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Maharashtra is a state in the western region of India and is the nation's third largest state and also the world's second-most populous sub-national entity. It has over 110 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population of approximately 18 million. Nagpur serves as second capital as well as winter capital of the state. Maharashtra's business opportunities along with its potential to offer a higher standard of living attract migrants from all over India.

Maharashtra is one of the wealthiest and the most developed states in India, contributing 25% of the country's industrial output and 23.2% of its GDP (2010–11). As of 2011, the state had a per capita income of ?1.0035 lakh (US$1,500), more than the national average of 0.73 lakh (US$1,100). Its GDP per capita crossed the 1.20 lakh (US$1,800) threshold for the first time in 2013, making it one of the richest states in India. However, as of 2014, the GDP per capita reduced to 1.03 lakh (US$1,500) Agriculture and industries are the largest parts of the state's economy. Major industries include chemical products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products.

Etymology

The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit, and the word Mahratta is found in the Jain Maharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain. The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharatta is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. But the Marathas as a people do not seem to be mentioned before the thirteenth or fourteenth century.

The most widely accepted theory among the linguistic scholars is that the words Maratha and Maharashtra ultimately derive from a combination of Maha.

The word rashtrika is a Sanskritized form of Ratta, the name of a tribe or dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in the Deccan region. Another theory is that the term is derived from Maha ("great") and ratha / rathi (chariot / charioteer), which refers to a skillful northern fighting force that migrated southward into the area.

An alternative theory states that the term derives from the word Maha ("great") and Rashtra. However, this theory has not found acceptance among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers.

History

Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Late Harappa figure from Daimabad hoard, Indus Valley Civilization

Maharashtra was ruled by the Maurya Empire in the 4th and 3rd century BC. Around 230 BCE Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty for 400 years. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. In 90 AD 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. The state was also ruled by Kharavela, Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara, Vakataka, Kadambas, Chalukya Empire, Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya before finally, the Yadava rule. The Buddhist Ajanta Caves in present-day Aurangabad display influences from the Satavahana and Vakataka style. The caves were possibly excavated during this period. The Chalukya dynasty ruled from the 6th century to the 8th century CE and the two prominent rulers were Pulakeshin II, who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsha, and Vikramaditya II, who defeated the Arab invaders in the 8th century. The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the 8th to the 10th century. The Arab traveller Sulaiman described the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (Amoghavarsha) as "one of the 4 great kings of the world". From the early 11th century to the 12th century the Deccan Plateau, which includes a significant part of Maharashtra, was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty. Several battles were fought between the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty in the Deccan Plateau during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Jayasimha II, Someshvara I and Vikramaditya VI.

In the early 14th century, the Yadava dynasty, which ruled most of present-day Maharashtra, was overthrown by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Ala-ud-din Khalji. Later, Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughluqs in 1347, the local Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years. After the break-up of the Bahamani sultanate in 1518, Maharashtra split into five Deccan Sultanates: Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Elichpur. These kingdoms often fought with each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empire of the south in 1565. The present area of Mumbai was ruled by the Sultanate of Gujarat before its capture by Portugal in 1535 and the Faruqi dynasty ruled the Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before finally getting annexed by the Mughal Empire. Malik Ambar, the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626. Increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to have been a proponent of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi against his stepmother, Nur Jahan, who had ambitions of seating her son-in-law on the throne.

Bronze statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the collection of the Shri Bhavani Museum of Aundh, Maharashtra.

By the early 17th century, Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general, who had served Ahmadnagar Nizamshahi ,the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur at different periods during his career, attempted to establish his independent rule. His son Shivaji succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwas based in Pune, Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia and Mahadik of Gwalior. At its peak, the empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km². The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. The Marathas defeated the Mughals, and conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. After their defeat at the hand of Ahmad Shah Abdali's Afghan forces in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha suffered a setback. However, the Marathas soon regained lost influence and ruled central and north India including New Delhi until the end of the eighteenth century. The Third Anglo-Maratha war (1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and East India Company ruled the country in 1819.

India contains no more than two great powers, British and Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them.

 Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British Officials in India and later acting Governor-General, wrote in 1806

Shahaji's son, Shivaji, born at the Shivneri fort on February 19, 1630, was the creator of the Maratha nation. He united the Maratha chiefs from Maval, Konkan and Desh regions and carved out a small kingdom by defeating the alien powers. He stabilised the state with effective civil and military administration and adopted a policy of religious tolerance to accommodate all religions and sects in his state. He was the first Maratha Chhatrapati (ruler) to start the Raj Shaka (royal era) and issue the gold coin, shivarai hon - on the occasion of his coronation (1674). His premature death at the age of 50 (April 5, 1680) created a vacuum.

Shivaji's son, Sambhaji (1657-1689), during his short reign of nine years, in addition to domestic feuds, was confronted with the Siddis, the Portuguese and the Mughals. His cold-blooded murder (1689) by the Mughals inspired a wave of patriotism in the Maratha region, and the Marathas, under the leadership of his brother, Rajaram (1670-1700), waged a War of Independence against the imperial army of Aurangazeb who, until his death (1707), struggled in vain to eradicate Maratha power.

Historians regard Bajirao I the founder of Greater Maharashtra, because it was under his reign that Maharashtra became the centre of Indian politics. During his short career, he established Marathi supremacy in the Deccan and political hegemony in the North. His son, Balaji (1740-1761) succeeded him and expanded the Maratha borders to Attack (Punjab). The Peshwas thus became the de facto rulers of Maharashtra, and Pune became the centre of Maratha politics. The tragic disaster of the Marathas at Panipat (1761) at the hands of the Afghan ruler, Abdali, temporarily weakened their power but did not destroy it. Madhavrao I (1761-1772), a noble Peshwa, restored Maratha prestige by defeating the enemies and introducing efficient administration. His premature death was a great destabiliser of Maratha power. Grant Duff says, "The plains of Panipat were not more fatal to the Maratha empire than the early end of this excellent prince."

The domestic feuds that ensued led to the murder of the next Peshwa leader, Narayanrao (1773), whose posthumous child, Madhavrao II (1773-1795), managed the affairs of state with the help of the Barbhai council, of which Nana Phadnis and Mahadji Shinde were prominent members. Power thus shifted from the Peshwas to the Karbharis (managers). The English gradually began to intrude into Maratha territory. They were humbled in 1781, but the last Peshwa, Bajirao II (1795-1818) succumbed, and surrendered power in 1818. Mountstuart Elphinstone, the liquidator of Maratha power, then created a Maratha state at Satara by installing Pratap Singh (1793-1847), a descendant of Shahu, on the throne as Raja to win the sympathies of the Marathas. He was deposed in 1839, and his brother Shahaji became Raja. The state lapsed to the English in 1849. Thus the hegemony of the Marathas-who had dominated the political scene of Indian history for over two centuries-came to an end.

Ancient and medieval Maharashtra included the empires of the Satavahana dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Western Chalukyas, Mughals and Marathas. Spread over 118,809 sq mi (307,710 km2), it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The major rivers of the state are Godavari, Krishna, Narmada and Tapi. The state has several tourist destinations including the popular Hindu places of pilgrimage, Pandharpur, Dehu and Alandi. Places with wide appeal include Hazur Sahib Nanded at Nanded, and Saibaba shrine at Shirdi. Maharashtra is the second most urbanized state in India, after Tamil Nadu, with large cities besides the capital Mumbai such as Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad.

Mahadaji Shinde restored the Maratha domination on northern India.

Maratha Helmet

Maratha Armory

Maratha Armor

Signature Maratha helmet with curved back.

Maratha Armour from Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

The British governed western Maharashtra as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. The largest princely states in the territory were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to the 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 of Hyderabad's kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903. However, a large part called Marathwada remained part of the Nizam's Hyderabad State throughout the British period. 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 nationalist extremists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji who were all born in this region. After the partial autonomy given to the states by the Government of India Act of 1935, B. G. Kher became the first Chief Minister of the Congress party led Government of tri-lingual Bombay Presidency.[citation needed] The ultimatum to the British during the Quit India Movement was given in Mumbai, and culminated in the transfer of power and independence in 1947.

