuries. The expertise and the manpower available in
the local area make this business more attractive.This is reflected
by the number of companies operating shipyards in the state such as
Bharati Shipyard at Ratnagiri and the upcoming Rajapur Shipyards at Rajapur, apart from the state owned Mazagon Dock Limited at
Mumbai is also the centre of India's Hindi
film and television industry (Bollywood
Maharashtra ranks first nationwide
in coal-based thermal electricity as well as nuclear electricity
generation with national market shares of over 13% and 17%
respectively. Maharashtra is also introducing Jatropha cultivation
started a project for the identification of suitable sites for
is a village in
considered a model of environmental conservation
, (MIHAN), is being developed at Nagpur. MIHAN
will be used for handling heavy cargo coming
from South-East Asia and Middle-East Asia. Project will also
include Special Economic Zone
(SEZ) for Information
(IT) companies. This will be the biggest development
project in India so far .
Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha election
results since 1990
Like all states in India, the nominal head of state is the governor
, appointed by the Union Government
. The Governor's post is
largely ceremonial. The Chief Minister
is the head of government
and is vested with
most of the executive powers. Maharashtra's legislature is bicameral
, one of the few states in India to have
a bicameral type. The Vidhan Sabha
) is the
lower house consisting of directly elected members. The Chief Minister
is chosen by
the members of the Vidhan Sabha
) is the upper house,
whose members are indirectly voted through an electoral college
. Maharashtra is
allocated nineteen seats in the Rajya
and forty-eight in the Lok
, India's national parliament
capital city Mumbai is home to
the Vidhan Sabha – the state assembly
and Mantralaya, the administrative
offices of the government.
The legislature convenes its
budget and monsoon sessions in Mumbai, and the winter session in
Nagpur, which was designated as the state's auxiliary
After India's independence, most of Maharashtra's political history
was dominated by the Congress
. Maharashtra became a bastion of the Congress party
producing stalwarts such as Y.B.
, one of its most prominent
Chief Ministers. The party enjoyed near unchallenged dominance of
the political landscape until 1995 when the right wing Shiv Sena
secured an overwhelming majority in the
state to form a coalition
. After a split
in the Congress party, former chief minister Sharad Pawar
formed the Nationalist Congress Party
but formed a coalition with the Congress to keep out the BJP-SS
combine. The 2004 elections saw the NCP gaining the largest number
of seats to become the state's largest party, eroding much of the
Shiv Sena's base. Under a pre-poll power sharing agreement, the
Chief Minister would be from the Congress while the deputy Chief
Minister would be from the NCP. Ashok
is the current Chief
and Chhagan Bhujbal
the Deputy Chief
The 2009 elections saw the Congress-NCP alliance winning with clean
sweep to the BJP-Shivsena alliance.
Revenues of Government
This is a chart of trend of own tax revenues (excluding the shares
from Union tax pool) of the Government of Maharashtra assessed by
the Finance Commissions from time to time with figures in millions
of Indian Rupees.
||Own Tax Revenues
This is a chart of trend of own non-tax revenues (excluding the
shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Maharashtra
assessed by the Finance Commissions from time to time with figures
in millions of Indian Rupees.
||Own Non-tax Revenues
also home to the Bombay High Court
which has jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa, and the Union
Territory of Daman and
The Bar Council
of Maharashtra and Goa
has enrolled approximately 90,000
Advocates on its Roll till 2009. Bar Council is represented by 25
Elected Members from the above territory and Advocate General of
each State is Ex-officio Member of the Bar Council. This Bar
Council elects one representative to The Bar Council of India
Member and also elects Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Council.
The tenure of the entire Bar Council is for 5 years and it is
headed by the Chairman of the State Bar Council. The Secretary of
the Bar Council is the Administrative Head of the staff of the Bar
Council. There are 25 different Committees of the Council which
look after the respective functions of the Bar Council.
