Maharashtra, state of India, occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan plateau in the western peninsular part of the subcontinent. Its shape roughly resembles a triangle, with the 450-mile (725-km) western coastline forming the base and its interior narrowing to a blunt apex some 500 miles (800 km) to the east. Maharashtra is bounded by the Indian states of Gujarat to the northwest, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the southwest and by the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and the Arabian Sea to the west.
Maharashtra’s capital, Mumbai (formerly Bombay), is an island city on the western coast, connected to the mainland by roads and railways. Aptly called the gateway of India, Maharashtra is one of India’s biggest commercial and industrial centres, and it has played a significant role in the country’s social and political life.
Maharashtra is a leader among Indian states in terms of agricultural and industrial production, trade and transport, and education. Its ancient culture, at one stage considerably obscured by British dominance, survives largely through the medium of a strong literary heritage. A common literature in Marathi, the predominant language of the state, has in fact played an important role in nurturing a sense of unity among the Maharashtrians. Area 118,800 square miles (307,690 square km). Pop. (2011) 112,372,972.