Kolhapur is situated on the banks of the river Panchaganga in the south-west region of Maharashtra. Situated 230 kilometres away from Pune, Kolhapur is one of the princely states and boasts of a rich legacy dating back to the times of the Marathas. Presently, Kolhapur is known for Kolhapuri sandals and necklaces that are sold worldwide.
Kolhapur derives its name from a mythological story of Kolhapur – a demon who was slain by Goddess Mahalakshmi. The famous Mahalakshmi temple is situated here in the honour of Goddess Mahalakshmi. Kolhapuri chappals, Kolhapuri jewellery and Kolhapuri cuisine are famous all over India. It is a tourist-friendly destination, having no problem in commuting to accommodation and food.
On the auspicious occasion of Naag Panchami, Kolhapur is at its enchanting best. Thousands of people worship live snakes by offering milk and rice. Another cultural festival that Kolhapur is known for is the Rankala Mahotsav, organized by the municipal corporation. It is a great time to witness the rich culture and traditions of this region. This five-day event is packed with live performances, musical concerts, exhibition and gastronomic delights.
Places to Visit
Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Museum
The New Palace located on the Bhavani Mandap-Kasaba Bawada Road was constructed in 1877-84 and has been the residence of Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj. The ground floor of the palace is converted into a museum that houses artifacts belonging to those times when the king ruled and his own possessions.
The beautiful palace is built in black polished stone and is an marvelous architectural feat to have been accomplished in that period. You can witness the royal lifestyle through the pictures and artifacts displayed in the museum.
Shopping In Kolhapur
Kolhapur is famous for its Kolhapuri Chappals – footwear made from leather and wood. Kolhapuri jewellery – Saaj a type of antique jewellery. Jaggery – made from scratch, pure jaggery is made in mills in Kolhapur.
Narsinhwadi Datta Mandir
Located at a distance of 48 kms from Kolhapur in Narsobawadi, Narsinhwadi Datta Mandir is a revered Hindu Temple dedicated to Narsinh Saraswati – an incarnation of Lord Shri Dattatreya. Built on the banks of river Krishna, the temple is a popular pilgrimage spot of the Hindus.
The Panhala Fort lies 20 km away from the main city of Kolhapur, situated at its north-west. This fort holds its position amongst the most massive locations in the country and is the largest one in the Deccan region. It was built in a strategic position where a major trade route ran within Maharashtra from Bijapur to the coasts of Arabian Sea. This place is not only a must-visit for the people who love exploring historic locations but also for those who love to trek.
Looking over the green slopes of Sahyadri, it has around 7 kilometres of fortifications along with full proof protection guaranteed by three double-walled gates which are humongous in size. The entire stretch of Panhala Fort is dotted with parapets, ramparts, and bastions and styled with motifs of different dynasties that ruled over the fort – the Marathas, Bahamas, Mughals and so on. The old Panhala Fort was founded in the late 12th century by Raja Bhoja. It was constructed during the period 1178-1209 AD to be later modified by the Marathas. The Indo-Islamic style fort is famously known for being residences to the great Maratha ruler Shivaji and the Queen Regent of Kolhapur – Tarabai.
The Mahalakshmi temple was built in the 7th century by Chalukya rulers and is one of the six abodes of ‘Shakti’ (Goddess of Power) from where one can attain fulfillment and salvation of desires.
Mahalakshmi is also known as Goddess Ambabai and is a revered Goddess among Hindus. The temple enjoys a status of one of the most important pilgrim sites in India. The temple is situated about 5km from the Railway station and Central Bus depot of the city. Near the temple, there is a temple in honor of Goddess Bhavani.
Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary
The former hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Kolhapur, Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985. Also known as Bison Sanctuary, the place is popular for Indian Bison or Gaurs. Besides, one can also spot leopards, tigers, sloth bears etc. Set amidst verdant forests, the sanctuary makes for a perfect getaway from the city.
Binkhambi Ganesh Temple
After the Mahalakshmi Temple, this is the most important temple in Kolhapur, built in honor of Lord Ganesha. The temple attracts a lot of devotees as well as architecture enthusiasts because the marvel of the temple is that it is made without a single pillar.
Located in Khidrapur in Kolhapur district at the junction of Maharashtra and Karnataka, Kopeshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built on the banks of River Krishna, the shrine boasts of a beautiful architecture with various intricate carvings on the interior and exterior walls. Besides, it also has idols of Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma among others.
Gangagiri Maharaj Math Temple
Gangagiri Maharaj Math Temple is located amidst the Dijapur Forest on a hilltop. The math also offers yoga and meditation exercises for the devotees. Besides, the temple is located amidst beautiful scenic locales and makes for a mesmerising experience.
Sagareshwar Deer Sanctuary
Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique protected area in Kolhapur district which is a man-made forest. Sprawling over an area of around 11 square kms, the wildlife is also artificially introduced in the arena. The sanctuary boasts of a rich flora and fauna and is a popular tourism centre in Maharashtra.
Must Try Food in Kolhapur
2. Hotel Parakh
3. Gandhar Hotel
5. Sayaji Hotel
6. Bansuri Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
7. Laxmi Misal
8. Tandoor Restaurant
9. Sarthi Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
10. Hotel 24K
How To Get Here
Being a popular travel destination, it can be easily accessed by road and rail. It has its own railway station named “Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj” which is well connected with all the major towns. It lies on NH4, thus being well connected by roads.
The closest airport is in Pune. From there, you could hire a cab or take a bus to Kolhapur.
Nearest Airport: Goa International Airport – 152 kms from Kolhapur
Kolhapur lies on the National Highway 4 which connects Mumbai and Bangalore. From Mumbai, Kolhapur is roughly an 8-hour drive whereas from Pune it is around 3 hours. There are state run buses from Pune and Mumbai which leaves for Kolhapur one every half an hour and one hour respectively. There are private buses to Kolhapur as well.
Kolhapur Railway station is named after Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj and is well connected to major cities across India. It lies on the Pune – Miraj – Kolhapur section of the Central Railway. There are daily trains for Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tirupati, etc and weekly trains for Delhi, Ahmedabad among others.