The Hutatma Chowk memorial, built to honour the martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.

An equestrian statue of Shrimant Bajirao Peshwa in Pune. Acknowledged as the most influential of the nine Peshwas, he extended Maratha territory significantly.

After India's independence, the Deccan States, including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. In 1956, the States Reorganization 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 from the Central Provinces and Berar. The southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore. From 1954 to 1955 the people of Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state and Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, under the leadership of Gopalrao Khedkar, was formed. The Mahagujarat Movement was started, seeking a separate Gujarat state. Keshavrao Jedhe, S.M. Joshi, Shripad Amrit Dange, Pralhad Keshav Atre and other leaders fought for a separate state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital under the banner of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. On 1 May 1960, following mass protests and 105 deaths, the separate Marathi-speaking state was formed by dividing earlier Bombay State into the new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The state continues to have a dispute with Karnataka regarding the region of Belgaum and Karwar.

Geography and climate

Satara mountains, area covers the western region

Deccan Traps as seen from Matheran

Shivasagar Lake located in Satara district

Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching nearly 720 kilometres along the Arabian Sea. One of the more prominent physical features of Maharsahtra is the Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'. The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. The Western Ghats (or the Sahyadri Mountain range) provide a physical backbone to the state on the west, while the Satpura Hills along the north and Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the east serve as its natural borders. The state is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.

Maharashtra is the third largest state by area in India. Its coastline is 330 miles (530 km) long along the Arabian Sea. 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.[48] To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat Deccan Plateau. Forests comprise 17% of the total area of the state. A majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. The main rivers of the state are Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and Wardha-Wainganga.

Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea. Kandesh is the north-western region lying in the valley of the Tapti River. Jalgaon, Dhule and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region. Desh is in the centre of the state. Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state. Aurangabad and Nanded are the main cities of the region. Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur, where the winter session of the state assembly is held, and Amravati are the main cities in the region. Sahyadri range, with an elevation of 1000 meters, is known for its crowning plateaus. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is narrow coastal lowland, just 50 km wide and with an elevation below 200 meters. The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border, which form physical barriers preventing easy movement.[citation needed] These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.

Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. However, dew, frost and hail also occur sometimes, depending upon the seasonal weather. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May and the monsoon season between June and September. Summers are extreme with March, April and May as the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22 °C and 39 °C during this season. Rainfall starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August also gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September to the state. Winter season is a cool, dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze; pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12 °C and 34 °C during this season. Rainfall in Maharashtra differs from region to region. Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, receive heavy rains of an average of 200 centimetres annually. But the districts of Nasik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimetres. Rainfall particularly concentrates at the Konkan and Sahyadrian Maharashtra. Central Maharashtra receives less rainfall. However, under the influence of the Bay of Bengal, eastern Vidarbha receives good rainfall in July, August and September.

Biodiversity

State symbols of Maharashtra

Animal       Indian giant squirrel

Tree   Mango       

Refer caption

Oriental garden lizard at Chandoli National Park

Flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. In 2012 the recorded thick forest area in the state was 61,939 km2 (23,915 sq mi) which was about 20.13% of the state's geographical area. There are three main Public Forestry Institutions (PFIs) in the Maharashtra state: the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD), the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and the Directorate of Social Forestry (SFD).

The flora of regions such as Nag region formed by Nagpur, Bhandara, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli and the plateau of Vidarbha composed by Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola and Buldhana districts. Most of the forests are found in the Sahyadri region and are very dense. These forests are confined to areas which have low annual rainfall (50–70 cm), a mean annual temperature of 25–27 °C and low humidity. Some of the forest areas are converted into wildlife reserves, thus preserving their biodiversity.

Maharashtra is known for its extensive avifauna. The state has three game reserves, as well as several national parks and bird sanctuaries. Wild sanctuaries in the state include Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. The most common animals are found in the state are tigers, black panthers, leopards, gaur, sloth bears, sambar, four-headed antelope, blue bull, chital, barking deer, mouse deer, civet cats, jackals, jungle cats, spotted hyena, and hare. Other animals in the state include reptiles such as lizards, cobras and kraits. The national parks of Maharashtra possess a variety of plant species that include jamun, palas, shisam, neem, teak, dhawada, kalam, ain, bija, shirish, mango, acacia, awala, kadamba, moha, terminalia, hedu and ficus.

Regions, divisions and districts

refer caption

Divisions of Maharashtra

Main article: List of districts of Maharashtra

See also: Talukas of Maharashtra

Maharashtra consists of six administrative divisions:

Amravati

Aurangabad

Konkan

Nagpur

Nashik

Pune

The state's seven divisions are further divided into 36 districts, 109 sub-divisions and 357 talukas.[69] Maharashtra's top five districts by population, as ranked by the 2011 Census, are listed in the following table.

Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Maharashtra Civil Service.[71] Districts are subdivided into sub-divisions, governed by sub-divisional magistrates, and again into blocks.[72] A block consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.[73][74] Talukas are intermediate level panchayat between the zilla panchayat (district councils) at the district level and gram panchayat (village councils) at the lower level.[72][75]

Demographics

Further information: Religion in Maharashtra, Languages of India and Marathi people

Population growth

Circle frame.svg

Religion in Maharashtra

Hinduism (79.8%)

  Islam (11.5%)

  Buddhism (5.8%)

  Jainism (1.2%)

  Christianity (1.0%)

  Sikhism (0.2%)

  Other (0.5%)

According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census, Maharashtra is the second most populous state in India with a population of 112,374,333 (9.28% of India's population) of which male and female are 58,243,056 and 54,131,277 respectively.[78] The total population growth in 2011 was 15.99 percent while in the previous decade it was 22.57 percent.[79][80] Since independence, the decadal growth rate of population has remained higher (except in the year 1971) than the national average. For the first time, in the year 2011, it was found to be lower than the national average.[80] The 2011 census for the state found 55% of the population to be rural with 45% being urban based.[81] The state has a large number of Uttar Pradesh diaspora.[82] Marathis comprise the majority of the population. Bihari, Gujarati, Sindhis, Punjabis, Parsis, Marwari, Kannada and Tamil minorities are scattered throughout the state. The 2011 census found scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to account for 11.8 and 8.9% of the population respectively.[83] The scheduled tribes include adivasis such as Thakar, Warli, Konkana and Halba.[84]

According to the 2011 census, Hinduism was the principal religion in the state at 79.8% of the total population, while Muslims constituted 11.5% of the total population. Buddhism accounted for 5.8% in Maharashtra's total population, with 6,531,200 followers, which is 77% of all Buddhists in India. Sikhs, Christians and Jains constituted 0.2%, 1.0%, 1.2% of the population respectively.[77] The state contributed 9.28% to India's population.[85] The sex ratio in Maharashtra was 925 females per 1000 males, which was below the national average of 940.[3] The density of Maharashtra was 365 inhabitants per km2 which was lower than national average 382 per km2. Since 1921, the populations of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg shrank by −4.96% and −2.30% respectively, while the population of Thane grew by 35.9%, followed by Pune at 30.3%.[86] The literacy rate rose to 83.2%.[87] Of this, male literacy stood at 89.82% and female literacy 75.48%.[78][88]

The official language is Marathi[5] although different regions have their own dialects.[89] English is applicable in urban areas. Spoken Marathi language varies by district, area or locality in its tone and a few words. The Marathi script does not have any silent pronunciation, making the language phonetic.[citation needed] Konkani is also spoken in some areas. Other major dialects include Varhadii spoken in the Vidarbha region and Dangii spoken near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. Alphabet L is abundantly used in many verbs and nouns in Marathi. It is replaced by the letter y in the Varhadii dialect, which makes it quite distinct.[90] Urdu is mainly spoken in the Muslim majority areas of Mumbai and its suburbs, Marathwada and parts of the Khandesh.[citation needed] According to the economic survey of Maharashtra (2008–09), the percentage of the state's population that names Marathi as its mother tongue has declined to 68.8% from 76.5% over the past three decades, while there has been a sharp rise in the Hindi-speaking population (11% from 5%) in the same period.[91]

