[Yojana Archive] Maharashtra: A Journey of Over Sixty Years

On 1st May 1960, the separate Marathi speaking state of Maharashtra was created.  Located in the western region of India, Maharashtra is the third-largest state in India in terms of area and the second-largest in terms of population. The State has been recognized as the country’s industrial powerhouse and maintains the position of being the most industrialized state.

Mumbai—the capital of Maharashtra, is seen as India’s financial capital, but is literally the Gateway of India-secular, progressive yet rooted.

Historical perspective

[A] Ancient

  • Many Chalcolithic sites are located in present-day Maharashtra and some like Inamgaon (1300 BCE to 700 BCE) were extensively excavated.
  • The Satavahanas ruled in regions belonging to present-day Maharashtra between the 1st century BCE to 3rd century CE.
  • International trade with the western world was in full swing during this period. The ports in Maharashtra played a major role in this.
  • The result can be seen in the excavation of many Buddhist rock-cut caves like Bhaja, Pitalkhore, Karla Nasik, etc. patronized mainly by the trading community.
  • After the decline of the Satavahana rule, many small kingdoms were established in different parts of Maharashtra like the Abhiras, Traikutakas, etc.
  • In the 8th century CE when the Rashtrakutas came to power, they were involved in creating the world-famous caves at Ellora.

[B] Medieval

  • The Yadavas (10th century to 13th century CE) were the next rulers in the state. The Shilahara rulers were contemporary to them ruling in western and southern Maharashtra.
  • Allauddin Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate defeated the Yadavas. Muhammad bin Tughlaq shifted his capital to Daulatabad (Devagiri) from Delhi for some time.
  • This period marks the efflorescence of the temple building activity in Maharashtra.
  • After the decline of the Tughlaqs, the Bahmani Sultanate started ruling over Maharashtra in the 14th century CE. After the disintegration of the Bahamani empire, the Nizam Shahi and Adil Shahi ruled over different parts of the state.
  • In the 17th century CE, Chhatrapati Shivaji established his independent rule in Maharashtra. Maratha Empire lasted until the British took over it in 1819.

[C] Modern

  • Maharashtra played a major role in the struggle for independence.
  • The year 1885 saw the establishment of the Indian National Congress in Bombay.
  • The establishment of the first Indian newspaper Darpan also happened in the state.
  • Maharashtra has been a pioneer of women’s rights and the Indian feminist movement.
  • From the early 19th century onwards, the state saw a host of thinkers and reformers who campaigned against child marriage and Sati, while simultaneously upholding women’s education and widow remarriage.
  • Prominent names include the late Justice MG Ranade, Savitribai Phule, and Pandita Ramabai.
  • India’s first female doctor, Late Anandi Bai Joshi comes from the state of Maharashtra.
  • As early as the 1930s, cities like Pune was also known as a prominent educational hub and as the ‘Oxford of the East’.

Geography of Maharashtra

The modern state of 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 & North East, Chhattisgarh to the East, Karnataka to the South, Andhra Pradesh to the Southeast and Goa to the Southwest.

Physical features

  • The Western Ghats form the source of several major rivers of Maharashtra, notable among them being the Godavari and the Krishna.
  • The Sahyadri Range is the defining geographical feature of Maharashtra. The Konkan, lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, is a narrow coastal lowland.
  • The Satpuras, hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad Chiroli-Gaikhuri Ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers.
  • Apart from the mainly occurring rock Basalt; other rocks like Laterite are found in the coastal humid and tropical region.

Natural resources found

  • Maharashtra is rich in ore deposits. Granite, Granite gneiss, Quartzite, Conglomerates are found in the basement regions of the Konkan Rivers.
  • Kamti of the Nagpur region is famous for coal.
  • The Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Bhandara, and Nagpur Districts form the main mineral belt, with coal and manganese as the major minerals and iron ore and limestone as minor minerals.


[A] Rock-cut caves and temples

  • Ajanta and Ellora, in the vicinity of Aurangabad, are world-famous heritage sites. All these have been carved out of solid rock.
  • Buddhist rock-cut caves like Bhaja, Pitalkhora, Karla and Nasik are also equally famous rock-cut caves in the state.
  • The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves on Elephanta Island.

[B] Folk art

  • Musical forms like Powada, a song praising the valour of a great ruler and graceful dance forms like Lavani are popular art forms of the state.
  • The Koli dance form is also famous in the coastal region of the state.

[C] Social-cultural reforms

  • The Bhakti movement—a medieval movement spread all over the country between the 13th and 17th centuries found resonance in Maharashtra as well.
  • Famous personalities of the Bhakti movement includes saint poets like Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Tukaram, and Chokhamela.
  • The Warkari movement every year in June-July sees a plethora of farmers and myriad believers in Vitthoba (an avatar of Lord Vishnu) converge to Pandharpur in an annual pilgrimage.

Related Previous Year Questions:

Q.There are only two known examples of cave paintings of the Gupta period in ancient India. One of these is paintings of Ajanta caves. Where is the other surviving example of Gupta paintings? (CSP 2010)

(a) Bagh caves

(b) Ellora caves

(c) Lomas Rishi cave

(d) Nasik caves

Q. In the context of Indian history, the Rakhmabai case of 1884 revolved around

1. Women’s right to gain education

2. Age of consent

3. Restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the code given below: (CSP 2019)

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Q.Satya Shodhak Samaj organized (CSP 2016):

(a) A movement for upliftment of tribals in Bihar

(b) A temple-entry movement in Gujarat

(c) An anti-caste movement in Maharashtra

(d) A peasant movement in Punjab

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Famous place Region

1. Bodhgaya : Baghelkhand

2. Khajuraho : Bundelkhand

3. Shirdi : Vidarbha

4. Nasik (Nashik) : Malwa

5. Tirupati : Rayalaseema

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) 1, 2 and 4

(b) 2, 3, 4 and 5

(c) 2 and 5

(d) 1, 3, 4 and 5

Q. Among the following, who was not a proponent of bhakti cult?

(a) Nagarjuna

(b) Tukaram

(c) Tyagaraja

(d) Vallabhacharya

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