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Situated in the western part of the country, Maharashtra happens to be the third largest state in the nation and stands second in population among all Indian states. Surrounded by the Arabian Sea to its west, Gujarat to its northwest, Madhya Pradesh to its north, Karnataka to its south and Chhattisgarh and Telangana to its East, this state of India is 3,07,713 sq km in area.
Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra as well as the financial capital of the entire country. Nagpur is known as the auxiliary capital of the state. Also known as the wealthiest state, Maharashtra contributes around 15% of the industrial output of the country and around 14% of its gross domestic product. The state has several wildlife sanctuaries, few national parks, and patronizes project Tiger which is an attempt to preserve the endangered species like the Bengal tiger, only to conserve the bio-heritage of the country. Maharashtra has a tropical monsoon climate and the annual rainfall is between 400 mm to 6000 mm annually, with the Konkan area receiving the maximum rainfall in the state. The average temperature varies in between 25 to 27 degree Celsius in a year. With six administrative districts and five main regions, Maharashtra has 19 Rajya Sabha or Upper House seats and 48 Lok Sabha or Lower House seats.
|Facts on Maharashtra|
|Date of Formation||May 1, 1960|
|Area||307,713 sq km|
|Males Population (2011)||58,243,056|
|Females Population (2011)||54,131,277|
|No. of District||36|
|Rivers||Godavari, Penganga, Bhima, Parvara, Mula|
|Forests & National Park||Tadoba NP, Nagzira NP, Gugamal NP|
|Languages||Marathi, English, Konkani|
|Neighbours State||Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Karnataka, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
|State Animal||Indian Giant Squirrel|
|State Bird||Yellow-footed Green Pigeon|
|Net State Domestic Product (2011)||83471|
|Literacy Rate (2011)||79.85%|
|Females per 1000 males||925|
|Chief Minister||Devendra Fadnavis|
|Governor||Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao|
The history of Maharashtra is quite rich as some of the great rulers and kings have ruled at this place, leaving behind some of the greatest traces of cultural heritage behind their names. According to historical evidence, Maharashtra existed since the 3rd century and was one of the hubs of industry, commercial transactions and trade. Earlier, the place was ruled by the Vakatakas, who were great fighters. They renamed the state as Dandakaranya, or a jungle ruled by the kings. They were however defeated by the Yadavas who ruled there for quite a few years, before the state was invaded by the Muslim king, Ala-Ud-Din Khalji in 1296. Following him, Muslim rulers like Mohammed bin Tughlaq and the Bahamani Sultans from Bijapur also established their supremacy. Then came the Marathas, under the leadership of Shivaji who launched campaigns against the Mughals and became the King of Maharashtra in 1680. After him the land went under the control of the Peshwa Dynasty, who lost their kingdoms to the British through several wars. As India got its independence in 1947, the separated princely states were united to form present day Maharashtra and in 1960, under the Bombay Reorganisation Act, Maharashtra was legally as well as officially declared a separate individual state under the government of India.
Maharashtra is a significant part of the famous Deccan plateau with the Sahyadri range or the Western Ghats forming the physical backbone as well as the coastal belt of the state. The highest peak is the Kalsubai for the Western Ghats and to the west, lies the coastal plains of Konkan. To its east is the Deccan plateau. The Western Ghats are characterised by steeper hills and bisected by roads at regular intervals. The Satpura hills in the North and the Chiroli-Bhamragad-Gaikhuri ranges on the east stand as the natural barriers for the state. The main rivers of Maharashtra are the River Godavari, the River Krishna and the River Tapi. The state has a typical tropical monsoon climate, with three distinct seasons of hot, scorching summers, and cold, chilly winters. Monsoons cause heavy rainfall, usually on the Konkan area and mild drizzles on the rest of the state. One of the important physical features of the area is the natural vegetation that forms open scrub jungles, comprising almost 17-20% of the geographical area of the state. Evergreen deciduous forests exist due to the variations in the topological and climatic conditions. The soil is residual type, black in color, clayey in nature, retains moisture and is also rich in iron, hence shallow and poor, not suitable for every type of crop.
With high GDP and per capita income, the state is one the richest in India and the third-most urbanised among all. Mumbai, being the financial capital of the country, headquarters major banks, top insurance companies, ace financial institutions and well known mutual funds. It is also the centre of Indian film and television industry that earns crores of revenues for the state every year from the rest of the country as well as from overseas market.