Education and Social Development
Maharashtra has good HRD
infrastructure in terms of educational institutions—301
engineering/diploma colleges, 616 ITIs
and 24 universities
with a turnout of 160,000
technocrats every year.
It is home to institutions like C-DAC
developed India's supercomputer, Indian Institutes of
National Institute of Technology
(VNIT), Victoria Jubilee
Technical Institute, University Department of Chemical Technology
and top-rated management institutions.50,000 youth trained to take
up self-employment ventures every year by the Maharashtra Centre
for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED), Aurangabad.
A very high literacy rate at 77.27 per cent.University of Mumbai
, one of the
largest universities in the world in terms of the number of
graduates. The Indian Institute of Technology
Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), and
University Institute of Chemical Technology
(UICT), which are India's premier engineering and technology
schools, and SNDT Women's
University are the other autonomous universities in
Mumbai. Mumbai is also home to National Institute of Industrial
Engineering (NITIE), Jamnalal Bajaj
Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), S P Jain Institute
of Management and Research,K J Somaiya Institute of Management
Studies & Research(SIMSR) and several other management
Law College and Sydenham College, respectively the oldest law and commerce colleges
in India, are based in Mumbai.
The Sir J. J. School of Art
is Mumbai's oldest art
home to two prominent research institutions: the Tata
Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), and the Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre (BARC). The BARC operates CIRUS, a
40 MW nuclear research reactor at their facility in Trombay.
The University of Pune
National Defence Academy
Television Institute of India
, National Film Archives
Armed Forces Medical
were established in Pune after the independence of India
ILS Law College
, established by the
Indian Law Society is one of the top ten law schools in India.
Established medical schools such as the Armed Forces Medical
Jeejeebhoy Medical College
train students from all over
Maharashtra and India and are amongst the top medical colleges in
India. Military Nursing College (affiliated to the AFMC) ranks
among the top nursing colleges in the world.
University of Nagpur
established in 1923, one of the oldest Universities in India,
manages more than 24 Engineering colleges, 43 Science colleges and
many colleges in the Arts and Commerce faculties. Nagpur is the home
National Institute of Technology (VNIT), also referred to as
NIT, Nagpur, (formerly known as Visvesvaraya Regional College of
Engineering (VRCE), Nagpur) is one of the first six Regional Engineering Colleges
established under the scheme sponsored by Government of India and
the Maharashtra State Government and is also one of the Institutes
of National Importance for India.
Geographical center of
India lies at Nagpur, known as Zero Mile Stone. Nagpur is the
headquarter for Hindu nationalist
important location for the Dalit
. Nagpur is also the home for National Fire
(promotion of and for spreading the National
) and National Thermal Power
Maharashtra in total, has 40% India's Internet users and 35% of PC
penetration in the country.
the 2001 census, Maharashtra has a population of 96,752,247
inhabitants making it the second most populous state in India, and
the second most populous
country subdivision in existence, and third ever after the
Russian SFSR of the former Soviet Union.
The Marathi-speaking population of
Maharashtra numbers 62,481,681 according to the 2001 census. This
is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the state. Only
eleven countries of the world have a population greater than
Maharashtra. Its density is 322.5 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Males constitute 50.3 million and females, 46.4 million.
Maharashtra's urban population stands at 42.4%. Its sex ratio is
922 females to 1000 males. 77.27% of its population is literate,
broken into 86.2% males and 67.5% females. Its growth rate between
1991–2001 was pegged at 22.57%.
is the official state
language. In Mumbai and suburban areas, apart from the native
and other languages are
also spoken. In the northwest portion of Maharashtra, a dialect
is spoken by 2.5 million people. In
, a dialect known as Malvani
is spoken by most of the people.
Desh (inland) region of the
Deccan, a dialect
called Deshi is spoken, while in Vidarbha,
a dialect known as Varhadi is spoken by most
of the people.
The state has a Hindu majority of 80.2% with minorities of Muslims
1.3% and Christians
1%. Maharashtra has the biggest
populations in India.
