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Maharashtra Introduction

Historically, Maharashtra falls into three regions. Western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada. Among these, vidarbha has a hoary past and is mentioned many times in the Mahabharata.

Maharashtra is a rugged land, far more ancient than the magnificent snow-capped Himalayas. It is guarded by the Arabian Sea in the west, and bounded by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on the north.

With the rise of Shivaji, Maharashtra entered a new phase in history. Shivaji welded the Marathas into a powerful nation. They became rulers instead of subjects. The Maratha power received a set back at Panipat, in 1761, when the Afghan ruler Ahmed shah Abdali routed the Maratha forces.

Bombay, the first city of India, and the seat of Maharashtra's government, imparts the state a peculiar significance of its own. Places like Pune, Kolhapur, Sangli, Nagpur, Ahmed Nagar, Paithan, Aurangabad, Ajanta, Amravati, Nanded, Nasik, Wardha and other make Maharashtra, a land of great historical, religious and tourist importance.

General Information

Population:                    96,752,247

Area:                              307,690 sq km

Capital:                           Mumbai (Bombay)

Languages:                     Spoken Marathi

District:                            35

People Per Sq. km:         314

Literacy:                          77.27%

Best Season:                  September to March

Fairs and Festivals

Ashadhi Ekadashi
This festival is more of a religious procession and is celebrated during the months of June- July (Aashaadh Shukla paksha). People consider the two eleventh days, "Ekadashi", of every month to be of special importance. But the eleventh day (bright) of Ashadh is known as the great Ekadashi or Mahaekadashi. This Mahaekadashi is also known as Shayani Ekadashi, because on this day Vishnu falls asleep to wake up four months later on Prabodhini Ekadashi in the Kartik month. This period is known as Chaturmas and coincides with the rainy season.

The Ellora Festival
Surrounded by hundreds of sculptural and architectural splendors, is the Ellora Festival of Classical Dance and Music. Usually in March, this festival showcases the best talents and is a unique and charming way to experience the magnificent caves, imbibing centuries of history and culture.

The Elephanta Festival
The Elephanta Festival is a festival of Music and Dance This festival is held annually in the month of February. The Elephanta Island, the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva, just one-and-a-half-hour's journey by motor launch from Mumbai is the favored destination for this festival.

Ganesh Chaturthi
This is one of the main festival of Hindus. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha and is known as the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August - September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.

Palkhi Festival
Palkhi, a unique feature of Maharashtrian culture, is a 1000-year-old tradition followed by the warkaris (people who follow the wari, a fundamental ritual). People collectively go singing and dancing, chanting Dnyanba-Tukaram in what are called as Dindis (organised group of warkaris) to the holy town of Pandharpur in Hindu months of Ashadh (June-July) and Karthik (November-December).

The Palkhi starts in the month of Jyeshth (June) and the whole process lasts a total of 22 days. Every year on the eleventh day of the first half of the month of Ashadh, the Palkhi reaches Pandharpur. Every saint, right from Sant Dnyaneshwar to Sant Tukaram was following the wari tradition.

Nag Panchami
This festival is marked as worship of snakes. In Hindu mythology, the cobra has a special significance and the earth, it is believed, rests on the head of 'Shesha' - the thousand-hooded cobra. It is a festival in the honour of the Snake God, Shesha Nag.

According to the Hindu calendar Nag Panchami is celebrated in the month of Shravan (July-August). During the monsoon when the snakes come out of the pit they are worshipped as they protect crops from getting damaged by rats and other rodents. Snakes have also been a part of the Puranas and took part in "Sagar Manthan" and is also worn by Lord Shiva around his neck.

On this day Indians worship the snake by offering milk and doing Puja. It was thought that snakes are worshipped as they are harmful and dangerous, but that is not true. During the Vedic era the Aryans wanted to spread the message of Vedas so that they are accepted universally. In doing so they adopted diverse ways of worshipping, like doing Pujas of many gods and goddesses. One of them is Nagpuja.

Art and Handicraft

Kolhapur Jewellery
Kolhapur jewelry is beautifully crafted with delicate embossing and workmanship. The 'Kolhapuri Saaj", a special type of necklace is very popular with Maharashtrian Women. The 'Saaj' is designed in all over Maharashtra but the Kolhapuri Saaj is famous.

Jewellery from here has an array of 'Har' and 'Malas': "Mohanmal", 'Bormal", "Chaplahar", "Kolhapuri" "Saaj", "Pohehar", "Putlihar" to name a few.

Kolhapuri Chappals
Kolhapur is famous for its hand-made leather sandals or chappals. Kolhapuri chappals are popular throughout the world for their simple styles, quality of leather and design. They come in different sizes and shapes that ideally complement ethnic designer wear. This footwear of cured, dried, tanned and treated colored leather has been favored for decades by the 'arty'.

Mashru And Himroo
Aurangabad is famous for Mashru and Himroo fabrics made of cotton and silk with the luster of satin. Himroo is an age-old weaving craft, and was originally known as "Kum khuab". Himroo in its original form is made of silver and gold. The threads of silver and gold were so fine that the final cloth appeared as "GOLD CLOTH".

Himroo is a distinctive, luxurious fabric, once used as dress material by the nobles. The techniques uses a special loom, with cotton yarn forming the warp and silk yarn forming the weft, to produce a brocade-like fabric used mainly for shawls, bedspreads and furnishing.

Warli Painting
Warli Painting an Tribal art, is the vivid expression of daily and social events of the Warli tribe of Maharashtra. A form of wall painting is the typical human figures, which are the main striking features of this painting.

These tribal paintings of Maharashtra are traditionally done in the homes of the Warlis. Painted white on mud walls, they are pretty close to pre-historic cave paintings in execution and usually depict hunting, dancing, sowing and harvesting scenes. The only color used in creating Warli paintings is white, with occasional dots in red and yellow. This color is obtained from grounding rice into white powder

NORTHERN STATES- Delhi -|- Hariyana  -|- Himachal -|- Jammu- Kashmir -|- Punjab  -|- 
Uttar Pradesh
-|- Uttranchal 
SOUTHERN STATES - Andaman & Nikkobar  -|- Karnataka -|- Kerala -|- Lakshdweep
-|-  Tamilnadu -|-  Andhra Pradesh
WESTERN STATES - Daman and Diu -|- Goa  -|- Gujrat  -|- Rajasthan  -|- Maharastra 
EASTERN STATES - Arunachal -|- Assam -|-  Manipur -|- Meghalaya -|- 
-|- Nagaland  -|- Orissa  -|- Sikkim -|- Tripura -|- West Bengal  -|- Bihar -|- Jharkhand
CENTRAL STATES- Madhya Pradesh -|-   Chattisgarh

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