A VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE
Maharashtra (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र) is a state in the western region of India and is the nation's second-most populous. It is also the second-most populoussub-national entity in the world, with over 110 million inhabitants. Spread over 118,809 sq mi (307,710 km2), it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, Goa, Gujarat,Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The state capital is Mumbai which is also the financial capital of the nation. Maharashtra is the wealthiest and most developed state in India, contributing 15% of the country's industrial output and 13.3% of its GDP (2006–07).
In the 16th century, the Marathas rose under the leadership of Shivajiagainst the Mughals, who ruled a large part of India. By 1760, the Maratha Empire had reached its zenith with a territory of over 250 million acres (1 million km²) or one-third of the Indian sub-continent. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the empire ended and most of Maharashtra became part ofBombay State under the British Raj. After Indian independence, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded unification of all Marathi-speaking regions under one state.
Babasaheb Ambedkar was of the opinion that linguistic reorganisation of states should be done on a "One state – One language" principle and not on a "One language – One state" principle. He submitted a memorandum to the reorganisation commission stating that a "single government can not administer such a huge state as United Maharashtra". The first state reorganisation committee created the current Maharashtra state on 1 May 1960 (known as Maharashtra Day). The Marathi-speaking areas of Bombay State, Deccan states and Vidarbha (which was part of Central Provinces and Berar) united, under the agreement known as Nagpur Pact, to form the current state.
The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit,and the word Marhatta (later used for the Marathas) is found in the JainMaharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain.
The most widely accepted theory among the scholars is that the words Maratha and Maharashtra ultimately derive from a compound of Maha(Sanskrit for "great") and rashtrika. The word rashtrika is a Sanskritised form of Ratta, the name of a tribe or a dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in theDeccan region. Another theory is that the term is derived from Maha("great") and rathi or ratha (great chariot driver), which refers to a skillful northern fighting force that migrated southward into the area.
An alternative theory states that the term derives from the words Maha("Great") and Rashtra ("nation/dominion"). However, this theory has not found acceptance among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers. Yet another theory, popular among the Dalit activists and the nineteenth-century British writers in India, was that the term means "the nation of Mahars" (Mahar + Rashtra). This theory, too, is not widely accepted: it is unlikely that the term derives from the name of a Dalit (outcaste) community.
Main article: History of Maharashtra
The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharashtra is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Asoka sent an embassy, and it is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. The name Maharashtra also appeared in a 7th-century inscription and in the account of a Chinese traveller, Hiuen-Tsang. In 90 AD Vedishri,son of the Satavahana king Satakarni, the "Lord of Dakshinapatha, wielder of the unchecked wheel of Sovereignty", made Junnar, thirty miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom. It was also ruled by Kharavela, Satavahana dynasty, Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara, Vakataka, Kadambas, Chalukya Empire,Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya before Yadava rule. Maharashtra was ruled by the Maurya Empire in the 4th and 3rd century BC. Around 230 BCE Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty which ruled the region for 400 years. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. The Chalukya dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the 6th century to the 8th century and the two prominent rulers were Pulakesi II, who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsha and Vikramaditya II, who defeated the Arab invaders in the 8th century. The Rashtrakuta Dynasty ruled Maharashtra from the 8th to the 10th century. The Arab traveler Sulaiman called the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (Amoghavarsha) as "one of the 4 great kings of the world". From the early 11th century to the 12th century the Deccan Plateau was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty. Several battles were fought between the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty in the Deccan Plateau during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Jayasimha II, Somesvara Iand Vikramaditya VI.
In the early 14th century the Yadava dynasty, which ruled most of present-day Maharashtra, was overthrown by the Delhi Sultanate ruler Ala-ud-din Khalji. Later, Muhammad bin Tughluq conquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughlaqs in 1347, the local Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga took over, governing the region for the next 150 years. After the break-up of the Bahamani sultanate, in 1518, Maharashtra split into and was ruled by five Deccan Sultanates: namely Nizamshah of Ahmednagar, Adilshah of Bijapur,Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Berar. These kingdoms often fought amongst each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empire of the south in 1565. Also present area of Mumbai was ruled bySultanate of Gujarat before capturing by Portugal in 1535 and Faruqi dynasty ruled Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before Mughal annexation. Malik Ambar was the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626. During this period he increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to be the one of proponent of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Shah Jahan wrestle power in Delhi from his stepmother, Nur Jahan, who had ambitions of seating her son-in-law on the throne.
By the early 17th century, Shahaji Bhosale, an ambitious local general in the service of the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur, attempted to establish his independent rule. His son Shivaji succeeded in establishing Maratha Empire which was further expanded by Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia ofGwalior, Mahadik of Gwalior and Peshwas (prime ministers). The Marathas defeated the Mughals, and conquered large territories in Northern and Central parts of the Indian subcontinent. After the defeat at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha restored their supremacy and ruled central and north India including New Delhi till the end of the eighteenth century. The Third Anglo-Maratha war (1817–1818) led to the end of the Maratha Empire and East India Company ruled the country in 1819.
