Information About Maharashtra
Maharashtra name may have originated from rathi, which means, “chariot driver”. At that age Maharashtra was full of builders and drivers of chariots who formed a maharathis, a “fighting force.” In 90 A.D. king Vedishri made Junnar, thirty miles north of Pune, the capital of his kingdom. In the early fourteenth century the Devgiri Yadavs were overthrown by the northern Muslim powers. Then on, for the 900 years ending, no historical information in this region is available. In 1526, first Mughal king, Babar, established his prominence in Delhi and soon the Mughal power spread to the southern India. The Mughals were to dominate India till the early eighteenth century.
Chhattrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale, founder of the Maratha Empire. He took the oath to make the land free at the fort Torna at the age of sixteen. This was the start of his lifelong struggle against Mughals and other Muslim powers. By 1680, the year of Shivaji’s death, nearly whole of the Deccan belonged to his kingdom. Shivaji’s achievements amongst monumental difficulties were really spectacular and that is why he holds the highest place in Maratha history.
Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km (119,000 mi), and is the third largest state in India. It is bordered by the states of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the southwest. The state of Gujarat lies to the northwest, with the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sandwiched in between. The Arabian Sea makes up Maharashtra’s west coast.
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. The Western Ghats form one of the three watersheds of India, from which many South Indian rivers originate, notable among them being Godavari River, and Krishna, which flow eastward into the Bay of Bengal, forming one of the greatest river basins in India.
Favourable economic policies in the 1970s led to Maharashtra becoming India’s leading industrial state in the last quarter of 20th century. Over 41% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Maharashtra. However, regions within Maharashtra show wide disparity in development. Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Aurangabad and western Maharashtra are the most developed.
Maharashtra is India’s leading industrial state contributing 15% of national industrial output and over 40% of India’s national revenue. 64.14% of the people are employed in agriculture and allied activities. Almost 46% of the GSDP is contributed by industry. Major industries in Maharashtra include chemical and allied products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products. Other important industries include metal products, wine, jewellery, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, machine tools, steel and iron castings and plastic wares. Food crops include mangoes, grapes, bananas, oranges, wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, and pulses. Cash crops include groundnut, cotton, sugarcane, turmeric, and tobacco. The net irrigated area totals 33,500 square kilometres.
Mumbai, the administrative capital of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India, houses the headquarters of almost all major banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and mutual funds in India. India’s largest stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange, the oldest in Asia, is also located in the city. After successes in the information technology in the neighboring states, Maharashtra has set up software parks in Pune, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Nashik, Now Maharashtra is the second largest exporter of software with annual exports of Indian Rupee 18,000 crore (US$3.91 billion) and accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country’s software exports, with over 1,200 software units based in the state.
Mumbai is the home for the world’s largest film industry- Bollywood, Hindi filmmaking industry. Maharashtra ranks first nationwide in coal-based thermal electricity as well as nuclear electricity generation with national market shares of over 13% and 17% respectively.
Prominent Indian and foreign automobile makers such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Skoda Auto, Fiat, General Motors and Volkswagen are also either based in or have a manufacturing presence in Maharashtra.
Flora and fauna
Several wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and Project Tiger reserves have been created in Maharashtra, with the aim of conserving the rich bio-diversity of the region. The State Maharashtra have five national parks and it has 35 wildlife sanctuaries spread all over the state, some of them listed here:
- Navegaon National Park, located near Gondia in the eastern region of Vidarbha is home to many species of birds, deer, bears and leopards.
- Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project, a prominent tiger reserve near Chandrapur in Vidarbha. It is 40 km away from Chandrapur.
- Pench National Park, in Nagpur district, extends into Madhya Pradesh as well. It has now been upgraded into a Tiger project.
- Chandoli National Park, located in Sangli district has a vast variety of flora and fauna. The famous Prachitgad Fort and Chandoli dam and scenic water falls can be found around Chandoli National Park.
- Gugamal National Park, also known as Melghat Tiger Reserve is located in Amravati district. It is 80 km away from Amravati.
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park, also known as Borivali National Park is located in Mumbai and is the world’s largest national park within city limits.
- Nagzira wildlife sanctuary lies in Tirora Range of Bhandara Forest Division, in Gondia district of Vidarbha region. The sanctuary is enclosed in the arms of the nature and adorned with exquisite landscape. The sanctuary consists of a range of hills with small lakes within its boundary. These lakes not only guarantee a source of water to wildlife throughout the year, but also greatly heighten the beauty of the landscape.
- Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, a man made wildlife sanctuary situated 30 km from Sangli. Ancient temples of Lord Shiva and Jain Temple of Parshwanath located in Sagareshwar are a major attraction.
- Maldhok Sanctuary, situated in Solapur district. Some of its part is in Ahmednagar district. The sanctuary is for a bird which is sometimes known as The Great Indian Bustard.
Apart from the above, Matheran, a Hill station near Mumbai has been declared an eco-sensitive zone (protected area) by the Government of India.