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State of India
From top-left in clockwise direction: the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, the Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and a statue of Ganesha
From top-left in clockwise direction: the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, the Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and a statue of Ganesha
Official seal of Maharashtra
Location of Maharashtra in India
Location of Maharashtra in India
Map of Maharashtra
Map of Maharashtra
Coordinates (Mumbai): 18°58′N 72°49′E / 18.96°N 72.82°E / 18.96; 72.82Coordinates: 18°58′N 72°49′E / 18.96°N 72.82°E / 18.96; 72.82
Established1 May 1960 (Maharashtra Day)
Largest cityMumbai
Districts35 total
 • BodyGovernment of Maharashtra
 • GovernorK. Sankaranarayanan
 • Chief MinisterPrithviraj Chavan (INC)
 • LegislatureBicameral
(288 + 78 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency48
 • High CourtBombay High Court
 • Total307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total112,372,972
 • Rank2nd
 • Density370/km2 (950/sq mi)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-MH
HDIIncrease 0.689 (medium)
HDI rank12th (2005)
Literacy82.9% (6th)
Sex Ratio925 (2011)[2]
Official languagesMarathi[3][4]
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State of India
From top-left in clockwise direction: the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, the Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and a statue of Ganesha
From top-left in clockwise direction: the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, the Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and a statue of Ganesha
Official seal of Maharashtra
Location of Maharashtra in India
Location of Maharashtra in India
Map of Maharashtra
Map of Maharashtra
Coordinates (Mumbai): 18°58′N 72°49′E / 18.96°N 72.82°E / 18.96; 72.82Coordinates: 18°58′N 72°49′E / 18.96°N 72.82°E / 18.96; 72.82
Established1 May 1960 (Maharashtra Day)
Largest cityMumbai
Districts35 total
 • BodyGovernment of Maharashtra
 • GovernorK. Sankaranarayanan
 • Chief MinisterPrithviraj Chavan (INC)
 • LegislatureBicameral
(288 + 78 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency48
 • High CourtBombay High Court
 • Total307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total112,372,972
 • Rank2nd
 • Density370/km2 (950/sq mi)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-MH
HDIIncrease 0.689 (medium)
HDI rank12th (2005)
Literacy82.9% (6th)
Sex Ratio925 (2011)[2]
Official languagesMarathi[3][4]

Maharashtra (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र,Urdu: اڒڜٮٮٲ ڛشار‎), is a state in the western region of India. It is the second most populous state after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India. Maharashtra is the wealthiest state in India, contributing 15% of the country's industrial output and 13.3% of its GDP (2006–2007 figures).[5]

Maharashtra is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Gujarat and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the northwest, Madhya Pradesh to the north and northeast, Chhattisgarh to the east, Karnataka to the south, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast and Goa to the southwest. The state covers an area of 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi) or 9.84% of the total geographical area of India. Mumbai, the capital city of the state, is India's largest city and the financial capital of the nation. Maharashtra is the world's second most populous first-level administrative country sub-division. Were it a nation in its own right, Maharashtra would be the world's twelfth most populous country ahead of Philippines.

In the 16th century, the Marathas rose under the leadership of Shivaji against 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 of Bombay State under the British Raj. After Indian independence, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded unification of all Marathi-speaking regions under one state. At that time, 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".[6] 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,[7] and the word Marhatta (later used for the Marathas) is found in the Jain Maharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain.[8]

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.[8] The word rashtrika is a Sanskritised form of Ratta, the name of a tribe or a dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in the Deccan region.[9] 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.[9][10]

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.[8] 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.[8]


Painting from the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, sixth century

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.[11][12] The name Maharashtra also appeared in a 7th-century inscription and in the account of a Chinese traveller, Hiuen-Tsang.[11] In 90 AD Vedishri,[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] The Arab traveler Sulaiman called the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty (Amoghavarsha) as "one of the 4 great kings of the world".[16] From the early 11th century to the 12th century the Deccan Plateau was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty.[17] 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 I and Vikramaditya VI.[18]

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 by Sultanate 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.

