The Solapur District was ruled by various dynasties such as Andhrabhratyas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas and Bahamanis. Recent research work however shows that the name Solapur is not derived from the congregation of sixteen villages. It is evident from the inscriptions of Shiva yogi Shri Siddheshwar of the time of the Kalachuristis of Kalyani, that the town was called 'Sonnalage' which came to be pronounced as 'Sonnalagi'. A Sanskrit inscription dated Shake 1238, after the downfall of the Yadavas found at Kamati in Mohol shows that the town was known as Sonalipur. During the Muslim period, the town was known as Sandalpur. Subsequently the British rulers pronounced Solapur as Sholapur and hence the name of the district.
The present Solapur district was previously part of Ahmednagar, Pune and Satara districts. In the year 1838 it became the Sub-district of Ahmednagar. After the State reorganization in 1956 Solapur was included in Mumbai State and it became a full-fledged district of Maharashtra state in 1960.
The importance of Solapur is unique in the history of India in the sense that this district enjoyed the freedom even before independence. The citizens of Solapur enjoyed the Independence for three days from 9th to 11th May 1930. The brief history runs like this. After the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi in May 1930, protests and demonstrations against the British Rule were held throughout the India. Large scale rallies and protests were done at Solapur also. Many citizens lost their lives in the Police firings. Due to this the irate mob attacked the Police Stations. Out of fear the Police and other officers ran out of Solapur.
During this period the responsibility of law, order and security of citizens was on the shoulders of congress party leaders. Then city congress President Shri.Ramkrishna Jaju, with his other congressmen maintained the law and order for a period of three days from 9th to 11th May 1930. Secondly, the Solapur Municipal Council was the first Municipal Council of India to host the National Flag on the Municipal Council building (Now Municipal Corporation) Solapur in 1930.
The district is bounded on the north by Ahmednagar, on the east by Osmanabad and Gulbarga (Karnataka State) districts, on the south by Sangli and Bijapur (Karnataka State) and on the west by Satara and Pune districts. Solapur is located between 17.10° to 18.32° North latitude and 74.42° to 76.15° East longitudes. The district is situated on the southeast fringe of Maharashtra State and lies entirely in the Bhima and Seena basins. The district covers geographical area of 14844.6 sq.kms.
Solapur district's climate is tropical and in summer the maximum temperature is 42°C and minimum is 28°C. In winter the maximum tempreture is 27°C and minimum is 13°C. The average rainfall of the district is 897.8mm.
Solapur is the home of Handloom and Power loom weaving industry, which provides employment to a large number of workers. There are around 6000 power loom industries operational in the district. Out of these 300 establishments are registered under Mumbai Shops and Societies Act 1948 and the other 3000 are registered under Factories Act 1948. There are about 25000 Power loom and about 30000 workers are employed. On the Jackard power loom the main production is Bed Sheets, Towels and Napkins. These products are exported to various countries in the world.
Beedi industry is the second important industry in Solapur. There are 115 units of 29 various beedi factories. In these 115 units there are about 70000 lady workers and 1725 factory workers in the district.
The major crops of the district are Jowar, wheat, and sugarcane. Solapur district especially Mangalwedha taluka is known for Jowar. Maldandi Jowar is famous in all over Maharashtra.
District Collector is mainly responsible for the District Administration. The District Collector is assisted by Resident Deputy Collector and the Sub-Divisional Officers to maintain the law and order of the district.
By Rail: Solapur is a distance of 456-km from the Mumbai on the main broad gauge rail line of Central railway connecting Mumbai and Chennai.
By Road: It is also well connected by road. State transport connects buses from major cities of the state like Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Pune to Solapur.
The Solapur district comprises of three revenue Sub-divisions, eleven revenue Talukas and 1144 revenue villages.
As per 2001 Census of India, Solapur had total population of 3849543. Total male population was 1989623 and total female population was 1859920. Total Literacy rate is 71.2%. Male literacy rate is 82.0%, where as female literacy rate is 59.8%.
Marathi is the main language spoken in Solapur. Kannada and Telugu are spoken in border areas of the district. There are several regious places in Solapur. They are:
Pandharpur: It is a holy place of Shri.Vitthal and Shri.Rukmini. It is also known as the Southern Kashi of India and Kuldaivat of Maharashtra State. It is located at a distance of 72 kms by road from Solapur District headquarters.
The ancient temple of Shri.Vitthal was renovated in 1195 A.D. There are many other temples of Indian Deities and Mathas (Dharamshalas) of many Saints. The Chandrabhaga (Bhima) river flows through the City. Large number of devotees from all over Maharashtra and surrounding States gather at Pandharpur mainly to celebrate the Aashadhi and Kartiki Ekadashi every year in addition to the regular rush of devotees everyday. The Palanquins (Palkhi) of various Saints originating from various locations gather at Wakhari, five kms from Pandharpur for the Waari festival.
