It comprises of the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and Gujarat; it also has union territories of Daman & Diu, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli under its ambit.
Between its Portuguese past and fishing village feel, world famous beaches and ancient temples, the paddy fields and plantations; Goa has something for everyone. Another state boasting a long coastline is Gujarat that seems to project out into the Arabian Sea. In West India, Maharashtra is the state that houses the only city for which the word 'megalopolis' is used in the country - Mumbai.
Wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat is Dadra and Nagar Haveli - another union territory which is replete with mesmerising mountain ranges, meandering rivers and lush green forests.
West India is a magnificent kaleidoscope of cultures where distinct religions, traditions, and lifestyles mingle to thrive and prosper.
The Western Indian region was ruled by the Rashtrakuta Empire, the Maurya Empire, Gurjars, Rajputs, Satavahanas, Western Satraps, Indo Greeks, Kadambas etc. in the ancient times. During the medieval age, the area was under the rule of the Vaghela dynasty, the Gujarat Sultanate, and the Delhi Sultanate. Thereafter, the area was under Mughal rule. Later, the Maratha Empire which arose in western Maharashtra came to dominate a major portion of the Indian subcontinent. However its defeat by the British in the Anglo-Maratha wars left most of India under colonial rule. The region then experienced great upheavals during the struggle for Indian Independence. Gandhi's Dandi March took place in Gujarat. The region became part of independent India in 1947, and the present state boundaries were drawn based on linguistic considerations in 1956.
The climate varies between tropical wet, tropical wet and dry, and semi arid. The coastal regions experience little seasonal variations. Mumbai and northern Konkan regions experience cooler winters with minimum temperatures hovering around 12 °C. Interior Maharashtra experiences hot summers and mild winters. Gujarat also has a warm climate with hot summers and cool winters. The best time to visit West India is from the months of October to March.
The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa are culturally varied and distinct.
Maharashtrian culture derives from the ancient Hindu Vedic culture influenced deeply by the Maratha Empire. Maharashtrians take great pride in the Maratha Empire, and many places in Maharashtra are named after the founder of the Empire, Shivaji. Marathi literature and cinema are popular in the state as well as across India. Bollywood has had a huge impact on the lifestyle and culture of this part of India as the industry is primarily located in Mumbai.
Gujarati culture is a blend of Indian culture and foreign influence. It has been influenced by the Parsi,Turkic and Mughal conquests, as well as a constant stream of back and forth migrations to and from Sindh and Rajasthan, which helped shape the unique cultural landscape of the state. Cultural Events like Rann Utsav, International Kite Festival and Global Garba festivals have been started in Gujarat to showcase its culture internationally.
Goan culture is a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, as a result of it formerly being part of Portuguese India for 450 years. The state is popular amongst tourists for its beaches, Goan cuisine, temples, churches and architecture. The Churches and Convents of Goa have been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The majority follow Hinduism and there are significant minority who follow Islam and smaller number who follow Christianity. There are also a few indigenous Jews called the Bene Israel who speak Marathi. The Parsees who settled in Gujarat made Mumbai and Surat their home. Significant percentages of Jains and Buddhists can be found too. Most Christians live in the state of Goa.
Marathi is the most widely spoken language, followed by Gujarati and Konkani all of which are Indo-Aryan languages. As in other parts, a high level of multilingualism is seen with English and Hindi being spoken as additional languages in urban areas.
Cuisine and Clothing
The western region boasts of distinctive cuisines varying from bland to fiery hot, you find a range of delicacies. Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, and Poha are popular street side munchies in Maharashtra. Gujarat is an alcohol-free state with predominantly vegetarian cuisine and its well-known Gujarati thali has a distinct flavour. Goan cuisine is dominated by the use of rice, coconut, seafood, Kokum, cashew-nuts.With its distinct spices and medium of cooking as coconut oil, both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian cuisine is equally popular. Maharashtra has some of the best vineyards in India, with Nashik and Sangli districts being the country's biggest grape-producing districts.
Maharashtrian women wear famous Paithani saree during festivals and religious functions. Clothes are an important part of the Goa lifestyle making it essential to dress well at the innumerable social occasions and parties. In Goa, women prefer Western dresses like skirts and tops, trousers and shirts etc. The traditional dress of women in Gujarat is the colourful Ghagra-choli. Saree is also a cultural dress of Gujarat.