Solapur is a city in South Western Maharashtra, India governed by municipal corporation.
Solapur is one of the four districts that form the region of Western Maharashtra (the other three districts are Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli). It is the fourth largest district in Maharashtra in terms of land area and seventh largest in terms of population. It is an important junction on the Central railway line. Solapur is a city with an array of small and medium scale industries.
Solapur is very famous for Textile Industries, Solapur Chaddars and Towels are famous around the globe. It has been a leading center for cotton mills and power looms, though recent times have seen these industries relocate elsewhere. The chief deity of the city is Shri Siddeshwar. The "Nandidhwaj" procession on Makar Sankranti fair is attended by millions of devotees. An annual fair is held in the month of January wherein huge crowd comes from various parts of country, which is called as Gadda Fair in vernacular language. It is also famous for its shenga chatni and bhakri.
The Solapur District was ruled by various dynesties such as Andhrabhratyas, Chalukyas, Rashtrkutas, Yadavas and Bahamanis. 'SOLAPUR' is believed to be derived from two words 'SOLA' meaning sixteen and 'PUR' meaning village. The present city of Solapur
was considered tp be spread over sixteen villages viz. Aadilpur, Ahmedpur, Chapaldev, Fatehpur, Jamdarwadi, Kalajapur, Khadarpur, Khandervkiwadi, Muhammadpur, Ranapur, Sandalpur, Shaikpur, Solapur, Sonalagi, Sonapur and Vaidakwadi.
Recent research work however shows that the name SOLAPUR is derived not from the congregation of sixteen villages. It is evident from the inscriptions of Shivayogi hri.Siddheshwar of the time of the Kalachuristis of Kalyani, that the town was called 'Sonnalage' which came to be pronounced as 'Sonnalagi'. The town was known as Sonnalagi even upto the times of Yadavas. 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.
One of the inscriptions found in Solapur fort shows that the town was called Sonalpur while another inscription on the well in the fort shows that it was known as Sandalpur. During the Muslim period, the town was known as Sandalpur. It is therefore most probably that that during the course of time the name Solapur was evolved by dropping 'na' from the name Sonalpur. 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 1838 it became the Sub-district of Ahmednagar. It included Barshi, Mohol, Madha, Karmala, Indi, Hippargi and Muddebihal Sub-divisions. In 1864 this Sub-district was abolished. In 1871 this district was reformed joining the Sub-divisions viz. Solapur, Barshi, Mohol, Madha and Karmala and two Subdivisions of Satara district viz. Pandharpur, Sangola and in 1875 Malshiras Sub-division was also attached. After the State reorganisation 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 brief history runs like this. Taking the spirit of Dandi March from Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom fighters of Solapur decided to host the National Flag on the Solapur Municipal Council. Accordingly, senior freedom fighter from Pune Shri.Annasaheb Bhopatkar hosted the National Flag on 6th April 1930 on Municipal Council. This was the first and the unique incidence of such kind throughout the country. The British rulers, due to irritation declared the Marshall Law at Solapur and arrested many leaders and innocent citizens on false charges. The freedom fighters Shri.Mallappa Dhanshetti, Shri.Kurban Hussain, Shri.Jagnnath Shinde and Shri.Kisan Sarda were arrested on charges of killing two Policemen of Mangalwar Police Station. The lower court sentenced the punishment of hanging till death for these freedom fighters. The High Court also confirmed the same decision and these four freedom fighters were hanged till death on 12th January 1931. As a mark of respect to these freedom fighters, the Statues of these freedom fighters have been installed in the heart of the City and the location has been named as Hutatma Chowk.