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Home>>West India>>Maharashtra



From the time of the epic Mahabharatha the region called Vidharba is one besides Marathwada which comprises Maharashtra today. This region was a part of the Mauryan empire. After the fall of the Mauryan, Maharashtra was ruled by diverse dynasties, each adding to the cultural flavour of the region and each leaving behind its own distinctive marks. The Satavahanas administrated this area followed by the -Vakatas, the Rashtrakutas, Kalachuris, Chalukyas and the Yadhavas. In about the 11th century AD the Delhi Sultanate established their rule. This was overthrown by the Bahmani dynasty which ruled till the end of the 15the century. The 17th century heralded the sudden rise in power of the Maraths-Marathi speaking Hindu warriors of the region. The Marathas emerged as a strong power under Shivaji who ruled from 1646 to 1680. The Peshwas who succeeded Shivaji built up a Maratha empire which extended from Gwalior in the north to Tanjore in the south, till the 18th century after which the British exercised their influence in this region. From 1818 it became a part of the Bombay Presidency. In the year 1960 Under the Bombay Re-organization Act, Maharashtra and Gujarat were separated and Maharashtra attained statehood.

The Early History
Vidarbha, the eastern region of Maharashtra was also conquered by the Vakatakas (250 AD-525 AD), who were then the rulers of the state. Art and religion developed and technology flourished, during this period. By the 6th century, Maharashtra came under the reign of the Chalukyas. Later, in 753, Rashtrakutas ruled the region. This empire spread over most of the Indian peninsular. Rashtrakutas were then defeated in 973 by the Chalukayas, who ruled parts of Maharashtra until 1189, when they lost to Yadavas of Deogiri.

Poet -Saints :
Maharashtra was one of the main channels that helped the devotional bhakti school of Hinduism spread from southern to northern India.

Thanks to the work of Saint Dyaneshwar (1271-1296) whose verdict on Bhagwad Gita, the Dhyanesvari, was significantly written in the day-to-day spoken language, Marathi, as opposed to classical Sanskrit.

One of the most famous of these contemporary poet-saints was tailor Namdev (1270-1350), whose passionate devotional hymns caught the popular imagination.

The tradition the poet-saints established continued to flourish, even when forced underground by Islam, reaching its zenith in the simple faith of the anguished Tukaram (1598-1650), whose wife and son died in a famine, and Ramdas, the "Servant of Rama" (1608-1681). Ramdas, both ascetic and political activist, provided the philosophical underpinning behind the campaigns of Maharashtra's greatest warrior, Shivaji.

The Islamic Influence
When the Muslim emperors entered India, they established their capital in Delhi. Later, they started to expand towards the south of India. The first Muslim emperors who invaded Maharashtra and conquered some parts of the Deccan in the 13th century were Ala-ud-din Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughluq. When the Tughlaq dynasty fell in 1347, the Bahamani Sultanate overpowered the region and ruled it for the next 150 years.
By the 16th century, central Maharashtra was ruled by numerous autonomous Islamic kingdoms that owed commitment to the Mughals. Meanwhile the coastal region was annexed by the Portuguese, who wanted to control the rich spice trade of the region.

The Maratha Empire
As the 17th century emerged the Maratha Empire began to take root. Shivaji Bhonsle led the Marathas, native to western Maharashtra, he was crowned king in 1674, after a long fought battle with Muslim emperors. The Maratha Empire saw the peak under Shivaji's reign. He included almost the entire Deccan, central India and some parts of modern day Pakistan into Maratha Empire. After defeating the Mughals in 1707, the Marathas became the dominant rulers of India. Bajirao I, in the year 1712, was crowned the next king. He established the Peshwa (Prime Minister) dynasty with Pune as their capital. During his reign Maratha Empire suffered a heavy defeat to the Afghan chieftain Ahmad Shah Abdali, in the third Battle of Panipat in 1761. The loss was so huge that the Maratha Confederacy was reduced to a regional kingdom. As the British East India Company arrived in India and started interfering in the Indian politics, they faced stiff resistance from the Marathas. These two powers fought three major battles, which led to the annexation of Peshwa ruled territory in Maharashtra in 1819. This marked the end of the Maratha empire.

