Jain History of Maharashtra
Maharashtra has its history of at least 5000 years and the from the beginning, this region is stronghold of Jainism and Jains. The oldest evidence of Jains in Maharshtra is Valmiki Ramayan, which states that Shabari in Dandakaranya was a Shramani i.e. a Jain woman. In Mahabharat, it is stated that Rukmini of Amaravati (Vidarbh) too was a Shramani.
The oldest inscription in Maharshtra is a Jain inscription. It is in a cave near Pale village in Pune district of Maharashtra. This 2nd century B.C.E. inscription is in Prakrit language and contains Namokar Mantra.
Marathi language was born from a Prakrit language called Jain Maharashtri. The first Marathi inscription is carved at Shravanbelgola, Karnatak near the left foot of statue of Bhagwan Bahubali. It was inscripted in C.E. 981
Maharashtra was ruled by many Jain dynasties like Chalukyas, Rashtrakoots and Shilahars. Most of the forts in Maharashtra are built by kings from these dynasties. That is why you see Jain temples or idols on many forts in Maharashtra.
Most of the people in Maharashtra were follower of Jainism in ancient and medieval period. This fact is clearly stated in many Hindu religious books like Shankardigvijay and Shivlilamrut.
This site will give detailed information on this subject soon.