Covering an area of 308,000 sq. km, Maharashtra, the third largest state in India, is remarkable for its extraordinary physical homogeneity. Sahyadris
are the physical backbone of the state. With an average range of 1000 m it gradually plunges into the Konkan, coastal lowland barely 50 km wide, with steep cliffs. Though having an altitude below 200 m on an average, the Konkan Coast is not a plain land. Vastly dissected and broken, the topography of Konkan is featured with narrow, steep sided valleys and low laterite plateaus. The Satpuras across the northern border and Bhamragar in the east form the natural limits of the state thereby serving as the physical barriers. The landscape presents a tedious uniformity except around the eastern limit. The rain-fed rivers like Krishna
, Tapi- Purna & Wardha- Wainganga flows over the region .
The state enjoys the tropical-monsoon climate, hence the scorching summer covers maximum of the year. The region enjoys seasonal rainfall in June. Except Konkan, in the windward, the rest of the state enjoys a scanty rainfall of about 70 cm. The rich green during the monsoon persists in the early winter until the dry summer sets the area barren again.
The region is dotted with forests in the Sahyadris and in the plateaus. Comprising an area of 17%, the forests are endowed with a wide range of resources, which is the primary source of income of the state. The scanty rainfall & the black laterite soil, commonly called "regur" do not support the cultivation of food crops. Cotton is the principal crop produced here. Some areas where those black soils are deeper & heavier, is suitable for the rabi crops. The mixture of lime & morand(a type of soil) forms the "Khariff Zone". In the higher plateau basalt rock forms the brick red coloured stony laterite.
Due to uneven and meager rainfall, some parts (mainly the villages in the interior) suffer from the want of drinking water. Barely 11% of the cultivated area can be irrigated. Mainly the farmers depend on the process of artificial irrigation. Tank irrigation is practiced in the granitic terrain of Vidarbha whereas the coastal areas have to depend only on the system of well irrigation. The government too has undertaken multi-state irrigation projects for the development of agriculture in the state
Protected areas of Maharashtra
With the solemn aim of preserving the rich bio- diversity of the state and thereby protecting the wildlife from the threats of extinction, several areas have been protected by government to build up the sanctuaries & national parks here. As of May 2004, India has 92 national parks, of which 5 were in Maharashtra. A major portion of Vidarbha is protected for forest & wildlife conservation. Tadoba Andheri Tiger Project is the remarkable tiger project in Vidarbha. Sagareswar Wild life sanctuary is a man- made sanctuary where the ancient temples of Lord Shiva
and Temple of Parshwanath are the principal attraction here. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
is recognized as the world`s largest national park. Tiger project has been promoted in the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park formerly known as Pench national park and Gugamal National Park. Navegaon National Park is the abode of various species of birds, deer, bear and leopards. Chandoli National Park presents a wide diversity of flora & fauna with Prachitgad fort & Chandoli dam as the natural scenic beauty.