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Satara is a town and district of Maharashtra. The name is derived from the seventeen walls, towers and gates which the town was supposed to possess. The town is 2320 ft. above sea-level, near the confluence of the Krishna River.
The Krishna River is one of the longest rivers of India (about 900 km in length). It originates at Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra and joins the sea in the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladevi in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna River flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The traditional source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Mahabaleshwar.
The city of Satara was the seat of the former Maratha Maharajas, the nominal rulers of the Maratha empire until its conquest by Britain in 1818. Shivaji made Satara the capital of the Maratha state in 1659, when he won independence from the sultanate of Bijapur. His descendants had lost effective control of the Maratha state by the mid eighteenth century, which had passed to the Peshawas, who moved the capital to Pune in 1749.
Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818 the British annexed most of the Maratha territory to Bombay State but restored the titular raja, and assigned to him the principality of Satara, with an area much larger than the present district. As a result of political intrigues, he was deposed in 1839, and his brother was placed on the throne. This prince dying without male heirs in 1848, Satara was resumed by the British government, and added to Bombay state. In 1960 Bombay state, which had become a state of India after its independence in 1947, was broken up into Gujarat and Maharashtra.
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Satara District has an area of 10,480 sq. km, and a population of 2,796,906 (2001). The capital of the district is Satara; other major towns include Koregaon, Koyananagar, Mahabaleshawr, and Panchgani. It is bounded by Pune district to the north, Solapur to the east, Sangali district to the south, and Ratnagiri district on the west. The Sahyadri range, or main range of the Western Ghats runs north and south along the western edge of the district, separating it from Ratnagiri district. The Mahadeo range starts about 10 m. north of Mahabaleshwar and stretches east and south-east across the whole of the district. The Mahadeo hills are bold, presenting bare scarps of black rock like fortresses. The Satara district is part of two main watersheds. The Bhima River watershed, which is a tributary of the Krishna, includes the north and northeast of the district, north of the Mahadeo hills. The rest of the district is drained by the upper Krishna and its tributaries. The hill forests have a large store of timber and firewood. The whole of Satara district falls within the Deccab Traps area; the hills consist of trap intersected by strata of basalt and topped with laterite while, of the different soils on the plains, the commonest is the black loamy clay containing carbonate of lime. This soil, when well watered, is capable of yielding heavy crops. Satara contains some important irrigation works, including the Kistna canal. In some of the western parts of the district the average annual rainfall exceeds 200 in.; but on the eastern side water is scanty, the rainfall varying from 40 in. in Satara town to less than 12 in. in some places farther east. The district is traversed from north to south by a railway line, which passes 10 miles east Satara town.