Ahirani is spoken by the Ahirs (cattle herders) living in the Khandesh region of Maharashtra. It is further divided into region-based sub-dialects such as Chalisgaon, Dhule, Malegaon and Dhule group. Ahirani is spoken in the Jalgaon (except Bhusaval, Jamner, Bodwad and Muktainagar) and Nandurbar, Dhule. Outside Khandesh, it is spoken in some parts of Nashik (Baglan, Malegaon and Kalwan tehsils) and Aurangabad. In the neighboring state of Gujarat, it is spoken in Surat and Vyara, and in Madhya Pradesh, Ahirani is spoken in and around Amba-Varla. Research by Dr. Ramesh Suryawashi suggests that the Ahirani dialect is also spoken in Dharni tehsil of Amravati district, around the Melghat Tiger Reserve forest area. But it is known as Gavali Boli there. Around 30-35 thousand people speak Gavai boli in 40 villages.
According to the 1971 census of India, the number of people who declared Ahirani as their mother tongue was 363,780. A 2011 estimate of the population of the Dhulia, Jalgaon and Nandurbar districts, and the Ahirani speaker tehsils of Aurangabad and Nasik district was 10 million. The non-Ahirs in the region (such as Lewa, Wani, Bhill and Pardeshi castes) started speaking variants of Ahirani mixed with their dialects while interacting with the Ahirs, which led to the birth of other dialects of the language. Chandwadi is spoken around Chandwad hills, Nandubari is spoken around Nandurbar, Jamnerior Tawadi is spoken around Jamner tehsil, Taptangi is spoken by the side of Tapi, Tapti river. Dongarangi is spoken by the side of forest Ajanta hills. All these are region-based names for Khandeshi sub-dialects. Ahirani, Gujari, Bhilau, Maharau, Lewa and Purbhi all are social (caste-based) categories of Khandeshi. Several castes speak their own dialect at home but use Khandeshi for their daily communication outside their communities.
For more information on Ahirani language, please visit the Ahirani page in Ethnologue website.