Culture of Maharashtra – A Guide to Vibrant Marathi Culture!

Diversity comes naturally in this third-largest state by area and India’s second-most populous state. 

Maharashtra can also be called the land of scholars, saints and actors as many people from Maharashtra have achieved success in the above mentioned fields. Maharashtra is known for its forward culture. ‘Maha’ means big and ‘Rashtra’ means nation. Maharashtra is indeed ‘Maha’ in size, population and culture. Maharashtra is famous for its unique customs and practices.

1. Dress

The traditional dress of Maharashtra required men to wear a dhotar (a long garment wrapped around the waist and legs), a kurta or cotton shirt, a feta (headwear or cap) and a waistcoat or bandi which was optional.

Women wear a choli or blouse and a 9-yard long saree called ‘Lugde’ or ‘Nauvari saree’. They usually wore open sandals or slippers as footwear. In the 21st century, most people have started wearing western clothes or mixing Indian and western clothes. Traditional dress is worn by very few people but many people wear it during any religious event or Marathi festival. 

2. Food

Sources The staple diet of Maharashtra consists of wheat, rice, sorghum, millet, vegetables, lentils and fruits. Until recently, meat was not consumed much in Maharashtra. Their diet is rich in carbohydrates as they were initially engaged in labor intensive jobs like agriculture. Maharashtra food ranges from sweet to mildly spicy to spicy. Some of the dishes like Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav and Puran Pori are famous all over the world. Shrikhand is another popular dish said to have originated in Maharashtra.

3. Architecture

Sources The staple diet of Maharashtra consists of wheat, rice, sorghum, millet, vegetables, lentils and fruits. Until recently, meat was not consumed much in Maharashtra. Their diet is rich in carbohydrates as they were initially engaged in labor intensive jobs like agriculture. Maharashtra food ranges from sweet to mildly spicy to spicy. Some of the dishes like Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav and Puran Pori are famous all over the world. Shrikhand, another popular dish, is said to have originated in Maharashtra.

4. Language

The official language of Maharashtra is Marathi. Majority speak Marathi, while others speak Hindi, Gujarati, English and other languages. Maharashtra’s cities are metropolitan and a mix of many cultures and use English as their official language. Most people in Maharashtra are multilingual and usually speak both Marathi and Hindi.

5. Folk Dance and Music

Koli, Powada, Banjara Holi dance and Lavani dance are folk music and dances of Maharashtra. Powada dance form depicts the achievements of Maratha ruler Shivaji Maharaj. Koli music and dance came from fishing communities for entertainment. Lavani dance form depicts many topics like romance, politics, tragedy, society etc. ‘Lavani’ comes from the word ‘lavane’ meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘beauty’.

6. Religion

Maharashtra is about 80 percent Hindu and a significant proportion Muslim. Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and other religions are minorities. There are churches, temples, mosques and other religious centers all over Maharashtra. People of Maharashtra are proud of their cultural diversity and respect every religion.

7. Business

Traditionally, agriculture was the occupation of the majority of people in Maharashtra. People near the coastal areas were engaged in fishing activities. But over the years, many places have developed and industrialized, which has created various business and job opportunities for people.

8. Tourism

Gateway of India, Sea Link, Siddhivinayak, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Marine Drive in Mumbai, Saibaba Temple in Shirdi, Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur, Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple in Nashik, Mahabaleshwar (Hill Station), Historical Monuments in Aurangabad and many more. To visit, Maharashtra has truly become a tourist destination. The hotel industry in Maharashtra is large and thriving.

9. Festivals

Some of the festivals like Nag Panchami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gokul Ashtami, Makar Sankranti, Gudi Padwa, Bhau Beej, Ellora Utsav Narali Poornima and Shivaji Jayanti have come to Maharashtra. Nagpanchami is dedicated to the serpent god. The Naga God is prayed to get rid of ‘Nag Dosh’; Ganesh Chaturthi is an eleven day festival of Ganesha. People of Maharashtra also celebrate other festivals like Diwali, Christmas, Eid and New Year. In most places, people irrespective of their religion and celebrate all the major festivals with sincerity, which shows their unity and brotherhood.

10. Arts and Crafts

The artisans of Maharashtra are very meticulous and delicate in their work. The weaving of Mashru and Himru quality fabrics made of cotton and silk (famous in Aurangabad) is the best of its kind.

