The wealthiest state in India, Maharashtra is the third-largest in size and second-largest in population. It is situated in the western part of the country - the Deccan. The capital of Maharashtra is Mumbai which is also known as the financial capital of India. Satara port town in Maharashtra has always been the hub of trade and commercial activities. Dandakaranya is known to be the epic name of the state while the name Maharashtra was found in the records of the Chinese traveler Huen Tsang in his inscription belonging to the 7th Century. 

History of Maharashtra

Going by the Archaeological pieces of evidence the history of Maharashtra dates back to the 3rd century BC. An excavation survey conducted in 1958 suggests Daimabad, a site in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra belonging to Harappan civilization. The Vatakas, Rashtrkutas, Chalukyas, Yadavas had been few Hindu dynasties that reigned the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. In the year 1296 AD,  Ala-ud-din Khalji invaded the Deccan region by defeating the Yadavas. Then came the Tughlaq Dynasty who reigned till 1347 AD and extended the empire till Madurai followed by the Bahmani Sultanate of Bijapur who ruled the region for 150 years. By the year 1674, the Bijapur Sultanate went in control of the Maratha Empire that was led by the legendary Chhatrapati Shivaji. After his death in the year 1680, his two sons Shambhaji and Rajaram ruled the Maratha Empire. From 1712 to 1804, the Peshwa Dynasty took the Maratha Kingdom. During their reign, the region was basking in glory until the three Anglo - Maratha wars when the Peshwas succumbed to British tyranny which marked the beginning of the British Era in India. The region was governed by the Bombay Presidency in the years 1848 and 1853 which included most parts of northern Deccan until India got independence in 1947. The state went through plenty of political overhauling and in the year 1960, the Bombay Reorganization Act was passed and it emerged as the modern state of Maharashtra. This year remains a hallmark in the history of Maharashtra.

Culture of Maharashtra

Maratha rulers left behind grandeur and verve that enriches the cultural heritage of the state.  Various cultural affiliations blend together to live harmoniously in the land of prosperity. Maharashtra is divided into small regions and each region is diverse in the form of dialects, folk songs, food, ethnicity. Maharashtra is a melting pot of different races, traditions, and classes. The engaging traditions of Waghya Murali, Potraj, Vasudev, and Gondhali communities have kept alive their unique cultures and vibrant art, adding charm to the cultural vibrancy of the state. Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis and Iranians), Christians, and Sikhs live peacefully in the state while the Deccan plateau of Maharashtra is home to tribal communities such as Bhils, Mahadeo, Kolis, Gonds, and Warlis that co-exist peacefully and follow their lifestyles and traditions. 83% of the Maharashtrian are Hindus, however, there has been a prevailing sense of secularism in the state that embraces other religions with great respect and diversity inclusion. Maharashtrians are amiable and cordial and treat outsiders with love and gratitude. Marathi is the regional language of the state and there are 38 other languages spoken by Adivasis, tribals, nomadic tribes, and denotified communities making it one of the most linguistically wealthy states of India.

Art and Handicraft of Maharashtra

Maharashtra is one of the leading cotton-producing states in the country and its rich culture and heritage rooted in myriad traditions and art forms have been preserved over the centuries. Once used to make clothes for nobles, Mashru and Himroo fabrics owe the opulence due to the use of gold and silver threads for weaving that has originated from the Aurangabad district in the Marathwada region. Sawantwadi crafts are lacquer crafts used in crafting lacquered furniture and light fittings that are quite famous in the International market. Paithani pure silk woven sarees are quite expensive and worn at marriages and festivals. Narayan Peth saris, woven from cotton and silk have been a part of Maharashtra’s culture since 200 BCE. Warli paintings, a tribal art form are mural paintings dated back to 2000 BCE. Bidri ware is an ancient craft from Aurangabad that involves intricate workmanship of pure silver. Kolhapuri chappals are famous handmade slippers made of buffalo hide. Traditional jewelry - Kolhapuri Saaj (a necklace) and Nath (a nose ring) are made of pure gold and were worn by the royals of Maratha and Peshwa kingdoms. Vivacious folk and traditional dance forms and music represent the vibrant Marathi culture. Lavani is a traditional dance form, Tamasha is the most popular form of folk theatre, Koli dance is performed by the fishermen community, Natya Sangeet is 200 years old traditional art form of Maharashtra. The state is famous for Hindi Film Industry and it is a land of artists of the avant-garde.

Food of Maharashtra  

The mildly spicy cuisine of Maharashtra is delectable and has a distinctive flavor. From subtly flavored vegetarian delicacies to hot aromatic meat and fish curries, Maharashtrian cuisine is immensely popular. Sweet savories are usually prepared from rice and jaggery. The staples of the state include wheat, rice, Jawar, Bajra, vegetables, lentils, seasonal fruits, and vegetables. Also, peanuts Kokum, Amsul, tamarind, raw mango, and coconut are some of the special ingredients that are widely used in dishes. Pithla Bhakri, Sol Kadhi, Kothimbir Vadi, Aluvadi, Mix Veg Kolhapuri, Sabudana Vada and khichdi, Pohe, Batata Bhaji, Amti, Taambda Rassa, Pandhra Rassa, Bharli Vangi are some of the traditional dishes from Maharashtrian households that are unique in flavor. Modak, Puran Poli, Shrikhand, Amrakhand are some of the famous sweet servings that are subtle and mild in taste. Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Ragda Pattice are a few of the famous street foods of the state. Maharashtrian food is blended with flavors, packed with nutrition, and served with love. 

Places To Visit In Maharashtra

The dream city of India, Maharashtra not merely makes people dream bigger but also turns magical dreams into reality with its rich heritage. With an inclusion of a lot of monuments, heritage sites, and natural wonders, it offers the following things that visitors must do here. 

  • Delve into the beauty of Ajanta and Ellora caves
  • Experience paragliding at Panchgani hills
  • Relax at these best beaches in Maharashtra
  • Try waterfall rappelling in Vihigaon
  • Witness the heights of Lonavala
  • Be a pilgrim to Shirdi, the land of Sai
  • Step inside twin of Taj at Aurangabad
  • Pay a visit to Igatpuri and enjoy the serenity

A culturally vibrant state basking in the glory of rich history, Maharashtra is the pride of India. The  Deccan Queen is a special train that winds its way through the jagged hills and verdant countrysides of Maharashtra that makes one of the most enthralling experiences one can ever enjoy while in India. Some of the most alluring tourist destinations in Maharashtra such as Marine Drive in Mumbai, Shanivar Vada in Pune, Ajanta-Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, Lonar Lake, Matheran, The Elephanta Caves, Khandala, Lonavala, and many more are famous all over the world.

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