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The state of Maharashtra is blend of various religions, which created a unique identity. Here is more about its rich cultural heritage.

Culture of Maharashtra

The unique blending of various cultural affiliations has shaped the culture of the state of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is the land of prosperity, culture, spirituality which has gained growing global recognition as it has preserved its traditions in the wake of advanced industrialization. The land of Maharashtra was the motherland of great Marathas, a class of warriors who ruled out the region from centuries and one of the major reasons of rich culture and heritage of the state. The state is also well known for its quality education system in the major cities like Mumbai and Pune; with institutes like Symbiosis Institutes, Xavier Institute of Communications, IIT, Mithibai College, Sophia College etc. Maharashtra's rich cultural heritage is the result of various charismatic Maratha rulers leaving behind a mark of majesty, exuberance, vivacity and vigor Here is more about the rich culture of Maharashtra.

Arts and Crafts
The fine art and craft of Maharashtra is evident through the crafts like, Bidriware, Kolhapuri Chappals, Kolhapur Jewelry, Mashru & Himroo, Narayan Peth, Paithani Sarees and Warli Painting. The hand-made leather chappals and sandals from the district of Kolhapur are known as the Kolhapuri chappals. They come in various styles, quality of leather and design for both men and women. Another famous craft from the same district is the Kolhapur Jewelry and the special type of necklace called Kolhapur saaj. Women in Maharashtra indulge in these jewelries and others like Har, malas, mohanmal, bormal, chaplahar, pohehar and putlihar.

Maharashtra is blessed with beautiful dance forms that are performed on special occasions as well as festivals. Dhangari Gaja is performed when the Dhangars of Sholapur district honor their God Biruba every year wearing traditinal attire like dhoti, angarakha and pheta and colorful handkerchiefs. Another famous dance form known all over India is the Lavani Dance which means beauty (Lavanya) and is danced to many topics like society, religion, politics, romance, etc. The Maharashtrian equivalent of Ballad is the Povadas dance, which is performed to explain the events in the life of the great Maratha ruler, Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Maharashtra is well known for its vibrant and music a tradition carried out from its classical forms from the medieval times when the "Sangitratnakara" was written by Sharang Dev in the 13th century. It has also given birth to famous musical legends like Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Lata Mangeshkar, Bal Gandharva, Kishori Amonkar and many more. One of the earliest forms of music is the Natya Sangeet, performed on stage. Narayanrao Rajhauns, also known as Bal Gandharava is the master of Natya Sangeet. Apart from this, folk music is also an important form of entertainment. Bhaleri, is a song that cheers up the working farmers. Palane is a Maharashtrian lullaby. Other forms of folk music are Bhajan, Bharud, Gondhal, Kirtan, Lalita, Abhangas and Tumbadi.

The people in Maharashtra called Maharashtrians are a result of the blending of different cultures, traditions and religions. You will find that people from all religious backgrounds live harmoniously and the people are extremely hospitable and welcoming. Excluding the urban centric cities much of the Deccan plateau of Maharashtra is home to tribal communities being Bhils, Mahadeo, Kolis, Gonds and Warlis (famous for their Warli Painting). There are small settlements of the Gonds tribes in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa also. Their forest dwellings are still untouched by modernization as they continue to live and follow their lifestyles and traditions.

The local cuisine of the state is the greatest indicator of the traditions of that partiular state. And Maharashtrian food has created benchmarks all over India with its nomenclature items like Vada paav and paani puri. Like most other states in India, rice is the staple food cooked alongside a variety of vegetable dishes. Meat and fish items are very popular, Bombil fish being the most popular specialty item. Pamphlet triphal ambat is a creamy dish made with fresh Pomfret fishes. Bharlivangi is the most famous vegetarian side dish prepared by stuffing spicy coconut filling into brinjals. People also indulge in cooking Pachadi, a mix of seasonal vegetables in a sauce of coconut and green mangoes. Some of the famous sweet dishes are puran poli, shreekhand and modak.

Even though 83% of the Maharashtrian population is Hindus there has been a prevailing sense of secularism in the state with all the other religions co-existing peacefully. The Hindus pray to Ganesha and Lord Krishna in his Vithal form making Ganesh Chaturthi and Janmashtami the most grandly celebrated festival in the state. Apart from gods they also worship many Bhakti saints. Muslims comprise over 10% of the total population of Maharashtra. Next most popular religion is Jainism followed by Christians. Apart from these religions there are also smaller pockets of Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis and Iranians) and Jews.

Fairs & Festivals
Since there is a large population of Hindu population who are ardent followers of Ganesha or Ganpatti Bappa, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival of the state of Maharashtra. Diwali is also celebrated with great pomp and show. Other festivals that are celebrated are Dusherra, Narali Poornima, Ramzan Eid, Bakari Eid, Moharam, Eid-E-Milad, Gudi Padawa, Holi, Mahashivratri, Vata poornima and Shree Datta Jayanti. Apart from the religious festivals, the Ellora Ajanta Festival held in January in Soneri Mahal in Aurangabad is also very popular. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) also organizes Elephanta Festival in the month of March to encourage and spread the culture of Maharashtra.

Even with the increasing industrialization and urbanization in the state, Maharashtra is one state that has worked to preserve its traditional values and cultural heritage. It. The people are warm and kind hearted welcoming outsiders with love and gratitude. This gesture by the Maharshtrians has made the capital city of Maharashtra a hub for professionals from all over the country.