Maharashtra, as part of the Bombay Presidency in 1909

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 of Gwalior,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 of Hyderabad'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, called Marathwada, 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 like Bal 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 separate Gujarat 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.

Geography and climate[edit]

Satara mountains
Deccan Traps
Shivasagar Lake located in Satara district.

Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching nearly 720 kilometers along the Arabian Sea.[19] The Sahyadri Mountain ranges provide a physical backbone to the state on the west, while the Satpura Hills along the north and Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the east serve as it’s natural borders.[20] The State is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.[19][19]

Maharashtra is the second most populous state and third largest state by area in India.[21] 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.[20] 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).[22] Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris, near Nashik city is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra.[23] 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.[19] 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.[19][24]

Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea.[25] Kandesh is the northwestern region lying in the valley of the Tapti River.[24] Jalgaon, Dhulia and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region.[26] Desh is in the centre of the state.[27] Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state.[19][28] Aurangabad is the main city of the region.[29] Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur is the main city in the region.[19] Physical features of Maharsahtra divided into Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'.[22] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32] These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.[19][33]

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.[34] 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.[34] 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.[34] 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.[34]


State symbols of Maharashtra
State animalIndian Giant SquirrelMalabar giant sqirrel.jpg
State birdYellow-footed Green PigeonYellow-footed Green-Pigeon (Treron phoenicopterus) male-8.jpg
State treeMangoMangues.JPG
State flowerLagerstroemiaCrepe Myrtle.jpg
State danceLavaniChani lavni dancer 01.jpg
State sportKabaddiGame-asia-kabadi.jpg
refer caption
Oriental Garden Lizard at Chandoli National Park

The flora of Maharashtra is heterogeneous in composition. As of 2012, recorded thick forest area in the state is 61,939 km2 (23,915 sq mi) which is about 20.13% of the state's geographical area.[35] There are 3 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).[36] The flora of regions such as Nag region formed by Nagpur, districts, districts and Gadchiroli and the plateau of Vidarbha composed by Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola and Buldhana.[35] Most of the forests are found in the Sahyadri region and are very dense.[37] 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 reserves 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.[38] 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.[39]

The most common animals which are found in the state are Tigers, Black panthers, Leopards, Bisons, Sloth bears, Sambar, Four-headed antelope, Blue Bull, Chital, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Civet cats, Jackals, Jungle cats, Spotted hyena, and Hare.[40] Other animals in the state include reptiles such as lizards, cobras and kraits.[38] The national parks of Maharashtra posses of 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.[41]

Regions, divisions and districts[edit]

refer caption
Divisions 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.[42]

  1. Amravati
  2. Aurangabad
  3. Konkan
  4. Nagpur
  5. Nashik

The following is a list of top 5 districts of by rank in India.[43]

RankDistrictPopulationGrowth rateSex ratioLiteracy
5Mumbai Suburban9,356,9628.29%86089.91

Each district is governed by a district collector or district magistrate, appointed either by the Indian Administrative Service or the Maharashtra Civil Service.[44] Each district is subdivided into sub-divisions, governed by a sub-divisional magistrate, and again into Blocks.[45] Blocks consists of panchayats (village councils) and town municipalities.[46][47] Talukas are intermediate level panchayat between the zilla panchayat (district councils) at the district level and gram panchayat (village councils) at the lower level.[45][48]


Religion in Maharashtra[50]

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.[51] The total population growth in 2011 is 15.99 percent while in previous decade it was 22.57 percent.[52][53] 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.[53] State has a large number of Uttar Pradesh diaspora.[54] 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.[55]

The official language is Marathi.[56] But different regions have their own dialects.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59] It is replaced by the letter y in the Varhadii dialect, which makes it quite distinct.[59] Urdu is mainly spoken in the Muslim majority areas of Mumbai and its suburbs, Marathwada and parts of the Khandesh.[58] 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.[60]

