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Shubhyatra >> Maharashtra Yatra >> History of Maharashtra

Historical Synopsis of Maharashtra

Ruled By : Ashoka The Great, Mauryas, Chalkyas, Marathas and Britishers
Also Known As : Dandakaranya and Marathwada
Famous Ruler : Chhatrapati Raje Shivaji Bhonsle (Maharaj)
Important Historical Events : Quit India Movement lead by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942

The Legendary Tales of Maha Rashtra

Ellora Caves
Ellora Caves

"The soil is rich and fertile and it is regularly cultivated and very productive. Men are fond of learning and studying both heretical and orthodox books. The disposition of the people is honest and simple; they are tall in stature and of a stern and vindictive character. To their benefactors, they are grateful; to their enemies, relentless. If they are insulted, they will risk their lives to avenge themselves. If they are asked to help one in distress, they will forget themselves in their haste to render assistance." Said by “Hiun Tsang” (during his visit to Maharashtra in AD 640-641).

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The abode of Marathas, believed to be inhabited since the Paleolithic age, has a recorded history in Marathi language and is as old as third century BC. This great land is ruled by the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka and was center of trade even that time. Port town of Sopara was the ancient India's commerce link with East Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin. The Country was ruled by Mauryas, Satvahans (credited with the biggest cultural development), Vakatakas from 250 AD to 552 AD during which art, religion and technology flourished.

From the 6th century Chalkyas reigned the throne and were followed by Rashtarkutas who rule from 753 1189. The first millennium witnessed the peaceful era with the long ruling regimes and the continuos developments.

The State came under the Islamic influence when the rulers of Delhi sultanate rulers Ala-ud Din Khilji and Muhammad Bin Tughluq conquered Maharashtra and some parts of Deccan in 13th century. After their fall in 1347 the reign was taken over by Bahamani Sultanat of Bijapur and ruled for over 150 years. 16th century witnessed many small autonomous Islamic kingdoms that owed alliance to Mughals and coastal areas where annexed by Portuguese.

Mighty Marathas and Maharashtra

Raigad Fort the Capital of Marathas
Raigad Fort the Capital of Marathas

The Marathas came to power in the early 17th century and the Chhatarpati Raje Shivaji Bhonsle was crowned king in 1674. The brave and respectable Shivaji fought various wars against Mughals Empire during Aurangzeb's rule and king of Vijapur Adil Shah. Later he was engaged in battle with the Britishers who have establishing their base in Maharashtra at that time. He was the most able and the successful king Maharashtra ever had. Sombhaji Bhonsle the son and successor of the Shivaji was captured by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in late 1680's. After that Marathas where defeated by Mughals and later Peshwas controlled power of the land. Bajirao-I was the first Peshwa and made Pune as his capital. During the Peshwa rule there was immense development in the sophisticated network, banking, finance, trade and expansion of agricultural frontier. The year 1761 was the turning point, Marathas confederacy was heavily defeated by the Afghan Chieftain Ahmadshah Abdali in the ‘Third Battle of Panipat’. The Peshwa's ex generals looked after the little kingdoms they had been given and Pune continued to be ruled by the shrinked Peshwa dynasty.

British East India Company arrival and subsequent involvement in the India politics lead to three wars between Marathas and Britishers between 1777 to 1818 and finally the Marathas rule stumbled completely and Britishers annexed the Peshwa ruled territory in to Maharashtra in 1819.

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How They Made It !

The whole region was governed by the Britishers as part of the Bombay Presidency and spanned the area from Karachi to most northern Deccan. In the beginning of 20th century Bal Gandhar Tilak lead the non violent struggle and was followed by Gandhiji in 1942 with the ‘Quit India Movement’ armed with the non violent, civil disobedience and strikes. After Indian independence the state belonged to the Deccan states of Indian union and only on May 1, 1960 Maharashtra came into existence with the split of Bombay Presidency states on the basis of new linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

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Top 5 Highlights of Maharashtra History

Chhatarpati Shivaji Statue at Raigad Fort

Center of Commerce
Maharashtra was always the most strategic point for trade and commerce even thousands years back when port city of Sopora was the trade link for East Africa, Aden, Mesopotamia and Cochin.

Golden Era of Maratha's
Natives of the state Maratha's where the best rulers of Maharashtra during whom the state prospered and extended its boundaries all around. The kingdom was at its prime during Shivaji Maharaj's rule.

History Engraved on Walls
Plant a tour to the state of 350 forts and you will be amazed to see the colossal forts every where from islands to hills over beaches and amidst cities each fort was built with a particular purpose and are linked to Marathas one way or another.

Blood Battles for Power
Marathas always known for their valor, had fought many bloody battles from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to East India Company. And who can forget the great battle with the Afghan Chieftain Ahmadshah Abdali, which came to be known as the ‘Third Battle of Panipat'.

Host to Independence Movement
The Indian freedom struggle has its roots in this state where Mahatma Gandhi lead the ‘Quit India Movement’ against the Britishers in 1942. The movement was completely non-violent and followed the norms of civil disobedience and strikes. Finally, India achieved its independence on 15th august, 1947.

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