Information on Maharashtra Land
Maharashtra means the land of Marathi
speaking people. The word Maharashtra has been derived from
Maharashtri, an old form of Prakrit. It is located in the north center
of Peninsular India. Maharashtra is surrounded by the Arabian Sea in
the west and by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on the north. It is also
encircled by Madhya Pradesh in the east and by Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh on the south.
Maharashtra's physical features are quite homogeneous. But the
landscape of this state is dominated by a plateau. The western side of
this plateau rises up to form the Sahyadri Range and it declines
gently towards the east and southeast. The plateau has been carved by
the major rivers and their master tributaries, into alternating
broad-river valleys. They have also formed the Ahmednagar, Buldana,
and Yavatmal plateaux.
The Sahyadri Range is the highlight of the landscape of Maharashtra.
This range is the physical backbone of the state. The average height
of the range is around 1000m. Near the Konkan, the range falls to a
steep cliff, on the west. There is a transitional area towards the
east, where the hill country falls in steps. This area is known as
Mawal to the plateau level.
The region between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range is called
the Konkan. It is a narrow coastal lowland, hardly 50 km. wide. The
average height of Konkan is mostly below 200 m. The landscape here is
very uneven. Konkan alternates between narrow, steep-sided valleys and
low laterite plateaux.
The Satpuda hills are covered with dense forests. These hill forests
are the a major feature of Maharashtra. It is situated along the
northern border of the state. The Satpuda hills and the
Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri Ranges on the eastern border of the state
form physical barriers preventing easy movement and also forms the
natural border of the state.
¤ Geology and Topography
The landscape of the state is quite uniform and monotonous, except
the areas around Mumbai and along the eastern limits of Maharashtra.
The geological structure of the state has given way to its topography.
The Deccan trap meets the state area, except for the extreme eastern
Vidarbha region and parts of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg. Around 60 to 90
yeas ago, the basalt area was formed by the basic lava coming out of
the fissures. These are now found in the form of massive, well jointed
steel gray cliff due to the variation in their composition and
structure. The cliffs are found facing the alternate structural
beaches of vesicular amygdaloid lava and ash layers. All these
features contribute to the pyramid-shaped hills and crest-level
plateau or mesas.
The rivers of state, Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and
Wardha-Wainganga have divided it into broad, open river valleys and
alternating plateaux, that helps in the formation of the Sahyadri
hills. The water falls of the Konkan are hardly a 100 km. long,
rushing down as roaring streams. These streams flow in deeply
established valleys that end up as tidal estuaries.
Maharashtra experiences tropical monsoon climate. The state faces
extremely hot summers from March onwards till the starting of the
rainy season in early June. The lush greenery is the result of monsoon
season, which persists during the following mild winters. The state
enjoys mild winters and but the season changing month of October is
The Sahyadri hills receives a heavy rainfall of 400 cm due to the
seasonal rains from the western sea-clouds. The Konkan region is also
receives torrential rainfall. At the eastern side of the Sahyadri, the
rainfall diminishes with the area receiving just 70 cm. of rainfall.
The Solapur-Ahmednagar lies in the heart of the dry zone. But later in
the season, the rainfall increases towards the eastwards in the
Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The unpredictable monsoon, some times
results in short spells of rainy weather, long dry breaks, floods and
droughts making life a little difficult here.
¤ Flora and Fauna
The flora and fauna of Maharashtra is quite diverse. The varied
climate and topography has resulted in rich vegetation and a good
animal population. The land of Maharashtra has arid desert, tropical
rain forest and mountain range with an height of 4000 feet. 17 % of
Maharashtra's land is covered with thick virgin forests. The forests
found here are mainly evergreen deciduous type. Majority of the
forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state.
Maharashtra has five national parks, three game reserves, and 24
wildlife/bird sanctuaries. Here many different kinds of animals are
found like tigers, panthers, bison, deer and antelopes, wild boars,
bears and blue bull.