The British Raj(1818-1947) :
Bajirao was very disloyal to the British, and in November of 1817, he declared war against them. This battle was fought at Kirkee, that is the Cantonment area, in the east of Pune. The Peshwa fled and the power of the country passed from the Peshwas to the British by 1819.
The rest of the nineteenth century witnessed a few minor uprisings in and around Pune, but the British established their supremacy. As the Maratha's were the key power in India at this time, their fall clearly marked the begining of British Rule in India. The first step towards establishing a municipal government in the city of Pune, was taken in 1856, when the Pune Municipality came into existence under the Act of 1850.

Post Independence (1947)
Many independent princely states in central India joined the Indian Union, after India's independence in 1947. Bombay state was established in the year 1956, which merged the princely states of central India into Bombay Presidency. The state of Maharashtra was established on 1st May 1960, this state included the Marathi-speaking territory of Bombay state. Maharashtra became India's leading state after the favorable economic policies in the 1970s.

Geography of Maharashtra

  • Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km² (119,000 mi²), the third largest in India after Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

  • Maharashtra is 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

  • Maharashtra, a state in west central India with a western coastline stretching 330 miles (530 Km) along the Arabian Sea from the former Portugese territories of Goa on the south to Daman on the north (both now districts of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu).

  • Maharashtra is also bounded by the states of Gujarat on the northwest, Madhya Pradesh on the north and east, Andhra Pradesh on the southeast, and Karnataka on the southwest.

  • The third-largest state of India, both in area and population.

Geographical Profile
Located in the north centre of Peninsular India, with a command of the Arabian Sea through its port of Mumbai, Maharashtra has a remarkable physical homogeneity, enforced by its underlying geology. The Sahyadri Range is the physical backbone of Maharashtra. Rising on an average to an elevation of 1000m. it falls in steep cliffs, to the Konkan on the west. Eastwards, the hill country falls in steps through a transitional area known as Mawal to the plateau level. The Konkan, lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range is narrow coastal lowland, barely 50 km. wide. Though mostly below 200 m., it is far from being a plain country. Highly dissected and broken, the Konkan alternates between narrow, steep-sided valleys and low laterite plateaux. The Satpudas, hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri Ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers preventing easy movement, but also serve as natural limits to the state.


The Seasons
Summer: The hottest months are March, April and May. During this season, especially in April and May thunderstorms are a common feature all over the state.

The first week of June marks the onset of the southwest monsoon. Rains spread out from the southwestern and western sides all over Maharashtra. July is the wettest month and August is substantially rainy, by September the southwest monsoonal current weakens.

October marks the transition from the rainy season to winter. The general drying up of the land and greater sunshine, accompanied by high humidity, produce familiar phenomenon of October heat. From November to February there is a cool dry spell, with clear skies gentle breezes and pleasant weather, though the eastern margins of Maharashtra receive some rainfall.

Temperature Variations
Temperature variations in Maharashtra are not of that consequence as those in rainfall. Tropical conditions are common all over and even the hill stations are not that cold. But lower winter temperature on the plateau does help the growth of some important crops like wheat, gram, linseed and grapes. High summer temperatures induce local thundershowers. Dew, frost, hail and other local weather phenomena are not absent from the climate.

The rainfall in the state varies in different places. These regional differences in the total annual rainfall help in distinguishing three zones of Maharashtra; the wet, the intermediate and semiarid zones. The major portions of the area of the state that lie in the rain shadow of Sahyadris receive an average rainfall of about 60 to 75 centimeters annually. But the areas in the districts of Nasik (also spelt as Nashik), Pune , Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimeters. Areas in the districts of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, however get heavy rains of an average of 200 centimeters annually.

