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Akola अकोला
Akola अकोला
Location of Akola अकोला
in Maharashtra and India
Coordinates 20°42′N 77°00′E / 20.7°N 77.00°E / 20.7; 77.00
Country  India
State Maharashtra
District(s) Akola
Mayor Suresh Patil
Population
Density
443184 (2007)
3,487 /km2 (9,031 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area
Elevation
54.31 km2 (21 sq mi)
282 m (925 ft)
Website in akola.nic. in

Akola is a city in the state of Maharashtra located in the Vidarbha region of central India. It is located around 600 km east of Mumbai (former "Bombay") and 250 km west of Nagpur. Akola is the headquarters of Akola District located in Amravati Division.

Akola district has an area of about 54.31 square kilometers and population of 1,629,305 (2001 census). Marathi is the most popular spoken language, though English and Hindi 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, also called Cotton City, is known for its cotton production and is the largest cotton-producing district in India. The city is also famous for its pulses (dal), oil, and textile mills. Akola is also known for its medical facilities. It is a major center for advanced medical treatments, such as the Elizarov Technique, IVF. Major hospitals in Akola include the Civil Hospital, Chaudhary Hospital and Akola Critical Care Unit.

Dainik Deshonnati, one of the most circulated Marathi newspapers in the Vidharbha region, originated from Akola. Other prominent newspapers published from Akola include Lokmat Samachar and Dainik Matrubhumi.

Contents

History

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 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 loss in the third battle of Panipat in 1761 weakened the Maratha empire and corrupted the power of Peshwa forever. The Berar province remained under the Marathas.

The Battle of Argaon, (or Adgaon near Akot) in took place on the 28th of 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.

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.

Geography and Climate

Sundarabai Khandelwal Tower - Landmark of Akola city.

Akola is located at latitude 20.7° North and longitude 77.07° East. It is located at an altitude of 925 ft (282m) above sea level. The climate is tropical, and people predominately wear cotton clothes. Akola has a National Weather Station which serves as the local weather center. 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 and becomes very hot during the summer, especially in May. Although it can be very hot in the day, it is cool at night. The annual rainfall averages 850 mm. Most of the rainfall occurs in the monsoon season between June and September, but some rain does fall during January and February.

On the north, Akola is bordered by the Melghat Hills and forest region. Morna River flows through Akola. Purna River forms a part of the north border of the district, and the top north portion of the district lies within its watershed along with Aas River and Shahnur River. Vaan River forms a part of the northwest boundary of the district after entering from the Amravati district. Maan River drains the southwestern portion of the district. Morna River drains the mid-south portion of the district, while the southeast is drained by the Katepurna and Uma rivers.

Some of the rivers in Akola and their tributaries are Purna, Uma, Katepurna, Shahanur, Morna, Mann, Aas and Vaan. There are many dams in Akola district. Mahan located on Katepurna river is one of them. There have been floods in 1978, 1992, and 2003.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census[1], Akola city had a population of 399,978. Of the total population, males constitute about 52% and females about 48%. Thirteen percent of the total population is under the age of 6.

Akola has an average literacy rate of about 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; 55% of the males and 45% of females are literate.

Local Government

The local administration body is the Municipal Corporation. Akola Municipal Corporation is headed by the Municipal Commissioner and an elected mayor. There are 71 electoral wards in Akola. A corporator is elected in each of the wards, and they elect the mayor by majority vote. Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) runs Akola's public transport service.

Industry

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 about 25 factories (3 large factories and 22 small factories) currently in production and another 10 small factories are in the process of being constructed. Maharashtra Government has sanctioned growth centres close to Akola MIDC area. An application of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for setting up an Agro- processing Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Akola district has been approved.

Entertainment

Hindi, Marathi and English movies are screened in eight cinema halls in Akola city.

Marathi dramas starring Bharat Jadhav, Prashant Damle and other prominent actors are frequently enacted in Pramilatai Oak Hall and Open Theatre located on Mahtma Gandhi Road (Main Market Road).

Akola has its own FM radio channel run by All India Radio (AIR). Recently a private FM radio channel Radio City 91.1 FM has also started broadcasting. The city has a Television Relay Centre and re-broadcasts on its Channel-1 the National Programmes from Delhi & Sahyadri Mumbai's Marathi programmes. Also it re-broadcast (DD-II's) DD News programmes from Delhi on its Channel-2. Both the channels are in FTA (Free to Air) mode. The Television Centre is managed by the Doordarshan Maintenance Centre, Akola, a circle centre headed by a senior officer designated as the Station Engineer. It also broadcasts narrow-casting programmes for the farmers of the region. The software for which is supplied by DDK-Nagpur through recording programmes at PKV-Akola and various Departments of the State Government of Maharashtra.

Education

Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) Akola - Agricultural University.
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Higher Education

Akola has a famous Agricultural University Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth founded by Late Dr. Gopalrao Khedkar (PDKV or PKV). The university attracts students from far distances for its Agricultural Engineering and Technology courses. All other professional colleges in Akola are affiliated with Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University. Othe courses are offered such as Engineering at (Shivaji Engineering College, Akola COETA) and Medical Science colleges (as Government Medical College, Akola and Jamnalal Goenka Dental College).

