Religions and Social Activities in Maharashtra are well diverse democracy and all mixed cultures as like the rest of India. Maharashtra has a history of more than 1000 years in Religions, Social Festivals, diverse cultures and much more.
Lord Ganesha’s devotion is celebrated by Ganesh Chaturthi (Ganesh’s birthday) in August–September of every year. Lalbaugcha Raja, Shri Siddhivinayak Temple, Shri Ashtavinayaka’s are the major holy places for Maharashtrians.
In modern times Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Shudra and bidi-seller, became a Hindu saint of major influence in India. Popular forms of God are Shiva, Krishna and Ganesha. Lord Shiva’s devotion is celebrated by taking part in Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) festival. In modern times, the Elephanta island in Mumbai, Lord’s Shiva island in local mythology, originated the Elephant Festival.
Lord Krishna’s devotions are celebrated in the state-wide Gokul Ashtami (or Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna’s birthday) whereby many devotees fast on the entire day until midnight. The Dahi-Handi (Matki-fod) is also observed on this day at many places.Lord Krishna’s devotion are also celebrated at Kaartik Aamawasya (or Diwali) and at Narak Chaturdashi as returning of Lord Shri Rama.
The other festivals celebrated on the large scale are Vijayadashami or Dasara Navaratri, Holi, Diwali, Eid (Ramzan Eid). Simollanghan is a ritual performed on Dasara or Viajaya Dashami day in Maharashtra. Simollanghan is crossing the border or frontier of a village or a place. In ancient times, kings used to cross the frontier of their kingdom to fight against their rivals or neighbor kingdoms. They used to perform Ayudha Puja on Dasara and begin the war season. On Dasara, people cross the borders of their places (Simollangan) and collect the leaves of Apta tree, and exchange among their friends and relatives as gold sōnē mhaṇūn āpaţyācī pānē dētāt). People worship Shami tree and its leaves on this day.
indus in Maharashtra follow the Shalivahana Saka era calendar. Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Rangapanchami, Gokulashtami and Ganeshotsav are some of the festivals that are celebrated in Maharashtra. Ganeshotsav is one of the biggest festival of Maharashtra which is celebrated with much reverence and festivity throughout the state and has since some time become popular all over the country. The festival which continues over ten days is in honour of Ganesha, the god of learning and knowledge. A large number of people walk hundreds of kilometers to Pandharpur for the annual pilgrimage in the month of Aashadh.
Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra. Maharashtrians take great pride in their language and history, particularly the Maratha Empire, its founder Shivaji is considered a folk hero across India. About 80% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and there are significant Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities. There are many temples in Maharashtra some of them being hundreds 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. A National Geographic edition reads, “The flow between faiths was such that for hundreds of years, almost all Buddhist temples, including the ones at Ajanta, were built under the rule and patronage of Hindu kings.” 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). Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad as well as Elephanta Caves near Mumbai are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous tourist attractions. Mughal architecture can be seen is the tomb of the wife of Aurangzeb called Bibi Ka Maqbara located at Aurangabad.
In 1708, the year following the death of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh the tenth spiritual leader of the Sikhs came over to Nanded, his permanent abode. He proclaimed himself the last living Guru and established the Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. This elevates the reverence of Granth to that of a living Guru. A monument has been constructed at place where he breathed his last. Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s endowment saw the construction of a beautiful Gurudwara at Nanded around 1835 AD. The Gurudwara features an imposing golden dome with intricate carvings and a breathtakingly beautiful artwork. It is known as Shri Huzur Abchalnagar Sachkhand Gurudwara.
Maharashtra has a large number of hills, land and sea forts. Forts have played an important role in the history of Maharashtra since the time of the Peshwas. Some of the important forts in Maharashtra are Raigad, Vijaydurg, Pratapgad, Sinhagad. Majority of the forts in Maharashtra are found along the coastal region of Konkan.
Maharashtra, like other states of India, has its own folk music. The folk music viz. Gondhal Lavani, Bharud and Powada are popular especially in rural areas, while the common forms of music from the Hindi and Marathi film industry are favoured in urban areas.
The earliest instances of Marathi literature is by Sant Dnyaneshwar with his Bhawarthadeepika (popularly known as Jnyaneshwari). The compositions written during this period are spiritually inclined. The other compositions are by Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev, and Sant Gora Kumbhar. The compositions are mostly in poetic form, which are called bhajans. These bhajans by saints are popular and part of day to day life. The modern Marathi literature has been enriched by famous poets and authors like P. L. Deshpande, Kusumagraj, Prahlad Keshav Atre and Vyankatesh Madgulkar. This literature has been passed on to the next generations through the medium of large numbers of books that are published every year in Marathi.
The cuisine of Maharashtra varies according to the region of Maharashtra. The people of the Konkan region have a chiefly rice based diet with fish being a major component, due the close proximity to the sea. In eastern Maharashtra, the diet is based more on wheat, jowar and bajra. Puran Poli, Bakarwadi, plain simple Varan Bhat (a dish cooked with plain rice and curry), and Modak are a few dishes to name. Chicken and mutton are also widely used for a variety of cuisines. Kolhapuri Mutton is a dish famous for its peculiar spicy nature.