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The word Solapur is derived from “Sola” (means 16 in Marathi) and “Pur” (means village); a district of 16 villages. Solapur was ruled by a number of dynasties like Andhrabhratyas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, and Bahamanis.
Solapur is mentioned as “Sonnalage” in the ancient inscriptions of their chief deity Shivyogi Shri. Siddheswar. A Sanskrit inscription of 1238, mentions Solapur as “Sonalipur”. Another inscription found at the Solapur fort shows that the town was also named as “Sonalipur”. It was an important commercial hub and trading center during Devgiri Yadavas.
The Solapur district was taken over by the Bijapur king from the Bahamanis, and was later captured by the Marathas. Solapur is located in the southwestern region of Maharashtra bordered to the state of Karnataka. It lies on the Deccan Plateau and has an Arid climate.
This region is drought-prone during summers. The winters are mildly cold and some parts of the region receive moderate rainfall.
The Bhima river, Sina river, and the Nira river drain this region. Most of the Population is engaged In agriculture; wheat, cotton, millet are the major crops. Textile, power loom, and handloom are the major industries in the region. “Solapuri Chadar” was the first product to get a geographical indication in Maharashtra. These chadar and the emerging terry towel industry has now got a global recognition.
This region is also popular for it’s “beedi” (Indian cigarette) production.
Solapur is a transport hub that connects Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. Solapur is 275 km from Pune, 305 km from Hyderabad, and 100kms from Vijapur. The city is very well connected by roadways and railways.
Solapur is a seamless amalgamation of Marathi, Kannada, and Telugu culture. The warm and enduring nature of the people here have turned this small town into a major commercial hub. Most of the people here are tri-linguistic and follow multi-culture.
The Solapuri people are recognized by their unique dialect of the Marathi language. Each festival is celebrated here with great enthusiasm by everybody and a lot of stress is given on folklore in the festive seasons. “Gadda Yatra” is the most awaited festival celebrated during the period of Makar Sankranti.
The most famous food item of Solapur is the peanut chutney; other local dishes include Sangam Wada and Dhakku bhaat.
Solapur is an important pilgrim center. Pandharpur (also known as Dakshin Kashi of India) is flooded by 5 lakh pilgrims during Ashadi Ekadashi. Another important pilgrim centers are Tuljabhawani temple, Akkalkot, Vatavriksha temple, Mallikarjun temple. The famous 12th-century temple that is situated in the middle of a lake is the Siddheshwara temple (Gramdevata -regional god). The Rupabhawani temple (gramdevi- regional goddess) is also a major pilgrim center.
It is also a major Jain pilgrim center as there are 8 famous Digambar Jain temples here along with a temple of Adinath. There are also several masjids and churches in the city. The famous Bhuikot fort built by the Bahamanis in the 15th century and the ground fort are a must-visit for history lovers.
Other major tourist attractions of the place include – Great Indian Bustard Wildlife Sanctuary, Hutatma garden, Hipparga lake, Kambar talav, Ekruk talav, Ujjani dam, Naldurg waterfall and the Mahatma Gandhi National Zoo, which is the only zoo in Maharashtra for Asiatic Lions.
As summers are very warm here, the best time to visit is from September to February.
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