Other prominently known colleges of Akola city are RLT College of Science[2], LRT Commerce College, Shivaji Arts, Commerce and Science College, Sitabai Arts College, Radha Devi Goenka Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Sudhakarrao Naik Arts and Commerce College, RT Ayurvedic Mahavidyalaya, Government. College of Education, Tirupati Tantra Niketan and KM Asghar Hussain Junior Art, Commerce and Science College, Akola Law College. Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj College of Engineering (SSGMCE) at Shegaon (in Buldhana District) is a renowned engineering college of the region and located is 45  km away from Akola city.

School Education

Some schools are affiliated with Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. The Municipal Corporation controls all public schools in the city.

Agriculture

A full grown cotton plant.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in rural parts of the region. Cotton, soybean and Jowar (Sorghum) are the essential 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 dependent on the monsoon. 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 (including Akola District) share of gross cropped area under irrigation of 9%.

Considered one of Maharashtra's least developed regions, Vidarbha has seen not only farmer's suicides but also deaths caused by malnutrition. In some tribal are major reasons of recent suicide deaths of farmers in the Akola region and other surrounding parts of Vidarbha, which has rang alarming bells in the Maharashtra State Government and Government of India. Bharat Krishak Samaj, one of the leading organization of farmers in India, is very active in 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. Vidarbha region has long demanded a separate state to support the economy and agriculture of this region, which has been neglected by the Maharashtra State Government in all sectors. The Government of India's intervention has failed to provide government aid packages and has also failed to bring any change in the working conditions of the farmers of this region. Oil and Dal mills are becoming rampant in this region because of the crops taken. Textile mills are also increasing to support the cotton growing industry.

Transport

Mount Carmel School Chowk - Railway Station Road, Akola.

Air

Akola Airport (also known as Shivani Airport) (IATA: AKDICAO: VAAK) is the domestic airport of Akola city at an elevation of 999= ft (304 m) and has one runway (3,985×145= ft). The airport is just 7 km away from the city on National Highway number 6. The nearest domestic airport is at Nagpur. Renovation and operation of Akola airport is taken by Airport Authority of India.

Road

The "NH6" runs through Akola from Hajira (Surat) to Kolkata. NH6 is a part 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 to most major cities to and from Akola. The bus frequency is good.

Bus

Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) runs Akola's public transport service. Autorickshaw is also widely used in Akola city for city transport. Traffic is generally a problem, in the form of congestion due to increasing number of vehicles, bad roads, stray animals, and a general disregard of traffic rules. Road accidents are often fatal and are very common. The municipal corporation is trying to improve the roads in Akola city through IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Planning). This may create a new face of the city.

Rail

Akola has good railway connectivity with direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Okha, Surat, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Kolhapur, Pune, Indore, Mhow, Ujjain, Khandwa, Ratlam, Chittorgarh, Nagpur, Gondia, Bilaspur, Howrah, Hatia, Puri, Chennai, Hingoli, Purna, Parli Vaidnath, Tirupati, Secundarabad and Hyderabad.

Akola railway junction, situated on both the Mumbai-Bhusawal-Wardha-Nagpur-Howrah rail line and the Kacheguda-Jaipur meter gauge line, is an important junction for passengers from North and South India and also for freight trains. Broadgauging of Akola-Purna, Akola - Indore Junction MG and Akola - Indore Junction BG - Ratlam railway line under Unigauge has recently completed and passenger train have started running on this route. Important railway stations in Akola region with their codes are Paras, Gaigaon, Akola Junction (AK), Murtajapur Junction (MZR) and are under Bhusawal-Badnera Section of Bhusawal Division of Central Railway.

The other stations under meter gauge are Hiwarkhed (HWK), Adgaon Buzurg (ABZ), Akot (AKOT), Patsul (PTZ), Ugwe (UGWE), Akola Junction, Shivani Shivpur (SVW), Barshitakli (BSQ), Lohogad (LHD), Amna Vadi (AMW), Jaulka (JUK) are under Purna - Khandwa Section of South Central Railway.

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

This year only (2009), a new railway station is built at Shivani-Shivar. It is the modification of narrow gauge station in to broad gauge station. It now connects Purna to Hyderabad through Akola. It is a great effort taken by railway to make traveling and communicating accessible for Akola City. The city still lacks direct connectivity with Jabalpur, Lucknow and other major Indian cities.

Religion and Culture

Raj-Rajeshwar Temple, Akola.

A pilgrimage to "Raj Rajeshwar Temple" in Akola is done by worshippers of Lord Shiva and has a great historical heritage. During the Marathi calendar month of 'Shravan', there is a large amount of devotees to Lord Shiva, especially on every Monday of the month. The month of Shravan is very sacred according to Hindus, and worshippers travel from long distances 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[citation needed] religious temples near Akola. Also in Balapur, 'Chatri' momento by Raja Jaisingh of his horse is famous as well. 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 ancient and is famous amongst Jain Temples in Maharashtra.

Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj, Shegaon (Buldhana District).

Other temples in Akola city:

  • Birla Mandir (Shri Ram Temple)
  • Shreenath Dutta Mandir, Ramdas Peth,
  • Jain Temple, Swami Samarth muth (Temple) at Ramdas peth.

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 called "Pandharpur of Vidarbha". The origin of Sant Gajanan Maharaj is untraceable in history. People from all over Maharashtra visit Shegaon and offer their prayers to Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj.

Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the conference on Marathi Literature, was held twice in Akola city. They were presided by President of the Conference Hari Narayan Apte in 1912 and Gopal Nilkanth Dandekar in February 1981.

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.

Famous people

References

External links


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