Ichalkaranji, located in Western Maharashtra and included in Hatkanangale tehsil of Kolhapur district of Maharashtra for the last hundred years has been growing fast and has become one of the leading centers of textile industry. This city has historical importance also. This city is known as the Little Manchester of Maharashtra. One Naro Mahadev was the founder of the Ghorpade family. He made Ichalkaranji the seat of his capital in 1708 AD Previously this was a small hamlet situated on the left bank of the river Panchaganga.
Ichalkaranji, remained the capital of the Ghorpade (Joshi's) from 1708 AD. to 1949 A.D. Anubai, the daughter of Balaji Vishvanath and the sister of the Peshwa Bajirao I, got married to Vyankatrao, the ruler of Ichalkaranji in about 1719 A.D and Ichalkaranji became the centre of political activities.The ruler of the Ichalkaranji built the palace and other public buildings at Ichalkaranji.
There were 11 rulers who ruled the Ichalkaranji jaghir, Some of them were farsighted and enlightened. One such ruler was Narayanrao Babasaheb Ghorpade(1892-1943) who made Ichalkaranji a textile city. In 1893, His Highness Shrimant Narayanrao Ghorpade laid the foundation for the municipal council of Ichalkaranji. Many textile powerlooms and allied industries came into existence in Ichalkaranji. A number of cloth merchants, especially the Marwadi community from north India flocked to the city and invested their capital in textile Industries. Side by side some entrepreneurs started co-operative textile industries and spinning mills, like Deccan Spinning Mills, Inchalkaranji co-operative Spinning Mills, Kolhapur Zilla Sut Girani, Nava-Maharashtra spinning Mills etc. There was a need of labour workers for textile and spinning mills. Geographically Ichalkaranji is located near Karnataka side. Some local workers are also involved in this work.
Due to the textile industries Ichalkaranji is known as the little Manchester of Maharashtra. In 1949 Ichalkaranji Jaghir was merged into Bombay presidency. But after independence this city has fast been developing. It is also an educational centre. Class struggle has been always going on between the rich and the poor.
Ichalkaranji has an important place in the urban development of western Maharashtra. It is called the Manchester of Maharashtra. It is an impotant industrial city where the development of textile and the powerloom industry has brought about an over-all prosperity. It is also the main place in the boundary of South Maharashtra and Karnataka State.
It's district place Kolhapur is probably one of the oldest religious and trade centres in Western India. It has ever remained the great centre of learning and culture. Now Ichalkaranji is a great commercial, religious, educational and political centre.
The origin of the name of Ichalkaranji
It is supposed that Ichalkaranji has been founded in the first century A.D. At first there were seven hamlets. But some old people say that there were three villages : 1) Inchi, 2) Unchi, 3)Karanji. Later on these villages mixed into one single village named as 'Ichalkaranji'.
The second theory about the origin is that there was a part of a forest and there were trees of karanji on a large scale and the name of the village derived from Inch. From this the name Ichalkaranji might have come into existence.
Location of the city
Geographically, Ichalkaranji is on latitude 16-40 North and longitude 74-25 East. It is located about 26 kms to the south west of Sangli city . Three roads branching from Kolhapur Sangli road enter into the town, one from the west and the other two from the north and south. Ichalkaranji is joined by road to Nipani and Chikodi towns of Karnataka state.
Ichalkarnji city is situated midway between Kolhapur and Miraj railway line, and it is 9.5 kms south of the Hatkanangale railway station, Hatkanangale is also its taluka place. Ichalkaranji city is 29 kms from Kolhapur railway station.