Gadhinglaj is a city in the Kolhapur district in the southwestern corner of Maharashtra, India. It is located on the banks of the river Hiranyakeshi. It is the Taluka (Tehsil) headquarters of Gadhinglaj Taluka and a subdivision headquarters of the Gadhinglaj Subdivision of the Kolhapur District. It is governed by a municipal council. The rapidly growing city is the third largest in the Kolhapur District, with population of more than 150000.
Gadhinglaj is situated on the banks of the Hiranyakeshi river, which originates in the Amboli Ghats mountains. It is a Taluka city, located exactly at the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka, and is on Maharashtra State Highway 134. Gadinglaj is often called the headquarters of South Kolhapur or a sub-district of the Kolhapur District as it is the largest city in South Kolhapur and has enough area and population to be called a district. The city is at an average elevation of 623 metres (2,044 ft).
Although the exact date of Gadhinglaj's founding is not known, old texts date it back to at least 1500 AD. Gadhinglaj was a small village near the banks of the Hiranyakeshi River. It was not until 1887, when the Gadhinglaj Municipal Council was formed, that it rapidly transformed from a small village into a bustling town. At that time the official name of the city was Hengaleaj. During the 1960s and 1970s it transformed into a city and its local government also transformed from a C-class municipal council to B-class municipal council. During the 1970s the Gadhinglaj Sugar Factory was founded by Appasaheb Nalawade, thus contributing to both the city's industrial and agriculture growth. Since 2000 it has seen a population and economic boom, with its population nearly tripling, thus becoming one of fastest growing cities in Maharashtra and India. During this time Gadhinglaj also saw a boom in the trade, business, financial, and real estate sectors.
As of the 2001 India census, Gadhinglaj had a population of 27,185. However, recently that population spiked to 80,000, which includes Gadhinglaj City and surrounding areas. Males constitute 51 percent of the population. Gadhinglaj has an average literacy rate of 80.91 percent, higher than the national average of 74.9 percent, with male literacy at 87.51 percent and female literacy at 74.5 percent. The dominant and most widely spoken language is Marathi however Kannada is also spoken due to its proximity to Karnataka.
The population is mainly Hindu,VeerShaiv Lingayat with Islam as the largest minority religion. There are also some Buddhists, Christians(Bardeskars), Sikhs, and others.
Most residents of Gadhinglaj are Hindu and this is reflected in the festivals celebrated. The main festivals include: the Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Vijaya Dashami, Navaratri and Holi (Festival of Colours) celebrations.
The civic administration of the city is managed by the Gadhinglaj nagar palika. It is among the richest municipal councils of that classification in the country. It was founded on 1 August 1887, and oversees the engineering works, health, sanitation, water supply, administration, and taxation in the city. Gadhinglaj is divided into 15 wards: uparate galli, Belgudri Colony, Bazaar Peth, Gune Path, Gandhinagar, Ayodhya Nagar, Doctor Colony, Manglewadi, Gaurav Nagar, Kaju Baug, Sadhana Nagar, Yamunanagar, KDCC Bank Colony, Gurukul Nagar, Gijawanenagar, Bhadagaonnagar, and Hiranyakeshinagar.
Gadhinglaj operates its own fire department, the Gadhinglaj Municipal Fire Brigade, which operates a fire engine, tanker truck, ambulance, support vehicle, and a hydraulic platform truck. Gadhinglaj Municipality (GMC) is headed by a municipal president who is assisted by a municipal chief officer and council members. The city's electrical supply is managed by the (MAHADISCOM). It has maintained high-quality roads and civil facilities thanks to high tax revenues collected from various economic sectors.
Gadhinglaj's major businesses are trade, sugar production, and red chili production. Thanks to its proximity near Goa and Sindhudurg, it serves as a marketing hub, and its MIDC is developing greatly for heavy and light industries. The trade sector of the city's economy is booming and has eclipsed agricultural production. Real estate is another prosperous sector in Gadinglaj, due to its booming trading and industrial sectors, location, climate, infrastructure, and abundant electricity and water supply. These have led to heavy investment in the city's real estate by outsiders, mainly from Kolhapur, Satara, Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, and all around Maharashtra and other states.
For many years agriculture was the dominant economic sector of Gadhinglaj, due to its sugarcane and jaggery production, but the trading sector overtook it in 2000. Gadhinglaj's agricultural sector is known for sugarcane, red chili, jaggery, food grains, and vegetables. Some parts of Sindhudurg district and Goa state heavily rely on Gadhinglaj for food grains and vegetables. Gadhinglaj has also been a major hub for cattle trading for many years. There are sugar mills situated 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the city. Textiles are also a major business in Gadhinglaj due to its proximity to a textile-producing region. The city is also known for its production of kolhapuri chappal (hand-crafted leather slippers).