As of 2011, Hinduism is the principal religion at 82.5% of the total population, while Muslims comprise 13.4% of the total population, being the second-largest community as also the largest minority group; Sikhism, Christianity and other religions have considerable percentage of population to the total population in the state and make up the remainder.[61] Maharashtra is the largest concentration of Buddhism at 58.3%, where 73.4% of the total Buddhists in India reside.[62] The state contributes 9.28% of India's population.[63] Gender Ratio in Maharashtra is 925 females per 1000 males, which is below national average of 940 as per census 2011.[64] As of 2011, density of Maharashtra is 365 inhabitants per km2 which is lower than national average 382 per km2. After 1921, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg have registered negative growth rate -4.96% and –2.30% respectively, while Thane received highest growth 35.9% followed by Pune 30.3%.[65]

Literacy rate in Maharashtra has seen upward trend and is 83.2% as per 2011 population census.[66] Of that, male literacy stands at 89.82% while female literacy is at 75.48%.[51][67] In actual numbers, total literates in Maharashtra stands at 81,554,290 of which males were 45,257,584 and females were 36,296,706.[51]

Government and politics[edit]

Maharashtra has a parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Legislative Assembly consists of 288 members who are elected for five-year terms.[68] The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 78 members. The government 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.[69] The Chief Minister, along with the council of ministers, drives the legislative agenda and exercises most of the executive powers.[70] 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 the Union government.[71] The people of Maharashtra also elect 48 members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.[72] The members of the state Legislative Assembly elect 19 members to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.[73]

Men in traditional Indian dresses posing for a photograph
First session of the Indian National Congress in Bombay (28–31 December 1885)

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, 4 Nagar Panchayats and 7 Cantonment Boards.[53][74] 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 the Maharashtra 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.[75] 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.


Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost at Current Prices (2004–05 Base)[76]

figures in crores of Indian Rupees

YearNet State Domestic Product

Maharashtra is the most industrialized state and has maintained leading position in the industrial sector in India.[77] 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.

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.[78] State's per-capita income is 40% higher than the all-India average.[79] 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 INR1524.9 million (US$24 million), with a total revenue of INR1367117.0 million (US$22 billion) and a spending of INR1365592.1 million (US$22 billion).[78] Maharashtra ranks 1st in FDI equity and percentage share of total FDI inflows is 32.28%. Total FDI inflows into Maharashtra are US$ 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%).[78]

refer caption
The Bombay Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in Asia.

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.[80] 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.[80] 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.[80] 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%).[81] State is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, including Hindustan 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.[80]

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). As of 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.


The state has a large, multimodal transportation system with the largest road network in India. As of 2011, the total length of surface road in Maharashtra is 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).

refer caption
A container ship at JNPT

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 rickshaws which 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.

There are nearly around 48 minor ports in Maharashtra.[82] 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.[82][82]

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 and Churchgate respectively.[83][84] The Mumbai Rajdhani Express the fastest rajdhani train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Mumbai.[85] 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.

refer caption
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is among the busiest airports in India

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) while Reliance Airport Developers (RADPL), currently operate five non – metro airports at Latur, Nanded, Baramati, Osmanabad and Yavatmal on a 95-year lease.[86] The Maharashtra 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.[87] Almost all the major cities of Maharashtra have airports. Sahara (International) and Santa Cruz (Domestic) are the two airports in Mumbai. Maharashtra has three international airports viz. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai), 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.

