Maharashtra – The Land of Marathas and Peshwas
Maharashtra, the literal meaning is “Great Nation”, is a Western state of the Indian Peninsula. It is third largest state by area and second most populous after Uttar Pradesh. It is surrounded by six other states of India, namely Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west.
The state has a long coastline, which is 720 kilometers in length and 50 – 60 in width. The coastal region is called “Konkan” and is home to various pristine beaches and scenic locations. Maharashtra has beautiful locations and an array of tourist attractions. These attractions vary from spiritual and pilgrim destinations, to beach destinations, to hill stations, to historic monuments, to art museums etc.
Maharashtra is an important state in India. The state is home to the Indian financial capital, Mumbai, which is also the center for Indian film industry called ‘Bollywood’. Another important city in the state is Pune, a cosmopolitan city, which is popular as an education center and is known as “Pune – The Oxford of East”, as an IT hub, as the cultural capital, and for Osho Commune – a meditation center.
Pilgrimage sites and Temples in Maharashtra
The Pilgrim destinations in Maharashtra are famous across the globe. The most famous are the Ashtavinayak (group of eight self-created temples) temples and Shirdi (dedicated to Shirdi Sai Baba). Haji Ali Dargah, Maha Laxmi Tempel, Tryambakeshwar, Bhavani Temple at Tuljapur, Grishneshwar , Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora, Amba Temple at Amravati, Bhimashankar Shiva Temple, Kapaleshwar Temple at Nasik, Kalaheshwar Temple at Kale near Kolhapur.
Hill Stations in Maharashtra
The popular hill stations in Maharashtra are Matheran, Lonavla, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Bhandardara, Malshej Ghat, Amboli, Chikhaldara, Panhala, Sawantvadi, Toranmal, Jawhar, etc.
Forts in Maharashtra
Forts have played an important role in the history of Maharashtra since the time of the Peshwas. Some of the important forts in Maharashtra are Raigad, Vijaydurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad. Majority of the forts in Maharashtra are found along the coastal region of Konkan.
Beaches In Maharashtra
The Coastal retreats include, Nagao, Murud, Kashid, Alibaugh, Dapoli, Tarkarli, Juhu, Mandwa-Kihim, Ganapatipule Beach, Dahanu – Bordi, Marve, Manori, Gorai, Vengurla – Malvan, Velneshwar , Madh Island Beach, Marine Drive Beach, Harnai.
The folk music viz. Gondhal Lavani, Bharud and Powada are popular especially in rural areas, while the common forms of music from the Hindi and Marathi film industry are favoured in urban areas.
Food and Cuisine
The cuisine of Maharashtra varies according to the region of Maharashtra. The people of the Konkan region have a chiefly rice based diet with fish being a major component, due the close proximity to the sea. In eastern Maharashtra, the diet is based more on wheat, jowar and bajra. Puran Poli, Bakarwadi, plain simple Varan Bhat (a dish cooked with plain rice and curry), and Modak are a few dishes to name. Chicken and mutton are also widely used for a variety of cuisines. Kolhapuri Mutton is a dish famous for its peculiar spicy nature.