Culture of Maharashtra - Informative & researched article on Culture of Maharashtra
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Home > Travel > States of India > Maharashtra > Culture of Maharashtra
Culture of Maharashtra
The culture of Maharashtra embodies the majesty of Hindu rulers, thus epitomizing Indian tradition.
 
 Ajanta and Ellora cavesMaharashtra is a demesne of Maratha rulers who left an indelible mark of majesty and exuberance in the heritage of culture of Madhya Pradesh. The Chalukyas, Satavahanas, as well as Delhi sultanates too enriched the culture of Maharashtra with the vivacity and vigour and it had lead Maharashtra to stand apart from the rest of India. It is a land of temples, which are also examples of refined works of architecture. The tourists all over the world are bewitched by the aesthetic charm of Ajanta and Ellora caves. The uniqueness of Maharashtra is the perfect co-mingling of the cultural tradition of both the Hindu and Muslim dynasties. Vitthala Temple, situated, at Pandharpur is highly revered by the Hindu devotees. Exquisite fortresses, namely Raigad and Pratapgad and also the sea forts including Sindhudurg fort embellishes the entire region. Musical fervor, enigmatic dance, fantabulous foods and lifestyle of Maharastrans truly embody the magnanimity of royal families. Folk society too had a share in enriching the cultural ebullience of Maharashtra.

Festivals
Ganesh-ChaturthiMaharashtra has been bestowed the status of being cultural capital and no doubt, the culture of Maharastra largely becomes robust by festivals and its lavish celebrations. Diwali , Holi, Dusshera, Nava Ratri are feted in excellence .There are few local festivals whose celebrations are being done by the localites with great festivities . Ganeshotsav is the main festival. It is popular not only among the Maharashtrans; infact the people all over the country observed it with reverence and high spirits. It is mostly observed from `Ganesh Chaturthi` to `Anant Chaturdashi`.. The festival commemorates the worship of Ganesha, who is regarged as the deity of learning and knowledge. A large number of people travel in their foot, hundreds of kilometers, to Pandharpur for the annual pilgrimage in the month of Ashadh.

Gudi Padwa is observed on the first day of the month of Chaitra, thereby signaling the arrival of the most cherished spring, the season of colour and joy. Maharashtrians feted it as the New Year day . The government of India too had acknowledged it as the first day of Hindu National Calendar. Gudi Padwa is consecrated to the worship of Lord Brahma. Many legend states that this festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Rama over Bali. It symbolizes a new beginning thus cleansing away all the negativities and wrong doings of the previous year. On that day, the Maharatrans cleansed their houses and applied cow dung on the walls. Females and children paint beautiful rangolis with loud colours thereby enhancing the joy and merriment of spring celebrations.It is the time of family get together; Maharashtrans decked up in new attires and wholeheartedly engulf with the fun and frolic of the festival fiesta.

Gokul-AshtamiHoli is observed and myriads of people , leaving aside their every chores , indulge themselves this festival of colors . In Maharashtra, Rangapanchami takes place a couple of days later on a `Panchami`(fifth day of the full moon), indicating the end of festival fete.

Gokulashtami, or Janmaashtami, is also known as Dahi Handi The festival is observed, in éclat, in the months of August or September,. Various Handis are hung up in almost every of the city. The groups of young people, called Govinda Pathaks , personified as companions of Lord Krishna, move around the city in trucks throughout the day and burst the handis .

Music and Dance
koli-dance Music and dance are part and parcel of the culture of Maharashtra. The airs of folk music like Gondhal, Lavani, Bharud, Powada enrapture the people. Lavani encompasses both dance and music and is performed enthusiastically by the artists in accompaniment with a special musical drum called Dholak. Attractive women wearing nine-yard saris perform this dance. The women swivel on the vivacious tunes of traditional music.