The Total Fertility Rate in 2001 was 2.23. Caste Hindus - 2.09,
Muslims - 2.49, Christians - 1.41, Jains - 1.41, Sikh - 1.57,
Buddhist - 2.24, Others -2.25, Tribals - 3.14 and Dalits of all
religions - 2.42 (Hindu Dalits had higher TFR compared to Buddhist
Religions and Festivals
devotion is celebrated by
) in August-September of every year.. Lalbaugcha Raja
, Shri Siddhivinayak Temple
, Shri Ashtavinayaka's
are the major holy places for
In modern times Nisargadatta
, a Shudra and bidi
-seller, became a
Hindu saint of major influence in India. Popular forms of God are
. Lord Shiva's devotion is celebrated
by taking part in Maha Shivaratri
(Night of Shiva
) festival. In modern times, the Elephanta
island in Mumbai, Lord's Shiva island in local mythology,
originated the Elephant Festival.
devotions are celebrated in
the state-wide Gokul Ashtami (or Krishna Janmashtami
) whereby many devotees fast on the entire day until
midnight. The Dahi-Handi
is also observed
on this day at many places. Lord Krishna's devotion are also
celebrated at Kaartik Aamawasya (or Diwali
and at Narak Chaturdashi as returning of Lord Shri
The other festivals celebrated on the large scale are Vijayadashami
is a ritual performed on
Dasara or Viajaya Dashami day in Maharashtra. Simollanghan is
crossing the border or frontier of a village or a place. In ancient
times, kings used to cross the frontier of their kingdom to fight
against their rivals or neighbor kingdoms. They used to perform
on Dasara and begin the war
season. On Dasara, people cross the borders of their places
(Simollangan) and collect the leaves of Apta
(आपट्याची पाने) and exchange among their friends
and relatives as gold (सोने म्हणून आपट्याची पाने देतात) . People
worship Shami tree and its leaves (शमीची पाने) on this day .
Hindus revere Bhakti saints of all castes,
such as Dnyaneshwar (Brahmin-kulkarni's)
Tukaram (Moray Maratha-Kunbi), Namdev (Shimpi), Chokhamela
(Mahar) and Savata
There were several other Harijan saints
They are Sant Banka Mahar, Sant Bhagu, Sant Damaji
panth, Sant Kanhopatra
, Sant Karmamelam, Sant Nirmala, Sant
Sadna, Sant Sakhubai, Sant Satyakam Jabali, Sant Soyarabai. Other
important devotees are Namdev Mahar, devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba
, lived in Kharagpur and
Bhagubai, the wife of Namdev Mahar, devotee of Sai.
Maharashtra is also the home and birthplace
for few of the very popular saints, Shri "Sai Baba" at Shirdi in
Ahmednagar district, Shri
"Gajanan Maharaj" at Shegaon in Buldhana
district and "Shri Swami
Samartha" at Akkalkot in Solapur district. Shri Shirdi
Sai Baba devasthan is the second richest in the country after
Devasthanams at Tirumala, Andhra
The Marathi people
are the majority
throughout most of the areas of the state. While there are other
people speaking different languages, Hindi
Marathi is the official state language.
As per 2001 census Marathi is spoken by 68.89 % of people. Other
languages which are spoken by more than one percent of the people
are as follows
Divisions and Regions
Divisions of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is divided into thirty-five districts
, which are grouped into
six divisions . These are official revenue divisions of government
of Maharashtra has decided to start a new official revenue division
at Nanded dividing
the existing Aurangabad Division
in Marathwada region.
has already been processed on 5 January 2009 . The new Nanded
division will comprise of Nanded,
Latur, Parbhani and Hingoli
has granted the Aurangabad divisional commissioner (revenue) a sum
of one crore rupees towards the purpose, apart from announcing that
the new division would be run by one specially appointed officer
and 10 assistants, at the start.
