Culture of Maharashtra
About 82% of Maharashtrians are Hindu, and there are significant Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities. There are many temples in Maharashtra some of them being thousands 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. 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 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 AurangabadMumbai is the capital of Maharashtra with Humid climate throughout the year. Maharashtra has a large number of hill, 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.
There were several other Harijan saints of Maharastra. They are Sant Banka Mahar, Sant Bhagu, Sant Damajipanth, Sant Kanhopatra, Sant Karmamelam, Sant Nirmala, Sant Sadna, Sant Sakhubai, Sant Satyakam Jabali, Sant Soyarabai. Other important devotees are Namdev Mahar, devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, lived in Kharagpur and Bhagubai, the wife of Namdev Mahar, devotee of Sai.
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 devotion are celebrated in the state-wide Gokul Ashtami (or Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna's birthday) whereby many devotees fast on the entire day until midnight. Lord Ganesh's devotion is celebrated by Ganesh Chaturthi (Ganesh's birthday) in August.
The people of the state are known to wear different colorful types of costumes and there is variation in dance and music according to people's specific localities. Dance forms like Powada, Lavani, Koli with mesmerizing music and rhythmic movement entertain the people of Maharashtra.
The state is divided into 5 different regions: namely Konkan region, Khandesh (Northern maharashtra), Paschim maharashtra, Marathwada, Vidarbha. According to geographical variations and a little change in the dialects are also seen in these regions. Generally, in olden days, men wore dhoti and pheta, while a choli and nine yard saree is common for women, particularly in Maharashtra, where it is worn in a very peculiar and unique way.[further explanation needed] Nowadays, young Maharashtrans commonly embrace contemporary fashion.
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