Government and administration

Main article: Government of Maharashtra

See also: Politics of Maharashtra and List of Chief Ministers of Maharashtra

Maharashtra High Court

The Bombay High Court, one of the most distinguished high courts in India

Maharashtra has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly consists of 288 members who are elected for five-year terms.[92] The Maharashtra Legislative Council is a permanent body of 78 members. The government of Maharashtra is headed by the Chief Minister, who is chosen by the ruling party members of the Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers.[93] However, the constitutional and formal head of the state is the Governor, who is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of the Union government.[94]

The politics of the state since its formation in 1960 has been dominated by the Indian National Congress party. Maharashtra became a bastion of the Congress party producing stalwarts such as Yashwantrao Chavan, Vasantdada Patil, Vasantrao Naik and Shankarrao Chavan. Sharad Pawar has been a towering personality in the state and National politics for over thirty years. During his career, he has split the Congress twice with significant consequences for the state politics.[95][96] The Congress party enjoyed a near unchallenged dominance of the political landscape until 1995 when the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured an overwhelming majority in the state to form a coalition government.[97] After his second parting from the Congress party in 1999, Sharad Pawar formed the NCP but formed a coalition with the Congress to keep out the BJP-Shivsena combine out of the government for the last fifteen years. Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress party was the last Chief Minister of Maharashtra under the Congress / NCP alliance until September 2014.[98][99][100] For the 2014 assembly polls, the two alliances between NCP and Congress and that between BJP and Shivsena respectively broke down over seat allocations. In the election, the largest number of seats went to the Bharatiya Janata Party, with 122 seats. The BJP initially formed a minority government under Devendra Fadnavis but the Shivsena has, as of December 2014, entered the Government and therefore the Government now enjoys a comfortable majority in the Maharashtra Vidhansabha.[101]

The people of Maharashtra also elect 48 members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. In the 2014 general elections, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), consisting of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, and Swabhimani Paksha, won 23, 18, and 1 seats, respectively.[102] The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 19 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.[103]

Men in traditional Indian dresses posing for a photograph

First session of the Indian National Congress in Bombay (28–31 December 1885).

The state has a long tradition of highly powerful planning bodies at district and local levels. Local self governance institutions in rural areas include 34 zilla parishads, 355 Taluka Panchayat samitis and 27,993 Gram panchayats. Urban areas in the state are governed by 26 Municipal Corporations, 222 Municipal Councils, four Nagar Panchayats and seven Cantonment Boards.[80][104] The administration in each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner, who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Maharashtra state services.[105] The Deputy Commissioner of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service and assisted by the officers of the Maharashtra Police Service, maintains law and order in addition to other related issues in each district. The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, manages the forests, environment and wildlife of the district, assisted by the officers of Maharashtra Forest Service and Maharashtra Forest Subordinate Service.[106] Sectoral development in the districts is looked after by the district head of each development department, such as Public Works, Health, Education, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.[107][108]

The judiciary in the state consists of the Maharashtra High Court (The High Court of Bombay), district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluka level.[109] The High Court has regional branches at Nagpur and Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Panaji which is the capital of Goa.[110] The state cabinet on 13 May 2015 passed a resolution favouring the setting up of one more bench of the Bombay high court in Kolhapur, covering the region.[111] The President of India appoints the chief justice of the High Court of the Maharashtra judiciary on the advice of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India as well as the Governor of Maharashtra.[112] Other judges are appointed by the chief justice of the high court of the judiciary on the advice of the Chief Justice.[113] Subordinate Judicial Service is another vital part of the judiciary of Maharashtra.[114] The subordinate judiciary or the district courts are categorised into two divisions: the Maharashtra civil judicial services and higher judicial service.[115] While the Maharashtra civil judicial services comprises the Civil Judges (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistrates and civil judges (Senior Division)/Chief Judicial Magistrate, the higher judicial service comprises civil and sessions judges.[116] The Subordinate judicial service of the judiciary is controlled by the District Judge.[113][117]

Economy

Main article: Economy of Maharashtra

Further information: List of conglomerates in Maharashtra

Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost at Current Prices (2004–05 Base)[118]

figures in crores of Indian rupees

Year  Net State Domestic Product

2004–2005 368,369

2005–2006 433,559

2006–2007 524,137

2007–2008 614,071

2008–2009 699,603

2009–2010 817,891

The economy of Maharashtra is driven by international trade, Mass Media (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism.[119] Maharashtra is the most industrialised state and has maintained the leading position in the industrial sector in India.[120] The State is pioneer in small scale industries.[121] Mumbai, the capital of state and the financial capital of India, houses the headquarters of most of the major corporate and financial institutions. India's main stock exchanges and capital market and commodity exchanges are located in Mumbai. The State continues to attract industrial investments from domestic as well as foreign institutions. Maharashtra has the largest proportion of taxpayers in India and its share markets transact almost 70 per cent of the country's stocks.[122]

The Service sector dominates the economy of Maharashtra, accounting for 61.4% of the value addition and 69.3% of the value of output in the country.[123] The state's per-capita income is 40% higher than the all-India average.[124] The gross state domestic product (GSDP) at current prices for 2011–12 is estimated at 11,995.48 billion and contributes about 14.4% of the GDP.[125] The agriculture and allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the state's income.[126][127] Net State Domestic Product (State Income), as per the first revised estimates was 10,827.51 billion and Per Capita State Income was 95,339 during 2011–12. The percentage of fiscal deficit to GSDP was 1.7 per cent and debt stock to GSDP was 18.4 per cent during 2012–13, well within Consolidated Fiscal Reform Path stipulated by the Thirteenth Finance Commission. In 2012, Maharashtra reported a revenue surplus of ?1524.9 million (US$24 million), with a total revenue of ?1,367,117 million (US$22 billion) and a spending of ?1,365,592.1 million (US$22 billion).[123] Maharashtra ranks first in FDI equity and percentage share of total FDI inflows is 32.28%.[126] Total FDI inflows into Maharashtra are US$53.48 billion.[123] Top countries that invested FDI equity in Maharashtra (from January 2000 to December 2011) were Mauritius (39%), Singapore (10%), United Kingdom (10%), United States (7%) and Netherlands (5%).[123]

refer caption

Freshly grown sugarcane, agriculture is the second leading occupation in Maharashtra

Maharashtra contributes 25% of the country's industrial output[9] and is the most indebted state in the country.[128][129] Industrial activity in state is concentrated in four districts: Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban district, Thane and Pune districts.[130] Mumbai has the largest share in GSDP (21.5 per cent), both Thane and Pune districts contribute about same in the Industry sector, Pune district contributes more in the agriculture and allied activities sector, whereas Thane district contributes more in the Services sector.[130] Nashik district shares highest in the agricultural and allied activities sector, but is far behind in the Industry and Services sectors as compared to Thane and Pune districts.[130] Industries in Maharashtra include chemical and chemical products (17.6%), food and food products (16.1%), refined petroleum products (12.9%), machinery and equipment (8%), textiles (6.9%), basic metals (5.8%), motor vehicles (4.7%) and furniture (4.3%).[131] Maharashtra is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, including Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Tata Petrodyne and Oil India Ltd.[132]

Maharashtra has an above average knowledge industry in India with the Pune Metropolitan area being the leading IT hub in the state.. Approximately 25% of the top 500 companies in the IT sector are situated in Maharashtra.[133] The state accounts for 28% of the software exports of India.[133] The state houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy.[130]

The banking sector comprises scheduled and non-scheduled banks.[133] Scheduled banks are of two types, commercial and co-operative. Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in India are classified into five types: State Bank of India and its associates, nationalised banks, private sector banks, Regional Rural Banks and others (foreign banks). In 2012, there were 9,053 banking offices in the state, of which about 26 per cent were in rural and 54 per cent were in urban areas. Maharashtra has a microfinance system, which refers to small scale financial services extended to the poor in both rural and urban areas. It covers a variety of financial instruments, such as lending, savings, life insurance, and crop insurance.[134]

With more than half the population being rural, agriculture and allied industries play an important role in the states's economy. The agriculture and allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the state's income. Staples such as rice and millet are the main monsoon crops. Important cash crops include sugarcane, cotton, oilseeds, tobacco, fruit, vegetables and spices such as turmeric.[46] Animal husbandry is an important agriculture related activity. The State's share in the livestock and poultry population in India is about 7% and 10% respectively. Maharashtra was a pioneer in the development of Agricultural Cooperative Societies after independence. In fact, it was an integral part of the then Governing Congress party's vision of ‘rural development with local initiative’. A ‘special’ status was accorded to the sugar cooperatives and the government assumed the role of a mentor by acting as a stakeholder, guarantor and regulator,[135][136][137] Apart from sugar, Cooperatives play a crucial role in dairy,[138] cotton, and fertilizer industries.