The British governed the region as part of the Bombay Presidency, which spanned an area from Karachi in Pakistan to northern Deccan. A number of the Maratha states persisted as princely states, retaining autonomy in return for acknowledging British suzerainty. The largest princely states in the territory of present-day Maharashtra were Nagpur, Satara and Kolhapur; Satara was annexed to Bombay Presidency in 1848, and Nagpur was annexed in 1853 to become Nagpur Province, later part of the Central Provinces. Berar, which had been part of the Nizam ofHyderabad's kingdom, was occupied by the British in 1853 and annexed to the Central Provinces in 1903. However, a large part of present-day Maharashtra, calledMarathwada, remained part of the Nizam's Hyderabad State throughout the British period. The British rule was marked by social reforms and an improvement in infrastructure as well as revolts due to their discriminatory policies. At the beginning of the 20th century, the struggle for independence took shape led by extremists likeBal Gangadhar Tilak and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the moderates like Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji. In 1942, the Quit India Movement was called by Gandhi which was marked by a non-violent civil disobedience movement and strikes in the region. The ultimatum to the British to "Quit India" was given in Mumbai, and culminated in the transfer of power and the independence of India in 1947. BG Kher was the first Chief Minister of the tri-lingual Bombay Presidency.
After India's independence, the Deccan States, including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states along linguistic lines, and Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by the addition of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada (Aurangabad Division) from erstwhile Hyderabad state and Vidarbha region from the Central Provinces and Berar. Also, southernmost part of Bombay State was ceded to Mysore one.
From 1954–1955 the people of Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual Bombay state and Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti under the leadership of Dr. Gopalrao Khedkar was formed. Mahagujarat Movement was also started for separateGujarat state. Gopalrao Khedkar, S.M. Joshi, S.A. Dange, P.K. Atre and other leaders fought for a separate state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital. On 1 May 1960, following mass protests and sacrifice of 105 human lives the separate Marathi-speaking state was formed by dividing earlier Bombay state into new states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The demand of the local people of merging some of the Marathi speaking areas of Karnataka namely Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani is still pending.
See also: Chronology of statehood of Maharashtra
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Maharashtra
Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching nearly 720 kilometers along the Arabian Sea. The Sahyadri Mountain ranges provide a physical backbone to the state on the west, while theSatpura Hills along the north and Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the east serve as its natural borders. The State is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.
Maharashtra is the second most populous state and third largest state by area in India. Its coastline is 330 miles (530 km) long along the Arabian Sea. Rice is the dominant crop of the state, but cashews, mangoes, vegetable cotton, oilseeds, and tobacco are also important. The Western Ghats better known as Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft). Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris, near Nashik city is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra. To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the Ghats lies the flat Deccan Plateau. Forests comprise 17% of the total area of the state. Majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. Main Rivers of the state are Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and Wardha-Wainganga.
Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea. Kandesh is the northwestern region lying in the valley of the Tapti River. Jalgaon, Dhule and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region. Desh is in the centre of the state. Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state. Aurangabad is the main city of the region.Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur is the main city in the region. Physical features of Maharsahtra divided into Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'. The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. Sahyadri range with an elevation of 1000 meters is known for its crowning plateaus. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is narrow coastal lowland, just 50 km wide and with an elevation below 200 meters. The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers preventing easy movement. These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.
Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. However, dew, frost, hail can also be happened sometimes according to the seasonal weather. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May and the monsoon season between June and September. Summers are extreme with March, April and May with the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22 °C-39 °C during this season. Rainfall starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August too gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September from the state. Winter season is Cool dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze and pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12 °C-34 °C during this season. Rainfall in Maharashtra differs from region to region. Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, receive heavy rains of an average of 200 centimeters annually. But the districts of Nasik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgao, Satara,Sangli, Solapur and parts of Kolhapur get rainfall less than 50 centimeters. Rainfall particularly concentrates to the Konkan and Sahyadrian Maharashtra. Central Maharashtra receives less rainfall. However, under the influence of the Bay of Bengal, eastern Vidarbha receives good rainfall in July, August and September.
|State animal||Indian Giant Squirrel|
|State bird||Yellow-footed Green Pigeon|
The flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. In 2012 the recorded thick forest area in the state was 61,939 km2 (23,915 sq mi) which was about 20.13% of the state's geographical area. There are three main Public Forestry Institutions (PFIs) in the Maharashtra state viz. the Maharashtra Forest Department (MFD), the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) and the Directorate of Social Forestry (SFD). The flora of regions such as Nag region formed by Nagpur, districts, districts and Gadchiroliand the plateau of Vidarbha composed by Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola andBuldhana. Most of the forests are found in the Sahyadri region and are very dense. These forests are confined to areas which have low annual rainfall (50–70 cm), a mean annual temperature of 25-27 °C and low humidity. Some of forest areas are converted into wildlife thus preserving the biodiversity.
Maharashtra is known for its extensive avifauna. Maharashtra is said to have 3 game reserves, 5 national parks and 24 bird sanctuaries. Wild sanctuaries in the state include Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary,Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.
The most common animals which are found in the state are Tigers, Black panthers, Leopards, Gaur, Sloth bears, Sambar,Four-headed antelope, Blue Bull, Chital, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Civet cats, Jackals, Jungle cats, Spotted hyena, andHare. Other animals in the state include reptiles such as lizards, cobras and kraits. The national parks of Maharashtra possess a variety of plant species that include Jamun, Palas, Shisam, Neem, Teak, Dhawada, Kalam, Saja / Ain, Bija,Shirish, Mango, Acacia, Awala, Kadamba, Moha, Acacia, Terminalia, Hedu and Ficus.
Regions, divisions and districts
Main article: List of districts of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is divided into 35 districts under given 6 divisions. These 35 districts are further divided into 109 sub-divisions of the districts and 357 talukas.
The following is a list of top five districts of by rank in India.
|Rank||District||Population||Growth rate||Sex ratio||Literacy|
Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Maharashtra Civil Service. Each district is subdivided into sub-divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks. Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities. Talukas are intermediate level panchayat between the zilla panchayat (district councils) at the district level and gram panchayat (village councils) at the lower level.
