Akola is a municipal corporation and important Historical, Cultural, Political, Religious, Industrial and Agricultural city in the state of Maharashtra located in the Vidarbha region in central India. It is located around 600 km east of the capital city of Maharashtra state, Mumbai (former "Bombay") and 250 km west from the city of Nagpur. Akola is the headquarters of Akola District located in Amravati Division. Akola district forms the central part of Amravati division, which corresponds to the former British Raj province of Berar.
The district of Akola comprise of talukas namely Akot, Telhara, Akola, Balapur, Patur, Barshitakli and Murtajapur.
Akola District has an area of around 54.31 square kilometres and population of 1,629,305 (2001 census). Marathi is the most popularly spoken language, though English and Hindi are also widely used. Akola District is bounded on the north and to the east by Amravati District, to the south by Washim District, and to the west by Buldhana District.
Akola (also called Cotton city) is renowned for its cotton production and is the largest cotton producing district in India. The city is also famous for its Pulse or Dal, Oil and Textile mills.
Akola is also renowned for its medical facilities. It is a major center for advanced medical treatments, such as The Elizarov technique, IVF, etc. Major hospitals in Akola include the Civil Hospital, Chaudhary Hospital and Akola Critical Care Unit;and also have some of the Top& major successful Medical practictioners around as Dr.K.S.Patil,Dr.Omprakash Ruhatiya,Dr.M.Chaudhary,Dr.Bhushan Mapari,Dr.Shirish Thorat.
"Dainik Deshonnati", one of the highest circulated and leading Marathi Newspaper in Vidharbha region originated from Akola. Other prominent Newspapers published from Akola include "Lokmat Samachar" and "Dainik Matrubhumi".
Akola Fort - A part of History preserved.Akola District along with the rest of the Berar province, was part of the legendary kingdom of Vidarbha mentioned in the Mahabharata. Berar also formed part of the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Asoka (272 to 231 BCE). Berar later came under the rule of the Satavahana dynasty (2nd century BCE–2nd century CE), the Vakataka dynasty (3rd to 6th centuries), the Chalukya dynasty (6th to 8th centuries), the Rashtrakuta dynasty (8th to 10th centuries), the Chalukyas again (10th to 12th centuries) and finally the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri (late 12th to early 14th centuries). A period of Muslim rule began when Ala ud din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, conquered the region in the early 14th century. The region was part of the Bahmani Sultanate, which broke away from the Delhi Sultanate in the mid-14th century. The Bahmani Sultanate broke up into smaller sultanates at the end of the 15th century, and in 1572 Berar became part of the Nizam Shahi sultanate, based at Ahmednagar. The Nizam Shahis ceded Berar to the Mughal Empire in 1595. The Mughals ruled the Berar province during 17th century. As Mughal rule started to unravel at the start of the 18th century, Asaf Jah I, Nizam of Hyderabad seized the southern provinces of the empire (including Berar) in 1724, forming an independent state.
Geography and Climate
Sundarabai Khandelwal Tower - Landmark of Akola city.The location of Akola city is latitude : 20.7° North and longitude : 77.07° East.
Akola city is located at an altitude of 925 ft. (282 m.) above the sea-level. The climate is tropical and people mostly use cotton clothes. Akola has a National Weather Station facility which serves as the local weather center for Akola and its nearby locations. Annual temperatures range from a high of 48 °C (118 °F) to a low of 10 °C (50 °F). Akola lies on the Tropic of Cancer, so its very Hot during Summer season, especially in May. But even during the hot season the nights are cool. The annual rainfall averages 34 inches. Most of the rainfall occurs in the Monsoon season between June to September, but some rains can also be seen during January and February.
Mahabeej Bhavan, Akola.The Akola MIDC Industrial Area has two prominent industrial zones on the outskirts of the city. The total land under Akola MIDC Industrial area is 6.25 km². There are around 25 industries (3 - Large Scale Industries, 22 - Small Scale Industries) currently in Production and another 10 small scale industries are under construction. Maharashtra Government has sanctioned growth centres close to Akola MIDC area. Notable industries in and around Akola city are:
Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola - Agricultural University.Higher Education : Akola has a famous Agricultural University - Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV or PKV); which attracts students from far-off places for its Agricultural Engineering & Technology program. All other professional colleges in Akola are affiliated to the Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University. It also has Engineering (Shivaji Engineering College, Akola COETA) and Medical Science colleges (as Government Medical College, Akola and Jamnalal Goenka Dental College etc.).
A full grown Cotton Plant.Agriculture or Farming is the main occupation of the people in rural parts of the region. Cotton, Soyabean and Jowar (Sorghum) are the predominant crops grown in the district. Other important crops of the region are Wheat, Sunflower, Canola, Peanut, Bajra (Pearl Millet), Harbara (Chick Peas), Toor (Pigeon Peas), Ulad and Mung (Green Gram) etc.
Most crops are totally dependent on the monsoon. Only 15% of Maharashtra's gross cropped area is irrigated, as against the national average of 32.9% in 1989-90. Vidarbha's Amravati division's (includes Akola District) share of gross cropped area under irrigation is a meagre 9%.
The "NH6", which runs through Akola, is an important National Highway, which runs from Hajira (Surat) to Kolkata. NH6 is apart of Asian Highway 46. Maharashtra state transport buses are most commonly used by people to travel to rural parts of the region. They are the cheapest means of transport. State owned and private air-conditioned bus services run daily buses to most important cities to and from Akola. The bus frequency is extremely good.
Locally, the Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) is Akola's public transport service. AMT is also an important mode of transport for many people.It has got a huge response since it's launching. In addition, Auto Rickshaw is also widely used in Akola city for commute due to its quick ride.
Akola also has good railway connectivity with direct trains to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Okha, Kolhapur, Pune, Bhusawal, Wardha, Nagpur, Howrah, Puri, Chennai, Jaipur and Hyderabad.
Religion and Culture
Raj-Rajeshwar Temple, Akola."Raj Rajeshwar Temple" in Akola is a famous pilgrimage place for worshippers of Lord Shiva and has a great historical heritage. (see attached photo) During the marathi calendar month of 'Shravan', there is a huge rush of devotees to worship Lord Shiva especially on every Monday of the month. The month of Shravan is very sacred according to Hindu Religion and worshippers from long distances travel to Raj Rajeshwar Temple to worship Lord Shiva.
Narsingh Maharaj Mandir at Akot and Baladevi temple at Balapur both in Akola District are also famous religious temples near Akola. Also in Balapur, 'Chatri' memento by Raja Jaisingh in the memory of his Horse is also famous.
The Atishay kshatra Shri Antariksh Parshvanath Jain Temple is situated in Shirpur (Akola District) about 75 km away from Akola. The Black colored idol of Bhagawan Parshvanath is very Ancient and is amongst very famous Jain Temples in Maharashtra.
Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj, Shegaon (Buldhana District).Other Temples in Akola city are:
Birla Mandir (Shri Ram Temple)
Shegaon (in Buldhana District), a very famous pilgrimage place of "Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj", is just 45 km away from Akola. Sant Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan is the biggest temple trust in the Vidarbha region and is so called as "Pandharpur of Vidarbha". The origin of Sant Gajanan Maharaj is untraceable in history. People from all over Maharashtra visit Shegaon and offer there prayers to Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj.
Akola is known as a colorful city because of its many festivals. Ganesh Chaturthi, Makar Sankranti, Dashera, Diwali, Holi and Eid are celebrated with special enthusiasm.