Education and social development[edit]

Maharashtra has good human resource development infrastructure in terms of educational institutions—301 engineering/diploma colleges, 616 industrial training institutes and more than 24 universities[88] with a turnout of 160,000 technocrats every year.[89]

It is home to institutions like Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) which developed India's supercomputer, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT Mumbai), Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur (VNIT), Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Sardar Patel College of Engineering, University Department of Chemical Technology, Army Institute of Technology Pune (AIT), College of Engineering Pune (COEP), Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT, Pune), Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT, pune) National Academy of Direct Taxes Nagpur, Fergusson College, Pune, National Power Training Institute Nagpur, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences Wardha, Government College of Engineering Aurangabad, Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Nagpur, Government College of Engineering Amravati, Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management Nagpur, Government Dental College and Hospital Nagpur, Government Medical College Nagpur, Government College of Engineering Karad, Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli (WCES), Shri Guru Gobind Singhji Institute of Engineering and Technology Nanded (SGGSIE&T), Laxminarayan Institute of Technology (LIT) Nagpur, Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital and top management institutions.[89] 50,000 youth trained to take up self-employment ventures every year by the Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED), Aurangabad.

IIT Mumbai main building

The literacy rate is well above the national average at 82.9%.[89] University of Mumbai, one of the largest universities in the world in terms of the number of graduates.[90] The Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai),[91] Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI),[92] and University Institute of Chemical Technology (UICT),[93] which are India's premier engineering and technology schools, and SNDT Women's University are the other autonomous universities in Mumbai.[94]

Mumbai is home to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR) and several other management schools.[95] Government Law College and Sydenham College, respectively the oldest law and commerce colleges in India, are based in Mumbai.[96][97] The Sir J. J. School of Art is Mumbai's oldest art institution.[98] College of Engineering Pune, established in 1854 is the third oldest college in Asia.

Mumbai is home to two prominent research institutions: the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).[99] The BARC operates CIRUS, a 40 MW nuclear research reactor at their facility in Trombay.[100]

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.

ILS Law College, established by the Indian Law Society is one of the top ten law schools in India. Established medical schools such as the Armed Forces Medical College and Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College train students from all over Maharashtra and India and are amongst the top medical colleges in India. Military Nursing College (affiliated to the AFMC) ranks among the top nursing colleges in the world.[101]

The University of Nagpur, established in 1923, one of the oldest universities in India, manages more than 24 engineering colleges, 43 science colleges and many colleges in the Arts and Commerce faculties. Nagpur is the home for Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) (also referred to as NIT, Nagpur, formerly known as Visvesvaraya Regional College of Engineering (VRCE), Nagpur) is one of the first six Regional Engineering Colleges established under the scheme sponsored by Government of India and the Maharashtra State Government and is one of the Institutes of National Importance.

Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya is at Wardha which is famous for Mahatma Gandhi's Sewagram Ashram. This is world's sole Hindi university and is managed directly by Govt. of India. President of India is its ex-officio chancellor. Students of this university are all over world. Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti has its headquarters at Wardha. This institute was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. It also has branches worldwide.

The geographical centre of India lies at Nagpur, known as Zero Mile Stone. Nagpur is the headquarters for Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and an important location for the Dalit Buddhist movement. Nagpur is also called as orange city of India as it has largest productions of oranges. It also has the National Fire Institution and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC-Western zone).

Maharashtra in total, has 50% India's Internet users and 45% of PC penetration in the country.[102][103]


Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi, a popular festival in the state
Hindu Goddess Mahalakhsmi in Mahalakshmi temple Kolhapur

Aashadi Ekadashi is one of most important festivals celebrated across Maharashtra. It is also referred to as 'Wari' and pilgrimage from all over Maharashtra, Karnataka and other parts of India walk to Pandharpur from their respective villages.

Devotion to the god Ganesh is celebrated in the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in August–September of every year.[104] Town of Pen in Raigad district is famous for Ganesh Idols made of special Shadu Clay. Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, Lalbaugcha Raja, Shri Siddhivinayak Temple, Shri Ashtavinayaka's are the major holy places for Maharashtrians.

Popular deities are Shiva, Krishna and Ganesha. Shiva's devotion is celebrated by taking part in Maha Shivaratri (Great Night of Shiva) festival. In modern times, the Elephanta island in Mumbai, Lord's Shiva island in local mythology, originated the Elephant Festival.

