The third largest state of India, Maharashtra occupies a substantial portion of the Deccan plateau in the western part of the sub – continent. Maharashtra is bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west, in the North-west by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh on the North and East, Andhra Pradesh on the South-east, Karnataka on the South-west and Goa in the south. It is largely divided in three parts; the western Maharashtra or the Konkan, the Vidarbha and the Marathwada.
The coastal areas of Maharashtra receive heavy rainfall during the monsoon. The temperature here in monsoon varies between 26 to 32 degree centigrade. The interior Maharashtra is hot with maximum of 30 to 40 degree centigrade in the summers and 15 to 28 degree centigrade during winters.
Maharashtra enters recorded history in the 2nd BC, with the construction of its first Buddhist caves. Though the references to the Vidarbha area are found in the great epic of Mahabharata, the first record on paper is that of the Chinese traveler, Xuan Zhuang of the 8th century A.D.
Maharashtra was an important state in the Mauryan kingdom till the 13th century and then was ruled by Hindu kings for many years till the Mughals came in. It was Shivaji, who united the robust villagers of the mountains and brought back self rule and established the Maratha kingdom. A large area of the Maharashtra state rests on high plateau, historically the main centre of the Maratha Empire, which successfully defied the might of the Mughals under the fearless rule of Shivaji, who is still an immortal legend here. Later the administrators of the Maratha kingdom, the Peshwas, brought glory to the land till they were defeated by the British. After independence the present state of Maharashtra was created in 1960, from the Marathi-speaking regions of what was previously BombayState.
The state is known as “dagadacha desh”, or Land of Rocks, because of its forts, temples, caves, the Sahyadri mountain range and more so for the winning spirit and the toughness of the people here. Maharashtra with its diverse geographical features provides a range of attraction for the tourists. From serene sea beaches to rugged mountains, historical forts and legendary temples, ancient caves to the commercial capital of Mumbai.
The religious amalgamation of India is prominently visible in Maharashtra with people from various regions and of various religions came to settle here and formed a culture of their own.
Maharashtra, the name means a great country. Actually it has been derived from the word Maharathi, the great chariot drivers. Today, Maharashtra is a huge storehouse of timeless art and culture, which has been reflected through its, strong forts like the Raigad and the Simhagad, mystic caves like Ajanta, Ellora and the Elephanta, and religious places of worship, each having a legend behind it.
Apart from Marathi, English and Hindi, Gujarati and Konkani are also widely spoken in the state. Saints and philosophers have lived here. Arts and crafts have flourished here under various rulers in the forms of Paithani saris, Himru shawls, and lacquered objects. The traditional and the folk art like the Warli paintings, theatre, folk dance Tamasha are widely practiced here.
Maharashtra is one of the most industrialized states of the country. With Mumbai being its capital it has become the commercial capital. With other businesses that Mumbai has, it also boasts of producing most films than any other country in the world.