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History of Maharashtra

History of Maharashtra

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Published by Rahul Saloskar
history of maharashtra
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Published by: Rahul Saloskar on Nov 20, 2010
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History of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is located in the western region of India. It is India's third largest state with respect to size and the secondlargest populated state. Mumbai, a cosmopolitan city, is the capital of Maharashtra. It is said to be the entertainment andfinancial capital of India.
History of Maharashtra
dates back to the ancient times.The recorded
history of Maharashtra
dates to the third century BC, and during those days, Ashoka used to rule this regionas a part of the Mauryan Empire. After the decline of the Mauryan dynasty, the Satavahanas ruled Maharashtra during 230BC to 225 AD. During their reign, Maharashtra saw great cultural development. The official language of the Satvahanas wasMaharashtri, which gradually evolved over centuries to take the shape of modern-day Marathi. Gautamiputra Satkarni, oneof the famous rulers of the Satavahana dynasty, is credited with starting the Shalivahana era; a calendar which is still inusage among a section of the Marathi people.Vakatas, the Rashtrakutas, Kalachuris, Chalukyas and the Yadavas followed the Satavahanas, and they established their successive regimes in the region. From 753 AD to 973 AD, the region was ruled by the Rashtrakutas, and then by theChalukyas of Badami. By 1189, Maharashtra was being governed by the Yadavas of Deogiri. The Chinese traveller, HuenTsang, visited Maharashtra between 640- 641AD. He was very impressed by the prosperity, administration and thecharacter of its local people.The Delhi Sultanate rulers, Ala-ud-din Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughluq captured some parts of the Deccan in the 13thcentury and ruled over Maharashtra. In 1347, the Bahmani Sultanate of Bijapur took the possession of this region andgoverned for the next 150 years. During the 16th century, the central part of Maharashtra was ruled by the Mughals such asAdilshah, Qutubshah and Nizamshah, and the coastal region by the Portuguese.In the beginning of the 17th century, Marathas began to gain political prominence. Shahaji Bhosale, a local general of greatambitions, attempted to establish his independent rule over Maharashtra. His ambitious son, Shivaji Bhosale was successfulto govern the state. Chhatrapati Raje Shivaji Bhosale was crowned as the king in 1674. Shivaji continuously battled with theimperialistic designs of the Mughal emperors such as Adil Shah and Aurangzeb. Shivaji Raje was the most popular,respected and successful king in the
history of Maharashtra.
Shivaji's grandson Shahuji Bhosle got to his throne with the help of Balaji Vishwanath, who outwitted and outmaneuveredRaje Sambhaji II - Shahuji's competitor to the Maratha throne, and son of Shahuji's aunt Tarabai. Raje Sambhaji II wasguided by Trarabai herself, who had set up a competing kingdom. But Bajai Vishwanath's ingenuity got the better of the twoand Shahuji eventually got his legitimate rule. Balaji Vishwanath later became Peshwa or Prime Minister to Shahuji Bhosleand started having a lot of say in the politics, economy and defence of the state. Shahu Bhosle is also responsible for starting a hereditary lineage of Peshwas. Balaji Vishwanath's son Bajirao I, whom Shahu Bhosle appointed as the successor Peshwa following Balaji Vishwanath's death, controlled Shahu Bhosle and Maharashtra from 1721 to 1740.After Shahuji's death in 1749, Peshwas took absolute control of all aspects of governance. After the defeat in the ThirdBattle of Panipat in 1761 from Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Maratha confederacy was disintegrated into regional kingdoms. After Panipat, the ex-generals of Peshwa governed the little kingdoms they were offered. However, the Peshwa family continuedto rule Pune.After the arrival of the British East India Company, there were three wars fought between the British and Marathas between1777 and 1818, which eventually resulted in establishing company's rule in Mahatrashtra. These wars are known in historyas the Anglo-Maratha Wars. The British ruled the region as a part of the Bombay Presidency. However, numerous Marathastates remained as princely states, who owed their allegiance to the British crown. The British rule was marked by severalsocial reforms, improvement in the infrastructure, and also a lot of discriminatory policies, which sparked opposition andresentment from various sections of the Maratha society.At the beginning of the 20th century, the struggle for independence was started by many revolutionaries. Among theimportant Maratha freedom fighters, the names of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Chapekar Brothers deserve specialmentions.After the Indian independence in 1947, western Maharashtra and Gujarat were combined as Bombay state. In 1956, thegeography of the Bombay state was increased with the inclusion of the predominantly Marathi-speaking regions of Marathwada, from the erstwhile Hyderabad state, and the Vidarbha region from Madhya Pradesh. In 1960, the Gujarati andMarathi linguistic areas of the former Bombay state were separated, and the present Maharashtra state came into being.