See also: Talukas of Maharashtra
Main article: Marathi people
According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census, Maharashtra is the second most populous state in India with a population of 112,374,333 (9.28% of India's population) of which male and female are 58,243,056 and 54,131,277 respectively. The total population growth in 2011 is 15.99 percent while in previous decade it was 22.57 percent. Since independence, the decadal growth rate of population in Maharashtra has remained higher (except in the year 1971) than the national average. For the first time, in the year 2011, the decadal growth rate of population has been found to be lower than the national average. State has a large number of Uttar Pradesh diaspora. Marathis comprise the majority of the population. The Bihari, Gujarati, Punjabis, Parsis, Kanarese and Tamil minorities are scattered throughout the state. Maharashtra is home to indigenous tribal Adivasis such as Thakar, Warli, Konkana and Halba.
The official language is Marathi. But different regions have their own dialects. English is applicable in urban areas. Spoken Marathi language changes with every change of district or area or locality in its tone and a few words. The Marathi script doesn't have any silent pronunciation making the language so phonetic. Konkani is also spoken in some areas of Maharashtra. Other major dialects include Varhadii spoken in the Vidarbha region and Dangii spoken near Maharashtra-Gujarat border. Alphabet L is abundantly used in many verbs and nouns in Marathi. It is replaced by the letter y in the Varhadii dialect, which makes it quite distinct. Urdu is mainly spoken in the Muslim majority areas of Mumbai and its suburbs, Marathwada and parts of the Khandesh. Outlining migratory trends in the state, The Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008–09 says the percentage of the state's population that names Marathi as its mother tongue has declined to 68.8% from 76.5% over the past three decades, meantime the survey highlights the sharp rise in the Hindi-speaking population (11% from 5%) in the same period.
At the 2011 census, Hinduism was the principal religion at 82.5% of the total population, while Muslims comprised 13.4% of the total population, being the second-largest community and the largest minority group; Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism and other religions comprised 4.1% of the total population of the State. Maharashtra had the largest concentration ofBuddhists at 58.3% – 73.4% of the total Buddhists in India reside in Maharashtra. The state contributed 9.28% to India's population. The gender ratio in Maharashtra was 925 females per 1000 males, which was below the national average of 940. The density of Maharashtra was 365 inhabitants per km2 which was lower than national average 382 per km2. Since 1921, the populations of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg shrank by –4.96% and –2.30% respectively, while the population of Thane grew by 35.9%, followed by Pune at 30.3%.
The literacy rate in Maharashtra rose to 83.2%. Of this, male literacy stood at 89.82% and female literacy 75.48%.The total number of literate people in Maharashtra stood at 81,554,290, of whom 45,257,584 were male and 36,296,706 were female.
Government and administration
Main articles: Government of Maharashtra, Politics of Maharashtra and List of Chief Ministers of Maharashtra
Maharashtra has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. TheLegislative Assembly consists of 288 members who are elected for five-year terms. The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 78 members. Thegovernment of Maharashtra is headed by the Chief Minister who is chosen by the ruling party members of the Legislative Assembly. In the 2009 election, the largest number of seats went to the Indian National Congress and Nationalist Congress Party with 82 and 62 seats respectively. The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers. However, the constitutional and formal head of the state is the Governor who is appointed for a five-year term by the President of India on the advice of theUnion government. The people of Maharashtra also elect 48 members to the Lok Sabha,the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 19 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.
The state has a long tradition of highly powerful planning bodies at district and local levels. Local self governance institutions in rural areas include 33 zilla parishads, 355 panchayat samitis and 27,993 gram panchayats. Urban areas in the state are governed by 23 Municipal Corporations, 222 Municipal Councils, four Nagar Panchayats and seven Cantonment Boards. The administration in each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Maharashtra state services. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service and assisted by the officers of theMaharashtra Police Service, is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and related issues in each district. The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, is entrusted with the responsibility of managing forests, environment and wildlife of the district, he will be assisted by the officers belonging to Maharashtra Forest Service and officers belonging to Maharashtra Forest Subordinate Service. Sectoral development in the districts is looked after by the district head of each development department such as Public Works Department, Health, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, etc.
The judiciary in the state consists of the Maharashtra High Court (The High Court of Bombay) in Mumbai, district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluka level. The President of India appoints the chief justice of the High Court of the Maharashtra judiciary on the advice of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India as well as the Governor of Maharashtra. Other judges are appointed by the chief justice of the high court of the judiciary of Maharashtra on the advice of the Chief Justice. Subordinate Judicial Service is another vital part of the judiciary of Maharashtra. The subordinate judiciary or the district courts are categorized into two divisions viz. Maharashtra civil judicial services and Uttar Pradesh higher judicial service. While the Maharashtra civil judicial services comprises the Civil Judges (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistraes and civil judges (Senior Division)/Chief Judicial Magistrate, the Maharashtra higher judicial service comprises civil and sessions judges. The Subordinate judicial service of the judiciary at Maharashtra is controlled by the District Judge.
See also: Maharashtra state assembly elections, 2004, Maharashtra state assembly elections, 2009 and Local government in Maharashtra
Main article: Economy of Maharashtra
|Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost at Current Prices (2004–05 Base)|
|Year||Net State Domestic Product|
The economy of Maharashtra is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Maharashtra is the most industrialized state and has maintained leading position in the industrial sector in India. The State is pioneer in Small Scale industries. Mumbai, the capital of state and the financial capital of India, houses the headquarters of most of the major corporate & financial institutions. India's main stock exchanges & capital market and commodity exchanges are located in Mumbai. The State continues to attract industrial investments from both, domestic as well as foreign institutions. Maharashtra has the largest proportion of taxpayers in India and its share markets transact almost 70 per cent of the country's stocks.
