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
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
Area: 307,690 sq km
Capital: Mumbai (Bombay)
Languages: Spoken Marathi
People Per Sq. km: 314
September to March
Fairs and Festivals
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.
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, 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
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.
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 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.
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 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
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