Maharashtra experiences a tropical monsoon type of climate. The climate varies seasonally as well as regionally. The climate in the Konkan region is mostly hot, temperate and humid, whereas the climate in the Sahyadri hilly region tends to be moist and cool. The plateau region of the State experiences hot, dry and extreme climate.
The most important factor which influences the climate is the towering presence of the Western Ghats which block the monsoon bearing winds coming from the Arabian Sea and cause good rainfall in the Konkan region and the peaks of the Sahyadris. The onset of the monsoons in the early June gives relief to the scorching summers from the month of March. The region east of Maval experiences medium rainfall. The rainfall decreases towards the middle-eastern region of the State, which falls in the rain-shadow of the Sahyadris. The drought-prone eastern region of the State which is farthest from the coast experiences extremely less rainfall. The eastern parts of Vidharbha region also gets some amount of rain from the monsoon clouds flowing in from the Bay of Bengal. Some of the regions in the extreme eastern region of the State like Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Gondia experience good rainfall.
Situated in central India on the west coast of the country, Maharashtra is bordered by Gujarat State and Dadra-Nagar-Haveli Union territory to the north-west, Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka States to the south-east and Goa State to the south. The Arabian Sea stretches on the western border of the State.
Maharashtra is the third largest State in the country after Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. With a total area of 307,713 sq km, Maharashtra constitutes 9.36% of the total area of India (3,287,263 sq km).
The maximum east-west length of Maharashtra is 800 km and north-south length is 700 km.
Maharashtra has three types of terrains namely Konkan coastline, Sahyadri mountain range or the Western Ghats and hilly region and the Deccan plateau.
Located in the north centre of Peninsular India, with a command of the Arabian Sea through its port of Mumbai, Maharashtra has a remarkable physical homogeneity, enforced by its underlying geology. The Sahyadri Range is the physical backbone of Maharashtra. Rising on an average to an elevation of 1000 m, it falls in steep cliffs to the Konkan on the west. Eastwards, the hill country falls in steps through a transitional area known as Maval to the plateau level.
The Konkan, lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range is narrow coastal lowland, barely 50 km wide. Though mostly below 200 m, it is far from being a plain country. Highly dissected and broken, Konkan alternates between narrow, steep-sided valleys and low lateritic plateaux. Thane, Mumbai (city and suburb), Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg make up this coastal region that is dotted with a number of creeks. Going from the north towards the south, one comes across the Dotivara creek, Vasai creek, Dharamtar, Rajpuri, Bankot, Dabhol, Jaigad, Vijaydurg and Karli creeks. The Terekhol creek is at the southernmost tip.
The Sahyadri or the Western Ghat spans the coastline, running along the western edge of India's Deccan Plateau. The range starts south of the Tapti River near the Gujarat–Maharashtra border and runs approximately 1,600 km across the States of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, almost to the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. The average elevation is around 1,000 m (3,281 ft).
This mountain range is recognized as the divider between the easterly and westerly rivers. Many of the primary rivers like the Godavari, Krishna and Bhima along with its tributaries originate in the Sahyadri range. Small rivers and numerous backwaters inundate the region. The rivers originating in the Western Ghats are fast flowing and mostly perennial. The fast flowing nature of the rivers results in the formation of estuaries rather than deltas.
The Kalsubai, Salher and Saptashrungi peaks are in these mountain ranges and also the hill stations of Matheran and Mahabaleshwar. The Shambu-Mahadeo, Harishchandra-BalaGhat and Satmala-Ajintha mountain ranges are spread from the Sahyadri across the plateau. The Satpura range borders Maharashtra on the north. There are many Ghats in the Sahyadri range that connect the Konkan region and Deccan plateau. These ranges also have many important historical forts.
The Deccan Plateau covers a large part of Maharashtra’s eastern region. It is a large triangular plateau to the east of the Sahyadri range, bounded by the Vindhyas to the north and flanked by the Eastern and Western Ghats. Approximately seven crore years back the tectonic movement of the plates caused the continent to be formed and the plateau was formed from natural phenomena spread over many years.
Almost 90% of the Maharashtra State is covered by this plateau. It covers a total area of 1.9 million km (735,000 mile) and is mostly flat, with elevations ranging from 300 to 600 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft). The east-west length of the plateau is 750 km whereas the north-south length is 700 km. Within it are several plateaux nestled between the hill ranges like the Ahmednagar plateau, Saswad plateau, Aundh plateau, Buldhana plateau, Malegaon and Toranmal plateau.
The name Deccan comes from the Sanskrit word dakshina which means south. The plateau slopes gently from west to east and gives rise to several peninsular rivers such as the Kaveri and the Narmada. This region is mostly semi-arid as it lies on the leeward side of both Ghats. Much of the Deccan is covered by thorn scrub forest scattered with small regions of deciduous broadleaf forest. Climate ranges from hot summers to mild winters.
Following is the list of prominent peaks in the State-