Akola is a district in the Maharashtra region of the Indian state. Akola district forms the central part of the Amravati District. Akola city is District Headquarter. The area of Akola district is 5,431 km²and had a population of 1,818,617 at the 2011 census. It is the 3rd largest city in Vidarbha, situated about 290 miles (580 km) east of the state capital, Mumbai, and 140 miles (250 km) west of the second capital, Nagpur.

Akola is the third-largest city in the Vidarbha area after Nagpur and Amravati. Akola city is administrated by the Akola Municipal Corporation.Akola is known as “The Cotton City Of Maharashtra”; it is one of the best cotton-producing districts in central India.

In the middle of Akola there is a Clock Tower. Akola is identified by this tower. It is a famous tower in Akola.

The city is also known for the colorful Varhadi language. The primary language spoken by the people of Akola is Marathi; some communities also speak Urdu and Hindi.

It is limited to the north by Amravati District, to the east by Amravati District and by Washim District, to the south by Washim District, and the west by Buldhana District. Akola district contains seven talukas which are Akola, Akot, Telhara, Balapur, Barshitakli, Murtijapur and Patur.

History Akola District ahead with the rest of the Berar responsibility was part of the legendary kingdom of Vidarbha mentioned in the Mahabharata. Barar also produces part of the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Ashoka (272 to 231 BCE).

Berar next appear 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 empire of Devagiri (late 12th to early 14th centuries). A period of Muslim rule start when Ala Uddin Khalji, Sultan of Delhi, overcome the region in the early 14th century.

The region was part of the Bahmani Sultanate, which broke distant from the Delhi Sultanate in the mid-14th century. The Bahmani Sultanate broke up into fewer sultanates at the end of the 15th century, and in 1572 Berar became part of the Nizam Shahi sultanate, located at Ahmadnagar. The Nizam Shahis give up Berar to the Mughal Empire in 1595.

The Mughals governed the Berar Province during the 17th century. As Mughal rule started to solve at the start of the 18th century, Asaf Jah I, Nizam of Hyderabad seized the southern department of the empire (including Berar) in 1724, forming an independent state.

Geography-

Akola is located at a latitude of 20.7° North and longitude 77.07° East. Akola has a National Weather Station which helps as the local weather center. On the north, Akola is surrounded by the Melghat Hills and forest area and in the northern Satpuda region. Akola city has a population of 537,137 and an area of 124 sq.km.

Although not much of a tourist destination, it still is a valuable historical, cultural, political, agricultural city. The place is an outstanding road and rail junction in the Tapti River valley; which is a commercial trading center essentially in cotton. Akola is an important educational center as well, with various colleges associated with the Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University.

Education:-

Akola is home to Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), established by the government of Maharashtra on 20 October 1969. Earlier, it was part of Maharashtra Krishi Vidyapeeth since 1968.

The university appeal to students from long distances for its agricultural science and agricultural engineering and technology courses. PDKV jurisdiction covers all 11 districts of Vidarbha.

Major Colleges in Akola City relate with PDKV are:

  • College of Agriculture, Akola – B.Sc. (Agriculture)
  • College of Horticulture, Akola – B.Sc. (Horticulture)
  • College of Forestry, Akola – B.Sc. (Forestry)
  • College of Agri. Engineering & Technology, Akola – B.Tech. (Agri. Engineering)
  • University Post Graduate Institute, Akola – M.Tech. (Agri. Engineering)
  • University Post Graduate Institute, Akola – M.Sc. (Agriculture)
  • University Post Graduate Institute, Akola – Ph.D.

Engineering colleges-

  • Shivaji Engineering College, Akola COETA
  • Bhonsle College of Engineering & Research
  • Manav School of Engineering & Management, Vyala
  • Mauli Group of Institutions, College Of Engineering & TECHNOLOGY, Shegaon.

Medical science colleges-

Government Medical College, Akola
R.T. Ayurved Mahavidyalay
Homeopathic Medical College
Shri Janta Homeopathic Medical College

Jawaharlal Navodaya Vidyalaya-

JNVs is a system of alternate schools for talented students in India. They are run by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, New Delhi, an autonomous organization under the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. JNVs are fully residential and co-educational schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, with classes from VI to XII standard. JNVs are specifically tasked with finding talented children in rural areas of India and providing them with an education equivalent to the best residential school system, without regard to their families’ socio-economic condition.

Pharmacy colleges-

  • S.G.S.P.S. Institute of Pharmacy – D. Pharm, B. Pharm, M. Pharm
    Geeta Devi Khandelwal Institute of Pharmacy – D. Pharm
    Other prominent colleges of Akola city-
  • Shankarlal Khandelwal College of Science, Commerce, and Arts
    RLT College of Science[26]LRT Commerce College
  • Shri Shivaji Arts, Commerce and Science College[27]Sitabai Arts and Commerce College
  • Radha Devi Goenka Mahila Mahavidyalaya (RDG)
    Sudhakarrao Naik Arts and Commerce College
  • Government College of Education
    Tirupati Tantra Niketan
  • KM Asghar Husain Junior Art, Commerce and Science College
    Akola Law College
  • Gajanan Maharaj College of Engineering[28] (SSGMCE) at Shegaon (in Buldhana District) is a renowned engineering college of the region, 38 km away from Akola city
  • NCC’s 11 MAH Battalion is based in Akola, on the outskirts of the city near Jawaharlal Nehru Public Park.