The major industries of Maharashtra are cotton textiles, machinery, chemicals, transport, electrical and metallurgy. Other industries like sugar, pharmaceuticals, heavy chemicals, petrochemicals, automobiles, food processing, etc have flourished a lot. The state also produces jeeps, three wheelers, cars, synthetic fibres and industrial alcohol to earn revenue for itself. Software industry is doing very well in this area and the state contributes to almost 30 percent to the software export of India. Maharashtra is well known for producing agricultural crops like rice, bajra, jowar, wheat, several types of pulses, onions, turmeric, and several types of oil seeds like sunflower, groundnut and soyabean. Fruit cultivation is prevalent here with mangoes, grapes, banana and oranges being the majority. The largest stock exchange of the country, the Bombay stock exchange is also located in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra has a huge geographical area with a population of 112,372,972 individuals and thus ranks second on the list of the most populated states in India. The urban population is still less than 50 percent and almost 77% of the entire population is educated with a decent ratio of males and females. A majority of the population is formed by Marathi Hindus, constituting almost 82% of the whole lot. Ganesha is the main deity worshipped all across the state, and Lord Krishna is worshiped in a different name known as "Vitthal". The Hindus have been impregnated with the Warkari tradition and they also are the disciples of several religious Gurus. The next largest religion constituting 13 percent of the total population is the Muslims, who reside mainly near the Mumbai Thane belt and the Marathwada area. The Konkan and western part of the state also have a significant Muslim population. Nagpur and Mumbai have the maximum urban Muslim population among all. Other religions that are significantly notable in the state are the Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Christians. The Catholic Christians and the Protestants or the Marathi Christians are found in huge numbers, scattered in all parts of the state.
Like all other states of the Indian subcontinent, Maharashtra has an elected government having almost 288 MLAs elected for a five-year term to the legislative assembly of ministers. With a bicameral legislature, the state has two major house - the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) or the Upper House and the Vidhan Sabha or the Lower House. Appointed by the union government, the Governor is the head of the state and the Chief Minister remains the head of the government, who is chosen by the Vidhan Sabha members through an election. There are 19 seats for the Rajya Sabha and almost 48 seats for the Lok Sabha. Post-Independence, the Indian Congress is one national party that has dominated the political history of the state and its capital, Mumbai. The other one, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the infamous Shiv Sena founded by late Bal Thackeray, has always been their strongest opponents. A smaller wing of the latter, the MNS or Maharashtra Navnirman Sena under the leadership of Raj Thackeray, which is mainly a staunch religious party of the state, exists there and sometimes becomes the cause of significant religious riots between Marathis and the non-Marathis, who form a large section of the Maharashtra population.
Education is well established in Maharashtra with one central university, 21 deemed universities and 19 state universities running sound in the state, with lakhs of candidates being educated by expert faculties. There are more than 75,000 primary schools and around 20,000 secondary schools which are affiliated to either the state board, or the CBSE or the ICSE. There are almost 350 engineering colleges running in the state that offer professional education in different disciplines of engineering. There are more than 600 training institutes that provide industrial and technical education to thousands of candidates of the state as well as the outsiders coming from other states of the country. All these raise the figure of literacy rate of Maharashtra to around 83% which is undoubtedly above the national average of India. The University of Mumbai was established in the year 1857, and still continues to provide quality education to thousands of candidates all across the country. The University of Pune and the University of Nagpur are well known nationwide. Other than that, there are several medical colleges, law colleges and B-schools in the state. Autonomous institutes like Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune have made the state proud with top engineers and scholars being on their list of the alumni.
There is a unique blend of cultural heritage in the state of Maharashtra. A majority of the inhabitants being Hindu, Ganesh Chaturthi is one festival which is celebrated all across the state with great pomp and enthusiasm. Other than that, Holi, Dussera, Diwali, as well as Eid and Christmas are widely celebrated by the people. Other festivals celebrated here are the Gudi Padawa, Narali Poornima, Moharam, Mahashivratri, and Vata Poornima. Other than these religious festivals, several others like the Ellora Ajanta Festival in Aurangabad and the Elephanta Festival are also very popular among the inhabitants.
Folk dances are popular during several festivals and variety of such is performed during special occasions, representing the true essence of the culture of the place. Most popular out of them are the Dhangari, Lavni, Povadas, Tamasha and Koli dance. Kala and Dindi are considered to be the religious among them. Music lies in the heart of the state and one of the earliest form of it, known as the Natya Sangeet is performed on the stage by veteran singers. Folk songs are common among the rural marathis like Bhaleri, which is sung to cheer up the workers. Palane, the Maharashtrian lullaby is also popular here apart from other forms of music like Bharud, Bhajans, Kirtan and Tumbadi among many more. Several form of crafts like the Kolhapuri chappals and jewellery, Bidriware, Warli Painting, Paithani Sarees, etc are well accepted worldwide.
