Maharashtra State

Introduction :

Maharashtra IPA About this sound is a state located in the western part of peninsular India.The word Maharashtra comes from the words Maha meaning Great and Rashtra meaning Nation. Thus rendering the name Maharashtra (Great Nation). It is the second most populous and third largest state by area in India. It is also the richest state in India, contributing to 15% of the country's industrial output and 13.2% of its GDP in year 2005-06.

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 language of 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. 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. 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.

History :

The Nasik Gazetteer states that in 246 BCE Maharashtra is mentioned as one of the places to which mauryan emperor Asoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. The name Maharashtra also appeared in a 7th century inscription and in the account of a Chinese traveler, Hiuen-Tsang. In 90 A.D. 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. In the early fourteenth century the Devgiri Yadavs were overthrown by the northern Muslim powers. Then on, the region was administered by various kingdoms called Deccan Sultanates.

Not much is known about Maharashtra's early history, and its recorded history dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E., with the use of Maharashtri Prakrit, one of the Prakrits derived from Sanskrit. Later, Maharashtra became a part of the Magadha empire, ruled by emperor Ashoka. The port town of Sopara, north of present day Mumbai, was the centre of ancient India's commerce, with links to Eastern Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin.

With the disintegration of the Mauryan Empire, a local dynasty called Satavahanas came into prominence in Maharashtra between 230 BCE and 225 CE The period saw the biggest cultural development of Maharashtra. The Satavahana's official language was Maharashtri, which later developed into Marathi. The great ruler Gautamiputra Satkarni (also known as "Shalivahan") ruled around 78 CE He started the Shalivahana era, a new calendar, still used by Maharashtrian populace and as the Indian national calendar. The empire gradually disintegrated in the third century.

During (250 CE – 525 CE), Vidarbha, the eastern region of Maharashtra, came under the rule of Vakatakas. During this period, development of arts, religion and technology flourished. Later, in 753 CE, the region was governed by the Rashtrakutas, an empire that spread over most of India. In 973 CE, the Chalukyas of Badami expelled the Rashtrakutas, then the region came under the Yadavas of Deogiri.


Geography :

See also: Geography of Maharashtra Pune is located at the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers. The Arabian Sea in Mahad

Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km˛ (119,000 mi˛), and is the third largest state in India. It is bordered by the states of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the southwest. The state of Gujarat lies to the northwest, with the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sandwiched in between. The Arabian Sea makes up Maharashtra's west coast.

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. 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. The Western Ghats form one of the three watersheds of India, from which many South Indian rivers originate, notable among them being Godavari River, and Krishna, which flow eastward into the Bay of Bengal, forming one of the greatest river basins in India.

The Ghats are also the source of numerous small rivers which flow westwards, emptying into the Arabian Sea. To the east are major rivers like Vainganga, which flow to the south and eventually into the Bay of Bengal. There are many multi-state irrigation projects in development, including Godavari River Basin Irrigation Projects. The plateau is composed of black basalt soil, rich in humus. This soil is well suited for cultivating cotton, and hence is often called black cotton soil.

Western Maharashtra, which includes the districts of Nashik, Ahmadnagar, Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur, is a prosperous belt famous for its sugar factories. Farmers in the region are economically well off due to fertile land and good irrigation.

Hill Stations Of Maharashtra :

Maharashtra has several breathtaking hill views and hill stations. Most of these were established during the British colonial rule, as a retreat from the scorching summer heat. These hill stations attract domestic and foreign tourists in large numbers. Some popular hill stations are Matheran, Lonavla, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Bhandardara, Malshej Ghat, Amboli, Chikhaldara, Panhala, Sawantvadi, Toranmal, Jawhar, etc. See also: List of Indian hill stations Maharashtra

Main Article: Lonar Crater Lake

A crater lake is situated on the outskirts of Lonar town in district Buldhana, Maharashtra. The impact of a huge meteor that descended on earth from space carved out a bowl roughly 1.8 kilometre in diameter believed to be formed 50,000 years ago. The size and age make it the largest and oldest meteoric crater in the world. It precedes its nearest rival, the Canyon Diablo in Arizona in the United States, by a clear 2.30 centuries. Today, Lonar Lake is the third largest natural salt-water lake in the world. The peculiarity about the Lonar crater is that it is almost perfectly circular in shape. Apart from scientific significance Lonar also occupies a place of prominence in ancient Indian scripts. According to Sanskrit literature, Lonar was called ‘Viraj Kshetra’ in ancient times.

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 five 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.

Lions at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the world's largest national park within city limits.

  • 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.


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.