Geography of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is the third largest state of the Indian Union. It is also the second largest state by population, next to Uttar Pradesh. The
geography of Maharashtra
is spread across 3,08,000 square km. It shares its borders with Madhya Pradeshto the north, Karnataka to the south, Chhattisgarh to the east, Goa to the southwest and Andhra Pradesh to the southeast.Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are located to its northwest. The western coast of 
 is rinsed by the ArabianSea.India's most populous city, Mumbai, is the capital of the state of Maharashtra. It is a cosmopolitan city and considered as theentertainment and financial capital of the country. The most interesting part of the geography of Maharashtra is the presenceof the Western Ghats and the Deccan Plateau. This Deccan Plateau was originated from the cooling down of the lava duringthe periods of volcanic activities.
Geographical features of Maharashtra
The most dominating feature of 
geography of Maharashtra
is the Western Ghats. They run parallel to the Konkan coast.To the east of the Western Ghats lies the Deccan Plateau. Western Ghats are also called the Sahyadri Range inMaharashtra,in the Malabar region of Kerala, and in Karnataka. Its average elevation is 1200m. It blocks the monsoon windsand causes the rainfall in the eastern part of Maharashtra. The altitudes of the ranges are higher in Mahabaleshwar.Godavari and Krishna, the two major rivers of Maharashtra, originate from the Western Ghats.Deccan Plateau is bordered by the Eastern Ghats in the east and the Western Ghats in the west. It occupies most of thepeninsular portion of India. The major 
cities in Maharashtra
that come under the Deccan region are Solpaur, Pune andNagpur. The rocks observed in this region are granite and basalt.The main mountainous regions and hills in Maharashtra are Satpura range and Varandha, Sawantwadi and Tamhini Ghats.The Satpura ranges originated in Gujarat and pass through Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The Satpuraand the Gaikhuri Bhamragad Chiroli ranges are the chain of mountain ranges in the eastern part of Maharashtra. TheKonkan coastal region is stretched from Gujarat to Kerala. It is located at the west side of the Western Ghats, sandwichedbetween the Sahyadri range and the Arabian Sea.Out of the five major rivers in India, the holy Godavari river flows through Maharashtra. Other main rivers in Maharashtra areKrishna, Bhima, Purna, Wardha Wainganga, Narmada and Tapi. These rivers have formed the important features on theland surface of Maharashtra.Maharashtra has numerous lakes. Thane is known as the
city of lakes
as it has about 30 lakes. The most important lakes inMaharashtra are the Talao Pali Lake, the Upvan Lake, the Rankala Lake, the Ramkund Lake, the Lonar Lake, the VennaLake, the Pashan Lake, the Ambazari Lake and the Koyna Reservoir.The vegetation and the
soil in Maharashtra
are inextricably linked with its geology and climate. The Deccan Plateaucontains the black basalt soil, which is suitable for cotton cultivation. The Wardha Wainganga river valley contains the salinesoils and old crystalline rocks.The
climate in Maharashtra
is a tropical monsoon type. The onset of the monsoons is in the early June. Duration of therainy season is from June to September. The climatic conditions are cold from October end to February. You can experiencehigh temperatures from March to May. The average temperature in Maharashtra is about 25 to 27 degree centigradethroughout the year, which makes it a perfect destination for the tourists.The mineral-rich regions of Maharashtra are Vidarbha, southern Kolhapur and Sindhudurg. The important minerals of thestate are coal, iron ore, limestone and manganese. These minerals have enriched the
geography of Maharashtra
andthereby facilitated it to make an enduring contribution to the state's economy.