The Service sector dominates economy of Maharashtra accounting for 61.4% of the value addition and 69.3% of the value of the output in country. State's per-capita income is 40% higher than the all-India average. The gross state domestic product (GSDP) at current prices for 2011-12 is estimated at 11,99,548 crore and contributes about 14.4% of the GDP. The agriculture & allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the state’s income. Net State Domestic Product (State Income), as per the first revised estimates is 10,82,751 crore and Per Capita State Income is 95,339 during 2011-12. The percentage of fiscal deficit to GSDP is 1.7 per cent and debt stock to GSDP is 18.4 per cent during 2012-13, well within Consolidated Fiscal Reform Path stipulated by the Thirteenth Finance Commission. In 2012, Maharashtra reported a revenue surplus of 1524.9 million (US$24 million), with a total revenue of 1367117.0 million (US$22 billion) and a spending of 1365592.1 million (US$22 billion). Maharashtra ranks 1st in FDI equity and percentage share of total FDI inflows is 32.28%. Total FDI inflows into Maharashtra are US$ 53.48 billion. Top countries that invested FDI equity in Maharashtra (from January, 2000 to December, 2011) were Mauritius (39%), Singapore (10%), United Kingdom (10%), U.S.A. (7%) and Netherlands (5%).
Maharashtra contributes 18% of the country's industrial output. The industrial activities in state is concentrated in four districts viz. Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban district. Mumbai is having largest share in GSDP (21.5 per cent), both Thane and Pune district contribute about same in Industry sector, Pune district contributes more in Agriculture and allied activities sector whereas Thane district contributes more in Services sector than the other. Share of Nashik district is highest in agricultural and allied activities sector, but is far behind in Industry and Services sectors as compared to Thane and Pune districts. The industries in Maharashtra include chemical and chemical products (17.6%), food and food products (16.1%), refined petroleum products (12.9%), machinery and equipment (8%), textiles (6.9%), basic metals (5.8%), motor vehicles (4.7%) and furniture (4.3%). State is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, includingHindustan Petroleum Corporation, Tata Petrodyne and Oil India Ltd. Beides, animal husbandry is an important agriculture related activity. The agriculture & allied activities sector contributes 12.9% to the State’s income. The State’s share in livestock and poultry population in India is about 7% and 10% respectively. Tertiary sector consisting of transport, communication, Banking Insurance, Real estate and public administration grown at a compound annual growth rate of 7% during 1993-4 to 2001-02.
Maharashtra has above an average knowledge industry in India. Approximately, 25% of the top 500 companies in the IT sector are situated in Maharashtra. State accounts for 28% of the software exports of India. The state houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like BARC, NPCL, IREL, TIFR, AERB, AECI, and the Department of Atomic Energy.
Banking sector comprises Scheduled and non-scheduled banks. Scheduled banks are of two types viz. Scheduled Commercial Banks and Scheduled Co-operative Banks. Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in India are classified into five types viz. State Bank of India & its associates, Nationalised Banks, Private Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and others (foreign banks). In 2012, there were 9,053 banking offices in the state, of which about 26 per cent were in rural and 54 per cent were in urban areas. Maharashtra has Microfinance system which refers to small scale financial services extended to poor in both rural and urban areas. It covers variety of financial instruments such as lending, savings, life insurance, and crop insurance.
Main article: Transport in Maharashtra
The state has a large, multimodal transportation system with the largest road network in India. In 2011, the total length of surface road in Maharashtra was 2,67,452 km; National Highways comprise 3,688 km and state highways 3700 km. National Highways 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 16 and 17 link Mumbai to the neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and the rest of the country. Almost 98% villages are connected via the highways and modern roads in Maharashtra. Average speed on state highways varies between 50–60 km/h (31–37 mi/h) due to heavy presence of vehicles; in villages and towns, speeds are as low as 25–30 km/h (15–18 mi/h).
The state has a large, multimodal transportation system. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) established in 1960 provides economical and reliable passenger road transport service in the public sector. These buses, popularly called ST (State Transport), are the preferred mode of transport for much of the populace. Hired forms of transport include metered taxis and auto rickshawswhich often ply specific routes in cities. In Mumbai, the city bus service run by the BEST and local trains are regarded to be the most extensive and well-run public transport systems. The BEST buses carry approximately 4.2 million passengers per day, while local train carries 23 million commuters everyday. Mumbai alone has almost 70 flyover infrastructure on the hand.
There are nearly around 48 minor ports in Maharashtra. Most of these handle passenger traffic and have a limited capacity. The two principal ports, JNPT and Mumbai Port, which are at Mumbai, are under the control and supervision of the government of India.
Indian Railway has train stations even in almost all the small and remote villages of Maharashtra. The Central Railway and the Western Railway zones of the Indian Railways that are headquartered in Mumbai, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus andChurchgate respectively. The Mumbai Rajdhani Express the fastest rajdhani train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Mumbai. CST is the busiest railway station in India, serving as a terminal for both long-distance trains and commuter trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. All suburban routes are electrified partly on 1500 V DC and partly 25000 V AC power supply from overhead lines.