Festivals devoted to Krishna are Gokul Ashtami (or Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna's birthday) whereby many devotees fast on the entire day until midnight. The Dahi-Handi is also observed on this day at many places.[105] Lord Krishna's devotion are also celebrated at Kaartik Aamawasya (or Diwali) and at Narak Chaturdashi as the killing of the demon Narakasura.

The other festivals celebrated on a large scale are Vijayadashami or Dasara (Marathi: दसरा), Navaratri, Holi, Diwali, Eid (Ramzan Eid). Simollanghan is a ritual performed on Dasara or Viajaya Dashami day in Maharashtra. Simollanghan is crossing the border or frontier of a village or a place. In ancient times, kings used to cross the frontier of their kingdom to fight against their rivals or neighbour kingdoms. They used to perform Ayudha Puja on Dasara and begin the war season. On Dasara, people cross the borders of their places (Seemollanghan) and collect the leaves of Apta tree and exchange among their friends and relatives as gold.[106] People worship Shami tree and its leaves on this day. Shiv Jayanti started by Lokmanya Tilak is also celebrated on a large scale in Maharashtra as well as out of Maharashtra.

Saints (sant)[edit]

Gopuram of a Pandharpur temple near Vithoba's central temple.

Maharashtra has produced or been closely associated with many saints throughout its history. These have risen from all across the several castes. Some of the very revered examples of Bhakti saints are Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Savta Mali, Tukaram, Namdev, Gora Kumbhar, Samarth Ramdas and Chokhamela. There have also been several other Harijan saints such as Sant Banka Mahar, Sant Bhagu, Sant Damaji panth, Sant Kanhopatra, Sant Karmamelam, Sant Nirmala, Sant Sadna, Sant Sakhubai, Sant Satyakam Jabali, and Sant Soyarabai. It has also been the birthplace and home of world-reputed saints like Sai Baba of Shirdi, Gajanan Maharaj of shegaon, Swami Shukadas Maharaj, Swami Samarth Maharaj, and Meher Baba, whose tomb-shrine in Meherabad has become a place of world pilgrimage. Maharashtra is also equally famous for ardent devotees (or Bhaktas). For example, Namdev Mahar and his wife Bhagubai from Kharagpur[107] are both devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba. The Sai Baba template in Shirdi is the second richest one in the country,[108][109] a close second after the Lord Tirupati temples at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh.

Border dispute[edit]

Maharashtra has a border dispute with the neighbouring state of Karnataka over the district of Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani. Belgaum was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state (now Karnataka) with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956), which reorganised India's states along linguistic lines despite having about three-fourths of the total population[110] speaking Marathi. Since then, Maharashtra has continued to claim the district. While the case is awaiting a verdict in the Supreme Court of India, the Government of Maharashtra wants the Central government to declare Belgaum and adjoining 865 villages as a Union Territory.[111] Karnataka has rejected the move, insisting that Marathis in Karnataka were safe and lived in harmony.[112]

Principal urban agglomerations[edit]

Mumbai, the Administrative Capital of Maharashtra, is also the financial capital city of India.
Shalimar-CBS Road Nashik
"Zero Mile Stone" located at Nagpur

Maharashtra has one of the highest level of urbanisation of all Indian states.[113] 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.[114][115] 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.


Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra. Maharashtrians take great pride in their language and history, particularly the Maratha Empire, its founder Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is considered a folk hero across Maharashtra. About 80% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and there are significant Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities. There are many temples in Maharashtra some of them being hundreds of years old. These temples are constructed in a fusion of architectural styles borrowed from North and South India. The temples also blend themes from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cultures. A National Geographic[123] edition reads, "The flow between faiths was such that for hundreds of years, almost all Buddhist temples, including the ones at Ajanta, were built under the rule and patronage of Hindu kings." The temple of Vitthal at Pandharpur is the most important temple for the Varkari sect. Other important religious places are the Ashtavinayaka temples of Lord Ganesha, Bhimashankar which is one of the Jyotirling (12 important Shiva temples). Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad as well as Elephanta Caves near Mumbai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous tourist attractions. Mughal architecture can be seen is the tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb called Bibi Ka Maqbara located at Aurangabad.