Medical Facilities-Major hospitals in Akola are:

  • Gov. Medical College and District Hospital,
  • Sant Tukaram Cancer Hospital,
  • Reliance Cancer Care hospital,
  • Icon Hospital,
  • Ozone Multi- Speciality & Critical care hospital,
  • Cotton city Hospital,
  • Damani Eye Hospital,
  • Radhakisan Toshniwal Ayurvedic Hospital

Agriculture:

Agriculture is the main profession of the people in rural parts of the region. Cotton, Soybean, and jawar (sorghum) are the vital crops grown in the district. Other vital crops of the area are wheat, sunflower, canola, peanut, Bajra, Harbara, Toor, Urad, and Moong. Only 15% of Maharashtra’s gross cropped area is irrigated, compared with the national average of 32.9% in 1989–90.

Vidarbha’s Amravati division’s share of gross cropped area under irrigation of 9%.Considered one of Maharashtra’s least developed regions, Vidarbha has seen not only farmers’ suicides but also deaths caused by malnutrition. Bharat Krishak Samaj, one of the leading organizations of farmers in India, is very active in the Akola region.

It has played a crucial role in promoting the voice of the common farmers of the Vidarbha region to the attention of the Indian government under the chairmanship of Prakash Shriram Mankar. Oil and dal mills are becoming excessive in this region because of the crops taken. Textile mills are also growing to support the cotton-growing industry.

Akola MIDC Industrial Area:

The Akola MIDC Industrial Area is the larger and most cost-effective industrial area in the division. It has four prominent industrial zones on the outskirts of the city. The entire land under the Akola MIDC Industrial area is 6.25 km2. There are about 25 factories (3 large factories and 22 small factories) currently in the manufacture and another 10 small factories are in the process of being constructed. Cotton and Jawar are the predominant crops grown in the district. Oil and dal mills are also rampant. Maharashtra State Seeds Corporation (Mahabeej) has a head office at Akola.

Sports:

Akola has a good tradition of sports. The most played sports in Akola city include football, cricket, carrom, hockey, volleyball, boxing, kabaddi, chess, and badminton. Akola was called Home of Football, Akola produced many renowned Footballers, Akola police was the best team for many years,some of the great footballers of Akola are:- Pandharinath Gopnarayan, Pappu Pandey,Gajanan Shelar, Devidas Sarjekar, Krishna Shelar,Baban Patade, Sheikh Chand, Farooq Sheikh, and many more .

Some of the popular stadiums and playground in Akola region include: Vasant Desai Stadium is famous in the region as it always hosts the district level tournaments of games such as running, volleyball, swimming, boxing, and kabaddi.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium is located near Sundarabai Khandelwal Tower which is a landmark of Akola city.The stadium hosts the games like football and cricket. Akola Cricket Club Ground (ACC) is the prominent cricket grounds in the region and is the home ground of the Akola cricket club.

Other prominent stadiums of Akola include:

Officer’s Club
PDKV’s Sports Stadium
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium
Akola Cricket Club Stadium
Umri Kabaddi Stadium
Mitra Samaj Club Stadium
City Sports Club

Transportation

Air-

Akola Airport is also known as Shioni Airport. From the National Highway No. 6. the airport is just away 7km. Renovation and operation of Akola airport are taken by the Airport Authority of India. The nearest international airport is at Nagpur (250 km) and Aurangabad, Maharashtra (265 km).

Road-

Akola city is together connected to major cities by road. The government has declared a new National Highway 161A National Highway 161A(new) connecting Akot, Akola to Mangrulpir, Mahur, and Mudkhed. Other highways include State Highway 204, State Highway 200: Akola – Amravati, and State Highway 197. NH6 is a part of Asian Highway 46. They are the cheapest means of transport.

Bus service is available for cities like Nagpur, Bhopal, Indore, Hyderabad, Nanded, Amravati, Mumbai, Nashik, Jabalpur. The bus frequency is good. Akola has the vehicle registration code is MH-30.City-
Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) runs Akola’s public transport service. Auto-rickshaws are also widely used in Akola city for city transport.

Railway-

North and South Indian passengers and also for freight trains, Akola junction is important, because it is situated in between Kacheguda-Jaipur and Hawrah-Nagpur-Mumbai. Akola has good railway connectivity with direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Okha, Surat, Nanded, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Kolhapur, Pune, Kamakhya, Indore, Mhow, Ujjain, Khandwa, Ratlam, Bhopal, Chittorgarh, Nagpur, Bilaspur, Howrah, Hatia, Puri, Chennai, Hingoli, Purna, Parli, Tirupati, Ganganagar, Secunderabad, and many more important railway stations in the country.