The booming Indian economy, growing tourism industry, entry of low cost airlines, liberalisation of international bi-lateral agreements and liberalisation of civil aviation policy at the centre has resulted in an unprecedented growth in air traffic. Most of the State's airfields are operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) whileReliance Airport Developers (RADPL), currently operate five non – metro airports atLatur, Nanded, Baramati, Osmanabad and Yavatmal on a 95-year lease. TheMaharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) was set up in 2002 to take up development of airports in the state that are not under the AAI or the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). MADC is playing the lead role in the planning and implementation of the Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) project. Almost all the major cities of Maharashtra have airports. CSIA (formerly Bombay International Airport) and Juhu Airport are the two airports in Mumbai. Maharashtra has two other international airports viz. Pune International Airport and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Nagpur). Flights are operated by both private and government airline companies. Additional smaller airports includes Aurangabad,Akola, Amravati, Baramati, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Jalgaon, Karad, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, Nanded, Osmanabad,Ratnagiri, Solapur and Yavatmal.
See also: List of airports in Maharashtra, Mumbai Metro, Mumbai Monorail and Public transport in Mumbai
Maharashtra schools are run by the state government or by private organizations, including religious institutions. Instruction is mainly in Marathi, English or Hindi, though Urdu is also used. The secondary schools are affiliated with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Institute of Open School (NIOS) or the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. Under the 10+2+3 plan, after completing secondary school, students typically enroll for two years in a junior college, also known as pre-university, or in schools with a higher secondary facility affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education or any central board. Students choose from one of three streams, namelyliberal arts, commerce or science. Upon completing the required coursework, students may enroll in general or professional degree programs.
Maharashtra has 24 universities with a turnout of 160,000 technocrats every year. Maharashtra has played a pioneering role in the development of the modern education system in India. The University of Mumbai, is the largest university in the world in terms of the number of graduates and has 141 affiliated colleges. People like B. R. Ambedkar,Jyotirao Phule, John Wilson, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gadge Maharaj played a leading role in the setting up of modern schools and colleges in the state. The Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute was established in 1821. TheShreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University which is the oldest women liberal arts college in South Asia, started its journey in 1916. College of Engineering Pune, established in 1854 is the third oldest college in Asia.
According to prominent national rankings, 5 or 7 Maharashtra colleges and universities are ranked among the top 20 in India. Maharashtra is also home to such notable autonomous institutes as Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, Institute of Chemical Technology, Homi Bhabha National Institute and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI). These autonomous institutes are ranked most difficult colleges in Maharashtra to gain admission to. At the undergraduate level admission to autonomous institutes is extremely competitive. The University of Pune, the National Defence Academy, Film and Television Institute of India, National Film Archives,Armed Forces Medical College and National Chemical Laboratory were established in Pune after the independence of India. Maharashtra has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. There are also local community collegeswith generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition.
Besides these, the state also has Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, North Maharashtra University, Shivaji University, Shivaji University, Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University and Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University all well established and nationally renowned, to cover the educational needs at the district levels of the state. Apart from this there are number of deemed universities in Maharashtra viz. Symbiosis International University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tilak Maharashtra University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences for research purpose. Notable scholars who were born, worked or studied in the geographic area of the state include prominent Varkari saint and spiritual poet Tukaram, lawyer and academic B. R. Ambedkar, social reformer Bal Gangadhar Tilak and theologist Jyotirao Phule.
In 2011, the health care system in Maharashtra consisted of 363 rural government hospitals, 23 District hospitals (with 7561 beds), 4 general hospitals (with 714 beds) mostly under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Maharashtra, and 380 private medical establishments; these establishments provide the state with more than 30,000 hospital beds. Maharashtra is the first state in India having 9 women hospital serving 1365 beds.
Maharashtra has life expectancy of 65.48 years at birth, up from 67.2 years in 2011, ranks it 3rd among 29 Indian states The total fertility rate of the state is 1.9.The Infant mortality rate is 28 and maternal mortality ratio is 104 (2012-2013) which are lower than the national average. Public health services are governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), through various departments. The Ministry is divided in to two departments the Public Health Department, which includes Family welfare, Medical Relief, and the Department of Medical Education and Drugs.
Maharashtra has health insurance that is any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a social welfare program funded by the government. In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against the costs of medical services.This usage includes private insurance and social insurance programs such as National Health Mission, which pools resources and spreads the financial risk associated with major medical expenses across the entire population to protect everyone, as well as social welfare programs such as National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the Health Insurance Program, which provide assistance to people who cannot afford health coverage.
Principal urban agglomerations
Maharashtra has highest level of urbanization of all Indian states. The mountainous topography and soil are not as suitable for intensive agriculture as the plains of North India; therefore, the proportion of the urban population (45.23 percent) contrasts starkly with the national average of developing metros and many large towns. Mumbai is the state capital with a population of approximately 15.2 million people. The other large cities are Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik,Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Thane, Solapur, Amravati, Sangli and Nanded.
Because it is the most populous Indian state, Maharashtra is one of the country's largest users of energy. However because of its high energy rates, conservation mandates, mild weather in the largest population centers and strong environmental movement, its per capita energy use is one of the smallest of any Indian state. Due to the high electricity demand, state constitutes 13% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in India which is mainly from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Mahavitaran is responsible for distribution of electricity throughout the state by buying power from either Mahanirmiti, captive power plants or from other state electricity boards and private sector power generation companies.
Maharashtra is the largest power generating state in India with installed electricity generation capacity of 26,838 MW (as on 31 August 2012). The state forms a major constituent of the western grid of India which now comes under North, East, West and North Eastern (NEWNE) grid of India. Maharashtra Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) operates thermal power plants in the state. In addition to the state government owned power generation plants, there are privately owned power generation plants that transmit power through Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company which looks after Trans-mission of electricity in the state.
Main article: Cultural activities of Maharashtra
The Marathi language boasts a rich literary heritage, a Sanskrit-derived language and written in the Devanagari script. The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Jnyaneshwar with hisBhawarthadeepika (popularly known as Jnyaneshwari). The compositions written during this period are spiritually inclined. The other compositions are by Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev, and Sant Gora Kumbhar. The compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called bhajans. Maharashtra has a long tradition in spiritual literature, evidenced by the Amrutanubhav, Bhavarth Deepika, Bhagavata Purana, Eknathi Bhagwat and Bhavarth Ramayan. Marathi literaturewas modernised in the works of authors such as Namdev,Dnyaneshwar, Samarth Ramdas, Tukaram, Balshastri Jambhekar,Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Kusumagraj, Sane Guruji, Gopal Hari Deshmukh, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Hari Narayan Apte, Keshavsutaand Prahlad Keshav Atre. In modern times Shrikant Deshmukh, Mahadevshastri Joshi, Laxmanshastri Joshi, Varjesh Solanki, Manya Joshi, Hemant Divate, Mangesh Narayanrao Kale and Saleel Wagh among others are well known.
Music and dance
Vibrant folk music of Maharashtra is popular from centuries. Powada folk is associated with the Shivaji. Other folk music include Gondhal and Bharud. Marathi dance forms draw from folk traditions. Lavani is popular form of dance in state. The Bhajan, Kirtan and Abhangas of Varkari sect (Vaishanav Devotees) have long history and these are part of their daily rituals.
Maharashtra has given major contribution in Indian Classical music. Music lovers of Maharashtra are more objective in their choice, however they give patronage to all artist from country. Cities like Kolhapur and Pune have been playing major role in preservation of music like Bhavgeet and Natya Sangeet which are inherited from Indian classical music. The songs from Hindi films and Marathi films are popular in urban areas.
Maharashtra is a prominent location for the Indian entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there. Mainstream Hindi films are popular in Maharashtra especially in urban areas. Mumbai is the largest center for film and television production and one-third of all Indian films are produced in state. Multi-million dollar productions Bollywood, with the most expensive productions costing up to 1 billion rupees (roughly USD 20 million) is located there. Marathi film industry was once placed in Kolhapur but now is spread out through Mumbai too. The Marathi film film industry is well known for its art films, and has produced acclaimed directors like Dadasaheb Phalke, V. Shantaram andShakti Samanta. Dada Kondke is the most prominent name in Marathi film industry. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.
See also: Marathi theatre
Marathi women commonly wear the saari, often distinctly designed according to local cultural customs. In urban areas, many women and men wear Western attire. Among men, western dressing has greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the dhoti and pheta on cultural occasions. Women wear traditional jewelleries derived from Marathas and Peshwas dynasties. Another very much popular jewellery for the Marathi women is Kolhapuri saaj, a special type of necklace.
Main article: Maharashtrian cuisine
Maharashtra cuisine covers a range from being mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form Staples of Maharashtrian diet. Some of the Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche Modak, and batata wada. Meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali. Each food item served on the thali has a specific place. People of this state believe in offering their food first to the lord as a thanksgiving for all that he has given. Maharashtra's cuisine is divided into two, viz. Konkani, and Varadi. Though quite different, both use a lot of seafood and coconut.
The bhaajis are vegetable dishes made with a particular vegetable or a combination of vegetables and requires the use of Goda masala, essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. Depending on the caste or specific religious tradition of a family, onion and garlic may not be used in cooking. A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa or curry. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or cauliflower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a soup like preparation than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew. Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavored with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, jaggery (gul) and in some cases coconut as well. One of the masalas that gives Maharashtrian cuisine its authentic flavor is the goda (sweet) masala or kalaa (black) masala.
Among seafood, the most popular fish is bombil or the Bombay duck, which is normally served batter fried and crisp. All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes are eaten with boiled rice or with bhakris, which are soft rotis made of rice flour. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.
More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in state and the book-publishing industry employs about 250,000 people. Lokmat published from Mumbai with 1,588,801 daily copies, has the largest circulation for a single-edition, regional language newspaper in India. Other major Marathi newspapers are Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, Nava Kaal, Pudhari, and Sakal. Major English language newspapers which are published and sold in large numbers are Daily News & Analysis, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, Mumbai Mirror, Asian Age, MiD-DAY and The Free Press Journal. Some prominent financial dailies like The Economic Times, Mint, Business Standard and Financial Express are widely circulated. Vernacular newspapers such as those in Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati and Urdu are also read by a select readership. The television industry developed in Maharashtra and is a significant employer in the state's economy. The four major Indias broadcast networks are all headquartered in Maharashtra; The Times, STAR India, CNN-IBN andZEEL. Doordarshan is the state-owned television broadcaster. Multi system operators provide a mix of Marathi, Benglai, Nepali, Hindi, English and international channels via cable. Marathi 24-hour television news channels include ABP Majha,IBN-Lokmat, Zee 24 Taas, TV9 Maharashtra, ETV Marathi, TV9 Maharashtra and Jai Maharashtra. All India Radio is a public radio station. Private FM stations are available in all major cities. Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Uninor,Aircel, MTS India, Tata Indicom, Idea Cellular and Tata DoCoMo are available cellular phone operators. Maharashtra has the highest 18.8% of total households Internet users in India. Broadband internet is available in all towns, villages and cities and is provided by the state-run MTNL & BSNL and by other private companies. Dial-up access is provided throughout the state by BSNL and other providers.
Main article: Sports in Maharashtra
The most popular sports in Maharashtra are Kabaddi and cricket. Maharashtra has various domestic level Franchise based leagues for Hockey, Chess, Tennis and Badminton. State is home to top national football clubs such as Mumbai Tigers F.C.,Kenkre F.C., Bengal Mumbai FC and Air India FC. As in the rest of India, cricket is popular in Maharashtra and is played on grounds and in streets throughout the state. Maharashtra has an Indian Premier League franchise known as the Mumbai Indians; the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), which regulates cricket in state. Maharashtra has three domestic cricket teams that includes Mumbai cricket team,Maharashtra cricket team, Vidarbha cricket team. Maharashtra football teamrepresents Maharashtra in the Santosh Trophy. Mumbai District Football Association(MDFA) is the organisation responsible for Association football in and around city of Mumbai. State has two clubs franchises playing in Elite Football League of India.Mumbai Gladiators and Pune Marathas are teams based in Mumbai and Pune respectively.
Wankhede Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,000, hosted the final match of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. It is home to the Mumbai Indians and Mumbai cricket team. Mumbai and Pune holds derby races at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and Pune Race Course respectively. The wrestling championship Hind Kesari, is widely popular in the rural regions and is affiliated to All India Amateur Wrestling Federation (AIAWF). Maharashtra Chess Association is the apex body for the game of chess in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Tennis League is India's first league format in tennis. Other notable sports include Hockey, Kho kho, Fencing, Archery and Shooting.
Athletes from Maharashtra include Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar who were iconic cricketers to Indian national cricket team; Asian Games silver medalist Hiranna M. Nimal, wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, chess player Rohini Khadilkar, tennis player Gaurav Natekar, former hockey players Dhanraj Pillay, Viren Rasquinha and badminton player Aparna Popat.
Amboli is a hill station in south Maharashtra, India. At an altitude of 690 m it is the last hill station before the coastal highlands of Goa and a relatively unexplored one.
Amboli lies in the Sahayadri Hills of Western India, one of the world's "Eco Hot-Spots" and it therefore abounds in a variety of fairly unique flora and fauna. However, as in the other parts of the Sahaydri Hills, denudation of the forest cover and unregulated government assisted "development" (read "hotels, resorts & highways") are gradually ruining a once pristine environment.
Historically, Amboli village came into being as one of the staging posts along the road from Vengurla port to the city of Belgaum, which was extensively used by the British to supply their garrisons in south and central India.
The hills of Amboli village provide one of the sources of the Krishna river (The "Ganges" of south India) and an ancient Shiva temple (called Hiranyakeshi) exists at the cave where the water emerges. The main attraction for tourists is the incredibly high rainfall (7 m average per year!)and the numerous waterfalls and mist during the monsoons. Legend has it that there are 108 Shiva temples in and around Amboli of which only a dozen have been uncovered, one as recently as 2005. There aren't too many places to see or things to do but it is quiet, unpolluted and the local residents are good natured and helpful
Amboli is well connected by road to all the surrounding cities (Kolhapur 129 km, Belgaum 68 km, Panjim (Goa) 90 km) by road and the nearest airport is at Belgaum, about 1.5 hours drive away. All the roads are good and a new airport is expected to come up in north Goa shortly, reducing the travelling time to just over an hour.
There are a few decent (and relatively cheap) hotels at Amboli. A few of them being, Hotel Sailee, Whistling Woods, Silent Valley Resort Shanti Darshan and Hotel Shiv malhar. Most of them provide hot water baths and have facilities like Restaurant, Room Service & Cab Services.
Hotel Pushkarleela have lodging and restaurant services. It provides easy access to tourist for sight seeing places.
MTDC also have a good resort.
The only local transport is motorised three-wheeler rickshaws and a couple of private taxis. One can find them parked near the main bus stand and are available without much bargaining.There are in total 8 places that are listed by MTDC. If one does not have ones own transportation, three-wheeler rickshaws are available. You'll need them only for a day to check out the touristy places and can then depend upon your legs to take you the ones that interest you most.
Mahabaleshwar is located at  It has an average elevation of 1,353 metres (4,439 ft).Located about 120 km (75 mi) southwest of .Pune and 285 km (177 mi) from Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau measuring 150 km2 (58 sq mi), bound by valleys on all sides. It reaches a height of 1,439 m (4,721 ft) at its highest peak above sea level, known as Wilson/Sunrise Point.
Mahabaleshwar comprises three villages: Malcolm Peth, Old "Kshetra" Mahabaleshwar and part of the Shindola village.
Mahabaleshwar is the source of the Krishna River that flows across Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Old Mahabaleshwar. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyana are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. An interesting thing to notice is that 4 other rivers come out from the cow's mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna. These rivers are the Koyna, Venna (Veni), Savitri, and Gayatri.
Today, Mahabaleshwar is a popular holiday resort and honeymoon spot, and an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.
Needle Hole Point / Elephant Point
Wilson PointNamed after Sir Leslie Wilson, the Governor of Bombay from 1923–26, Wilson Point is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar at 1439 m. Known as Sindola Hill during the colonial rule, Wilson point is the only location in Mahabaleshwar where both sunrise and sunset can be seen. It offers a spectacular glance of Mahabaleshwar in all directions.
3 Monkey PointNamed because of the natural sculpture of the stones which looks like three monkeys sitting beside each other and portraying 3 monkeys of Gandhiji..
In the 17th century Shivaji Maharaj took over Javli and Mahabaleshwar and constructed the Pratapgad fort in 1656.
In 1819, the British included the hills in the territory of the Raja of Satara. Col. Lodwick (Late General Sir ) stationed at Satara, in April 1824 with a contingent of soldiers and Indian guides climbed up the mountain face reaching what is now known as the Lodwick Point.
Starting with Sir John Malcolm in 1828, a succession of them from Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone, Arthur Malet (for whom the seat at "Point Arthur" is named), Carnac, Frere and many others became regular visitors.
Present day Mahabaleshwar came into existence in the year 1829-30. In old records it is mentioned as Malcolm Peth, but in practise today it is known as Mahabaleshwar.
Added to the scores of magnificent scenic "points", the perennial springs, streams, and waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar plateau, with its year round superb climate, drew the English and others to Mahabaleshwar. By the end of the 19th century it had become an attractive popular hill station of world renown. Raj Bhavan, the Summer residence of the Governor of Maharashtra, is also located here.
"Babington House", a magnificent colonial-style bungalow built in the shape of a cross with a deep varanda, elaborate metal work railing and extensive outhouses is considered Mahableshwar's most beautiful country house.
It was formerly one of the principal country seats of the Dubash family, a Parsi ship chandler dynasty from Bombay who sold it to the Rahejas in the early 1970s. It contains a central dining room with a 24-seater table and a lovely library pavilion with 1st edition books collected by the Dubash family, notably Jamsetjee "Jimmy" Kavasjee Dubash, a great bibliophil and art collector.
Khandala is a hill station in the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra,India, about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Lonavala and 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Karjat.
Mumbai-Pune Expressway from Rajmachi Garden, Khandala
|Elevation||550 m (1,800 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Khandala is located at one (top) end the Bhor Ghat, a major ghat (meaning valley in Marathi) on the road link between the Deccan Plateau and theKonkan plain. The ghat carries an extensive amount[clarification needed] of road and rail traffic. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the main link between the major cities of Mumbai and Pune, passes through Khandala.
Due to the ease of accessibility from nearby cities, Khandala is a common area for hiking. One destination is the nearby peak of Duke's Nose, which offers a panoramic view of Khandala and the Bhor Ghat.
The route near Khandala sunset point and khopoli has been there since centuries used to connect the coastal cities like Sopara to Pune. The transport from base of khopoli was by carts both hand pulled and horse drawn, which was tarred during British time somewhere in 1840.
The railway route from Karjat to Pune was started under the guidance ofGreat Indian Peninsula Railway Chief Engineer 1849–1862: James Berkley (surveyor and route designer). The chief Engineer had a bungalow near the current day st Xaviers Villa in Khandala facing towards Duke's nose hill, The construction of the Khandala tunnel was a herculean job as the tunnel had to be bored through basalt. There were four bouts of cholera in Khandala during the construction of the Tunnels and Khandala Railway station, Which is well documented by the paper published by sir James Berkley.
The another notable place of visit is the Ancient Jail which was built in 1896, in which founders of St Xaviers college were jailed as POWs by the British masters.
Places of interest
Tiger's Leap : It is one of the most fascinating places in this area. If someone carefully observes the valley from this point, it will appear as if a tiger is leaping into the valley.
Amrutanjan Point : Amrutanjan point is yet another point located high up in Khandala. It provides excellent view of the places nearby. The point is a well suited location for an enormous sight of the valley as well as the Duke's Nose.
Duke's Nose : Duke's Nose, also known as 'Nagfani' is named after Duke Wellington, who had a pointed nose resembling the cliff.
Karla and Bhaja Cave : Karla and Bhaja Caves are historical rock cut caves, situated at a distance of 16 km from Khandala. Karla Caves are the ancient Buddhist caves. Bhaja Caves are similar to Karla Caves but are on a much smaller scale. This caves are also in Chaitya style.
Bhushi Lake : Bhushi Lake situated in Khandala is the ideal spot for all those who wish to relax in the lap of Mother Nature. Its serene and tranquil surroundings and crystal clear water provides immense opportunities for the tourists to rest in peace.
See alsoThe town was mentioned in a popular song from the Hindi film Ghulam named "Aati kya Khandala?" ("Will you come to Khandala?"). Ashok Kumar's character in the 1975 classic Chhoti Si Baat is a retired army Colonel that lives in Khandala.In popular culture
There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorama Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is dramatic. The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the One Tree Hill Point, Hart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, and more.
HistoryMatheran was discovered by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the then district collector of Thane district in May 1850. Lord Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay laid the foundations of the development as a future hill station. The British developed Matheran as a popular resort to beat the summer heat in the region. The Matheran Hill Railway was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and covers a distance of 20 km (12 mi), over large swathes of forest territory. The Matheran hill railway, also known as Matheran Light Railway (MLR), was inspected by UNESCO world heritage site officials but failed to make it to the list as a World Heritage Site. While, India's other Hill Railways like the Darjeeling Railway, the Kangra Valley Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway are already on the list.
Matheran has been declared an ecosensitive region by the Union Environment Ministry and can be called a Health Sanatorium in itself. The only form of automobile allowed in Matheran is an ambulance operated by the Municipality. No private automobiles are allowed. Within Matheran transport facilities available are horses and hand-pulled rickshaws.
C (90 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F). Matheran has a huge number of medicinal plants and herbs. The town also has a large monkey population, including Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs. The nearby Lake Charlotte is the main source of Matheran's drinking water.
Languages spoken include Marathi, Hindi, and English. There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth. There are many "points" (viewpoints) in Matheran which give a panoramic view of the plains below.
DemographicsAs of 2001 India census, Matheran had a population of 5139. Males constitute 58% of the population and females 42%. Matheran has an average literacy rate of 71%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 66%. In Matheran, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
GeographyMatheran is located at . It has an average elevation of 800 metres (2224 feet).
|[hide]Climate data for Matheran|
|Average high °C (°F)||28
|Average low °C (°F)||13
|Precipitation mm (inches)||2.0
|Source: Government of Maharashtra|