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I’m familiar with Ethereum and EVM-based smart contracts.

I wanted to know if similar development environments and frameworks like Truffle and Hardhat for Ethereum are available for Solana.

Also, from my understanding, we must write Solana smart contracts in Rust. Is that the only way?

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The Anchor framework is going to be the closest thing to Truffle or HardHat on Solana. It comes with Rust SDKs, JavaScript SDKs, and a CLI to manage your dApp development.

There's also great bootstrapping tools available like:

And there's an IDE for Solana (similar to ETH's Remix) called Solana Playground that can help speed up and test your Rust code.

In regards to writing programs in Rust: you can write them in either Rust or C, or you could try using NEON to write Ethereum smart contracts in Solidity that can be deployed onto Solana.

Technically speaking, any programming language that can serialize down to Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) format will work, but SDKs will be difficult to come by.

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Framework: https://github.com/coral-xyz/anchor

Anchor is Solana's most robust framework for developing on-chain programs.

IDE: https://beta.solpg.io/ & https://cryptoworkbench.io/

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Non EVM blockchain dev is definitely a bit different. Solana uses Rust C, C++ for smart contracts. Anchor is a non EVM dev environment for Solana contracts, feels similar to using Solidity, web3.js, or Truffle. More info here, there are also good tutorials (along with some #fire node + JSON RPC endpoint support) on Alchemy https://www.alchemy.com/overviews/best-web3-tutorials

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