Akola fort (also called Asadgad) along with the Narnala and Akot forts forms the major fortifications of the Akola district, Maharashtra, India. The Akola district is located in the north central part of Maharashtra. The Asadgad fort is located at a distance of about 2. 7-3 kms from Akola. Akola fort is notable in that it is bereft of any decorative embellishments. There are several inscriptions on the fort. An inscription on the Dahi handa gate gives its date of construction as 1114 AH (1697 CE)Deepak, 'during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb when Nawab Asad Khan was a minister. ' Another on the Fateh Buruj bastion has no exact date. It too mentions the same minister but a different emperor (Shah Alam). One on the Eidgah contains texts and a statement that the building was finished by Khawja Abdul Latif in 1116 AH (1698 CE). On the Agarves gate an inscription in Marathi reads that Govind Appaji in 1843 CE constructed the fort. The latter statement contradicts all the other inscriptions.
Initially, the Akola fort was built in the form of mud by Akol Singh during the reign of Aurangzeb. One day, Akol Singh saw a hare chasing a dog, considering it as a holy sign, a fort was built around the village to protect it from outsiders. Later, the fort was constructed by using large granite stone blocks, line stones, mud blocks, clay bricks, woods, irons, and mortars. Along with strong, it's beautiful too. Its boundary is designed in lining art and looks exceptionally beautiful. On the gate of walls, known as Dahi Handa gate, tourists can find beautiful inscriptions that tell about the history of the fort. The fortress has many observation spots on its main walls. Akola was heavily fortified in 1697 CE during the reign of Aurangzeb by Asad Khan, from whom the fort took its name (Asadgad). In 1803, Arthur Wellesley camped here before proceeding to win the Battle of Argaon in the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The fortress was dismantled by the British Raj in about 1870 and they left it in ruins. It was reported in 1910 in a district gazetteer that the central part of the fort (the hawakhana) was used as a school. On a visit to the Akola Fort complex, tourists can also visit the Rajeshwar Mandir, one of the oldest Shiva temple in the region. The Shri Raj Rajeshwar Mandir temple was built by Chola Empire king Raj Rajeswar. While King Akolsingh was living in the Asadgad Fort, there is a famous story associated with this payas temple. Every night his queen went to this temple to worship Lord Shiva at midnight. Once King Akolsingh thought that his queen was going out at midnight for illicit reasons, so he followed her with a sword; the queen came to know that King Akolsingh was following her. She felt gloomy and guilty and went straight to the Shiva temple and pleaded to the god that her husband the king was thinking wrong about her and that it was insulting that he was having no faith in her loyalty and her character. So she pleaded to be allowed into Shiva's Pind also called 'Shiva Ling' which is a stone of God Shiva that is worshipped. The Shiva ling broke in two parts and the queen jumped in, and then it was closed. The king understood his mistake and could not forgive himself. Still, the Shiva ling in this temple has a little crack which is said to corroborate this story. This temple is the base Aastha of this Akola city. There are 2 bridges: the first one is the dagadi pool (stone bridge), also known as 'chota pool' meaning smaller bridge and the other is the Lokhand pool (iron bridge), also known as 'motha pool' meaning bigger bridge. This iron bridge was built at the time of British rule. Also, there are many stone structures in the fort complex, which were built in the later part of times by its consecutive occupants.
The unique architecture of this fort makes it one of the most famous tourist places to visit in Akola. Devotees of Lord Shiva worship the Shivaling that has historical significance associated with it. It was during the British rule that The Battle of Argoan known as the 2nd Anglo Maratha war was fought here. History and architecture lovers admire the unique feature of this fort. The triangular staircase of the fort makes it different from the other forts, and this massive fort gives an insight into the history of ancient times. Best time to enjoy the weather and explore the fort is during winters (October-February) that are pleasant. Visitors usually spend an hour or two at this place. The main attraction is in the evening when the sun is on the way to set. The dusk shadows make the aura of the whole place mesmerizing. It is recommended to spend 1-2 hours in the place which are enough to enjoy its beauty. It is open all days a week and 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM is the most popular visit timings.
The entry to the fort is completely free of cost. This is a must visit for history lovers and people who appreciate architecture. Akola Fort can be visited during timings 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM.