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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

Maharashtra

Maharashtra is a state in the North western part of India. It is the second-most populated state in the country.

The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai (previously Bombay), one of the most populous and famous metropolitan cities in India, and also the country’s financial capital.

History

Maharashtra was ruled by Satavahana dynasty (2nd century), the Maurya empire (3rd and 4th Century BCE), the Chalukya Dynasty (6th – 12th centuries) and later by many more kings and empires such as Delhi Sultanate, the Tughlaqs, Bahmani Sultanate, the Portuguese, Faruqi dynasty, Maratha Empire (Peshwas) and eventually by the British - East India Company, before India became independent.

After independence, princely states of the Deccan States Agency, were merged into what was then the Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency (1950). Later some more Marathi speaking regions were merged into it and the state was christened “Maharashtra”, with Bombay city as its capital. The official name of Bombay was changed to Mumbai in the year 1995, under the Shiv Sena Government.

Cities

Maharashtra has about 43 prominent cities and towns which are divided into 36 districts. These 36 districts are grouped into 6 divisions, namely – Pune Division, Nashik Division, Nagpur Division, Konkan Division, Aurangabad Division and Amravati Division.

Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Thane districts which are most populous fall under the Konkan division.

People

There are 12.3 crore (12.3 million) people in Maharashtra, out of which 65.99 % are Hindus, 20.65 % are Muslims, 4.10% are Jains, and remaining Sikhs, Christians or Buddhists.

The people belonging to Maharashtra state are known as Maharashtrians, and most of them are vegetarians.

Culture

Maharashtrian culture has a mix of a vast majority of religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and a little bit of Buddhism too.

Muslims, Christians and people of other religions are counted as minorities due to their collective population being lesser than that of Hindus in the state (Hindus occupy more than 75% of Maharashtra). In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is the deity having most temples and devotees in the state, and the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi (in August or September) is celebrated pompously and hugely here every year.

Language

The official language in Maharashtra is Marathi, but different regions in the state have their own dialects of the language.  So, Marathi is native to the Maharashtra, and is its official language.

Apart from Marathi, a few other languages are also widely spoken including Konkani, Hindi and Gujarati. In most urban areas like Mumbai and Pune, English is also largely spoken, especially in professional contexts and situations.

Food

Maharashtrian cuisine includes a variety of both mild and spicy dishes. Peanuts and fresh coriander are used generously in many dishes, and so is Methi (fenugreek leaves). Some popular dishes include: Kanda Poha (a savoury dish made with flattened rice, turmeric, chillies, peanuts and lots of onions), Thaalipeeth (a pancake made with rice/millet flours), Modaks. (steamed dumplings – mostly consist of jaggery). Goat, Chicken and Fish are the most used in non-vegetarian dishes.

Maharashtra is also known for its famous street foods such as Vada Paav (Paav buns stuffed with potato patties and chutney), Paav Bhaji (Toasted buns served with spicy mashed mixed vegetable curry and lots of butter) and Bombay Sandwich (which primarily contains a spicy potato curry, and a green coriander chutney).

Travel/Transportation

Trains, Planes and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Maharashtra. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, local metro train and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.

Airports – Maharashtra has 7 domestic airports connecting to other states and cities in the country, and 3 International airports connecting to cities within the state as well as other parts of the country.

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International airport, Mumbai
  • Pune Airport, Pune
  • Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur
  • Aurangabad Airport, Aurangabad
  • Jalgaon Airport, Jalgaon
  • Kolhapur Airport, Kolhapur
  • Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Airport, Nanded
  • Ozar Airport, Nashik
  • Shirdi Airport, Shirdi
  • Sindhudurg Airport, Sindhudurg

Railway Stations – Maharashtra has a total of 589 train terminals/railway stations (at least one for each city/town, and more than 1 in some big cities) that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
  • Pune Junction, Pune
  • Kalyan Junction, Kalyan
  • Thane Railway Station, Thane
  • Mumbai Central Railway Station, Mumbai
  • Nagpur Junction, Nagpur
  • Nasik Road Railway Station, Nashik
  • Solapur Junction, Solapur
  • Bandra Terminus, Mumbai
  • Bhusaval Junction, Bhusaval
  • Lonavala Railway Station, Lonavala

Bus Terminals – Maharashtra has its own line of state-run MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) buses which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. These buses can be boarded at MSRTC stops/terminals that are available in every division and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.

