Maharashtra - Geography
The modern state of Maharashtra is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the West, Gujrat and the Union Territory of Dadara Nagar haveli to the North West, Madhya Pradesh to the North & North East, Chhattisgadh to the East, Karnataka to the South, Andhra Pradesh to the South East and Goa to the South West.
Located in the north centre of Peninsular India, with the command of the Arabian Sea through its port of Mumbai, Maharashtra has a remarkable physical homogeneity, enforced by its underlying geology. The dominant physical trait of the State is its plateau character. Maharashtra is a plateau of plateaus, its western upturned rims rising to form the Sahyadri Range parallel to the sea-coast, and its slopes gently descending towards the east and south-east. Satpuda ranges cover northern part of the State, while Ajanta and Satmala ranges run through central part of the State. Arabian Sea guards the western boundary of Maharashtra, while Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are on the northern side. Chhattisgarh covers the eastern boundary of the State. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are on its southern side.
Maharashtra is the third largest State in India accounting for 9.4% (3,07,731km2) of the total geographical area of the country and the second most populous State with a population of about 112 million (2011 Census). Based on socio-political and other geographical considerations, the State is divided into five main regions: Vidarbha (north-eastern region), Marathwada (south-central region), Khandesh (north-western region), Northern Maharashtra and Western Maharashtra (Konkan). Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching nearly 720 km along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats is not only the prominent biodiversity resource for the region and an important climatic divide (average elevation of 1200 metres), but also forms one of the three watersheds of the State from which originate several important rivers, including Godavari and Krishna.
Forests comprise 17% of the total area of the state. Majority of the forests are in the eastern and Sahyadri regions of the state. Main Rivers of the state are Krishna, Bhima, Godavari, Tapi-Purna and Wardha-Wainganga. Maharashtra is divided into five geographic regions. Konkan is the western coastal region, between the Western Ghats and the sea. Major cities include Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi, Ratnagiri and Chiplun. Kandesh is the northwestern region lying in the valley of the Tapti River. Jalgaon, Dhulia and Bhusawal are the major cities of this region. Desh is in the centre of the state. This is the most significant region of the Maratha state. Pune was the capital of the Maratha Empire. Other important cities include Nasik, Sangli, Sholapur, and Kolhapur. Marathwada, which was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad until 1956, is located in the southeastern part of the state. Aurangabad is the main city of the region. Vidarbha is the easternmost region of the state, formerly part of Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur is the main city in the region. Physical features of Maharsahtra divided into Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'. The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. Sahyadri range with an elevation of 1000 meters is known for its crowning plateaus. Lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, Konkan is narrow coastal lowland, just 50 km wide and with an elevation below 200 meters. The third important region is the Satpura hills along the northern border, and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri ranges on the eastern border form physical barriers preventing easy movement. These ranges also serve as natural limits to the state.
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