The decision comes due to the fact that the Aurangabad division,
comprising Aurangabad Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Parbhani, Osmanabad,
Hingoli and Beed, was a huge division by itself. Apart from this,
the populations of Nanded and Latur, both over 260 kilometres away
from Aurangabad, are 28,76,000 and 20,80,000 respectively, thus
making them large subparts.
Additionally, Parbhani and Hingoli too are over 200 km away
from Aurangabad, hence the populations of these four districts
would face a lot of hassles if they had to meet officials at the
Aurangabad revenue office. This new official division is yet to
come to effect as of date.
The six administrative divisions in Maharashtra state are
Geographically, historically and according to political sentiments,
Maharashtra has five main regions:
City and Mumbai
Suburban Area are the parts of the Konkan
division, part of Marathwada
region is yet to come to existence as
Maharashtra has a border dispute with
neighboring state of Karnataka over the Belgaum ( Belagavi, Belgaon)
district. Belgaum was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state (now Karnataka) with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act
(1956), which reorganised India's states along linguistic lines, despite having a large
Marathi-speaking population; about three-fourths of the total
population.Since then, Maharashtra continues to claim
the district, and the case is now in Supreme
Court of India.
Principal urban agglomerations
Maharashtra has one of the highest level of urbanisation of all
Indian states. The mountainous topography and soil are not as
suitable for intensive agriculture as the plains of North India;
therefore, the proportion of the urban population (42.4 per cent)
contrasts starkly with the national averageveloping metro and many
large towns. Mumbai is the state capital with a population of
approximately 15.2 million people. The other large cities are Pune,
Nasik, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
- Mumbai: Mumbai
(including Thane and
Mumbai in its metropolitan area) is the financial and
commercial capital of India and is the megapolis capital of
Maharashtra. It has the largest proportion of taxpayers in
India and its share markets transact almost 70 per cent of the
country’s stocks. It offers a lifestyle that is rich, cosmopolitan
and diverse, with a variety of food, entertainment and nightlife.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSIA) in Mumbai
is the biggest and the busiest airport in India. The city is
India's link to the world of telecommunications and the Internet.
VSNL (Now Tata Communications Limited) is the terminal point in
India for all telephone and internet traffic. Mumbai is India's
flagship port destination. It is also home to the Indian Navy's
Western Command (INS).
- Pune: Pune, the
second largest city in Maharashtra and the eighth largest in India,
is the state's cultural and heritage capital with a population of
4.5 million people. About 170 km from Mumbai by road,
Pune was the bastion of the Maratha empire. Under the reign of the
Peshwas, Pune blossomed into a centre of art
and learning. Several far reaching revenue and judicial reforms
were also initiated in the city. Shaniwarwada, Saras baug, Aga Khan
Palace, Parvati Temple, Khadakwasla Dam, Sinhgad are the most
visited places by tourists in Pune. 'Ganeshotsav', a festival of
Lord Ganesh is celebrated in Pune with lot of enthusiasm and
worship. Pune is connected to Mumbai by the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Pune also has
very important military cantonments as well as the HQ of the
Southern Command, the
Academy, the AFMC, CME, and the
IAF base at Lohegaon too. Pune is a
major Information Technology
hub of India as well as a foremost destination for Automobile
manufacturing and component industryCity.
- Nashik: It is the
third largest and industilised city in the Maharashtra . One
of the holy cities of the Hindu tradition, Nashik lies on the banks
of the sacred river Godavari and has a population of about 1.6
million people. It is believed that Lord Rama, hero of the great
Indian epic, the Ramayana, spent a major part of his exile here.
Nashik is also a temple town, with over 200 temples.Nashik today is
rapidly developing in ITs, industries, Pharmaceuticals and
westernisation. It is also famous for its pleasant and cool
climate. Nashik is also an educational hub.
- Nagpur: The
erstwhile capital of the CP & Berar and after independence the
capital of Madhya Pradesh till 1956. Nagpur is the nerve
centre of Vidarbha (eastern Maharashtra), Nagpur - the 'orange
city' as it is known - is located in the heart of India, with a
population of about 2.4 million people (2.1 Million as per census
2001). It is also second administrative capital of Maharashtra.