Attractions

Maharashtra has some amazing attractions that bring in tourists from all over the world. These include the Gateway of India, Mumbai city, Ajanta caves, Ellora caves, Elephanta Caves, Lonavla, Matheran, Panchgani, Pune.

Maharashtra is one of the largest states in India with respect to surface area as well as population, but it is also one of the most popular states with a scene of intermingled cultures and a blend of ancient and contemporary elements which are a delight to witness and experience.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Maharashtra has many great places which are perfect for a short vacation or a weekend getaway, such as -

  • Khandala (what to see/do - Rajmachi Fort, Bhushi Lake, Valvan Dam, Shooting point)
  • Mahabaleshwar (what to see/do - Mahabaleshwar temple, Rajpuri caves, Mount Malcolm, Pratapgarh Fort, Morarji Castle)
  • Lonavala (what to see/do - Kune falls, tiger point, Karla caves, Pawna Lake, Lohagarh Fort, Bhaja caves, Nagphani)
  • Matheran (what to see/do - Prabal Fort, Charlotte Lake, Shivaji’s Ladder, One Tree Hill Point)
  • Panchgani (what to see/do - Table Land, Pandavgad Caves, Kamalgad Fort, Rajpuri Caves)
  • Amboli (what to see/do - Nagata Falls, Parikshit Point, Madhavgarh Fort, Kawaleshlet Valley, Hiran Yakeshi Temple)
  • Alibaug (what to see/do - Kolaba Fort, Kanakeshwar Devasthan Temple, Alibag Beach)
  • Nashik (what to see/do – Panchvati, Pandav Leni Caves, Sula Vineyards, Kapileshwara Temple, Jain Mandir, etc.)

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

Some thrilling activities and things to do in Maharashtra for adventure lovers are –

  • Paragliding (in Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar)
  • Trekking (Vasota Fort Jungle trek, Sahyadri mountain range trek, Kalsubai trek)
  • Waterfall Rappelling (in Vihigaon)
  • Paragliding (in Kamshet, Hadapsar Airfield)
  • Hot air ballooning (in Lonavala)
  • River rafting (in Kolad, Kundalika rafting camp)
  • Scuba diving (in Malvan)
  • Bungee Jumping (in Lonavala)
  • Wildlife safari (at the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries here like Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Tadoba National Park, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.)
  • Caving (in Ajanta-Ellora, Elephanta, Bhaja and Karla)

HISTORICAL PLACES

Maharashtra has many historical gems to see. Some popular sites of historical significance in the state are –

  • Ajanta Ellora caves, in Aurangabad - Ancient rock-cut caves, UNESCO World heritage site.
  • Gateway of India, in Mumbai – A colossal ancient arch with motifs in yellow basalt; overlooking the Arabian sea.
  • Aga Khan Palace, Pune – Built in 1892; Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes are buried in the grounds of this palace.
  • Elephanta Caves, on Elephanta island in Mumbai – An ancient Buddhist cave temple having an area of 60,000 sq feet. Another UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Raigad Fort, Raigarh – A historical fort situated at a height of 2690 ft, having lush green valleys on 3 sides.
  • Lohagad Fort in Khandala – A fort located 3600 ft high; loved by trekkers and architecture enthusiasts. (also a UNESO world heritage site).
  • Bibi-Ka -Maqbara, Aurangabad – A tomb built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for his wife – also known as Taj Mahal of the deccan (as it resembles the Taj Mahal in Agra).
  • Kolaba Fort, Alibaug – A 300-year-old fort with stunning views of the Arabian sea waters.
  • Devagiri Daulatabad Fort, Daulatabad – a 12th century fort; offers a beautiful panoramic view of entire Daulatabad.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai – The capital city’s main train terminal, earlier known as Victoria terminal (during the times of British rule in India) having stunning architectural beauty, with Victorian and Gothic influences.