Maharashtra
mumbai

Maharashtra is a state in the western region of India and is India’s third-largest state by area and is 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 is Maharashtra’s second capital as well as winter capital. Maharashtra’s business opportunities along with its potential to offer a higher standard of living attract migrants from all over India.

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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”.

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Mango

The mango is a juicy stone fruit (drupe) belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae.

Green imperial pigeon

The green imperial pigeon is a large, plump pigeon, 45 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are metallic green. The head and underparts are white, apart from maroon undertail coverts. Sexes are similar. The bird’s call is deep and resonant, and is often the first indication of the presence of this treetop species.

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Lavani

Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm.

Kabaddi

Kabaddi is the national game of the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. India is the most successful team on the world stage, having won every World Cup and Asian Games title so far.

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Indian giant squirrel

The Indian giant squirrel, or Malabar giant squirrel, is a large tree squirrel species genus Ratufa native to India. It is a large-bodied diurnal, arboreal, and herbivorous squirrel found in South Asia. It is called शेकरू ‘Shekru’ in Marathi and is state animal of Maharashtra.

Lagerstroemia speciosa

The genus Lagerstroemia was first described by Carl Linnaeus. The name Lagerstroemia recognizes Magnus von Lagerstroem, a Swedish naturalist who provided specimens from the East for Linnaeus.

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The state has a large, multi-modal transportation system with the largest road network in India. In 2011, the total length of surface road in Maharashtra was 267,452 km; national highways comprised 4,176 km and state highways 3,700 km. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) provides economical and reliable passenger road transport service in the public sector. 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).

The first passenger train in India ran from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853. 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. The Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the fastest rajdhani train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Mumbai. 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.

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. 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. 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. Additional smaller airports include Aurangabad, Akola, Amravati, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Karad, Kolhapur, Nashik, Ratnagiri, and Solapur.

puran-poli

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. 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. Though quite different, both use a lot of seafood and coconut. The staple foods of the Konkani people are rice and fish

Attire

Traditionally, Marathi women commonly wore the sari, often distinctly designed according to local cultural customs. 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, disappearing from the markets due to a lack of demand. 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. Among men, western dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the dhoti and pheta on cultural occasions. The Gandhi cap is the popular headgear among older men in rural Maharashtra.

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dance

Music and dance

Maharashtrian artists have made major contributions to Indian Classical music. Its vibrant folk form includes Powada, Bharuds and Gondhals. 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 Bhajan, Kirtan and Abhangas of the Varkari sect (Vaishanav Devotees) have a long history and are part of their daily rituals. 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.

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. 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.

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cinemas

Films

Maharashtra is a prominent location for the Indian entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there. 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. 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.

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. 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. Besides Marathi theatre, Maharashtra and particularly, Mumbai, has had a long tradition of theatre in other languages such as Gujarati, Hindi and English.

theatre
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Sports

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. Adventure sports such as paragliding, water sports, rock climbing, backpacking, mountaineering and scuba diving are also popular in the state. Other notable sports played in the state include Kho kho, fencing, archery and shooting.