Maharashtra, located in the western part of India is one of the most popular states in the country. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai, which is also the economic capital of India and a major hub for various different things. There are numerous vacation spots in the state and it is the perfect destination for a family holiday. The population of Maharashtra is a staggering 112,372,972 and it is the second most populous state in India owing to the multiple metropolitan and developed cities in the state. This is an extensive and fascinating travel guide for all those who want to know about Maharashtra and explore various aspects of the state.
History of Maharashtra: The Formation
Maharashtra has the most diverse and interesting historical background among all the Indian states. It is widely known as the land of warriors because a huge number of emperors belonged to the state. The Maharashtra history dates back to the 3rd century BC when it was ruled by the Maurya Empire. A huge number of dynasties ruled the region which gave it more historical significance. The Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a well renowned historical figure from Maharashtra who established the Maratha Empire with great pride.
Geography of Maharashtra
Maharashtra probably has the most diverse geographic conditions one can witness. It has the Deccan Plateau which separates the Konkan coastline with the famous Ghats. The state is bounded by natural mountainous borders on three sides, the Sahyadri mountain range on the west, the Satpura Hills towards the north and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges to the east. As far as area is concerned, it ranks 3rd in India with a span of 307,713 km2.
Biodiversity of Maharashtra
The flora and fauna of Maharashtra is pretty rich and abundant. About 20% of the state’s geographical area is covered by thick forest. There are many forestry institutions for the protection of these forests and you will also get to visit many floral regions in the state. The forests in the Sahyadri region are quite dense and receive a low annual rainfall. A few of these forests have also been converted into wildlife reserves which is again a great feat to preserve the biodiversity of the state.
Climatic Conditions of Maharashtra
The most prevalent climate in the state is monsoon but other seasons get their fair share as well. The best time to visit Maharashtra is in between the months of September to April as there are many hill stations in the state and these seasons are apt for visiting them. The state receives maximum rainfall during the months of July and August. The summers are intense in the months from March to May. Winter is a pleasant season here and quite enjoyable by the tourists.
The culture and rituals of Maharashtra is strongly influenced by the people who had ruled the region in the past. Values and lessons of Chatrapati Shivaji are imbibed in the youth of the state. Lavani is the folk dance of Maharashtra and you can see troops performing it on various festive and special occasions. Since more than 82% of the state’s population belongs to the Hindu religion, people follow and preach its traditions.
Interesting Facts about Maharashtra
- State animal of Maharashtra is Indian Giant Squirrel.
- State bird of Maharashtra is Yellow footed green pigeon.
- State tree of Maharashtra is Mango tree.
- State sport of Maharashtra is Kabaddi.
Maharashtra Tourism: Best Tourist Attractions
The state of Maharashtra is a mixture of many cultures and ethnicities. It is depicted vividly in the tourist destinations. For all those who want to have a glimpse of the incredible India in all its glory, Maharashtra is certainly among the best places to visit. There are many iconic places right from gorgeous beaches to ancient caves, UNESCO world heritage sites to amazing wonders of natural beauties. The travelers would fall in love with its arts, food, culture and tradition among many other things. Below are some of the most famous places to visit in Maharashtra:
- Temples and Monuments: Maharashtra tourist places majorly comprise of temples as well as places of historical significance. The architecture of some of these ancient temples and monuments are marvelous and they are beautifully built. Bhimashankar, Trimbakeshwar, Shani Shingnapur, Bibi ka Maqbara are some of the most historic as well as religiously significant places in Maharashtra. Even the numerous forts here are worth a visit.
- Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Park: You can experience and get to see many exotic species of birds and animals in the numerous Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in Maharashtra. Some of the famous sanctuaries in the state are Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnala Bird Sanctuary, Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, Tadoba Andhari Tiger project and many more. These places along with forests are of high interest for tourists and contribute a lot to the enthralling tourism in Maharashtra.
- Adventurous Activities: Tourists will just love to indulge in various adventurous activities which the state has to offer. For water sport enthusiasts, snorkeling and scuba diving is available at various destinations. Even jet skiing and water scooter rides are quite famous here. Maharashtra has a range of fun outdoor activities such as river rafting, rappelling, paragliding, parasailing and much more. There are numerous trekking places here with constant camps being arranged. Be a part of those to have an amazing experience. Although not an adventure, there are many haunted places in the state which you can explore for an intriguing experience.
- Museums: Those who have an inclination towards history can also visit some amazing museums here. They display a lot of antiques and many historic items which belong to the ancient times. The Central Museum at Nagpur is 150 years old and draws a lot of visitors. If you wish to see the currency which was used by the emperors in the previous era, you can visit the RBI monetary museum in Mahrashtra capital, Mumbai which also displays the striking evolution of Indian currency. You can also visit museums such as Prince of Wales Museum, Raja Dinkar Kelkar, Kolhapur Town Hall, Mani Bhavan Mahatma, and many more.
- Hill Stations: There are many famous hill stations in Maharashtra which are perfect holiday destinations with family and friends. The Britishers during their reign in India used to visit these hill stations during the unbearable heat in other parts of Maharashtra. With a serene and calm environment, they are perfect destinations to rejuvenate you. You will see some rivers from atop the mountain which are formed by waterfalls. They look simply magical. The famous hill stations such as Matheran and Mahabaleshwar are also the best romantic places which are frequented by couples.
Tourists wouldn’t find any difficulty in finding hotels or resorts as per their preference. The best way to explore the state would be to hire a guide who will show you all the places worth visiting in the limited time span you have allotted to your holiday.
People of Maharashtra
People in Maharashtra are quite helpful, friendly and welcoming to tourists. The literacy rate of the state is pretty high at 82.9% and it ranks 6th in the country in this parameter. The regional language which is spoken in a widespread manner here is Marathi. Although Hindi and English are being actively spoken in many parts of the state, Marathi is the common language of communication, especially for those residing in villages and remote parts of the state.
The Maharashtrian cuisine is particularly known for its extremely spicy dishes. Some of the famous food items which you must definitely try out here include puran poli, batata wada, misal pav, vada pav and pav bhaji among others. Since it has a long coastline, even seafood is available in many varieties here. Rice and fish are the staple food items of majority of people here.
Major Festivals in Maharashtra
Apart from all the major festivals of the Hindu religion, there are some regional festivals celebrated here as well. The Maharashtrian New Year falls on Gudi Padwa, a day which every Maharashtrian celebrates in a typical traditional manner. Ganesh Chaturthi is another festival which sees a lot of fanfare in Maharashtra. Other festivals like Janmashtami and Kojagiri have their equal relevance as well.
Clothing Trends in Maharashtra
The traditional dresses of Maharashtrian people are a great reflection of their culture. Men love to wear kurta and dhoti in a traditional fashion. Similarly, even women wear sarees in a Maharashtrian style which is quite unique. Modern parts of the state have adapted to the major fashion trends in the country.
With the right futuristic decisions, Maharashtra is all set to become one of the most advanced states in many regards. If we have a look at the major industries in the state, they are petrochemicals, heavy chemicals, electronics, automobiles, engineering and much more. Even the Bollywood industry is completely based out of here and responsible for creation of thousands of jobs. The state is also home to some of the best colleges and premier institutions the country has.
Indian tourism has got a much needed boost due to states like Maharashtra which is in active tourism development. For all those wanting to explore a different part of India will rejoice while visiting Maharashtra as it has a lot to offer.
Districts of Maharashtra