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     Maharashtra State of India

 

The state of Maharashtra is one of the largest in India. Most of the state stands on the high Deccan plateau which stretches east some 800 km. from the Western Ghats. Located on the western part of India, the State is surrounded by the Arabian sea in the west, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on the north, Madhya Pradesh in the east and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the south. Mumbai is the capital city of Maharashtra. Maharashtra, the Land of Caves, Forts and Temples is a large, populous and economically important state. The present state of Maharashtra was formed on May 1, 1960 when the Marathi and Gujarati linguistic areas of the former Bombay state were separated.  Maharashtra is a state located in India. The word Maharashtra is said to be derived from tribal name Rathi or Ratha (chariot fighters) who were great fighters at the time of Mauryan empire and thus making the country name as Maha-Ratha of which the Sanskritized version is Maharashtra.

 

Maharashtra At A Glance:
Districts Area(sq km )
Area 3,07,713 sq km
Population 96,752,247
Capital Mumbai
Languages Marathi, Hindi, English
Best Time To Visit September to April (coast); September to mid-June(hills)
maharashtra locator map

Maharashtra is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Gujarat and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the northwest, Madhya Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the east, Karnataka to the south, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, and Goa to the southwest. The state covers an area of 307,731 km2 (118,816 sq mi) or 9.84% of the total geographical area of India. Mumbai, the capital city of the state, is India's largest city and the financial capital of the nation. Marathi is the official language of the state, while English and Hindi are also widely spoken throughout Maharashtra.
In the 17th century, the Marathas rose under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji against the Mughals who were ruling a large part of India. By 1760, Maratha power had reached its zenith with a territory of over 250 million acres (1 million km²) or one-third of the Indian sub-continent. After the third Anglo-Maratha war, the empire ended and most of Maharashtra became part of Bombay state under a British Raj. After Indian independence, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded unification of all Marathi speaking regions under one state. At that time Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was of opinion that linguistic reorganizaion of states should be done with - "One state - One language" principle and not with "One language - One state" principle. He submitted a memorandum to the reorganization commission stating that, " Single Government can not administer such a huge state as United Maharashtra".[10] The first state reorganization committee created the current Maharashtra state on 1 May 1960 (known as Maharashtra Day). The Marathi-speaking areas of Bombay state, Deccan states and Vidarbha (which was part of Central Provinces and Berar) united, under the agreement known as Nagpur Pact, to form the current state.

mumbai at night

Some More About Maharashtra

Divisions and regions

Maharashtra is divided into six revenue divisions, which are further divided into thirty-five districts.These thirty-five districts are further divided into 109 sub-divisions of the districts and 357 Talukas in Maharashtra.

Divisions

The six administrative divisions in Maharashtra state are Amravati Division, Aurangabad Division, Konkan Division, Nagpur Division, Nashik Division, Pune Division.

Division Districts
Mumbai (Konkan) Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban (Mumbai Upanagar), Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg
Pune Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur
Nashik Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Nandurbar
Aurangabad Aurangabad, Jalna, Latur/Lattalur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Hingoli and Beed
Amravati Amravati, Akola, Washim, Buldhana and Yavatmal
Nagpur Nagpur, Chandrapur, Wardha, Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli
maharashtra division map

Regions

Geographically, historically and according to political sentiments, Maharashtra has five main regions:

  • Vidarbha Region - (Nagpur and Amravati divisions) - (Central Provinces and Old Berar Region)
  • Marathwada Region - (Aurangabad division)
  • Khandesh and Northern Maharashtra Region (Nashik Division)
  • Desh or Western Maharashtra Region - (Pune division) and
  • Konkan Region - (Konkan Division) - (including, Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban Area).

The state capital Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban Area are the parts of the Konkan Division

Religions

The majority of Marathi people are Hindus form 83.2% of total population and Hinduism plays important role in Maharashtrian people in there day-to-day life. Ganesh is the most popular deity amongst Marathi Hindus, followed by Krishna in the form of Vithal. They also worship the Shiva Family deities such as Shankar & Parvati under various names . The Warkari tradition holds strong grip on local Hindus of Maharastra. The public Ganesh festival started by Lokmanya Tilak in the late 19th century is very popular. Marathi Hindus also revere Bhakti saints of all castes, such as Dnyaneshwar (Deshastha Brahmin), Savata Mali (Mali), Tukaram (Moray Maratahi-Kunbi), Namdev (Shimpi-Artsian,Vaishya) and Chokhamela (Mahar). Jainists are a major group in Maharashtra. Jain community census for 2001 in Maharashtra area was 1,301,843. Cultural roots on Maharashtra for Jainism explain this numbers, as this more than 5,000 year old religion has some ancient temples in Maharashtra. Christians account for 31,049 of Maharashtra's population. Most of the Christians are Catholics whilst some adhere to Protestantism. There are also significant number of Goan, Mangalorean, Malayalam and Tamil Christians in the urban pockets of Mumbai and Pune. There are Two ethnic Christian Community in Maharashtra one is East Indians & concentrated in and around Mumbai, for example in Konkan districts of Thane and Raigad. Portuguese missionaries brought Catholicism to this area during 13th century. Second is Marathi Christians who are Protestants and found some Parts of Maharashtra, especially in Ahmednagar & Solapur. Protestantism was brought to these areas by American and Anglican Missionaries during 18th century. Marathi Christian have largely retained their pre-Christian practices.

Protected areas of Maharashtra

Several wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and Project Tiger reserves have been created in Maharashtra, with the aim of conserving the rich bio-diversity of the region. As of May 2004, India has 92 national parks, of which six are located in Maharashtra. A large percentage of Maharashtra's forests and wildlife lie in the Zadipranta (Forest rich region) of far eastern Maharashtra OR eastern Vidarbha.

  • Navegaon National Park, located near Gondia in the eastern region of Vidarbha is home to many species of birds, deer, bears and leopards.
  • Nagzira wildlife sanctuary lies in Tirora Range of Bhandara Forest Division, in Gondia district of Vidarbha region. The sanctuary is enclosed in the arms of the nature and adorned with exquisite landscape. The sanctuary consists of a range of hills with small lakes within its boundary. These lakes not only guarantee a source of water to wildlife throughout the year, but also greatly heighten the beauty of the landscape.
  • Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project, a prominent tiger reserve near Chandrapur in Vidarbha. It is 40 km away from Chandrapur.
  • Pench National Park, in Nagpur district, extends into Madhya Pradesh as well. It has now been upgraded into a Tiger project.
  • Chandoli National Park, located in Sangli district has a vast variety of flora and fauna. The famous Prachitgad Fort and Chandoli dam and scenic water falls can be found around Chandoli National Park.
  • Gugamal National Park, also known as Melghat Tiger Reserve is located in Amravati district. It is 80 km away from Amravati.
  • Sanjay Gandhi National Park, also known as Borivali National Park is located in Mumbai and is the world's largest national park within city limits.
  • Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, a man made wildlife sanctuary situated 30 km from Sangli. Ancient temples of Lord Shiva and Jain Temple of Parshwanath located in Sagareshwar are a major attraction.
  • Maldhok Sanctuary, situated in Solapur district. Some of its part is in Ahmednagar district. The sanctuary is for a bird which is sometimes known as The Great Indian Bustard.

Apart from these, Maharashtra has 35 wildlife sanctuaries spread all over the state, listed here. Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary are the important ones.

Apart from the above, Matheran, a Hill station near Mumbai has been declared an eco-sensitive zone (protected area) by the Government of India.

 

 

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