Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Maharashtra is a state located on the western coast of India. It is India's third largest state by area and second largest by population. It is also the richest state in India, contributing to 15% of the country's industrial output and 13.2% of its GDP in year 2005-06.
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 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 307,731 km2 (118,816 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. Marathi is the official and most widely spoken language.
In the 17th Century, the Marathas rose under the leadership of Chhatrapati Shivaji against the Mughals who were ruling a large part of India. After the third Anglo-Maratha war, the empire ended and most of Maharashtra became part of Bombay state under a British Raj. After Indian independence, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti demanded unification of all Marathi speaking regions under one state. The first state reorganization committee created the current Maharashtra state on May 1, 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 to form the current state.
Maharashtra has largest road network in India 267452 kilometers. National Highways in Maharashtra is 3688 kilometers. The Indian Railways covers most of the Maharashtra and is the preferred mode of transport over long distances. Almost the entire state comes under the Central Railways branch which is headquartered in Mumbai. Most of the coast south of Mumbai comes under the Konkan Railway. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) runs buses, popularly called ST for State Transport, linking most of the towns and villages in and around the state with a large network of operation. These buses, run by the state government are the preferred mode of transport for much of the populace. In addition to the government run buses, private run luxury buses are also a popular mode of transport between major towns.
Mumbai has the biggest international airport in India with another coming up at Navi Mumbai. Pune has a civilian enclave international airport with flights to Dubai and Singapore, with plans on for a brand new greenfield International Airport. Aurangabad airport has recently been upgraded to an international airport with flights connecting to Jeddah. Other large cities such as Nagpur and Nashik are served by domestic airlines. Nashik has many flights To Mumbai and Soon Other Metros will be added after the construction of a new Airport at Nashik. Ferry services also operate near Mumbai, linking the city to neighbouring coastal towns. Other modes of public transport, such as a seven-seater tempo have gained popularity in semi-urban areas. Maharashtra has a large highway network. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the first access controlled tolled road project in India also exists within the state. Maharashtra has three major ports at Mumbai (operated by the Mumbai Port Trust), the JNPT lying across the Mumbai harbour in Nhava Sheva, and in Ratnagiri, which handles the export of ores mined in the Maharastra hinterland.
The world famous 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. 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.