Povadas is a type of Marathi ballad, depicting various aspects of life of the great Maharashtrian leader, Sri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The culture of Maharashtra nicely breeds various enamoring dance forms. Dhangars or shepherds of Sholapur district of Maharashtra execute a special dance form called Dhangari Gaja. The dancers practise this dance form to appease Gods and seek their blessings. In Maharashtra , a fishermen community called Koli performs a dance of the same name.. Both men and women take part imitating the movements of boat rowing, net casting etc. Apart from these, few dance forms of religious folk dance genre have evolved. Dindi is such a dance, which is generally executed during Ekadashi day in Kartik month. , depicting several pranks played by Lord Krishna. Kala is another example of the same type. This dance form boasts a pot representing prolificacy. The main attractiveness of this dance is its rhythm and flap.

Cuisine
cuisine in maharashtraTo quench the hunger, the Maharashtrans savored delicious food and the cuisine, too, becomes an indispensable element of the culture of Maharashtra. Within Maharashtra it diverges as per different areas. For Konkanis, rice is staple food ; fish, different types of vegetables, is chiefly savored by the people living in the coastal region. Peanuts and cashew nuts are widely used in vegetables . In eastern part of Maharashtra, the diet is composed of wheat, Jowar and Bajra. Lentils, onions, tomatoes chicken and mutton are eatables savored by almost all the city dwellers of Maharashtra. Coconut is an integral component of Maharashtran cuisine. In fact Maharastran is acclaimed for experimenting with sumptuous dishes prepared from coconut. The most famous vegetables, brinjals are popular. Another style of preparing brinjals is called bharlivangi , i.e, shoving of baby brinjals with coconut.

However instead of using coconut oil as a cooking medium, the people prefer peanut oil as the main cooking medium. Kokum is a deep purple berry with a pleasing sweet and sour taste is favorite to the Maharastran foodies. Maharashtrian feast is incomplete without roasted and fried `papads`. Also masala papad is prepared with exquisitely sliced onions, green chilies .

A typical Maharashtran meal usually ends with delicious desserts. Famous `puran poli` is a special one prepared by stuffing roti with a sweet mixture of jaggery and gram flour and is served at the time of the Maharashtrian New Year. Other popular sweets are the ukdiche modak, the panpole ras, and the shreekhand.

Lifestyle
Metro Cinema at mumbaiThe culture of Maharashtra is indebted to its rich heritage of entertainment industry. The theatre, television, movies are indispensable for a Maharashtrian. Mumbai is the nub of Indian film and entertainment industry. Dadasaheb Phalke is the father of Indian films; numerous actors, singers, directors of different times followed his footsteps.Maratha theatre too is highly exponential. It is also a place of historical treasures. Beautiful monuments and palaces nicely enmeshed with the scenic beauty of striking Western ghats, serenity of mighty rivers and the tourists naturally frequent various places of Maharashtra. The tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb, popularly known as, `Bibi Ka Maqbara`is a fantastic instance of Mughal architecture.Also the region is a commercially viable and innumerable trader and businessmen mobbed the cities like Mumbai, Pune etc.

That numerous hotels and guesthouses have been constructed is obvious. The urbanites here enjoy a fast life, always running on their toes. Nightlife, however, is thrilling; pubs, discos and bars mushroomed in the heart of the Maharastran cities. . Maharashtra has got a cosmopolitian outlook. Hindus, Muslims, and a small percantage of other minority communities like bhuddhists , Jains, Christians enjoy their peaceful stay in the region of Madhya Pradesh. Marathi is the official state language and is widely spoken by the majority of the people. Hindi, and English, along with a variety of other languages are also popular.. In the northwest portion of Maharashtra, a minority speaks a dialect Ahirani. In south Konkan, its populace utters a dialect of Konkani known as Malvani. Among the prevalent dialects of Maharashtra, Deshi and Varhadi are worth mentioning.The culture of Maharashtra is glittered by the literary extravaganza and the number of Marathi exponents is pretty large. Infact Marathi literature is enriched in its content and style of Bhawarthadeepika written by Dnyaneshwar , one of the primitive instances of Marathi literature. Modern Marathi literature is also thronged by great poets and authors like P. L. Deshpande, Kusumagraj, Prahlad Keshav Atre.

Maharashtra is renowned for its stupendous fertilization of cultural eloquence as highlighted in the musical strains, dancing strides, culinary flavors and last of all in the ecumenical culture of the Maharashtran folks.

(Last Updated on : 08/12/2008)
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