Transport

Main article: Transport in Maharashtra

See also: List of airports in Maharashtra

NH 3, connects Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh

A container ship at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (or Nhava Seva). It is a principal port directly controlled by the government by India and the state has total two such ports.

Major roads network of Maharashtra

The state has a large, multi-modal transportation system with the largest road network in India.[139] In 2011, the total length of surface road in Maharashtra was 267,452 km;[140] national highways comprised 4,176 km[141] and state highways 3,700 km.[140] The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) provides economical and reliable passenger road transport service in the public sector.[142] These buses, popularly called ST (State Transport), are the preferred mode of transport for much of the populace. Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto rickshaws, which often ply specific routes in cities. Other district roads and village roads provide villages accessibility to meet their social needs as well as the means to transport agricultural produce from villages to nearby markets. Major district roads provide a secondary function of linking between main roads and rural roads. Almost 98% of villages are connected via the highways and modern roads in Maharashtra. Average speed on state highways varies between 50–60 km/h (31–37 mi/h) due to heavy presence of vehicles; in villages and towns, speeds are as low as 25–30 km/h (15–18 mi/h).[143]

The first passenger train in India ran from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853.[144] Rail transportation consists of the Central Railway and the Western Railway zones of the Indian Railways that are headquartered in Mumbai, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Churchgate respectively.[145][146] The Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the fastest rajdhani train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Mumbai.[147] CST is the busiest railway station in India, serving as a terminal for both long-distance trains and commuter trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. Nanded division of South central railway comprises Marathwada region.

The two principal sea ports, Mumbai Port and Jawaharlal Nehru Port, which is also in the Mumbai region, are under the control and supervision of the government of India.[148] There are around 48 minor ports in Maharashtra.[149] Most of these handle passenger traffic and have a limited capacity. None of the major rivers in Maharashtra are navigable and so river transport does not exist in the state.

The view of Mumbai Airport's T2

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is among the busiest airports in India

Most of the State's airfields are operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) while Reliance Airport Developers (RADPL), currently operate five non-metro airports at Latur, Nanded, Baramati, Osmanabad and Yavatmal on a 95-year lease.[150] The Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) was set up in 2002 to take up development of airports in the state that are not under the AAI or the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). MADC is playing the lead role in the planning and implementation of the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project.[151] Almost all the major cities of Maharashtra have airports. CSIA (formerly Bombay International Airport) and Juhu Airport are the two airports in Mumbai. The two other international airports are Pune International Airport and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Nagpur). Flights are operated by both private and government airline companies. Additional smaller airports include Aurangabad, Akola, Amravati, Baramati, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Karad, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, Nanded, Osmanabad, Ratnagiri, Solapur and Yavatmal.[152]

Education and social development

See also: List of higher education institutions in Maharashtra

AFMC Pune

Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, was one of the institutions established after the Indian independence movement

Maharashtra schools are run by the state government or by private organisations, including religious institutions. Instruction is mainly in Marathi, English or Hindi, though Urdu is also used. The secondary schools are affiliated with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Institute of Open School (NIOS) or the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. Under the 10+2+3 plan, after completing secondary school, students typically enroll for two years in a junior college, also known as pre-university, or in schools with a higher secondary facility affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education or any central board. Students choose from one of three streams, namely liberal arts, commerce or science. Upon completing the required coursework, students may enroll in general or professional degree programs.

Maharashtra has 24 universities with a turnout of 160,000 Graduates every year.[153][154] Maharashtra has played a pioneering role in the development of the modern education system in India. The University of Mumbai, is the largest university in the world in terms of the number of graduates and has 141 affiliated colleges.[155] Scottish missionary John Wilson, Indian Nationalists such as Vasudev Balwant Phadke and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Social reformers such as Jyotirao Phule, Dhondo Keshav Karve and Bhaurao Patil all played a leading role in the setting up of modern schools and colleges in the state.[156][157][158][159] The Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute was established in 1821. The Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University, the oldest women's liberal arts college in South Asia, started its journey in 1916. College of Engineering Pune, established in 1854, is the third oldest college in Asia.[160]

Nagpur University campus

Entrance gate of Nagpur University, which is nationally renowned

According to prominent national rankings, 5 to 7 Maharashtra colleges and universities are ranked among the top 20 in India.[161][162][163] Maharashtra is also home to such notable autonomous institutes as Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Institute of Chemical Technology, Homi Bhabha National Institute , Walchand College of Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Nagpur (VNIT) and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI).[164] These autonomous institutes are ranked as the most difficult colleges in Maharashtra to gain admission to. At the undergraduate level admission to autonomous institutes is extremely competitive. The University of Pune, the National Defence Academy, Film and Television Institute of India, National Film Archives, Armed Forces Medical College and National Chemical Laboratory were established in Pune after the Indian independence movement. Maharashtra has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. Most of these were set up in the last thirty years after the State Government of Vasantdada Patil liberalized the Education Sector in 1982.[165] There are also local community colleges with generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition.

The state also has four agricultural universities namely Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural University, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth and Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth,[166] besides these, there are other regional universities like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, North Maharashtra University, Shivaji University, Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University and Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, all well established and nationally renowned, to cover the educational needs at the district levels of the state. Apart from this, there are a number of deemed universities in Maharashtra: the Symbiosis International University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tilak Maharashtra University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.[167] Notable scholars who were born, worked or studied in the geographic area of the state include prominent Varkari saint and spiritual poet Tukaram, Dalit Leader and Father of Indian Constitution Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Indian Nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke and Social reformer Jyotirao Phule.

Infrastructure

Further information: List of conglomerates in Maharashtra

Healthcare

In 2011, the health care system in Maharashtra consisted of 363 rural government hospitals,[168] 23 district hospitals (with 7,561 beds), 4 general hospitals (with 714 beds) mostly under the Maharashtra Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and 380 private medical establishments; these establishments provide the state with more than 30,000 hospital beds.[169][170][171] It is the first state in India to have nine women's hospitals serving 1,365 beds.[171] The state also has significant number of medical practitioners who hold the Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery qualifications. These practitioners primarily use the traditional Indian therapy of Ayurveda but can use modern western medicine as well.[172]

Maharashtra has a life expectancy at birth of 67.2 years in 2011, ranking it third among 29 Indian states.[173] The total fertility rate of the state is 1.9.[174] The Infant mortality rate is 28 and the maternal mortality ratio is 104 (2012–2013), which are lower than the national averages.[175][176] Public health services are governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through various departments. The Ministry is divided into two departments: the Public Health Department, which includes family welfare and medical relief, and the Department of Medical Education and Drugs.[177][178]

In Maharashtra, health insurance includes any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a social welfare program funded by the government.[179] In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against the costs of medical services.[180] This usage includes private insurance and social insurance programs such as National Health Mission, which pools resources and spreads the financial risk associated with major medical expenses across the entire population to protect everyone, as well as social welfare programs such as National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Health Insurance Program, which provide assistance to people who cannot afford health coverage.[179][180][181]

Energy

Current functioning units of Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station

Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station, the state's power production source

Although its population makes Maharashtra one of the country's largest energy users,[182][183] conservation mandates, mild weather in the largest population centres and strong environmental movements have kept its per capita energy use to one of the smallest of any Indian state.[184] The high electricity demand of the state constitutes 13% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in India, which is mainly from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.[185] Mahavitaran is responsible for distribution of electricity throughout the state by buying power from Mahanirmiti, captive power plants, other state electricity boards and private sector power generation companies.[184]