Nagpur is a growing industrial centre and the home of several
industries, ranging from food products and chemicals to electrical
and transports equipment. An international cargo airport is coming
up in Nagpur. The Maintenance Command of Indian Air Force is
located in Nagpur. The " Zero Mile Stone" or the geographical
centre of India is located in Nagpur. Deekshabhoomi, Sitabardi
Fort, Ambazari, Seminary Hills, Dragon Palace Temple, Pench
National Park are some of the tourist attractions in and around
- Aurangabad: The city means "Built by
the Throne", named after Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb), is a city in Aurangabad district,
Maharashtra, India. The city is a tourist hub, surrounded with
many historical monuments, including the Ajanta Caves and Ellora
Caves, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as
well as Bibi Ka
Maqbara. The administrative headquarters of the
Aurangabad Division or Marathwada region, Aurangabad is said to be a
'City of Gates', as
one can not miss the strong presence of these as one drives through
the city. Aurangabad is also one of the fastest growing cities in
Maharashtra has largest road network in India 21,3951 kilometers.
National Highways in Maharashtra is 3688 kilometers The Indian Railways
covers most of the
Maharashtra and is the preferred mode
over long distances. Almost the entire state comes
under the Central Railways
which is headquartered in Mumbai. Most of the coast south of Mumbai
comes under the Konkan Railway
State Road Transport Corporation
(MSRTC) runs buses, popularly
called ST for State Transport, linking most of the towns and
villages in and around the state with a large network of operation.
These buses, run by the state government are the preferred mode of
transport for much of the populace. In addition to the government
run buses, private run luxury buses are also a popular mode of
transport between major towns.
has the biggest international airport in India with another coming
up at Navi
Mumbai. Pune has a
civilian enclave international airport with flights to Dubai and
Singapore, with plans on for a brand new greenfield International
Airport. Aurangabad airport has recently been upgraded to an
international airport with flights connecting to Jeddah.
large cities such as Nagpur and Nashik are served
by domestic airlines.
Nashik has many flights To Mumbai and
Soon Other Metros will be added after the construction of a new
Airport at Nashik. Ferry services also operate near Mumbai, linking
the city to neighbouring coastal towns. Other modes of public
transport, such as a seven-seater tempo have gained popularity in
semi-urban areas. Maharashtra has a large highway network. The
first access controlled tolled road
project in India also exists within
the state. Maharashtra has three major ports at Mumbai
(operated by the Mumbai Port
Trust), the JNPT lying across the Mumbai
harbour in Nhava Sheva, and in Ratnagiri, which handles the export of ores mined in the
is the official language of
Maharashtra. Maharashtrians take great pride in their
language and history, particularly the Maratha Empire, its founder Shivaji is considered a folk hero across
About 80% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and
there are significant Muslim
minorities. There are many temples in Maharashtra some of them
being hundreds of years old. These temples are constructed in a
fusion of architectural styles borrowed from North and South India.
The temples also blend themes from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
cultures. A National Geographic edition
reads, "The flow between faiths was such that for hundreds of
years, almost all Buddhist temples, including the ones at Ajanta, were built under the rule and patronage of Hindu
kings." The temple of Vitthal
at Pandharpur is the most important temple for the Varkari
Other important religious places are the Ashtavinayaka
temples of Lord Ganesha
, Bhimashankar which is one of the Jyotirling
(12 important shiva temples). Ajanta and
Ellora caves near
Aurangabad as well as Elephanta Caves near Mumbai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and
famous tourist attractions. Mughal architecture can be seen is the
tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb called
Maqbara located at Aurangabad.
In 1708, the year following the death of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind
Singh the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs came over to Nanded,
his permanent abode. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and
established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs.
This elevates the reverence of Granth to that of a living Guru. A
monument has been constructed at place where he breathed his last.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh's endowment saw the construction of a
beautiful Gurudwara at Nanded around 1835 AD. The Gurudwara
features an imposing golden dome with intricate carvings and a
breathtakingly beautiful artwork. It is known as Shri Huzur
Abchalnagar Sachkhand Gurudwara.
