This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
Chief town ol the District and taluk of the name in Berar, situated in 20 degree 42' N. and 77 degree 2' E., on the Nagpur branch of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, 383 miles from Bombay and 157 from Nagpur. The population in 1901 was 29,289, of whom 21,045 were Hindus, 7,484 Musalmans, 358 Christians, and 226 Jains. Akola is mentioned in the Ain-i-Akbari as the chief town of a rich pargana in the sarkar of Narnala.
The walls of the town and the idgah were built for the most part by Asad Khan, Amir-ul-Umara, in whose jagir Akola was situated in the latter part of the reign of Aurangzeb. The walls bear many inscriptions recording the dates of their erection and repair. Later, in the reign of Akbar Shah II ol Delhi (1806 37) a citadel was built by Salih Muhammad Khan, who held the town, with a force of 5 elephants, 1,000 horse, and some infantry, for the Nizam. In 1803 General Wellesley halted at Akola on his way from Assaye to Argaon, 36 miles north of the town, where, on November 29, he defeated the Marathas under Venkaji, the brother of Raghuji Bhonsla. During the later years of the Nizam's rule, the importance of Akola declined owing to the malpractices of the talukdar, who robbed the people and did not keep off other marauders ; and many of the inhabitants emigrated to Amraoti.
The town is besected by the Murna river, Akola proper being on the west bank, and Tajnapeth, with the houses of Europeans and Government buildings, on the east bank. The municipality was created in 1867. The receipts and expenditure during the ten years ending 1900-1 averaged Rs. 59,000 and Rs. 61,000 respectively. In 1903-4 the income was Rs. 62,000, chiefly derived from taxes and cesses; and the expenditure was Rs. 44,000, the principal heads being conservancy and education.
The town is one of the principal centres of the cotton trade in Berar, and has many ginning factories and cotton presses. A cotton market has existed at Tajnapeth since 1868. Two Protestant missions are- situated at Akola. The educational institutions include a Government high school and a primary school for Mahar boys.