As of 2012, Maharashtra was the largest power generating state in India, with installed electricity generation capacity of 26,838 MW.[183] The state forms a major constituent of the western grid of India, which now comes under the North, East, West and North Eastern (NEWNE) grids of India.[182] Maharashtra Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) operates thermal power plants.[186] In addition to the state government-owned power generation plants, there are privately owned power generation plants that transmit power through the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company, which is responsible for transmission of electricity in the state.[187]

Culture

Main articles: Culture of Maharashtra and List of State Protected Monuments in Maharashtra

Further information: Cultural activities of Maharashtra

Cuisine

Main article: Maharashtrian cuisine

Maharashtra cuisine covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staple food of the Maharashtrian diet. Some of the popular traditional dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, and batata wada. Pav Bhaji and Vada pav are dishes that became very popular in the last fifty years.[188] Meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali. Each food item served on the thali has a specific place. In some households, meals begin with a thanksgiving offering of food (Naivedya) to the household Gods. Maharashtrian cuisine has many regional varieties including Malvani (Konkani) and Varadhi.[189] Though quite different, both use a lot of seafood and coconut.[190] The staple foods of the Konkani people are rice and fish

The bhaajis are vegetable dishes made with a particular vegetable or a combination. They require the use of goda (sweet) masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard.[188] Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onion and garlic may not be used in cooking.[189] A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa or curry.[191] Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or cauliflower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a soup-like preparation rather than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew. Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavoured with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, and jaggery (gul).[188]

Among seafood, the most popular fish is bombil or the Bombay duck.[190] All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are eaten with boiled rice, chapatis or with bhakris, made of jowar, bajra or rice flours. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.[189]

Attire

 Traditional Maharashtrian dresses

Women wearing lugade (nauwar), a traditional nine yard sari

Traditionally, Marathi women commonly wore the sari, often distinctly designed according to local cultural customs.[192] Most middle aged and young women in urban Maharashtra dress in western outfits such as skirts and trousers or shalwar kameez with the traditionally nauvari or nine-yard lugade,[193] disappearing from the markets due to a lack of demand.[194] Older women wear the five-yard sari. In urban areas, the five-yard sari, especially the Paithani, is worn by younger women for special occasions such as marriages and religious ceremonies.[195] Among men, western dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the dhoti and pheta[196] on cultural occasions. The Gandhi cap is the popular headgear among older men in rural Maharashtra.[192][197][198] Women wear traditional jewelleries derived from Marathas and Peshwas dynasties. Kolhapuri saaj, a special type of necklace, is also worn by Marathi women.[192] In urban areas, many women and men wear western attire.[198]

Music and dance

Maharashtrian artists have made major contributions to Indian Classical music. Its vibrant folk form includes Powada, Bharuds and Gondhals.[citation needed] Cities like Kolhapur and Pune have been playing a major role in preservation of music like Bhavageet and Natya Sangeet, which are inherited from Indian classical music. The songs from Hindi films and Marathi films are popular in urban areas.

Marathi dance forms draw from folk traditions. Lavani is popular form of dance in the state. The Bhajan, Kirtan and Abhangas of the Varkari sect (Vaishanav Devotees) have a long history and are part of their daily rituals.[199] Koli dance is among the most popular dances of Maharashtra. As the name suggests, it is related to the fisher folk of Maharashtra, who are called Kolis. Popular for their unique identity and liveliness, their dances represent their occupation. This type of dance is represented by both men and women. While dancing, they are divided into groups of two. These fishermen display the movements of waves and casting of the nets during their koli dance performances.[200]

Literature

Maharashtra’s regional literature is about lives and circumstances of Marathi people in specific parts of the state. The Marathi language, which boasts a rich literary heritage, is a Sanskrit-derived language and is written in the Devanagari script.[201] The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Dnyaneshwar with his Bhawarthadeepika (popularly known as Dnyaneshwari). The compositions, written in the 13th-century, are spiritually inclined. Other compositions are by Bhakti saints such as Tukaram, Eknath, Namdev, Ramdas, and Gora Kumbhar.[202] Their compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called Abhang. Maharashtra has a long tradition in spiritual literature, evidenced by the Amrutanubhav, Bhavarth Deepika, Bhagavata Purana, Eknathi Bhagwat and Bhavarth Ramayan.[203]

19th century Marathi literature includes the works of authors such as Balshastri Jambhekar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Hari Deshmukh, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Jyotirao Phule, B.R. Ambedkar, Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Tryambak Bapuji Thombre Hari Narayan Apte, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and Keshavsuta. 20th century notable writers include Mahadevshastri Joshi, Kusumagraj, Pu La Deshpande, Va Pu Kale, Vyankatesh Digambar Madgulkar, Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar, Prahlad Keshav Atre, B. S. Mardhekar, Sane Guruji, Vinoba Bhave, Chintamani Tryambak Khanolkar, Bahinabai Chaudhari and Laxmanshastri Joshi. Vishwas Patil, Ranjit Desai, Shivaji Sawant, Narayan Surve, Vinda Karandikar, Shanta Shelke, Durga Bhagwat, Suresh Bhat, Ratnakar Matkari, Varjesh Solanki, Manya Joshi, Hemant Divate, Mangesh Narayanrao Kale and Saleel Wagh are some of the more recent authors.

Films

Main articles: Bollywood and Marathi cinema

Maharashtra is a prominent location for the Indian entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there.[204] Mainstream Hindi films are popular in Maharashtra, especially in urban areas. Mumbai is the largest center for film and television production and a third of all Indian films are produced in the state. Multimillion-dollar Bollywood productions, with the most expensive costing up to ?1.5 billion (US$22 million), are filmed there.[205] The Marathi film industry, previously located in Kolhapur, has spread throughout Mumbai. Well known for its art films, the early Marathi film industry included acclaimed directors such as Dadasaheb Phalke, and V. Shantaram. Dada Kondke is the most prominent name in Marathi film. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema, given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.[206]

Theatre

Theatre in Maharashtra can trace its origins to the British colonial era in the middle of the 19th century. It is modelled mainly after the western tradition but also includes forms like Sangeet Natak (Musical drama). In recent decades, Marathi Tamasha has been also been incorporated in some experimental plays.[207] Today, theatre continues to have a marked presence in Mumbai and Pune with an educated loyal audience base, when most theatre in other parts of India have had tough time facing the onslaught of cinema and television. Its repertoire ranges from humorous social plays, farces, historical plays, musical, to experimental plays and serious drama. Marathi Playwrights such as Vijay Tendulkar, P. L. Deshpande, Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar have influenced theatre throughout India.[208] Besides Marathi theatre, Maharashtra and particularly, Mumbai, has had a long tradition of theatre in other languages such as Gujarati, Hindi and English.[209]

Media

More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in this state and the book-publishing industry employs about 250,000 people.[210] Lokmat, published from Mumbai with 1,588,801 daily copies, has the largest circulation for a single-edition, regional language newspaper in India.[211] Other major Marathi newspapers are Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, Nava Kaal, Pudhari, and Sakal.[212] Popular Marathi language magazines are Saptahik Sakaal, Grihashobhika, Lokrajya, Lokprabha and Chitralekha.[213] Major English language newspapers which are published and sold in large numbers are Daily News & Analysis, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Mumbai Mirror, Asian Age, MiD-DAY and The Free Press Journal. Some prominent financial dailies like The Economic Times, Mint, Business Standard and The Financial Express are widely circulated.[214] Vernacular newspapers such as those in Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati and Urdu are also read by a select readership. The television industry developed in Maharashtra and is a significant employer in the state's economy.[215]

Numerous Indian and international television channels can be watched in Maharashtra through one of the Pay TV companies or the local cable television provider. The four major India broadcast networks are all headquartered in Maharashtra: The Times, STAR India, CNN-IBN and ZEEL. Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster and provides two free terrestrial channels. Multi system operators provide a mix of Marathi, Bengali, Nepali, Hindi, English and international channels via cable. The wide range of cable channels available includes sports channels like ESPN, Star Sports, National entertainment channels like Colors, Sony, Zee TV and Star Plus, business news channels like CNBC Awaaz, Zee Business, ET Now and Bloomberg UTV. Marathi 24-hour television news channels include ABP Majha, IBN-Lokmat, Zee 24 Taas, TV9 Maharashtra, ETV Marathi, TV9 Maharashtra and Jai Maharashtra.

