Shirpur, with 20.846 inhabitants in 1961, is the headquarter of the taluka of the same name, lying 48.28 km. (30 miles) north of Dhulia. Situated on the banks of the Arunavati river, the land around is very fertile and yields rich crops. The Bombay-Agra national highway crosses the river near here and at this point a solid bridge has been constructed across it at a cost of nine lakhs of rupees. Shirpur suffered from heavy floods in 1875 when much damage to life and property was caused. The calamity repeated itself in 1947 when heavy damage mostly to property was caused. The hardest hit were hutment dwellers whose dwellings were completely washed away. Even to-day its southern part, which is rather low lying is subject to the floods of Arunavati. In 1820 Hamilton described it as a large and populous town. He also tells us that it formerly belonged to the Holkars. Today Shirpur is one of the principal market yards of the district dealing in various agricultural commodities, the most important being cotton, chillis, cereals and oil seeds including ground-nut. There is a co-operative sale and purchase union which has constructed a big warehouse for its own use. There is a branch of the district central co-operative bank providing funds to the agriculturists. Shirpur has also a thriving timber trade. There are quite a few bidi and ginning and pressing factories and oil mills. The town
has revenue, civil and criminal courts, mamlatdar's office, panchayat samiti office, a police station, post and telegraph office and a rest house.
Constitution: The municipality here was established in 1870. Its
jurisdiction extends over an area of 14.76 km. (5.7 sq. miles). Administrative affairs are looked after by the president who is elected by the councillors from among themselves.
Finance: In 1963-64 municipal income from various sources; amounted to Rs. 5,48,962. As against this it had to incur an expenditure of Rs. 5,20,016.
Health, Sanitation and Water Supply: The town has adequate' medical facilities. Besides the municipal civil dispensary, the town has a cottage hospital conducted by the government. A veterinary dispensary is managed by the Zilla Parishad. The town has only open drains some of which are stone-lined. At present wells are the only source of water supply; but soon the town will get tap water from the project on which work has already begun. It is estimated to cost twelve lakhs of rupees.
[The project was completed in 1969.]
Education: Primary education is compulsory. It is under the
management of the Zilla Parishad. The annual municipal contribution
towards this end amounts to Rs. 14,000. Shirpur has three high
schools of which one is municipal and two private. There is also
an arts and commerce college. A library receiving fourteen dailies
sixteen weeklies and 26 other magazines in four different languages
is maintained by the municipality. It has a collection of over five thousand
Fire Fighting Services: One fully equipped fire-fighter and two
tanks each mounted on a tractor and a bullock cart are maintained by
the municipality. From a well to the north of the municipal office
water is pumped in an overhead tank of 29,094.1 litres (6,400 gallons)
capacity which is solely used for extinguishing fire. Five electric
engines have also been fixed on public wells to get instantaneous
Cremation and burial grounds: Cremation and burial grounds are
maintained and used by the communities concerned.
Shirpur has temples dedicated to Pataleshvar Bhavani, Khanderav and Shani. There is also a Jain hasti. The ancient temple Khanderav is situated on the banks of the Arunavati and religiously it is the most important of all. In honour of Khanderav a large fair is held on Magh Shuddha Paurnima.. It is attended by over one lakh of persons. The temple of Pataleshvar is said to date back from the times of Ahilyabai Holkar. Tire idol inside is said to be swayambhu. Idols of Ganapati and some other deities have also been installed in this temple. The town has a children's park laid out and maintained by the municipality.