Maharashtra has a large number of hill, land and sea forts
. Forts have played an important role in the
history of Maharashtra since the time of the Peshwas. Some of the important
forts in Maharashtra are Raigad, Vijaydurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad.
Majority of the forts in Maharashtra are
found along the coastal region of Konkan.
Maharashtra, like other states of India, has its own
The folk music viz. Gondhal Lavani, Bharud and
are popular especially in rural areas,
while the common forms of music from the Hindi
film industry are favoured in
The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Jnyaneshwar
with his Bhawarthadeepika
(popularly known as Jnyaneshwari
). The compositions
written during this period are spiritually inclined. The other
compositions are by Sant Tukaram
, and Sant Gora Kumbhar. The
compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called bhajans.
These bhajans by saints are popular and part of day to day life.
The modern Marathi literature has been enriched by famous poets and
authors like P. L. Deshpande
, Prahlad Keshav Atre
Madgulkar. This literature has been passed on to the next
generations through the medium of large numbers of books that are
published every year in Marathi.
famous film industry Bollywood is in
Maharashtra, located in the economic capital of India, Mumbai.
Marathi film industry was once placed
in Kolhapur but now is spread out through Mumbai too.
The pioneer of Indian movie industry,
Bharat Ratna Shri Dadasaheb Phalke
producer & director V. Shantaram
, B.R. Chopra, Shakti Samanta
, form a few names of the Hindi
fraternity, while writer, director, and actor P. L.
, actor Ashok Saraf
, actor Laxmikant Berde
, actor & producer,
, Mahesh Kothare
belong to the Marathi
film industry. The
early period of Marathi theatre was dominated by playwrights like
Kolhatkar, Khadilkar, Deval
, Gadkari and
who enriched the Marathi theatre
for about half a century with excellent musical plays known as
Sangeet Naatak. The genre of music used in such plays is known as
Natyasangeet. It is during this era of the Marathi theatre that
great singer-actors like Bal
, Keshavrao Bhosle, Bhaurao Kolhatkar and Deenanath Mangeshkar
Some of the popular Marathi
channels are Star Majha
, Zee Chovis Taas, Mi Marathi
, Zee Marathi
, ETV Marathi
, and Saam Marathi which host shows
ranging from soap operas, cooking and travel to political satire
and game shows.
The cuisine of Maharashtra varies according to the region of
Maharashtra. The people of the Konkan
have a chiefly rice based diet with fish being a major component,
due the close proximity to the sea. In eastern Maharashtra, the
diet is based more on wheat, Jowar
. Puran Poli
Bakarwadi, plain simple Varan Bhat (a dish cooked with plain
rice and curry
), and Modak are a few
dishes to name. Chicken and mutton are also widely used for a
variety of cuisines. Kolhapuri Mutton is a dish famous for its
peculiar spicy nature.
Women traditionally wear a nine yard or five yard sari and men a
shirt. This, however, is changing with women in urban Maharashtra
wearing Punjabi dresses
, consisting of
and a Kurta
while men wear trousers and a shirt.
craze can be seen throughout
Maharashtra, as it is the most widely followed and played sport.
also played with fervor. Children’s games include Viti-Dandu
in Hindi) and Pakada-pakadi
Hindus in Maharashtra follow the Shalivahana Saka era
are some of the festivals that are
celebrated in Maharashtra. Ganeshotsav
is one of the biggest festival of Maharashtra which is celebrated
with much reverence and festivity throughout the state and has
since some time become popular all over the country. The festival
which continues over ten days is in honour of Ganesha
, the god of learning and knowledge.
number of people walk hundreds of kilometers to Pandharpur for the annual pilgrimage in the month of
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and the lord of Dakshinapatha (Deccan). Mirashi, Studies
in Indology, vol. I, p. 76 f.]
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