In 1708, the year following the death of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs came over to Nanded, his permanent abode. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. This elevates the reverence of Granth to that of a living Guru. A monument has been constructed at place where he breathed his last. Maharaja Ranjit Singh's endowment saw the construction of a beautiful Gurudwara at Nanded around 1835 AD. The Gurudwara features an imposing golden dome with intricate carvings and a breathtakingly beautiful artwork. It is known as Shri Huzur Abchalnagar Sachkhand Gurudwara.

Maharashtra has a large number of hill, land and sea forts. 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, Sindhudurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad. Majority of the forts in Maharashtra are found along the coastal region of Konkan.

Maharashtra, like other states of India, has its own folk music. 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.

The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Jnyaneshwar with his Bhawarthadeepika (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. These bhajans by saints are popular and part of day-to-day life. During same period of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a great patriotic saint wandered in the soil of Maharashtra, Samarth Ramdas.He wrote many books such as Dasbodh, Atmaram, Manache shlok, and also enriched Marathi literature by using almost all types of Vruttas like Karunashtake, sawaya, shatakas, ashtakas, manas, purvarambha, panchikarana etcThe modern Marathi literature has been enriched by famous poets and authors like P. L. Deshpande, Kusumagraj, Prahlad Keshav Atre and Vyankatesh Madgulkar. This literature has been passed on to the next generations through the medium of large numbers of books that are published every year in Marathi.

The film industry Bollywood is in Maharashtra, located in the economic capital of India, Mumbai. The Marathi film industry was once placed in Kolhapur but now is spread out through Mumbai too. The pioneer of Indian movie industry, Bharat Ratna Shri Dadasaheb Phalke, producer & director V. Shantaram, B.R. Chopra, Shakti Samanta, Raj Kapoor, form a few names of the Hindi film fraternity, while writer, director, and actor P. L. Deshpande, actor Ashok Saraf, actor Laxmikant Berde, actor & producer, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Mahesh Kothare belong to the Marathi film industry. Dada Kondke was the most popular name in Marathi film industry. The early period of Marathi theatre was dominated by playwrights like Kolhatkar, Khadilkar, Deval, Gadkari and Kirloskar who enriched the Marathi theatre for about half a century with excellent musical plays known as Sangeet Naatak. The genre of music used in such plays is known as Natyasangeet. It is during this era of the Marathi theatre that great singer-actors like Bal Gandharva, Keshavrao Bhosle, Bhaurao Kolhatkar and Deenanath Mangeshkar thrived.

Some of the popular Marathi television news channels are IBN Lokmat, Star Majha, Zee Talkies, Zee Chovis Taas and entertainment channels areMi Marathi, DD Sahyadri, Zee Marathi, Zee Talkies, ETV Marathi, Star pravah and Saam TV which host shows ranging from soap operas, cooking and travel to political satire and game shows.

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), Modak and chivada 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.

Women traditionally wear a nine-yard or five-yard sari and men a dhoti or pajama with a shirt. This, however, is changing with women in urban Maharashtra wearing Punjabi dresses, consisting of a Salwar and a Kurta while men wear trousers and a shirt.

The cricket craze can be seen throughout Maharashtra, as it is the most widely followed and played sport. Kabaddi and hockey are also played with fervour. Children's games include Viti-Dandu (Gilli-danda in Hindi) and Pakada-pakadi (tag).

Hindus in Maharashtra follow the Shalivahana Saka era calendar. Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Rangapanchami, Gokulashtami and Ganeshotsav are some of the festivals that are celebrated in Maharashtra. Ganeshotsav is one of the biggest festival of Maharashtra which is celebrated with much reverence and festivity throughout the state and has since some time become popular all over the country. The festival which continues over ten days is in honour of Ganesha, the deva (like guardian angel ) of learning and knowledge under the one supreme lord . A large number of people walk hundreds of kilometres to Pandharpur for the annual pilgrimage in the month of Ashadh.

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