Important railway stations in Akola region with their codes are Paras, Gaigaon, Akola Junction (AK), Murtizapur Junction (MZR) and are under the Bhusawal-Badnera section of Bhusawal Division of Central Railway.

The stations under the narrow standard are Lakhpuri, Murtizapur Junction, Karanja under two Narrow standard Branch lines viz Murtizapur-Achalpur and Murtizapur-Yavatmal of Bhusawal Division of Central Railway.

Culture and Religion-

Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the conference on Marathi Literature, was held twice in Akola city.
Akola is a city with a mix of religions and cultures. There are several places of worship for Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians in Akola.

Temples:

Shri Rani Sati Dham is a Devi (Mata) temple located near the Collector office.
Shri Rani Sati Dham 2 is a Devi (Mata) temple located near Hotel Tushar National Highway No. 6
Shri Khatu Shyam Mandir Tulshiyan Layout Geeta Nagar National Highway No. 6Shri Salasar Dham Ganga Nagar National Highway No. 6
Shri Laxminarayan Mandir Toshniwal layout
Shri Tirupati Balaji Mandir Gaurakshan Sansthan Gaurakshan Road
Gram-Daivat Shree Rajrajeshwar Mandir, Old City
Birla Mandir (Ram Temple)
Shreenath Dutta Mandir, Ramdas Peth
Annapurna Devi Mandir, NH6, Balapur Naka
Jain Temple at City Market Place
Swami Samarth Mutthh (temple) at Ramdas Peth
Shree Kala Maruti temple at Old City
Shree Bara Jyotirlinga Mandir, Jatharpeth Road
Shree Sidhivinayak Temple Jathar Peth Nr Prasad Colony is a popular temple of Lord Ganesha.
Jalaram Mandir Birla Colony
Gurudwara Railway station Road
Shri Ram Temple at Tilak Road
Hanuman Temple at Balapur Marg Railway Gate, Dabki Road
Shri Salasar Balaji Hanuman Temple
Shani Mandir, Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Mosques in Akola city:

There are several mosques in the town. Important amongst them are the Badi Masjid (Markaz), Masjid Mominpura and Kachchhi Masjid.
Mominpura Masjid Mominpura
Kacchan Masjid Tajnapeth
Jama Masjid Inamdar Pura
Raza Masjid Akot File
Nagina Masjid Akot Stand
Masjid Al-Falah 1600 Plots
Akbar-plot Masjid Akot File
Chaand Hafiz Masjid
Ammajaan Masjid Old City
Masjid Turaab Ali Nawab Pura

Churches:

This church is a British Establishment of the year 1873. It is decorated for Christmas.
Mount Carmel Church
All Saints Church
Catholic Church
Alliance Church

Akola Tourism-

Akola Fort(Asdgad) along with the Narnala and Akot forts forms the major fortress of the Akola district. It is important in that, it is bereft of any decorative embellishments. There are several inscriptions on the fort. An inscription on the Dahi handi gate gives its date of constructions as 1114 AH (1697 CE), ‘during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb when Nawab Asad Khan was a minister.’ Another on the Fateh Buruj bastion has no accurate data. It too referrals the same minister but a different emperor (Shah Alam). One of the Eidgah contains texts and statements that the building was finished by Khawja Abdul Latif in 1116 AH (1698 CE).

Nehru Park:-

Nehru Park is a well-known amusement park. A laser show and musical fountain are added.
Ashok Vatika:- Ashok Vatika is a valuable religious place for Buddhists and Dalit people in Akola city. There are statues of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Siddharth Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule inside the Garden, People gather in large numbers to offer prayers, it is located at the center of Akola city.
Raj Rajeshwar Temple:- It is the Akola’s oldest Shiva temple. The city derives its nickname as “Rajeshwar Nagari” from it.

Shegaon:-

Shegaon (in Buldana District), a popular image place of Gajanan Maharaj, is just 35 km from Akola. Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan is also known as “Pandharpur of Vidarbha”. The origin of Gajanan Maharaj is untraceable in history. People from all over Maharashtra visit Shegaon and offer their prayers to Gajanan Maharaj.

Narnala Fort:-

Narnala Fort is also known as ‘Shahanur Fort’. The Narnala fort / Shahnoor fort built by the Sultan Mahmoud Gazhnavi because he is a follower of Bagh-Sawar wali Hazrat Burhanuddin the maintain after Imad Shahi dynasty and after this Akbar invaded Berar maintained by Mughals. The fort covers an area of 362 acres. It has 360 watchtowers, six large and twenty-one small gates; the large gates are called the Delhi Darwaza, the Sirpur Darwaza, the Akot Darwaza, and the Shahanur Darwaza