Maharashtra (; Marathi pronunciation: , abbr. MH) is a state in the western region of India and is the nation's third largest state and also the world's second-most populous sub-national entity. It has over 110 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population of approximately 18 million. Nagpur serves as second capital as well as winter capital of the state. Maharashtra's business opportunities along with its potential to offer a higher standard of living attract migrants from all over India.
Ancient and medieval Maharashtra included the empires of the Satavahana dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Western Chalukyas, Mughals and Marathas. Spread over , it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The major rivers of the state are Godavari, Krishna, Narmada and Tapi. The state has several tourist destinations including the popular Hindu places of pilgrimage, Pandharpur, Dehu and Alandi. Places with wide appeal include Hazur Sahib Nanded at Nanded, and Saibaba shrine at Shirdi. Maharashtra is the second most urbanized state in India,〔 after Tamil Nadu, with large cities besides the capital Mumbai such as Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad.
Maharashtra is one of the wealthiest and the most developed states in India, contributing 25% of the country's industrial output and 23.2% of its GDP (2010–11). , the state had a per capita income of , more than the national average of . Its GDP per capita crossed the threshold for the first time in 2013, making it one of the richest states in India. However, as of 2014, the GDP per capita reduced to Agriculture and industries are the largest parts of the state's economy. Major industries include chemical products, electrical and non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products.
The modern Marathi language developed from the Maharashtri Prakrit, and the word ''Mahratta'' (later used for the Marathas) is found in the Jain Maharashtri literature. The terms Maharashtra, Maharashtri, Marathi and Maratha may have derived from the same root. However, their exact etymology is uncertain. The Nashik Gazetteer states that in 246 BC Maharatta is mentioned as one of the places to which Mauryan emperor Ashoka sent an embassy, and Maharashtraka is recorded in a Chalukyan inscription of 580 CE as including three provinces and 99,000 villages. But the Marathas as a people do not seem to be mentioned before the thirteenth or fourteenth century.〔Sir H. Risley's India Census Report (1901), Ethnographic Appendices, p. 93.〕
The most widely accepted theory among the linguistic scholars is that the words Maratha and Maharashtra ultimately derive from a combination of ''Maha'' ((マラーティー語:महा)) and ''rashtrika'' ((マラーティー語:राष्ट्रिका)).〔 The word ''rashtrika'' is a Sanskritized form of Ratta, the name of a tribe or dynasty of petty chiefs ruling in the Deccan region. Another theory is that the term is derived from ''Maha'' ("great") and ''ratha'' / ''rathi'' (chariot / charioteer), which refers to a skillful northern fighting force that migrated southward into the area.〔
An alternative theory states that the term derives from the word ''Maha'' ("great") and ''Rashtra'' ("nation/dominion"). However, this theory has not found acceptance among modern scholars who believe it to be the Sanskritised interpretation of later writers.〔
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