Attractions:Gateway of India, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Marine Drive.
Language Spoken: Marathi
Best Time To Visit:September to April (Coastal Regions) And September to Mid-June (Hill Stations)
Rugged and vast, of enormous energy and vitality, Maharashtra, the third largest state in India, was created in 1960, from the Marathi-speaking regions of what was previously Bombay State. The Arabian Sea in the west, Gujarat in the northwest, Madhya Pradesh in the north, Andhra Pradesh in the southeast, and Karnataka and Goa in the south bound the state.
Maharashtra with its diverse geographical features provides a range of tourist centers. The state has a 720-km coastline dotted by rugs standing as mute witnesses down the ages to the march of warrior kings, foreign trading vessels and invaders from across the seas.
Running parallel to the coast are the Western Ghats, which harbour some of the more scenic and inviting hill stations - particularly Matheran and Mahabaleshwar. The Ghats divide the Deccan from the Konkan Coast, with its unspoilt beaches, today being developed as modern resorts, like Ganapatipule and Sindhudurg.
The beauty of Maharashtra is in its forts, caves and temples, so much so that it is called 'Dagd-Ancha Desh', meaning the Land of Rocks. It has a lot to offer to a visitor, its features are such that any tourist will definitely find something of his interest from among its beaches, forts, caves, temples, cities, wildlife sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries etc.
The intricately carved caves of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta highlight the Indian heritage and the spellbinding Indian Culture. Religious places like Pandharpur, Nashik, Shirdi, Trimbakeshwar, Tuljapur, Ganapatipulr, Bhimashankar etc are a refreshing experience and make a fascinating whole.
Capital: Mumbai, the capital, can well claim to be (after Kolkata) the second cultural center of India. Also known as the First City of India, it is one of the world's truly great cosmopolitan metropolises. Being the economic powerhouse of India Mumbai is the most affluent and industrialized city in the country today. Its tradition of glamour and showbiz makes it the city of dreams. Lively and pulsating, Mumbai is India's answer to Hollywood, producing more films each year than any other county in the world. It is also the center of a healthy theatre culture.
Originally, the city was a place of seven islands, which Colaba, Fort, Byculla, Parel, worli, Matungs and Mahim. At present the Greater Mumbai extends into a single Mumbai extends into a single large landmass. Mumbai's major sightseeing interests include Gateway of India, Bombay High Court, Victoria Terminus, and countless others.
Basically Mumabai belongs to the international culture. A lot of western influence over many Decades has managed to smooth out the cultural differences of the local people and pop music and disco-culture prevail above all. Open spaces in this crowded city include Chowpatty, Marine Drive and Juhu beach.
History: Maharashtra is the land of legendary warriors, full of history and adventure. Maharashtra enters recorded history in the 2nd BC, with the construction of its first Buddhist caves. Maharashtra also played a key role during the freedom struggle with strong connections to Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.
A large area of the state rests on high plateau, historically the main center of the Maratha Empire, which successfully defied the might of the Mughals under the fearless rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji, who is still an immortal legend here, his memories alive in the many forts scattered across the countryside. Many of the inland and coastal forts of Maharashtra are a legacy of Shivaji's rule.
Povadas are Marathi ballads that describe the events in the life of Shivaji. They are very popular in Maharashtra and Maharashtrians highly respect this great hero and remember him through these ballads.
Culture: Maharashtra is a huge storehouse of timeless art and culture, which has been reflected through its, forts, caves, palaces known for its rich history, its saints, philosophers, music, handicrafts and its festivals with all their colourful rituals and traditions, all of which amalgamate together to give a true reflection of Maharashtrian Culture.
Occupation: Majority of Maharashtrian people is engaged in agriculture; main crops being sugar cane, cotton, peanuts, tobacco and pulses. The strong agriculture sector in the state has always made significant contribution to the economic development of the region. Sugarcane farming and 100's of strong complex of sugar cooperatives are turning into important growth centers in rural areas.
Manufacturing industries are centered in Mumbai and to lesser extent cities such as Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad, Sholapur and Kolhapur, NOW account for a quarter of the nation's output. Textiles have long been important, but this is now also the premier region for electronics.
Handicrafts: Maharashtra is the proud home to various different artistic techniques that have flourished under many rulers including the Marathas, the Mughals and the British. The state has a long and varied tradition of art and crafts from the paintings at Ajanta dating back to many hundreds of years to today's Warli paintings. Maharashtra is known for its Worli folk paintings. The Paithani and Narayan Peth saris are the most celebrated textiles of the state. Kolhapur is famous for its jewelry and Chappals and the craft of Lacquerware in Sawantwadi continues to cast its spell on visitors.
CLIMATE: November to February is most comfortable time to visit Maharashtra although evenings can be cold. Summers are warm with the state receiving monsoon rainfall between mid-June and mid-September.
Temperatures: summer (average) 22°C-39°C; winter 12°C-34°C.
Best Time To Visit: September to April (coastal regions) and September to mid-June (hill stations).
Festivals: Maharashtrians have many festivals to celebrate, with each having a special reason to celebrate. Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important of all Maharashtrian festivals and is celebrated with great aplomb amongst Marathi communities worldwide.
The Government of Maharashtra (MTDC) organizes cultural festivals that are held as a tribute to the artists of yore, to celebrate the greatness of a site or simply a religious occasion. Gokhulashtami, Holi, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Gudhi Paadva, Guru Pournima, Maharashtra Day are the other festivals celebrated in the state.
Population: 92 million