Solan – The Mushroom City of India and Much More

Solan, a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, is known for its mushroom farming and production, earning it the nickname "Mushroom City of India". However, the city has much more to offer than just mushrooms. From being the largest producer of tomatoes to having one of the oldest breweries in the country, Solan is a city of diverse offerings. 

Solan is named after the Hindu goddess Shoolini Devi, and every year, in the month of June, a fair is held in her honor. The fair features a 3-day mela at Thodo ground. Solan was once the capital of the princely state, Baghat. Today, it serves as the district headquarters of Solan district and is situated 45.5 kilometres (28 miles) south of the state capital, Shimla.

Solan – The Mushroom City of India

Solan is popularly known for its vast mushroom farming, which has led to the production of quality mushrooms. The Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR) is located at Chambaghat, making Solan the "Mushroom City of India". 

The first mushroom cultivation efforts in India began way back in 1940 at the College of Agriculture, Coimbatore. The work was started on paddy straw mushrooms. Later trials were started at many other research stations in India. In 1961, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research started a project in collaboration with the H.P. Govt. named “Development of Mushroom Cultivation in Himachal Pradesh.” The primary goal was to grow mushrooms in the state with technology available within the country but sometimes with technology imported from abroad. It was realized that the imported technology was not compatible with Indian conditions, and hence research work was taken up at different institutions in India to develop indigenous technology for mushroom production. In 1970, scientists started feeling that indigenous mushroom production technology was standardized and could be made available to farmers. This induced the H.P. Govt. to establish a mushroom center at Solan, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), with the objectives of providing technical know-how to farmers along with critical inputs. The primary aim was to induce a large number of farmers to take up this activity. All efforts were concentrated on popularizing the cultivation of white button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus).

Solan – The Center of Mushroom Research and Training

The National Centre for Mushroom Research and Training (NCMRT) was established in Solan in 1983 during the VIth Five Year Plan under the auspices of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR, New Delhi) along with an All India Coordinated Mushroom Improvement Project (AICMIP) at six centers at various Agricultural Universities in five States with its headquarters in Solan. It was upgraded to Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR) on 26th December 2008. 

The Indio-Dutch Mushroom Development Project Palampur was launched in 1985 to introduce Dutch technology in mushroom production which became operational in 1992. 

Solan, the Mushroom City of India, is playing a significant role in making the Indian mushroom industry competitive in the world market. Research work and training programs are organized for mushroom growers across the country, and every year, a National level mushroom fair is organized on September 10th in Solan.

Solan – The City of Red Gold

What started with a 1200-hectare area in 1992 now has more than 2,500 hectares of tomato plantations across the city. The production of tomatoes supports the livelihood of several poor farmers in Solan, and popular varieties of tomato include Solan Lalima, Naveen, Naveen 2000, Naveen 2000+, Himsona, and Rupali. The city is one of the largest producers of tomatoes, earning it the nickname "City of Red Gold". There is a famous saying - "For Himachal farmers, tomatoes are the apple of their eyes".

Solan – The Brewery City

The city has one of the oldest breweries in the country, as well as a 300-year-old fort located atop a hill. The Solan Brewery is one of the oldest in the country and opened up in 1855. The company, which was founded by Edward Dyer, an Englishman, later became known as Dyer Breweries and is now owned and operated by Mohan Meakin Ltd.

Solan, the Mushroom City of India, is playing a major role in making the Indian mushroom industry competitive in the world market. Research work and training programs are organized in Solan for mushroom growers throughout the country. Every year, a National-level mushroom fair is organized on September 10th in Solan. On this day in 1997, Solan was titled the Mushroom City of India. This year also, to commemorate the 13th year of declaration of Mushroom City of India, a one-day Mushroom fair was organized at the Directorate of Mushroom Research, Solan. The primary purpose of organizing the fair was to disseminate the newer technologies developed at the Directorate and to solve the problems faced by mushroom growers.


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