All India Radio is a public radio station. Private FM stations are available in all major cities. Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Aircel, MTS India, Tata Indicom, Idea Cellular and Tata DoCoMo are available cellular phone operators. Maharashtra has the highest share of the internet market at 18.8% of total households internet users in India.[216] Broadband internet is available in all towns, villages and cities, provided by the state-run MTNL and BSNL and by other private companies.[217] Dial-up access is provided throughout the state by BSNL and other providers.

Sports

Main article: Sports in Maharashtra

 Anjali Bhagwat also referred as greatest Indian women athletes of all time.

Anjali Bhagwat, professional Indian shooter

The most popular sports in Maharashtra are Kabaddi and cricket. As in the rest of India, cricket is popular in Maharashtra and is played on grounds and in streets throughout the state. Maharashtra has various domestic level franchise-based leagues for hockey, chess, tennis and badminton. The state is home to top national football clubs such as Mumbai Tigers F.C., Kenkre F.C., Bengal Mumbai FC and Air India FC.[218] Adventure sports such as paragliding, water sports, rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering and scuba diving are also popular in the state.[219] Other notable sports played in the state include Kho kho, fencing, archery and shooting.

Sachin Tendulkar

Maharashtra has an Indian Premier League franchise known as the Mumbai Indians; the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), regulates cricket in state. Maharashtra has three domestic cricket teams: the Mumbai cricket team, Maharashtra cricket team and Vidarbha cricket team. Wankhede Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,000, hosted the final match of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.[220][221] It is home to the Mumbai Indians and Mumbai cricket team.[221]

Maharashtra football team represents the state in competition for the Santosh Trophy. Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) is the organisation responsible for Association football in and around Mumbai. The state has two club franchises playing in Elite Football League of India.[222] Mumbai Gladiators and Pune Marathas[223] are teams based in Mumbai and Pune respectively.[224]

Mumbai and Pune hold derby races at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and Pune Race Course respectively.[225][226] The wrestling championship Hind Kesari is widely popular in the rural regions and is affiliated with the All India Amateur Wrestling Federation (AIAWF).[227] Maharashtra Chess Association is the apex body for the game of chess in Maharashtra.[228] Maharashtra Tennis League is India's first league format in tennis.[229][230]

Notable athletes from Maharashtra include Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar who were part of the Indian national cricket team;[231][232] Asian Games silver medalist Hiranna M. Nimal, wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, chess player Rohini Khadilkar, tennis player Gaurav Natekar, former hockey players Dhanraj Pillay, Viren Rasquinha and badminton player Aparna Popat

Maharashtra is the state in the West India. The word Maharashtra is derived from the Sanskrit words Maha meaning Great and Rashtra meaning Nation, thus rendering the name Maharashtra (Great Nation). Mumbai is the capital of the state. The main cities in the state are Mumbai,Pune, Thane, Nasik, Lonavala-Khandala Hill Station, Mahabaleshwar Hill Station, Matheran Hill Station etc. Some famous educational institutes in the state are Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) etc. Ganesh Chaturthi(Ganesh's birthday) is the famous festival celebrated in the state.

Maharashtra the third largest state in India and has tremendous wealth in the form of tourist places. Numerous caves, attractive hill stations, virgin beaches, and wildlife in plenty, revered holy places- you name it and state of Maharashtra has it. However, it is Bollywood that gives Maharashtra an edge over other states of India. Maharashtra is a complete tourist destination in itself and a delight for those fond of traveling. With all its attractions, Maharashtra exudes a mesmerizing aura which is hard to ignore.

The state is famous for various hill stations, religious places, fashion, beaches etc. Some of the famous places are Shirdi, Elephanta caves, Ajantha and Ellora caves, Nariman Point, Gate way of India, Bollywood, ISCKON Temple, Marine Drive, Powai Lake, Haji Ali Mosque, Essel World, Hotel Taj, Magarpatta, etc.

Ahmednagar witnesses some magnificent architectural monuments from the Nizam Shahi dynasty.The district is strewn with a number of temples, many of them ancient, which are much visited by the pilgrims. Among them, Shirdi is quite famous across the India. The famous Sai Baba Temple lies in Shirdi. Some other famous tourist places in Ahmednagar are Ahmadnagar Fort, Anand Dham, Mula Dam, Chandbibi Mahal etc.     

Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India

Tour to Akola      Akola, also called Cotton City, is known for its cotton production and is the largest cotton-producing district in India. The city is also famous for its pulses (dal), oil, and textile mills. Akola is also known for its medical facilities. It is a major center for advanced medical treatments, such as the Elizarov Technique, IVF.     

Tour to Alibag     Alibag/Alibaug is a coastal town in Raigad District. The meaning of Alibag is Garden of Ali. Alibag is a weekend picnic spot for the citizens of Mumbai. It is also a famous center for business conferences. Alibag is surrounded by sea on all 3 sides. It is not only a sun city but also an amazing weekend location. The city shot into prominence after Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built the fort of Kulaba. The town is renowned for its clean waters, sand like beaches and fresh air.Alibag is an astonishingly beautiful place and nature appears to be at its best. It is particularly fantastic during the rainy season.       

Tour to Amravati Amravati is famous for its temples of Goddess Amba, Lord Shri Krishna and Shri Venkateshwara. Amaravati is also famous for the "Hill Station - Chikhaldara". The real calm and peace reside here.      

Tour to Aurangabad     Aurangabad, meaning "Built by the Throne", named after Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The city is a tourist hub, surrounded with many historical monuments, including the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves as well as Bibi Ka Maqbara. Aurangabad is said to be a 'City of Gates'. Traditional Himroo fabric, which has a blend of both cotton and silk, is found here. Paithani silk saris, and traditional handloom shawls are the major attractions in this factory. Famous places are Ajanta-Ellora Caves, Panchakki, Bibi Ka Maqbara, Kali Masjid and Jumma Masjid, Salim Ali Lake etc. 

Tour to Beed    There are several historical buildings located in the city. Some places to visit in the city are Kankaleshwar Temple, Rakshbhuvan (Shani Dev), Khandoba Temple etc.   

Tour to Bhandara         Bhandara is known for its large production of rice. Tumsar, a tahsil town, is a famous rice market. Bhandara is also known as 'Brass City' owing to the presence of a large brass products industry. There are ancient sites, such as the Ambagarha Fort, Andhalgaon etc. 

Tour to Buldhana       Tourism in Buldhana includes visiting places of both religious as well as historical significance. One of the most famous tourist locations here is the Lonar crater. It is among one of the five largest craters in the world, and the third largest saltwater lake in the world. Among the religious places located here are the Hanuman murti, Shri. Sant Gajanan Maharaj and Sailani Baba's Dargah.      

Tour to Chandrapur     Chandrapur is famous for its superthermal power plant, one of the biggest in Asia, and its vast reserves of coal. Due to large number of coal mines present around the city, the city is also known as "City of Black Gold". One of the most famous tourist attractions located in the district is the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. The city of Chandrapur has ancient temples of the goddess Mahakali and of Anchaleshwar, a form of the god Shiva.         

Tour to Chikhaldara Hill Station     Chikaldara Hill Station is situated in the Amaravati district. It abounds in wildlife - panthers, sloth bears, sambars, wild boar,even the rarely seen wild dogs. Located close by is the famous Melghat Tiger Reserve which has more than 100 tigers. The scenic beauty of Chikhaldara can be enjoyed from Hurricane point, Prospect point and Devi point.   

Tour to Dhule(Dhulia)  Dhule or Dhulia is the center of Textile Industry. The District is covered by Satpuda Hills.Dhule city is famous for its quality education institutes. The district is strewn with a number of temples, many of them ancient, which are much visited by the pilgrims. There are many temples in the classical Hemadpanthi style here. Some of the worth visiting places in Dhule are: Toranmal, Anerdam Wildlife Sanctuary, Prakashe, Sarangkheda and Laling Fort etc.     

Tour to Gadchiroli        Gadchiroli was carved out from Chandrapur District. Most of the land in this district is covered with forest and hills. The main river basin of the district is Godavari which borders the southern boundary of the district and flows west to East. This district is famous for bamboo and tendu leaves. It is well known for Shiv Temple at Markanda.        