The dominant natural factor that affects basically the life and economy of the people is the rainfall in its regime amount and variability. In regime quite major part of the rain is received during the four months from June to September. This concentration is particular to the Konkan and Sahyadrian Maharashtra. In central Maharashtra, though the total precipitation is much lower, there is a wider spread over the months of June to October with a noticeable maximum in September. From Maharashtra, the total rainfall steadily increases towards the east under the influence of the Bay of Bengal monsoon and hence eastern Vidarbha receives its major rains in the month of July, August and September.

The rainfall in Maharashtra is not fully utilised. A major portion goes waste to the sea in torrents during rainy season. While in the summer months many of these areas suffer acute shortage even of drinking water.

Summer: 22°C-39°C
Winter: 12°C-34°C.
Clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens in summer, warmer clothes in winter and on cooler evenings and waterproof clothing during monsoons.

Languages spoken in Maharashtra :
Marathi, Hindi, Gujurati, English


The Origin of Marathi Language
Marathi can be traced back far beyond the 10th century. It descends from Sanskrit through Pali, Maharashtri and Maharashtra - Apabhramsa. A gradual process of change and modification in the spoken language has led to the rise of the present Marathi.

The origin and growth of Marathi literature is indebted to two important events.

The first was the rise of the Jadhava dynasty whose capital was Devgiri. The Jadhava’s adopted Marathi as the court language and patronized Marathi learned men.

The second event was the coming of two religious sects known as Mahanubhav Panth and Warkari Panth which adopted Marathi as the medium for preaching their doctrines of devotion.

Writers of the Mahanubhav sect contributed to Marathi prose while the saint-poets of Warkari sect composed Marathi poetry. However, the latter group is regarded as the pioneers and founders of Marathi literature.

Marathi literature first made its appearance in the 10th century AD and can be grouped into two ages: Ancient or Old Marathi literature (1000-1800) and Modern Marathi Literature (1800 onwards). The former consisted mainly of poetry composed in metres and restricted to the poet’s choice of words and rhythms. It was particularly devotional, narrative and pessimistic for old Marathi poets hadn’t been able to develop satire, parody, irony and humor into their poetry.

The Alphabets
Marathi script consists of 16 vowels and 36 consonents making a total of 52 alphabets.

The vowels are grouped in two groups. The first group consists of 12 vowels as follows:
a aa(A) i ii(I) u uu(U) e ai o au aM aH

The first 10 vowels are very widely used. The last two are less commonly used.

The second group consists of the 4 vowels : R^i R^I L^i L^I of which the vowels R^I and L^I are entirely extinct today. The vowel L^i is found only in the word 'kL^iptee'(meaning a clever idea) which is also a tongue-twister and can explain the near extinction of these vowels. The vowel R^i still finds use in words like R^ishI (sage), R^itU (season) etc. But in Marathi, it is pronounced more like 'ru'(r is a consonent)which differs significantly from its original Sanskrit pronunciation.

How to Reach Maharashtra
Maharashtra, a state where a millennium of culture weaves a tapestry of myriad charms. The spiritual solace of centuries. The sylvan serenity of the countryside.

By Air: There is an extensive network of flights from Mumbai's Sahar (international) and Santa Cruz (domestic) airports. There are domestic flights to all the major cities of the country.

By Rail: Mumbai has trains connecting it to all important cities in India. intra city trains in Mumbai are very good, and are the cheapest and fastest way to move around in Mumbai.

By Road: Mumbai is well connected to all the cities in Maharashtra by bus. intra city bus services are also very good.


More Attractions in Maharashtra

>> Aga Khan Palace Garden

>> Amboli

>> Bhandardara

>> Bund Gardens

>> Chikhaldara

>> Empress Garden

>> Hanging Gardens

>> Kamala Nehru Park

>> Katraj Snake Park

>> Khandala Lonavala

>> Mahabaleshwar

>> Malshej

>> Matheran

>> Saputara

>> Saras Baug PUNE

>> Town Hall Garden Kolhapur

>> University Park PUNE  


More Information About Maharashtra........

>> City >> Cuisine >> Arts and Crafts >> Fairs and Festivals



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