The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Date of formation May 1, 1960
Capital Mumbai
Auxiliary Capital Nagpur
Largest City Mumbai
Governor S.M. Krishna
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh
Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil
Area 308,000 km≤
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 2nd in India and in the world

96,752,247 (2001)

Literacy rate:
 - Total
 - Male
 - Female

Urbanization: 42.11%
GSDP growth rate: 6.9% (2003-04)
GSDP in US $: $ 60 Billion (2004)
GSDP in US $(Per Capa): $ 3,240 (2004)

Maharashtra (महाराष्ट्र) is a state in west-central India. It is one of the richest states of India. Its capital is Mumbai, the economic powerhouse of India.

Maharashtra's population was 96,752,247 according to the 2001 provisional results of Census of India , making it the second most populous state in India. Only eleven countries of the world have a population greater than Maharashtra.

The state was created on May 1, 1960 to satisfy demands of the Marathi linguistic group, who form the majority ethnic group in the state, for their own state. Bombay state, which had been enlarged in 1956 to include Marathi-speaking portions of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh as well as Gujarati-speaking areas to the north, was split into two linguistic states, Maharashtra and Gujarat.



See also: Shivaji, Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra


Maharashtra borders Goa and Karnataka to the south, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, and the Arabian Sea to the west.

The Western Ghats mountains, which run north and south, parallel to the Arabian Sea coast, separate the western coastal portion of Maharashtra from the eastern portion of the state, which lies on the Deccan plateau. Maharashtra has five geographic regions.

Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea, which includes Mumbai. Other major cities of Konkan include Thane, Ulhasnagar, and Bhiwandi, north of Mumbai, and Ratnagiri and Chiplun to the south.

Kandesh is the northwestern region, lying in the valley of the Tapti River, which flows west off the Deccan plateau into the Arabian Sea at Surat, in Gujarat. Jalgaon, Dhulia and Bhusawal are the major cities.

Desh is in the centre of the state, east of the Ghats. Desh is the historic core of the Marathi state, and Pune, the capital of the Marathas, is the second largest city in the state. Other important cities include Nasik, Sangli, Sholapur, and Kolhapur. The Western Ghats in Desh are the source of Deccan's great rivers; the Godavari River rises at Trimbak , between Nasik and Mumbai, and flows eastward through Marathwada to empty into the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna River, which originates at Mahabaleswar and passes through Sangli, and its tributary the Bhima , which rises north of Pune, enter Karnataka state and ultimately empty into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi, Andhra Pradesh.

Marathwada is located in the south-eastern part of the state, and was part of the former princely state of Hyderabad until 1956. Aurangabad is the main city of the region, which also includes the famous sculpture caves of Ajanta and Ellora.

Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur is the main city in the region. The Penganga and Pranhita , tributaries of the Godavari, are the region's main rivers.

Divisions and Districts

Maharashtra is divided into 35 districts, which are grouped into six divisions: Aurangabad, Amravati, Konkan, Nagpur, Nashik, and Pune.

see Districts of Maharashtra


List of political parties in the state


Maharashtra is one of the most advanced states in India, with a strong industrialized economy, and the largest power production and consumption in the nation. Mumbai is the financial capital of India, and home to India's film industry. Its GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) was $60 billion in 2004.

Maharashtra is the top state in India in foreign investment, receiving 17% of all foreign direct investment in India. 32% of all exports from India are from the state of Maharashtra, per economic survey of Government of Maharashtra in 2002-03.

Main items of export from Maharashtra

  • gems and jewelry
  • readymade garments
  • sugar
  • cotton yarn
  • turmeric
  • made-up fabrics
  • machinery and instruments
  • metal products
  • agro-based products
  • wine

Specialized Industrial Parks in Maharashtra

  • Krishna Valley Wine Park, Palus, Sangli
  • Nasik Wine Park, Nasik
  • Sangli Food Park, Mane-Rajuri, Sangli
  • Nagpur Food Park, Nagpur

Infotech /IT Parks

  • SEEPZ, Mumbai
  • Millennium Business Park, Navi Mumbai
  • Hinjawadi IT Park, Hinjawadi, Pune
  • Sangli IT Park, Vishrambag, Sangli
  • Nagpur IT Park, Nagpur

World Famous Turmeric of Maharashtra

The country's sole turmeric exchange in Sangli city (Maharashtra) boasts of secrets gained through a centuries-old practice -- storing turmeric in pits.