Tour to Gondia    Gondia is also known as Rice City by local people due to abundance of Rice Mills in the area. It has more than 1000 rice mills and some small scale tobacco industries. Gondia is well surrounded by hills and forests. The most beautiful places are Nagzira wild life sanctuary, Navegoan National Park also called as Bird sanctuary. So many foreign birds came to here. Nagra is famous for the Shiv Temple situated at large hill.

Tour to Hingoli    Pilgrimage tourism in Hingoli district is an enriching experience. One of the holiest sites for the Hindus, the site of the existence of the twelve Jyotirlingas is also found here. Other places in the city are Mallinath Digambar Jain Temple, Tulaja Devi Sansthan and the Sant Namdev Sansthan etc.       

Tour to Jalgaon   Jalgaon is near the world famous Ajanta Caves and is one of the key attraction places for tourists all around the World. It is a major business centre for tea, gold, pulses, cotton and bananas. There are many places for the visitors to choose from, ranging from forts, places of natural beauty and even a number of temples for the pilgrims. These include the Sri Padmalaya temple, Saint Muktabai temple and the Changdeo Temple among others.        

Tour to Jalna       Pilgrimage tourism in Jalna district involves visiting the various temples situated here. A number of these temples are ancient constructs, such as the 300 year old Shree Jagdamba Devi at Matha, the 250-year old Anandi Swami Temple. Apart from the many temples, there is also a place of Muslim worship, namely the Kali masjid, found located in Jalna district.      

Tour to Kolhapur Kolhapur is situated on the banks of river Panchganga and is known as 'Dakshin Kashi'. The name Kolhapur is famed all over India and abroad by the common names of most demanded items like Kolhapuri Chappal, Kolhapuri cuisine and Kolhapuri gur. Irwin Agricultural Museum, Mahalaxmi temple known as Dakshin Kashi and Bahubali Jain temple are some of the nearby attractions.  

Tour to Latur    Latur city has the famous 'Ganjgolai' as the central place of the city. Latur is an important centre of trade and commerce. It is the center of industries like Sugar, Food etc. It is famous for the places like Siddheshwar and Ratneshwar Temple, Ganj Golai, Kharosa Caves etc.       

Tour to Lonavala-Khandala Hill Station  Lonawala and Khandala both are the hill station in Pune district. Lonavala is famous throughout India for the hard candy sweet known as chikki. Lonavala has been blessed with valleys, hills, Milky WaterFalls, Lush Greenery and pleasant cool winds. Khandala has been blessed with nature's beauty in abundance. The natural splendor, combined with peaceful surroundings, makes the hill station the perfect holiday spot. Today, Khandala is counted amongst one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.    

Tour to Mahabaleshwar Hill Station    Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in Satara district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a picturesque hilly resort nestled in the lap of majestic mountain ranges of Western Ghats. This prettiest hill station is often referred as the "Queen of Hill Stations" in Maharashtra. It is also knownas the "Kashmir of Maharashtra". The tourists are enthralled by its exotic greenery, beautiful gardens and breath-taking scenery.  

Tour to Matheran Hill Station   Matheran is a Hill Station in Raigad district. The term 'Matheran' suggests "forest on top". Lusting greeneries, serene environments and unpolluted ambience. It is one of the few places in the world where vehicles are not allowed, which makes the place different from others. There are lots of lookout points that provide spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

Tour to Mumbai  Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is the capital of Maharashtra. It is also the commercial Capital of India. Famous places in the city are Bollywood, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Essel World, Gateway of India, Juhu Beach, Marine Drive, Nariman Point, Water Kingdom, Hotel Taj, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Haji Ali Mosque etc.        

Tour to Nagpur   Nagpur is also famous throughout the country as "Orange City" for being a major trade center of oranges. The city assumes political importance from being the headquarters for the Hindu nationalist organisation RSS. Places to visit in the city are Dhamma Chakra Stupa(Deekshabhoomi), Japanese Rose Garden, Pench National Park, Sri Balaji and Sri Kartikeya Temple, Tadoba National Park etc.

Tour to Nanded   Nanded is known as an important holy place for the Sikh faith. It is situated on north bank of Godavari river. Places to visit in the city are Gurudwara Hazur Sahib(Gurudwara Shikar Ghat Sahib), Sachkand and Other Gurudwaras, Nanded Fort, Kandhar Fort etc.         

Tour to Nandurbar       Nandurbar was carved out from Dhule District. Narmada River and Tapi River are the two main rivers flowing through Nandurbar District. Prakasha, one of the famous religious places, also known as Dakshin Kashi, is in Shahada town in this district. Toranmal is the second coolest hill station in Maharashtra state and is near Shahada.       

Tour to Nasik       In addition to supplying the name to the famed Nassak Diamond, the city is known for its picturesque surroundings and pleasant climate. The Godavari River flows through Nashik from its source, which lies to the southwest of the city, in Trimbakeshwar. It is the hub of Wine Industries. So that it is popularly known as the 'Wine Capital of India' or the 'Grape City of India'. Nashik is one of world's holiest Hindu cities. Kumbh Mela(Fair) is held here once in 12 years along with four other cities in India. Lord Rama spent 14 years of his exile at Tapovan near Nashik.         

Tour to Navi Mumbai   Navi Mumbai, acclaimed to be the world's largest planned city, is the twin city of Mumbai. Formerly known as New Bombay. Navi Mumbai has really good physical and social infrastructure to boast of Nerul, Vashi, Airoli, Kalamboli, kharghar and Taloja, Panvel, Belapur are major areas of the city. While visiting the parallel city, check out the Sagar Vihar Garden that presents a beautiful sight to behold, leaving you completely mesmerized by its beauty.        

Tour to Osmanabad      For the pilgrims visiting Osmanabad, there are temples such as the Shri Tulja Bhavani Temple and the Saint Goroba Kaka Temple. Also located here is a rather holy site for the followers of Jainism, the Shri Digambar Jain Sidhkshetra Kuntalgiri.       

Tour to Panchgani Hill Station        Panchgani is a Hill-Station in Satara district. It is located amidst five small hills, from which it derives its name(panch in marathi means five). The Panchgani hill station is known for its unpolluted air and it is believed that the oxygen content in atmosphere is more here compared to other regions. The ambience is very cool and calm and the exquisite environment is a perfect background for rejuvenation and curing of illness of body and mind.        

Tour to Parbhani The Hindu saint who is considered to be the reincarnation of the God Dattatraya in Hindu mythology, Shri Shirdi Saibaba was said to be born in this district at a place called Pathri - about 40 km from Parbhani. Other places to visit in the city are Shree Mudgaleshwar Temple - 900 year old temple, Jain Pilgrimage in Jintur, Mrityunjaya Pardeshwar Temple(Mercury Shivalinga), Syed Shah Turabul Haque Dargah etc.   

Tour to Pune       Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. In the earlier times, the city had been the residence of Shivaji - the Maratha leader. Distinguished for its educational institutions, Pune is also called 'The Oxford of the East'. This beautiful city observes vivacious nightlife and effervescent ambiance. Also known as 'The Queen of the Deccan', Pune is the gateway to the popular hill stations of Maharashtra. Pune is becoming the hot-spot for IT and automobile companies. Places to visit in the city are Aga Khan Palace, Osho Ashram, Panshet Water Park, Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple, Hinjawadi, Magarpatta, Omkareshwar Temple, Shaniwar Wada etc. It also houses the famous hill statiion Lonavala-Khandala.   

Tour to Raigad    Raigad is also famous for alibag which is a town in the district. Raigad also has hill station - Matheran which is very famous hill station. It is just few kilometers away from mumbai. One can spend his time on the peaceful hill station. The natural beauty of Matheran is really mesmerising. Places to visit in the city are Birla Ganesh Temple, Hari-Hareshwar beach, Jijamata Palace, Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Queen's Palace, Raigad Museum, Raigad Fort, Varad Vinayak Ganpati(Mahad Ganpati), Jagadishwar Temple, Mandwa and Kihim Beach etc.       

