Knowledge Corner

Maharashtra is a state in the western region of India and is India’s third-largest state by area and is also theworld’s second-most populous sub-national entity. It has over 120 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population of approximately 18 million. Nagpur is Maharashtra’s second capital as well as winter capital. Maharashtra’s business opportunities along with its potential to offer a higher standard of living attract migrants from all over India.

Ancient and medieval Maharashtra included the empires of the Satavahana dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Western Chalukyas, Mughals and Marathas. 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 major rivers of the state are Godavari, Krishna, Narmada and Tapi. Maharashtra is the second most urbanised state in India. The state has several tourist destinations including the popular Hindu places of pilgrimage, Pandharpur, Dehu and Alandi. Other places that attract pilgrims from other parts of India and beyond include Hazur Sahib Gurudwara at Nanded, and Sai Baba shrine at Shirdi.

Maharashtra is one of the wealthiest and the most developed states in India, contributing 25% of the country’s industrial output and 23.2% of its GDP (2010–11). As of 2011, the state had a per capita income of ₹1.0035 lakh (US$1,500), more than the national average of ₹0.73 lakh (US$1,100). Its GDP per capita crossed the ₹1.20 lakh (US$1,800) threshold for the first time in 2013, making it one of the richest states in India. However, as of 2014, the GDP per capita reduced to ₹1.03 lakh (US$1,500). Agriculture and industries are the largest parts of the state’s economy. Major industries include chemical products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products.


The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit, and the word Mahratta (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. The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharatta is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. But the Marathas as a people do not seem to be mentioned before the thirteenth or fourteenth century.

Maharashtra was ruled by the Maurya Empire in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. Around 230 BCE Maharashtra came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty for 400 years. The greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautamiputra Satakarni. In 90 CE 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. The state was also ruled by Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Gurjara-Pratihara, Vakataka, Kadambas, Chalukya Empire,Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya before finally, the Yadava rule. The Buddhist Ajanta Caves in present-day Aurangabad display influences from the Satavahana and Vakataka style. The caves were possibly excavated during this period. The Chalukya dynasty ruled from the 6th century to the 8th century CE and the two prominent rulers were Pulakeshin 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 traveller Sulaiman described 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, which includes a significant part of Maharashtra, was dominated by the Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola dynasty.[21] 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, Someshvara I and 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 Tughluqconquered parts of the Deccan, and temporarily shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Maharashtra. After the collapse of the Tughluqs 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 five Deccan Sultanates: Nizamshah of Ahmednagar,Adilshah of Bijapur, Qutubshah of Golkonda, Bidarshah of Bidar and Imadshah of Elichpur. These kingdoms often fought with each other. United, they decisively defeated the Vijayanagara Empireof the south in 1565. The present area of Mumbai was ruled by the Sultanate of Gujarat before its capture by Portugal in 1535 and the Faruqi dynasty ruled the Khandesh region between 1382 and 1601 before finally getting annexed by the Mughal Empire. Malik Ambar, the regent of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar from 1607 to 1626. increased the strength and power of Murtaza Nizam Shah and raised a large army. Malik Ambar is said to have been a proponent of guerilla warfare in the Deccan region. Malik Ambar assisted Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in Delhi against 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 who had served Ahmadnagar Nizamshahi , the Mughals and Adil Shah of Bijapur at different periods during his career, attempted to establish his independent rule. His son Shivaji succeeded in establishing the Maratha Empire which was further expanded during the 18th century by the Bhat family Peshwasbased in Pune, Bhonsle of Nagpur, Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar of Indore, Scindia of Gwalior. At its peak, the empire covered much of the subcontinent, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km². The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. The Marathas defeated the Mughals, and conquered large territories in northern and central parts of the Indian subcontinent. After their defeat at the hand of Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Afghan forces in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Maratha suffered a setback. However, the Marathas soon regained lost influence and ruled central and north India including New Delhi until 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 Marathas also developed a potent Navy circa 1660s, which at its peak, dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India from Mumbai to Savantwadi. It would engage in attacking the British, Portuguese, Dutch, and Siddi Naval ships and kept a check on their naval ambitions. The Maratha Navy dominated till around the 1730s, was in a state of decline by 1770s, and ceased to exist by 1818.


Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching 840 kilometres along the Arabian Sea. One of the more prominent physical features of Maharsahtra is the 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. The Western Ghats (or the Sahyadri Mountain range) 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 its natural borders. The state is surrounded by Gujarat to the north west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south east, Karnataka to the south and Goa to the south west.

Maharashtra is the third largest state by area in India. Its coastline is 840 km long along the Arabian Sea. 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. A majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. The main rivers of the state are Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and Wardha-Wainganga. Since the central parts of the state receives low rainfall, most of the rivers in the region have multiple dams. Maharashtra has around 1821 notable large dams.


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 was 15.99 percent while in the previous decade it was 22.57 percent. Since independence, the decadal growth rate of population has remained higher (except in the year 1971) than the national average. For the first time, in the year 2011, it was found to be lower than the national average. The 2011 census for the state found 55% of the population to be rural with 45% being urban based. The state has a large number of Uttar Pradesh diaspora. Marathis comprise the majority of the population. Bihari, Gujarati,Sindhis, Punjabis, Parsis, Marwari, Kannada and Tamil minorities are scattered throughout the state. The 2011 census found scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to account for 11.8 and 8.9% of the population respectively. The scheduled tribes include adivasis such as Thakar, Warli, Konkana and Halba.

Skill Test

1. Which of the following statement regarding Mumbai is Incorrect?

2. Name the person who was not a part of Shivaji’s ‘Asta Pradhan’.

3. Which is the state bird of Maharashtra?

4. When was the Battle of Assaye fought between the Marathas and the British?

5. In which year was the state of Maharashtra formed?

6. Name the city that is known as the ‘Oxford of the East’.

7. Name the largest district of Maharashtra.

8. Why the Marathas did collected ‘Sardeshmukhi’ and ‘Chauth’?

9. On the banks of which river is Nasik located?

10. In which place did the last King of Myanmar live?

11. Which state has the maximum districts in India?

12. Name the state that borders Maharashtra from the east.

13. Where is the Central Bee Research & Training Institute located?

14. When was Bombay renamed as Mumbai?

15. What is the total area of Maharashtra?

16. Name the highest point in the state of Maharashtra.

17. Which district of Maharashtra has the Taj of Deccan or ‘Bibi ka Maqbara’?

18. Name the city where the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology located.

19. Name the official language of Maharashtra.

20. Name the sea that borders Maharashtra from the west.

21. Name the state which is the largest sugar producer of India.

22. When the transfer of Bombay to the East India Company did take place?