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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 1,818,617 (2011 census). It is the third largest city in Vidarbha region after Nagpur and Amravati. Marathi is the most popular spoken language, though Hindi, English and Urdu 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, Akola Critical Care Unit and Ozone Hospital.
Akola District along with the rest of the Berar province was part of the legendary kingdom of Vidarbha mentioned in the Mahabharata. Barar 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 Ahmadnagar. 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.