Solapur district lies entirely in the Bhima and Seena basins. The district headquarters is said to be Solapur city, which is blessed with religious and historic tourist attractions. The city is one of the most sought after holiday places in Maharashtra owing to the different nature of its popular tourist attractions. Fort Bhuikot is a splendor in itself that needs a special mention here as it is part of the history of the city. Then comes the Motibaug Tank which is yet another place of interest and tourists can enjoy bird watching here. Migratory birds in great numbers flock here mainly during the winter months. There is a temple close to this tank known as the Revanisiddheshwar Temple. Nannaj – The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, which is a wildlife reserve, is also nearby.
Popularly known as the Dakshin Kashi of India, Pandharpur is one of the top sightseeing places of Solapur district. It is one of the primary pilgrimage sites in India. Here, devotees offer their prayers for Lord Vithoba. Huge crowd of devotees gather in this religious place during the festivals of Ashadhi Ekadashi and Kartiki. There are the temples of Goddess Rukmini and God Vithal in Pandharpur.
Places to Visit
Located amidst a lake further flanked by Bhuikot fort, Siddheshwar temple is sacred to Lord Siddheshwar, who is considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The temple is highly revered by the devotees as it is the place where Shri Siddheshwar attained Samadhi. In the main temple complex, there is a beautiful sanctum, which features the idol of Siddheshwar. Also in the main courtyard, there are 68 shiva lingams, which were installed by Lord Siddheshwar. Amrit Linga and Lord Ganesha temples are special mentions. Silver-plated Nandi, and the temple of Vithoba and Goddess Rukmini along with the various other gods are a part of the temple. In the middle of the temple, there is a marble tomb of Siddheshwar. All devotees here are offered maha-prasad.
HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE
As per the records, Siddheshwar temple was built by a yogi, and a devotee of Shri Mallikarjuna of Srisailam, Shri Siddharameshwar. He built this temple and made 68 Shiva lingams in the temple as per the instructions of his guru. It is said that Shri Siddheshwar, who is also considered as the six prophets of Lingayat religion, believed that birth of this saint caused the prosperity of the city and the deity is capable of blessing the devotees.
THINGS TO DO & SEE IN AND AROUND
Siddheshwar temple can be reached by crossing a couple of courtyards; one of them leads to a small manicured garden. There is a shrine of Nelavatvad amidst the temple. The temple is surrounded by sacred Siddheshwar lake, often visited by the visitors to see the fish. One can also visit the Bhuikot Fort, which is quite close to the temple.
07:00 AM to 08:00 PM, Open all days
Also known as Bhuikot Killa because of its location on a battleground, Solapur Qila is the center of attraction of Solapur city. The history of the temple dates back to the 14th century. One can easily figure out the relevance of the temple from its grand architecture. Currently, it has an animal park, which houses several rabbits, ducks and peacocks and monkeys, amongst few other animals. Earlier, the fort was completely in ruins but it has been brought back to glory, and a couple of gardens are also added. Bhuikot Fort is a good spot for family picnics as there are some amusement options for children present here.
In the 14th century, the Bahamani dynasty built this temple. Later, it was taken over by Aurangzeb, which was his home between 1685-86 AD. Also, the fort was once the abode of Bajirao – 2.
To reach the Solapur Fort, local transports are easily available. Tourists can either take a bus or local taxis. The temple is located quite close to Siddheshwar temple area.
THINGS TO DO & SEE IN AND AROUND
Exploring the fort would take only 2-3 hours. If having extra time at disposal, do visit the Siddheshwar Temple, and the Siddheshwar lake.
Moti Baug Lake
It’s not only the temples, and the forts that make a mark on the list of attractions in Solapur. The city too has many wonderful places that have a strong connection with nature. And one such place is the Moti Baug tank. Located in the heart of the city, Moti Baug Lake is a prominent bird watching attraction in Solapur. It is commonly known as the Kambar Talao Lake. Along with the migratory birds, the lake is also known for its pretty pink and white lotuses often seen floating on its bed. On a visit to the lake, tourists can choose to either relax or indulge in bird watching tours.
The Moti Baug is one kilometer away from the bus stand. From the bus stand, one can take an auto rickshaw, tongas and six seaters.
THINGS TO DO & SEE IN AND AROUND
As such, there’s nothing exciting to do at the Moti Baug Lake. It’s a good place to relax and enjoy a picnic. For bird watchers, it’s a good place to visit.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Monsoon and winter
Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary
Barren, deserted yet extremely beautiful – Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary is one of those exclusive places in India which is the home to the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. The Bustard sanctuary, established in 1979, is spread across an original area of 8,469 sq kms. This vast grassland attracts a few migratory birds, along with the Great Indian Bustard. Also, the sanctuary has a good population of Blackbuck, Wolf, Indian Fox, Jackal, etc.
Unlike other bird sanctuaries, tourists are not allowed to move around freely in the core area of Nannaj. The entry is possible only till the hut, which is 100 meters from the gate.This space provides a perfect hiding place to observe birds and animals without disturbing their peace. There is also a watch tower near the gate. If tourists want to spend a few hours in the sanctuary, stock up enough water and snacks.
HISTORY OF THE SANCTUARY
Maharashtra’s Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary is one of the places in India where one can spot the gigantic, and enormously beautiful Indian bustards (Ardeotis nigriceps). The sanctuary was discovered by Mr. B.S.Kulkarni in 1972. In 1979, the Government of Maharashtra declared Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary as a wildlife reserve with the sole objective of conserving the rarest species of Great Indian Bustard which are endangered with extinction. Even late Dr. Salim Moizzudin Abdul Ali, India’s best-known ornithologist, paid a visit here for some research. Many efforts have been made by the famous ornithologist, and bird lovers for the protection of the park.
FLORA & FAUNA
- Major Floral Species – Neem, Sissoo, Babul, Bor, Tarwad, Henkal, Dongri, Kusali Pavanya, Sheda, Marvel
- Major Fauna Species – The Great Indian Bustard, Blackbuck, Wolf, Indian Fox, Jackal
- Birds – Indian Bushlark, Shrikes, Bush Quails,Buzzards, Francolins, Doves, Babblers, and Owls.
Must Try Food in Solapur
1. Sudha Idli Gruh
2. Hotel Angraj
4. Preeti Dining Hall
5. Cafe Middle East
6. Supraja The Utimate
7. Hotel Surbhi Garden
8. Hotel Bademiyan
9. Juice Galaxy
10. The Chicken Factory
How To Get Here
The Solapur Airport is the best option for air travel if travellers plan to fly into Solapur. It is situated towards the south of the city. However, tourists from abroad can settle for the Chatrapati Shivaji Airport, an international airport in Mumbai that has connecting flights to Solapur. Both the airports are well linked to all major towns and cities within India.
Solapur is well connected by road to all the main cities in Maharashtra. Mumbai is about 400 km away and has regular state owned and private tour buses that offer shuttle services between the two cities. Same applies for the cities of Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and many others. Pune is about 250 km away from Solapur. Solapur is well linked by road to other metro cities like Bangalore and Delhi as well.
Solapur is easily accessible by rail thanks to the Solapur Railway station. This station is connected to all the cities and towns within and outside Maharashtra with the help of local and out-station trains.