Siddheshwar Temple: Shri.Siddheshwar is the Gramdaivat of Solapur city. A Siddheshwar Temple is located at the heart of the city. It is surrounded by a large water tank, which resembles as view of an island. The brief history of Shri.Siddheshwar runs like this. There was a great saint Shri.Siddaram, who preached the teachings of Shri.Basaweshwara. A young girl, inspired by the teachings of this saint wished to marry the saint. Shri.Siddaram being a brahamachari denied to marry her and gave permission to marry with his Yogadanda. The same marriage function is celebrated every year on the Makar Sankranti for three days on Bhogi, Sankrant and Kinkrant. The Nandi Dhwajas are presumed as Bride and Groom for the marriage. This festival falls around 14th Jan. every year. A fare popularly known as Gadda Jatra is arranged for fifteen days during this period.
Akkalkot: It is a holy place of Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj. It is located at a distance of 38 kms by road from Solapur District headquarters. This Saint is believed to be the reincarnation of Lord Dattatraya. The Samadhi of this Saint is worshipped by the devotees. The Death Anniversary is celebrated on Chaitra Shuddha Trayodashi every year.
Kamala Devi of Karmala: The Kamala Bhavani Temple is built by Rao Raje Nimbalkar in 1727. It is considered to be the second seat of Tulajapur Tulaja Bhavani. Built in Hemdpanthi style, the temple has entry doors in East South and North directions. The uniqueness of this temple architecture is, the temple is having well of 96 steps. The temple is constructed with 96 pillars. The temple top consists of 96 pictures and 96 'overyas'.Navratri festival is celebrated with great devotion. The annual festival (yatra) is held during Kartik Purnima to Chaturthi.
Barshi- Barshi is famous for Bhagwant temple. The temple is dedicated to Shri Vishnu. The uniqueness of this temple is that, this is the only one temple of Shri Vishnu all over India having Shri Vishnu's name as BHAGAWNT. The temple is built in Hemadpanthi style in the year 1245 A.D. There are four entries to the temple from all the four directions, but the main entry is east facing. Large number of devotees visits during the Chaitra, Maghi, Aashadi & Kartiki, (Hindu Months) and Ekadashi. During the Aashadi & Kartiki Ekadashi a large procession is taken out covering the town with Bhagwant riding on Garuda.
Mangalwedha- Magalwedha is famous for Sant. Damaji. The temple by the name of the Shri. Sant Damaji is located in the heart of the city.
The other tourist places of Solapur are including Kundalsangam,Akluj, Nanaj(North Solapur taluka), Dahi gaun, which is famous for its Jain temple.
Like other Indian cities, Solapur also celebrates Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, Diwali, Navratri and Gudi Padwa. Lavani, Gondhal, Dhangari,Aradhi and Bhalari songs are the folk songs of Solapur.
Flora and Fauna
Solapur's flora and fauna includes its wild life sanctuary. The Government of Maharashtra declared Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in 1979 with the sole objective of conserving the rarest species of Great Indian Bustard, which are endangered with extinction. The sanctuary consists of the area of North Solapur, Madha, Mohol and Karmala Talukas of Solapur District and Karjat, Shrigonda, Newasa Talukas of Ahmednagar District covering a total area of 8496.44 sq.kms.This bird has been included in the Schedule-1 of Wildlife Act 1972 and accordingly due protection has been given to this bird. The headquarters of the sanctuary are Nannaj of Solapur District and Rehekuri of Ahmednagar District.
The other salient feature of the Sanctuary is Maldhok wild life sanctuary. It is coming under Ninnaj taluka. It has total geographical area is of 8496.44 sq.kms. Here the forest is tropical thorn forest. The main trees found in the sanctuary are Neem, Sishu, Babul, Bor, Tarwad, Henkal, Dongri, Kusali Pavanya, Sheda, and Marvel etc. the common species of this forest are the Great Indian Bustard, Blackbuck, Wolf, Indian Fox, Jackal etc.
The important Institutions of Solapur are-
Government Polytechnic Solapur
College Of Pharmacy-One of the premeir institute in Maharashtra offering Pharma education.
R.Y.Patil M.Pharm(Pharmacology) is the principal of this prestigious institute.21 students out of 43 have been qualified in GATE-2007 from this college.
Bharatratna Indira Gandhi College of Engineering
Walchand Institute of Technology
Dr. Vaishampayan Memorial Government Medical College
Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Dental College
College of Architecture
Dayanand Institutions-Founded in 1940. It is located on a campus of 65 acres (26 ha) of land with four colleges and one high school and a model school. The oldest college in Solapur University.
Ashwath Infotech Pvt. Ltd
Indira Gandhi Engneering college, Kegav, Solapur
Brahmdevdada Mane Institute of Technology
S.S.S M'S college of Architecture.