Located in the central west part of India, Maharashtra is the second most populated state in the country, contributing the largest share to the country’s GDP. Maharashtrians speak Marathi, a language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit. Marathi is one of the most spoken languages in the country, after Hindi, Bengali and Telugu. Although the etymology is uncertain, there is a consensus that Maharashtra comes from two words – Maha meaning great and Rathi meaning Rashtrika after the tribes that ruled the Deccan region. This peninsular state, with a 720-kilometer-long coast is lined by the Western Ghats and receives a considerable amount of rainfall through the year, the strongest during the monsoon months.
About 82 percent of the state is literate according to the 2011 census, higher than the national average of 72 percent. The gross enrollment rate was 98 percent in 2016, a positive indicator of education in the state. Maharashtra also houses an Indian Institute of Technology in its capital city which is one of the highest-ranking educational institutions across the country.
As the highest contributor to the country’s economy, Maharashtra’s agriculture sector contributes over 1.4 trillion Indian rupees to the gross domestic product. Sugarcane accounts for a significantly large area in the state, yielding more than 74 thousand kilograms per hectare in fiscal year 2016. On the other hand, the country’s most important financial institutions including the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange along with the headquarters of well-known corporates can be found in Mumbai, the coastal capital of the state. The country’s foremost scientific and nuclear institutes are also housed here.
Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the capital city of Maharashtra, is the most populated. It is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital in India. As the country’s wealthiest city, it has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires. Mumbai’s higher standard of living, its promise of opportunities, along with the homes of famous actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan attract migrants from other parts of the country into Mumbai, making it a melting pot of cultures, much like what New York City is to the United States. With three UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal hotel, and the Queen’s necklace to mention a few, Mumbai brings in an almost daily dose of tourists. The state itself receives more foreign tourists than domestic ones.
Maharashtra’s richness comes not only from its economy but also from its culture. Ranging from its unique celebration of Lord Ganesha’s (the Hindu god with an elephant head) birthday to the historical structures that flip through the pages of India’s history, and the billion-dollar Bollywood industry, Maharashtra has innumerable cultural pillars to offer, making it a fusion of 2,000-year-old traditions intertwined with modernity.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Maharashtra".