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 1,629,305 (2001 census). Marathi is the most popular spoken language, though English and Hindi 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 and Akola Critical Care Unit.
Dainik Deshonnati, one of the most circulated Marathi newspapers in the Vidharbha region, originated from Akola. Other prominent newspapers published from Akola include Lokmat and Dainik Matrubhumi.
Akola Airport (also known as Shivani Airport) (IATA: AKD, ICAO: VAAK) is the domestic airport of Akola city at an elevation of 999= ft (304 m) and has one runway (3,985×145= ft). The airport is just 7 km away from the city on National Highway number 6. The nearest domestic airport is at Nagpur. Renovation and operation of Akola airport is taken by Airport Authority of India.
The "NH6" runs through Akola from Hajira (Surat) to Kolkata. NH6 is a part of Asian Highway 46. Maharashtra state transport buses are most commonly used by people to travel to rural parts of the region. They are the cheapest means of transport. State-owned and private air-conditioned bus services run daily to most major cities to and from Akola. The bus frequency is good. Very poor road conditions due to political corruption, its becoming slum city.
Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) runs Akola's public transport service. Autorickshaw is also widely used in Akola city for city transport. Traffic is generally a problem, in the form of congestion due to increasing number of vehicles, bad roads, stray animals, and a general disregard of traffic rules. Road accidents are often fatal and are very common. The municipal corporation is trying to improve the roads in Akola city through IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Planning). This may create a new face of the city.
Akola has good railway connectivity with direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Okha, Surat, Nanded Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Kolhapur, Pune, Indore, Mhow, Ujjain, Khandwa, Ratlam, Chittorgarh, Nagpur, Gondia, Bilaspur, Howrah, Hatia, Puri, Chennai, Hingoli, Purna, Parli Vaidnath, Tirupati, Secundarabad and [[Nampally], India|Hyderabad]].
Akola railway junction, situated on both the Mumbai-Bhusawal-Wardha-Nagpur-Howrah rail line and the Kacheguda-Jaipur meter gauge line, is an important junction for passengers from North and South India and also for freight trains. Broadgauging of Akola-Purna, Akola - Indore Junction MG and Akola - Indore Junction BG - Ratlam railway line under Unigauge has recently completed and passenger train have started running on this route. Important railway stations in Akola region with their codes are Paras, Gaigaon, Akola Junction (AK), Murtajapur Junction (MZR) and are under Bhusawal-Badnera Section of Bhusawal Division of Central Railway.
The other stations under meter gauge are Hiwarkhed (HWK), Adgaon Buzurg (ABZ), Akot (AKOT), Patsul (PTZ), Ugwe (UGWE), Akola Junction, Shivani Shivpur (SVW), Barshitakli (BSQ), Lohogad (LHD), Amna Vadi (AMW), Jaulka (JUK) are under Purna - Khandwa Section of South Central Railway.
The stations under narrow gauge are Lakhpuri, Murtajapur Junction, Karanja under two Narrow Gauge Branch lines viz Murtajapur-Achalpur and Murtajapur-Yavatmal of Bhusawal Division of Central Railway.
This year only (2009), a new railway station is built at Shivani-Shivar. It is the modification of narrow gauge station in to broad gauge station. It now connects Purna to Hyderabad through Akola. It is a great effort taken by railway to make traveling and communicating accessible for Akola City. The city still lacks direct connectivity with Jabalpur, Lucknow and other major Indian cities.