Many banks have a strong presence in Gadhinglaj city and the Gadhinglaj Taluka due to its large-scale trading business and its textile and agricultural industries. Gadhinglaj has major banks including ICICI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Federal Bank, Axis Bank, H D F C bank, Indian Overseas Bank, I D B I bank, as well as some local banks.
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation Industrial Area is situated 75 kilometres (47 mi) south of Kolhapur and Kolhapur Airport. The industrial area is well connected by road, rail, and air transport to almost all Indian cities. The nearest railway station is 45 kilometres (28 mi) away, in Belgaum. The area is located on the Sankeshwar-Ajara-Sawantwadi state highway and is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from National Highway 4. The Karnataka state boundary is just 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from this area. The port and airport at Panjim (Goa) are 150 kilometres (93 mi) away.
The area has a separate sub-station and uninterrupted power supply. MIDC has plans to provide a water supply scheme to source 3.00 MLD of water from the Gijawane K.T., which was constructed on the Hirankeshi River, the main source of which is the Chitri dam on the Hiranyakeshi River. The Grinex company pledged an investment of Rs 320 Crores (US$60 million) in a production plant for the manufacturing of fibre pipes for the water supply. Many other small-scale and mid-scale industries have started or pledged to start production in the Gadhinglaj MIDC (GMIDC).
Gandhinagar is a planned upper-class closed development of Gadhinglaj. When it was built in 1980, it became the first planned community in Gadhinglaj. It mainly consists of bungalows and high-rise housing societies. It includes high-class schools and hotels, as well as many other amenities such as a park, gym, community hospital, swimming pool, helipad, and community hall. It is governed by the Gandinagar Housing Society Corporation (GHSC).
In 2010, it was rumoured that the Nagar Palika of Gadhinglaj City was in process of expanding municipal limits by 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) towards Mahagaon. This would result in a very large increase in both area and population, with population increasing to 150,000. It would also transform the Gadhinglaj Nagar Parished into a 'Class A' Nagar Palika, which could then operate its own municipal public transportation system, among other services. This would improve Gadhinglaj's status as an economic hub in Kolhapur and South Maharashtra.
In year 2019 area limits of Gadhinglaj city are expanded. Surrounding area of Badyachiwadi gram panchayat is now included in Gadhinglaj city.
Literacy rate of Gadhinglaj city is 89.36% higher than state average of 82.34%. In Gadhinglaj, Male literacy is around 93.74% while female literacy rate is 85.03%. Gadhinglaj includes some of the most reputed educational institutions in India, and it serves as an educational hub in Maharashtra and India as a whole. Some of Gadhinglaj's education institutions included
Gadhinglaj City stands out from other municipal council cities in India by having world class sports facilities. These include a football stadium, numerous cricket grounds, and two sports complexes (one managed by the Municipal Council and the other by the Gadhinagar Housing Society Corporation). Both sports complexes include facilities for football, cricket, badminton, tennis, basketball, track, and swimming, and the GHSC-run complex also includes an Olympic swimming pool. Football is most popular sports in Gadhinglaj. Since 1920 football was played in Gadhinglaj. At school & college level Maharani Radhabhai high school ( M.R.) is the strongest team in Kolhapur district. Ajit Krida mondal starts Interstate football tournament in Diwali vacation. Continuous 20 years successfully organised these tournaments. After 1984 Gadhinglaj Soccer Association & Gadhinglaj Taluka football Association tried to maintain this Interstate tournament tradition. But because of day by day increasing rates of food, sports equipment's so both organization concentrate on player development. In 2004 Gadhinglaj United Football Association continue this tournament tradition in Diwali vacation. Gadhinglaj United upgrade the standard of tournament to all India level. So Kerala's State Bank of Travancore, Goa's Sporting Club, Pune football Club, Bangalore's Hindustan Aeronautics & Bharat Earth Moving limited (BEML), Karnataka Police, Mumbai's Oill Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)such Indian football League ( I league) teams participated.last 11 years this tournament continues.
Gadhinglaj is connected to the rest of Maharashtra and India by the state highway system. It is situated on Maharashtra State Highway 134 and is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from National Highway 4 (NH 4). MSRTC has regular bus service from Kolhapur city.