Tour to Ratnagiri Ratnagiri is a port city on the Arabian Sea coast. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the entire Arabian Sea coastal region. Adventurous travelers, holiday makers and nature lovers are drawn to this beautiful paradise. It has green hills, deep valleys, and emerald green paddy fields. There are a number of stunning beaches. It has its own specialty of summer fruits like mango, Konkan, jackfruit, cashew nuts, jambulam, karvandas etc. There is a regional specialty-Konkani food, made from rice, fish and coconut. It has a wide variety of wild life, vegetation and birds.     

Tour to Sangli     Sangli is known as the Turmeric city and the Sugar Belt of India. It is situated on the banks of river Krishna and is the largest market place for Turmeric in Asia, and houses over 30 sugar factories. It is also one of the largest grape growing regions in Maharashtra. Kundal is a pilgrimage centre for the Digambar Jains in Sangli District. Sangli is also noted for its cuisine; namely Bhelpuri and Bhadang (dish madeup of puffed rice).   

Tour to Satara     The name Satara is derived from the seven(sat) hills(tara) surrounding the town. Satara is famous for it's "KANDI PEDHA(sweet)". The famous fort Ajikyatara is in this city. The famous and mersmerising Hill Stations 'Panchgani' and 'Mahabaleshwar' are situated in the Satara District. Tourism in Satara reveals its importance as an ancient centre of cultural heritage. Several temples, forts, lake as well as bird sanctuary make the place a wonderful place of visit.

Tour to Sindhudurg      Sindhudurg is situated along the Konkan coast. It is situated very close to Goa. Sindhudurg is famous for its serene and beautiful beaches, temples, historical forts and folk art forms like Dashavtar, Chitrakathi, Pangul, Keertan, Dhangiri dance. This district is famous for tropical fruit like Alphonso mangoes, cashews, Jamuns(Blackberries) etc.         

Tour to Solapur   Solapur is a leading center for cotton mills and power looms. Solapur is also called as Textile City. Solapur is also famous for being the leading manufacturer of beedis(South Asian Cigarette) Akkalkot has the famous mallikarjun temple where many lingayat devotees workship daily. Other places of interest are Maldhok Bird Sanctuary, Sambhaji(Kambar Talav) Lake, Siddheshwar Temple and Lake, Nannaji Wild Life Sanctuary, Solapur Fort(Bhuikot Castle) etc.     

Tour to Thane     Thane is a part of the Mumbai Conurbation, northeastern suburb of Mumbai at the head of the Thane Creek. The first railway train in India ran from Bombay VT to Thane in 1853. Thane the city of Lakes has around 30 lakes. The most beautiful of them is the Masunda Talao, also known as Talao Pali. Some of the other popular lakes are Upvan Lake, Tansa Lake, Kacharali Talao, Makhamali Talao, Siddheshwar Talao, Bramhala Talao, Ghosale Talao, Railadevi Talao etc.        

Tour to Wardha   Wardha gets its name from the Wardha River which flows at the North, West and South boundaries of district. The town is now an important centre for the cotton trade. The famous tourist places are Gandhi Gram Mandir, Bapu Kuti, Bor dam, Laxmi Narayan Mandir etc.    

Tour to Washim   Washim is also known as Basi, an Arabic name that means "the one that smiles". Devotees believe that Tirupati's Lord Balaji comes here for resting after the harvest. Some places to visit in the city are Chamunda Devi Temple, Antariksha Parshwanath Jain Mandir, Shri Nrusimha Saraswati Swami Maharaj(Guru Mandir) etc.   

Tour to Yavatmal The name Yavatmal derives from Yavat, meaning mountain and mal, meaning row. Yavatmal is one of the major producer of cotton in the state. Some of the important tourist destinations in Yavatmal are Kalamb, Wani, Yavatmal, Waghapur, Digras, Darwha, Ghatanji and Kaleshwar. Ginning Factories, Oil and Pulse Mills and Saw Mills are located in the city.

Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra. The city is known to give shape to dreams of many because of its plentiful resources, this is the reason it is often termed as the 'Dream city of India'. Mumbai is also the financial capital of India.

The places worth a view in the city are Gateway of India, Hanging Gardens, Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Ali Shrine, Marine Drive and beaches of Juhu and Chowpathy. The city of Mumbai is a headquarters of the Bollywood.

A drive at the newly opened Bandra-Worli sea link at night is bound to leave you with long lasting memories.

Essel World is a most sought after place by the children in the country. The entry ticket varies from children to adult. There is also a discount on the ticket for the senior citizens. A ticket may cost you anywhere from 300-500 on weekdays. However, the prices almost double up during the week-ends.

Elephanta Caves

Only 10kms off the Mumbai Coast, a host of caves are located in an island amid the Arabian Sea. The caves, dating back to 450 to 750 AD display fine sculptures depicting the glory of Lord Shiva. Regular motorboats from the boat jetty in from of the Gateway of India would take you to the islands. The caves are declared an UNESCO World Heritage.

Aurangabad

The city of Aurangabad is particularly famous for the heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. A plethora of 29 rock cut Cave Mountains, these caves stand tall as an important symbol of architectural achievements of the country. The mural paintings in Ajanta and the sculptures in Ellora along with their picturesque location would cast a spellbinding effect on you. The city owes its name to Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, who made it a viceregal capital to rule over Deccan. Here, the emperor built Bibi-ka-Maqbara as a tribute to his mother. It is an imitation of the famous Taj Mahal. Pan Chaaki and the Darwazaas are examples of exceptionally skilled architecture of the bygone days.

Ganapatipule

Ganapatipule is a small village in Maharashtra which has a long stretch of beautiful beaches. A beach itself named Ganapatipule is the most beautiful and stunning of all the beaches. Sun kissed beaches and lush greenery seem to be in an eternal love affair in chaste lands of Ganapatipule. There are also some water sports facilities here. Besides, a Ganpati (Lord Ganesha) temple is also located at the beach.

Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala and Khandala

Most of us have witnessed breath taking beauty of the hill stations of Maharashtra at least on television, if not in reality. Thanks to Bollywood and Aamir Khan, Khandala has been immortalized through a popular song in the conscience of every Indian. Mahabaleshwar is known as much for a temple as it is for being a renowned spot of honeymoon. The clean air, calm surrounding, placid lake and cascading waterfalls offer a retreat in striking contrast with the bustling cities.

Panchgani

Surrounded by five hills, Panchgani is a heaven on earth. The place has absolute beauty and picturesque surroundings. This hill station is quite popular among travelers. You will find farm houses of many rich and famous personalities in Panchgani.

Pench National Park

Sprawling over an area of 257 sq km in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura hill ranges, it offers a splendid opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife in the spectacular natural setting. Pench is also home to tigers, panthers, chital sambhar, barking deer, nilgai, black buck, gaur, wild boar, chausingha, sloth bears, langurs, monkeys, mouse deer, hyenas and flying squirrels, to name a few.

Shirdi

Shirdi is a town located in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. Devotees from across the world visit the Shirdi Sai temple, built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba. Besides this temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Kandoba Temple, Sakori Ashram and Changdev Maharaj Samadhi can be visited when one travels to Shirdi.

Pune

Well known as the "Queen of the Deccan" and "Oxford of the East", Pune is one city in Maharashtra worth visiting for its rich historic past as well as dazzling modern charm. The green hills and beautiful lakes of Pune surely mesmerizes the visitors.

Tourist Destinations Near Maharashtra

The state of Maharashtra is surrounded by states of Gujarat to the West, Madhya Pradesh to North-East, Chhattisgarh to the East and Karnataka to the South. If you have time, don't miss a chance to visit either one or all of these places.

The state of Gujarat has several temples and forts which serve an important source of attraction for the tourists. These include Palitana Temples at Bhavnagar, Akshardham Temple and Sun Temple among many others. Gir Forest in Gujarat is renowned for its wide variety of protected animals.

Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple in Andhra Pradesh is the most visited temple in the world by pilgrims.

Jogg waterfall, Bannerghatta and Bandipur National Parks and Hoysala temples make for important places of tourist interest in the state of Karnataka. However, there is a lot more to these states which can only be discovered once the person visits these places in original.