Akola is a city in Vidarbha region in the state of Maharashtra in central India. It is about 584 km east of state capital Mumbai and 250 km west of second capital Nagpur. Akola is the administrative headquarters of Akola District located in Amravati Division, Akola city is governed by Akola Municipal Corporation.
Today, Akola is a developing city and it is one of the major cities of the vidarbha region. Akola has very good grain market, oil mills, dal (pulses) mills & is known for production of cotton. The IT sector is also growing at a fast pace.
Akola district has an area of about 5,431 square kilometers and population of 1,818,617 (2011 census). Akola is the third largest city in Vidarbha region after Nagpur and Amravati. Marathi is the most popular spoken language, though Hindi, English and Urdu are also used. Akola District is bordered on the north and east by Amravati District, on the south by Washim District, and on the west by Buldhana District.
Akola District along with the rest of the Berar province was part of the legendary kingdom of Vidarbha mentioned in the Mahabharata. Barar also formed part of the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Ashoka (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 Ahmadnagar. The Nizam Shahis ceded Berar to the Mughal Empire in 1595. The Mughals ruled the BBerar 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.
But the rise of Maratha Empire (from 1674 to 1760) under the command of Chhatrapati Shivaji succeeded by his son Sambhaji and grandson Shahu brought the whole Berar province including Akola district under the Maratha Empire around 1734. In 1749 at the time of his death, Shahu appointed the Peshwa as the head of the Maratha Empire with certain conditions to follow. The Berar province remained under the Marathas.
The Battle of Argaon, (or Adgaon near Akot) in took place on 28 November 1803 between the British under the command of Governor Arthur Wellesley and the forces of Maratha under Bhonsle of Nagpur during Second Anglo-Maratha War. In the third Anglo-Maratha War, the last Peshwa Baji Rao II, was defeated by the British. In 1853, Akola district together with the rest of Berar came under the administration of the British East India Company. Berar was divided into East and West Berar with Akola district being included in West Berar. In 1903, Berar was leased to the Nizam of Hyderabad by the British East India Company in return of the debt.
The CONGRESS’s proposed linguistic provinces plan before the Independence of India had positioned Akola as the headquarters of the Berar region.
After India gained its Independence in 1947, the states and provinces were reorganized in 1956. Berar was divided among different states. Akola became a part of bilingual Bombay state which was further divided into two states in 1960. Akola became a part of the new Maharashtra State. The Narnala fort, Akot fort, Akola fort and Balapur Fort are some of the famous monuments in Akola.
Dr. Vijay P. Bhatkar is best known as the architect of India’s national initiative in supercomputing where he led the development of Param supercomputers was born in Murtijapur near Akola. When India was denied the supercomputer by US, Dr. Bhatkar took the challenge of developing an indigenous supercomputer in a record time of 3 years and delivered Param 8000 in 1991 and went on to develop terascale Param 10000 in 1998, propelling India into the exclusive club of select nations, who possess this strategic technology.
Patrick Barr (13 February 1908 – 29 August 1985) was a British film and television actor. was Born in Akola, India.
Vitthal Wagh is a well known Marathi poet, writer and craft artist. He resides in Akola. He is famous for his poem Kaya Matit Matit, which describes the condition of Indian farmer, and based on which a song was composed.
Kamal Narayan Seetha (born 1943), is a Vedic teacher specializing in the fields of Yoga, Pranayama and alternative healing. Seetha is notable as an authority on Rudraksha and he was the first proponent of Rudraksha therapy to make the subject known widely in the Western World. He is the author of the seven time published book “Power of Rudraksha.”
Sudharak Olwe is a Mumbai based Documentary photographer who comes from Akola was awarded Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors for his social work. One example, at source above, is his documentation of the work of Mumbai’s 30,000 “conservancy workers,” or sweepers.His work has been featured in national publications and exhibited in Mumbai, Delhi, Malmo(Sweden), Lisbon, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Washington and Dhaka. He has drawn immense admiration and awe in the Indian subcontinent for revealing the naked reality of life’s tragicomic social theater. In 2005, he was one of the four awardees for the National Geographic’s “All Roads Photography Program”.
Places of Interest
Shegaon (in Buldana District), a very famous pilgrimage place of “Gajanan Maharaj is just 35 km from Akola. Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan is the biggest temple trust in the Vidarbha region and is called “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.
(Marathi नरनाळा) also known as “Shahanur Fort” is an Indian hill fortress in Maharashtra, India. The name Narnala was given after the Rajput Ruler Narnal Singh or Narnal Swami. The fort was built in 10 A.D. by Gond Kings. Narnala Wildlife Sanctuary which is situated 40 km from Akola city is a principal tourist destination. Home to leopard, birds and sambar, this wildlife sanctuary encompass many trees like teal, kusum and salai.
‘Nehru Park is the well-known Amusement and Water Park. It became the pride of city by installing India’s first 3D Planetarium. Laser show and musical fountain have now become added attractions in Nehru Park. The first of its kind in Vidarbha and second in Maharashtra.A 350-seat stadium has been set up in the park.
Ashok vatika is an important religious place for buddhist & dalit peoples in Akola city, there are the statues of Dr. B R Ambedkar, Siddharth Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule inside, People gather in a large number to pray, it is located at the centre of Akola city.
Raj Rajeshwar Temple
Akola’s oldest Shiva temple is Rajeshwar Mandir, the city derives its nickname as Rajeshwar Nagari by it.