Maharashtra offers many attractions to the tourists coming from all across the globe. The place is famous for hundreds of caves, and architecture developed by cutting the rocks. Mumbai is one of the most visited cities in the state. One may enjoy the film industry, Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Juhu Beach, Essel World, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Haji Ali Dargah, Mani Bhawan, Jahangir Art Gallery, etc. One may visit Appu Ghar and Baneshwar in Pune, Ajanta and Ellora caves in Aurangabad, Bhahmagiri in Nashik, several dams all across the major cities like the Khadakwasla and Panshet Dam in Pune and many more. The Sahyadris, the Rajmachi Forts and the Waki woods are the places visited by the trekkers. The state is a home to several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries like Bor Wildlife and Pench National park. Several places like the Ambarnath temple, Kailash temple, Afgan memorial, Osho Ashram, Shri Hazur Sahib and Bibi ka Maqbara may be visited for historical interest and religious fervor. The state has a number of beaches like Madh Island beach, Kihim and Mandwa, harnai and several hill stations to be visited like the Amboli, Lonavala, Khandala and Panchgani. There are several monuments like the Chand Minar, Lal Mahal and Kesari Wada and forts like the Mumbai Fort, Pratapgarh Fort and the Daulatabad Fort, which the tourists can witness once they reach the place.
On the coast, the average minimum temperature in January is 16° (61° F) and the average maximum temperature is 32° C (90° F). In June, the average minimum temperature is 26° C (79° F) and the average maximum is also 32° C (90° F). On land the average temperatures range from 14° to 29° C (57° to 84° F) in January and from 25° to 40° C (77° to 104° F) in May. Maharashtra has a monsoon season that accounts for about 80 percent of its annual rainfall.
The state of Maharashtra is separated into six revenue divisions; they are Mumbai (Konkan), Pune (Western Maharashtra), Nashik (Khandesh), Aurangabad (Marathwada), Amravati (Vidarbha) and Nagpur (Vidarbha). These are further divided into 35 districts. They are - Thane, Pune, Mumbai Suburban, Nashik, Nagpur, Ahmadnagar, Solapur, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Nanded, Mumbai City, Satara, Amravati, Sangli, Yavatmal, Raigarh, Buldana, Bid, Latur, Chandrapur, Dhule, Jalna, Parbhani, Akola, Osmanabad, Nandurbar, Ratnagiri, Gondiya, Wardha, Bhandara, Washim, Hingoli, Gadchiroli and Sindhudurg. These districts further divided into 109 sub-divisions and 357 Talukas.
Festivals abound in this state of jolly people. Some important festivals in Maharashtra are: Kala Ghoda festival in January; Elephanta Music and Dance Festival in February ; Gudhi Paadva and Ram Navami in March ; Akshayya Tritiya , Maharashtra Day, Mahavir Jayanti , Buddha Jayanti in April-May; Vat Pournima in May-June ; Gokhulashtami in July/August ; Navroz or Parsi New Year in July/Aug ; Ganesh Chathurthi in August/September ; Nariel Purnima in September ; Ramadan (varies according to the Muslim calendar); Dussehra in October; Savitri Vrata in Jeshta.
Marathi is the main language spoken by most of the inhabitants in Maharashtra. It hails from the Indo-Aryan family of languages and is believed to have originated from Sanskrit and Prakrit. Marathi is spoken in different dialects in different parts of the state. The tone and way of speaking changes from locality to locality as well as from the urban to the rural parts of Maharashtra. The main dialects of Marathi are the Standard Marathi and the Warhadi Marathi. Other sub-dialects include Dangi, Ahirani, Vadvali, Khandeshi, Samavedi and Malwani. These dialects are used according to regions like the Dangli is prevalent in the border area of Gujarat and Maharashtra whereas the Vardahi dialect is mostly used in the Vidarbha region of the state. Interestingly, there are not many differences in these dialects other than a letter or a two, which makes it sound distinct from the other. Since Mumbai is the hub of Hindi film industry, hence Hindi is the second widely spoken language after Marathi. English is the official language and commonly known as the work language of the state. Some parts of Maharashtra also use Konkani as their language to communicate. Several other languages are spoken widely in the state like Urdu, Kannada, Telegu, Gujarati and Bhojpuri, which mainly depends on the different communities of people residing in the state.
Maharashtra has superb connectivity to the rest of the country as well as to all parts of the world through different transport modes. Mumbai itself has several airports, both domestic as well as international which is considered to be the busiest in the country. Both government and private airlines companies operate their flights from here. Being situated on the Arabian Sea, there are around 48 ports in the state, which are handled by the passenger traffic with limited capacity, and two of them which are well known everywhere are the Mumbai port and the JN port. Indian railways have contributed much to the state's transport and trains are available for every small village and town of Maharashtra. Within the city, people generally rely on local trains which are known to be the lifeline of the city. The MSRT buses and the BEST bus services are also used by the passengers to go from one place to the other. Other than these, private cars, auto rickshaws, taxis and intra-city buses also run efficiently throughout the state.WBST260914GP