By Subodh Jain:
As the sun rises above the horizon, dawn breaks at what was once a Princely state called Ichalkaranji. This city in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra lies on the banks of the Panchganga River. As the sun slowly rises, it brings into clear view a rapidly growing city that is developing and modernizing itself to form a large satellite suburban township.
The Ghorpade dynasty ruled the village of Ichalkaranji for the last two centuries. Now that small village has transformed itself into an important industrial town under the chief of state, his highness Shrimant Narayanrao Babasaheb Ghorpade, who foresaw his city to be known for its textiles. As the first power loom came into existence in 1904, the small village of Ichalkaranji began to redefine and lay new concepts and dimensions to the textile field of India.
This peaceful haven of Maharashtra is at power with any other developed city in India that you can think of. From big showrooms and large brands such as Mufti, Allen Solly, Fastrack, Reliance, Titan and so on to outlets such as Baskin Robins, Naturals, Ice n Spice, Carnival pizza, CCD, etc. can be seen in the city. The town has not only left its mark in the textile industry. The city has an almost equal ratio of males and females, and in addition it also has a high literacy rate to boost.
Ichalkaranji today is one of the fastest growing industrial areas in Maharashtra and has even been termed the “Manchester of Maharashtra“. Textile is the backbone of the economy in Ichalkaranji. Fastest growing industrial area in Western Maharashtra, it has a place amongst the cities having highest per capita income in the country. It is predominantly known for its textile and secondly for its engineering industry. Initially, it was famous for cotton dhotis and saris but with the changing marketing trends, today it produces suiting, shirting, canvas, cambric, etc. With an incredible development in terms of technology, Ichalkaranji has more than 2, 00,000 power looms and about 50,000 semi-auto looms. Besides the city also has an engineering college named DKTE, well known in entire Asia for its wide array of Textile Engineering courses.
As the evening approaches and the sun goes down, the city slowly comes to a halt. But, it wouldn’t stop there. Tomorrow as the sun rises again, the city will again flourish and achieve greater heights.