1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Akola

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AKOLA, a town and district of India, in Berar, otherwise known as the Hyderabad Assigned Districts. The town is on the Murna tributary of the Purna river, 930 ft. above the sea, Akola proper being on the west bank, and Tajnapeth, containing the government buildings and European residences, on the east bank. It is a station on the Nagpur branch of the Great Indian Peninsula railway and is 383 m. E.N.E. of Bombay. It had a population (1901) of 29,289. It is walled, and has a citadel built in the early years of the 19th century. Akola is one of the chief centres of the cotton trade in Berar, and has numerous ginning factories and cotton presses. Among the educational establishments are a government high school, and an industrial school supported by a Protestant mission.

The District of Akola as reconstituted in 1905 has an area of 4111 sq. m. the population of this area in 1901 being 754,804. (Before the alteration of the boundaries the area of the district was 2678 sq. m., and the population 582,540.) The surface of the country is generally flat, the greater part being situated in the central valley of Berar. On the north it is bounded by the Melghat hills. By the addition of Basim and Mangrul laluks in 1005, the district includes the eastern part of the Ajanta hills, with peaks rising to 2000 ft., and the tableland of Basim (q.v.) North of the Ajanta hills the country is drained eastward by the Iurna affluent of the Tapti and its tributaries. None of the rivers is navigable. The climate resembles that of Berar generally, but the beat during April to mid-June, when the rains begin, is very great, the average temperature at the town of Akola in May for the twenty-five years ending 1901 being 94.4 deg. F. But even during the hot season the nights are cool. The annual rainfall averages 34 in. In the Purna valley the soil is everywhere a rich lilack loam, and nearly the whole of the land is cultivated. Very little.land is under irrigation. The principal crop is cotton, and the staple grain millet. Wheat and pulses are also grown. The history of Akola is not distinguished from that of the other portions of Berar. In 1317-1318 it was added to the Delhi empire, became independent under the Bahmani dynasty in 1348, and in 1596 again fell under the sway of the Moguls. In 1724 it came, with the rest of Berar, under the dominion of the nizam, being assigned to the British in 1853.