Kolhapuri chappals in Kolhapur are known for their simple style, durability, quality of leather and its design. Paithani sarees, in production for the past 2000 years, are fine, exquisite silk sarees with delicate yet delicate handwork on their borders. Warli paintings created by the Warli tribes living in the Thane district of the state tell a story to the audience. The illustrations are in stick-figure form and are easy to understand. Kolhapur Saaj is a special type of necklace, which is popular among women in Maharashtra.

11. Film industry

Maharashtra has adapted very well to the Bollywood industry. Many famous actors and actresses like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone live in this state. Hindi (Bollywood), English and Marathi movies are very popular among the audience. People of Maharashtra are said to be very honest and hard working. In recent times, many people from other states have come to Maharashtra especially Mumbai due to the wide range of career opportunities. Some parts of Maharashtra are developed and some parts are still developing, but all the people have same thoughts. It is no secret that the people of Maharashtra are proud of their diverse culture, Marathi culture is definitely special.

12. Culture

This ‘Sanskrit’ hall is dedicated to culture-related topics such as various festivals that enrich Marathi culture, Maratha ornaments, wedding rituals, when and how to draw rangolis, special Marathi cuisines related to festivals, vows, parvachas and various hymns etc. Information about Marathi personalities who have made significant achievements in various subjects and increased the fame of Marathi culture is also preserved in this gallery.

13. Datta Sampradayik Kirtan:- 
     The worship of Sri Datta was promoted by the Mahanubhava Panth in Maharashtra and popularized in society by its promoters Sripada Srivallabh and Nrisimhasaraswati, who were considered incarnations of Datta. This sect is especially popular in Maharashtra and Karnataka – its deity is Sri Dattatreya. This sect emphasizes on prandyapara, sagunopasana, audumbaropasana, dattabhakti. The special feature of the kirtans of this sect is that most of these kirtans include Gurucharitra, Dattaprabodh, Gurulilamrita, Dattamahatmya etc. in their kirtans – but the format of the kirtana is Naman, Purvarang and Uttarrang.

14.Ramdasi Kirtan:- 
     Kirtan performed by kirtankaras of Samartha Sampradaya is called Ramdasi Kirtan. Samartha Sampradaya is also Paramarthika Sampradaya- Rama, Maruti are the main deities of this Sampradaya and special emphasis is placed on worship and organization. 

Literature written by Samarth Ramdas is studied in this sect. Ramdasi Kirtan is based on this material. His subjects are Rajkarana, Dasbodh, Mana Shloka, stories from Ramayana, Shree Mana Shloka, Karunashtaka, Ramopasana, Rambhakti, Puja and making the audience aware of the situation in the society. Ramdasi Kirtan is more popular and popular in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. 

It is a matter of pride that even today this tradition is being consciously preserved by the Ramdasi Maths of the place.

15. Jugalbandi Kirtan:- 
    This is a variant of Nardiya Kirtan which has become popular in modern era. The themes are similar to those of Nardiya Kirtan, but instead of one Kirtankar, two Kirtankars stand on the dais or kirtana mat, and they tell the audience two sides of the same theme, giving different illustrations. It used to try to convince how one’s opinion is correct while destroying the other’s opinion. For this purpose question or answer questions are used. At the end of the kirtana the meaning of the subject is presented to the listeners. Being in the form of Jugalbandi, along with social awareness, the entertainment aspect is well maintained.
16. Government Kirtan:-
     Government kirtan promotes various schemes of the government. Music is the best medium to convey anything to the masses. At the time of kirtana, people from all walks of life come together and hence government kirtan is organized to popularize various schemes of the government. In this way Kirtan is a great medium for public awareness and social enlightenment. 

17. Corporate Kirtan:- Along with
     the traditional Kirtan forms, this is a very interesting form of Kirtan which has become popular in modern times. In fact government kirtan or social kirtan are also similar types of kirtan. Samarth Ramdas’ commentary on Rajkarana in his literature was also similar in nature, so it seems that this idea may have been taken from this inspiration.

 In this kirtan, the modern youth generation is taught in their own language how to overcome the difficulties and stress of working in the corporate world or the practical world, success and failure and how to find a way to overcome the situation. Attracting the modern generation to the devotional art form of kirtan is being done well by corporate kirtan. It would not be wrong to say that this is a spiritual training method for the youth generation to get them out of the difficulties. 

Culture of Maharashtra – A Guide to Vibrant Marathi Culture!

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