These underground pits for storing turmeric stretch out in the open fields of the villages of Haripur and Sangalwadi in the Sangli. It is possibly the most unique agri-commodity storing system in the country.

After clearing the loose soil covering the pit, it is left open for about two to three hours. One cannot enter the pit until one finds out if there is any oxygen within. To ascertain this, a lantern is lowered into the pit. If the lantern does not go off, it is safe to enter the pit.

It is this ingenious storing system, devised probably 200 years ago that has turned Sangli into a major trading centre for turmeric. Today, the country's sole turmeric exchange is in Sangli.

Measuring 18 to 20 feet deep, the pits are considered the best storing areas for turmeric. Raw turmeric sold by farmers is stored in these underground pits for three to four years. These pits provide the best storage facility for turmeric as the quality of the commodity remains unchanged. This storage system has an added advantage in that the turmeric hardens and matures while in storage.

Today, more than 90% of Turmeric trade in India takes place in Sangli.

Thatís why Turmeric City of Sangli is the undoubted Capital of Turmeric Trade in Asia.


See: Konkani, Marathi language


The Indian film industry, commonly called Bollywood, is centered here.

It has a rich history, and has given birth to great warriors, like Shivaji, and Bajirao, and to national leaders, including Veer Savarkar , M. G. Ranade and Lokamanya Tilak .

Mumbai was home to B. R. Ambedkar, India's most prominent Untouchable leader of the 20th century, for most of his life. Maharashtra is still the center of neo-Buddhist movement that he founded.

Transport and communications

Total road length: 266,000 km.
Total railroad length: 5,459 km. (8.6% of total railroad length in India)
Number of telephone lines: 6.074 million


List of prominent shrines in Maharashtra

  • Dehu
  • Alandi
  • Ghrishneshwar Temple
  • Khuldabad
  • Pandharpur
  • Siddhivinayak Temple
  • Jejuri
  • Shegaon - Sant Gajanan Maharaj Temple
  • Shirdi
  • Ganapati Temple of Sangli
  • Sangameshwar Shiva Temple, Haripur, Sangli
  • Audumbar Near Sangli
  • Khidrapur
  • Meherabad
  • Anwa Temple
  • Ashta Vinayak
  • Trimbakeshwar
  • Narasimha Wadi Near Sangli
  • Mahalaxmi Temple, Mumbai
  • Bhimashankar
  • Saptashringi Devi Temple
  • Haji Ali Shrine
  • Meherabad and Meherazad , near Ahmednagar, India

List of hill stations

Natural areas

Maharashtra is home to several National Parks, including Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Borivali National Park) in Mumbai, Chandoli Wildlife Sanctuary in Sangli District, Tadoba National Park in Chandrapur District, Panch National Park in Nagpur District, Nawegaon National Park in Bhandara District and Gugmal National Park in Amravati District.

There are also a number of wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves, including Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary near Sangli. Others are Andhari, Aner Dam, Bhimashankar, Bor, Chandoli, Chaprala, Gautala Autramghat, Great Indian Bustard, Jaikwadi, Kalsubai Harishchandra, Katepurna, Koyana, Malvan, Melghat, Nagzira, Nandur, Madmeshwar, Painganga, Phansad, Radhangiri, Tansa, and Yawal.


Government resources

Colleges and universities

  • Armed Forces Medical College, Pune
  • B.J. Medical College, Pune
  • University of Pune
  • Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), Pune. VIT website
  • Pune Institute of Enginnering and Technology, Pune
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. IIT-B
  • University of Mumbai, Bombay
  • Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli
  • PVP Institute of Technology, Sangli
  • ADCET Engineering College
  • RIT Engineering College
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Management
  • Vasantdada Patil Institute of Management
  • Deccan Education Society Institute of Management
  • Patangrao Kadam College
  • Government Medical College, Miraj, Sangli
  • Government Polytechnic, Nagpur
  • Victoria Jubilee Technological Institute,Bombay. VJTI
  • V.G.Vaze College of Science,Mulund,Bombay. |Kelkar College
  • Mumbai University


Urban Agglomerations with over 0.5 Million Population









Last updated: 02-06-2005 13:52:24
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55