Culture of Maharashtra
Maharashtra is blessed with a rich and diversified cultural heritage. The state has several communities belonging to differentreligions, and a number of festivities colours the
culture of Maharashtra
with the spirit of exuberance. Some of the popular 
festivals that are celebrated in 
are Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gudhi Padwa, Dasara, Nag Panchami, GokulAshtmi, Narali Pournima, Pola, Makar Sankranti, Banganga Festival and Holi.
Ganesh Chaturthi
is the most important festival of Maharashtra and an integral part of the
culture of Maharashtra.
It isbeing celebrated in the month of August/September. It is performed to celebrate the mythical birth anniversary of LordGanesha. Here the idols of Lord Ganesha are placed on decorated seats, in raised platforms, in homes or elaboratelydecorated tents, and are being venerated by the people. The sizes of the Ganapathi idols vary from 3/4 th of an inch to 25feet. The culmination of this 11-day-long festival ends in a frenzy as crowds spill on the streets to immerse their idols in thewater. The procession is marked by singing and dancing, and an overwhelming spirit of gaiety pervades the atmosphere. InMumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi festival can give a fair indication of the euphoria of the Maharastrian people regarding thisfestival, and besides being a festive occasion, it is also a tourist attraction for the outsider in itself.Diwali is considered the greatest festival of the Hindus. It is popular all over India. This festival of lights is celebrated for four days. Pune Festival, Ellora Festival and Elephanta Caves Festival are the regional festivals that are celebrated in Pune,Aurangabad and Mumbai respectively. The Muslim communities celebrate the festivals like Eid and Moharram. AsMaharashtra's capital Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city, it has sizeable pockets of Christian population. They celebrate their festival like Christmas, which also attracts active participation from all other communities.As Maharashtrian people are very religious, there are many temples in different regions of Maharashtra. These temples arevery old and many of them have a singular architectural style, which is the combination of South and North Indian styles.They represent the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist
culture of Maharashtra
, all of which have strong historical linkages. Some of the religious destinations in Maharashtra are Pandharpur, Ashtavinayak (eight temple sites of Lord Ganesha),Bhimashankar, Kolhapur, Tuljapur and Nashik. There are also many dargahs and churches in Maharashtra.The folk dances are an integral part of the culture of Maharashtra. Various folk dances are performed during the festivalsand special occasions. They are representatives of the rich cultural heritage of Maharashtra. Some of the popular folkdances in Maharashtra are Lavni, Dhangari Gaja, Povadas, Koli dance and Tamasha. Dindi and Kala are the religious folkdances. Culture of Maharashtra is very glorious with a great variety. It gives a unique identity to the state.
 » Costumes of Maharashtra
Costumes of Maharashtra
It can be said that
costumes of Maharashtra
truly reflect the identity of a typical Maharashtrianculture. A nine yard sari is a traditional costume of its women, and dhoti and shirt is thetraditional costume of its men folk. Maharashtra has a vast textile history, which has contributedto its rich variety of costumes. Pune, Paithan and Kolhapur are some of the ideal places to shopfor typical Maharashtrian clothing.
Costumes of women
However, nowadays with the advent of modern and cosmopolitan fashion trends, the nine yardsari is mostly worn by the old ladies of previous generations. They call the sari as sadi or lugade.It covers about half the length of the back. Its width varies between 42 to 45 inches and it hastwo length wise borders, called as 'kanth' or 'kinar'. It has also two borders breadth wise at boththe ends, which is called as 'padar'. One side is more decorated than the other. The MarathaBrahmin ladies and ladies of other classes too wear this lugade with the hind pleats, which are

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