Akola – Cotton city of Maharashtra
Akola, a leading industrial and agricultural district of Maharashtra state, comes under the Amaravathi division of central India. Amaravathi, Washim and Buldhana districts cover the Akola region. It has a rich political and cultural heritage. It is the administrative center of the district.
Akola is an important part of Vidharbha kingdom. Later it became a stronghold of the Marathas. However, after the Maratha-Anglo war, the British took over the province. The Mughals had earlier bestowed Akola with various monuments, forts and tombs.
This mighty brick fort was constructed by Azam Shah, the son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort is located at the meeting point of two rivers, namely Mana and the Mhais. It is renowned for its intricate carvings, three gaint gateways with spikes on the door to deter the elephants during war. Balapur fort is located nearly 26 km from Akola. Beneath the fort a temple called Bala Devi temple is situated.
The Narnala fort is located 24 km away from Akola, in the Melghat Tiger Reserve of Saputara region. The fort lies amidst thickly wooded hills. The main fort houses three small forts within it. These are named Zafrabad, Narnala and Teliagarh. There were lots of controversies during the period of construction of the fort.
Narnala wildlife sanctuary:
This pristine sanctuary is located 40 km before Akola. Spreading across 12 sq km, this sanctuary is the most beautiful of its kind in Maharashtra. This region is full of tropical deciduous forests with rugged terrain. The important animals of this sanctuary are leopards, sambhar deer, barking deer and wild boars. Animal and bird watchers must include this place in their itinerary of Akola.
Raj Rajeshwar temple:Akola is also a famous pilgrimage center for devotees of Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that their wishes get fulfilled if they worship Lord Shiva in the Raj Rajeshwar temple here every Monday. Other than this temple, tourists can visit other temples like the Narsingh Maharaja Mandir and the Birla Mandir.
The airport nearest to Akola is Shivani airport. The nearest railhead is Akola junction. The region also has a good network of roads.