Culture of Maharashtra

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Ganesh Chaturthi, a popular festival in the state

Maharashtra is the third largest state of India. It is known as the land of saints,[1] educationists and revolutionists, teachers, doctors, actors, actresses, film makers, notable among them being Mahadev Govind Ranade, Swatantraveer Savarkar, Savitribai Phule, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Dadasaheb Phalke, Dada Kondke and many others. It has a long history of Marathi saints of Varakari religious movement, such as Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Chokhamela, Eknath and Tukaram which formsthe one of bases of the culture of Maharashtra or Marathi culture. Maharashtra is also known for its purogami culture which translates as reformist or forward culture[2] which was started by earlier saints and led by Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj, Babasaheb Ambedkar in modern times. Maharashtra has huge influence all over the world of 17th-century King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj of Maratha Empire and his concept of Hindavi Swarajya which translates to self-rule of people.[3]

The state of Maharashtra spans multiple cultures which includes cultures related to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, etc. Lord Ganesha and Lord Vitthal are the traditional deities worshipped by Hindus of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra is divided into various regions, such as Marathwada, Vidarbha, Khandesh, and Konkan. Each has its own cultural identity in the form of different dialects of Marathi language,[4] folk songs, food, and ethnicity.


About 79% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and there are significant Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities.[5] The Maharashtrian culture consists of people from all a vast majority of religions. Due to it being huge areawise, many sub-regional cultures also exist in Maharashtra. The sub region of Vidarbha, was earlier a part of Madhya Pradesh, hence it has that influence upon its culture.[6] There are many temples in Maharashtra, some of which are thousands 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. 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).[7][8]

Near Aurangabad are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous tourist attractions.[9][10] Mughal architecture can be seen in the tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb called Bibi Ka Maqbara located at Aurangabad.[11] Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and has humid climate throughout the year. The Gateway Of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Shaniwar Wada, Agakhan Palace and Deekshabhoomi are some of the historical monuments.

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 Shivaji Maharaj. Some of the important forts in Maharashtra are Shivneri, Raigad, Vijaydurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad. The majority of the forts in Maharashtra are found along the coastal region of Konkan and the adjoining Sahyadri ranges.[12]

Religions, castes and sects

Household shrine in a Maharashtrian home

Marathi Hindus revere many religious figures. Among the figures who originated in the region are Banka Mahar, Bhagu, Damajipanth, Kanhopatra, Karmamelam, Nirmala, Sadna, Sakhubai, Satyakam Jabali and Soyarabai.[13]


The people of Maharashtra have a rich traditional heritage. Proud and brave Maharashtrians have a very simple life style and believe in hard working. The Marathas of the state do not believe in having too many spacious palaces and mansions in-fact these people have lived a hard life and were inclined towards freedom struggle. The rustic lifestyle of the people can also be observed in the country-side of the state where people have a belief on universal cult of brotherhood, where the people of all religions lives as a one community. A place where the revered saints like Sai Baba, Osho and Haji Ali preached the religion of peace and prosperity. The people of the state wear different colorful types of costumes, and there is variation in dance and music according to people's specific localities. Dance forms like Powada, Banjara Holi Dance, Lavani, and Koli are popular in Maharashtra.[14]


Traditional clothes for Maharashtrian males include the dhoti, also known as Dhotar, and pheta, while a choli and nine-yard saree locally known as Nauwari saadi or Lugda is for women. Traditional clothing is famous in rural areas while traditional people from cities also wear these clothing. These clothes are worn by Maharashtrians while performing various festivals.[15]


Vada Pav is one of the original dishes of Maharashtra.
Pav Bhaji

Sweet foodstuffs like Puran Poli and Shrikhand are considered to have originated from Maharashtra.

The Konkan and Varadi cuisines are popular with tourists. The specialty dishes of Maharashtran cuisines are often strong in pepper and spice; well-known dishes include vada pav, misal pav and Mumbai chaat and puneri missal, selucha chana.[16]



Sports is an important part of the culture of Maharashtra. Kabaddi, Hockey, Kho kho, Badminton, Cricket and Table tennis are the popular sports of Maharashtra.[17] The Sporting activities in Maharashtra are governed by the Commissionerate of Sports and Youth Servies, Pune. The wrestling championship like Hind Kesari, Maharashtra Kesari are very popular in the rural regions of Maharashtra.[18] The cricket craze can be seen throughout Maharashtra, as it is the most widely followed and played sport.[19] The Maharashtra has produced many Iconic cricketers to India like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.[18] Children games include Gilli-danda and Pakada-pakadi (tag) are also played in Maharashtra.Horse riding, Wrestling, Fencing, Archery and Shooting were popular among the rulers of Maharashtra.[17][20] Maharashtra has various domestic level Franchise based leagues for Hockey, Chess, Tennis and Badminton.

See also


  1. ^ "Sant Bhumi Maharashtra". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Maharashtra forward culture". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Shivaji Maharaj, Founder and an Ideal ruler of Hindavi Swarajya". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Languages in Maharashtra".
  5. ^ "Maharashtra latest caste/religionwise population demographics". July 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Important facts about Vidarbha".
  7. ^ "Temples of Maharashtra". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Top 12 Shiva temples in Maharashtra". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Ajanta Caves". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Ellora Caves". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Bibi Ka Maqbara". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Top 25 monuments in Maharashtra". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  13. ^ Shepherd, P. 111 Gurus Rediscovered:
  14. ^ "Folk dance forms of Maharashtra". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Vidhi Jhaveri" (August 2017). "Traditional Maharashtrian dresses". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Food diaries: Maharashtra food and cuisine". Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Sports of Maharashtra". 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  18. ^ a b "Culture of Maharashtra - Sovereign Maharashtra". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  19. ^ "'Parallel Journeys' - Celebrating Indian cricket craze - CoolAge". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  20. ^ "History of Maharashtra". 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
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