Kolhapur is one of the ancient and famous cities of Maharashtra with rich historical significance. It is proudly called “The Dakshin Kashi”. Engulfed by the lofty Sahyadri hills, the pious city is located on the banks of Panchganga River.
Earlier this prosperous city was ruled by the Chhatrapati’s. Centre of focus is the Mahalakshmi temple, where millions of devotees throng to receive Mata's blessings every year. In history it is said that, Goddess Mahalakshmi must be worshipped after offering prayers to the Lord Venkateshwara inorder to complete the pilgrimage.
Kolhapur is famous for its art, temples, jewellery, education, fort, lakes etc. It is world-famous for its Kolhapur chappals, jaggery, and scrumptious dishes such as Kolhapuri Misal and Kolhapur Rassa. Kusti/wrestling is one of the traditional sports practiced here.
Shopping is one of the best time-passes. Mahalakshmi Temple,Maharaja’s palace and Jain temple are important religious places.
PLACES TO VISIT
Mahalakshmi Temple : It is one of the important temples of Maharashtra and one of the abodes of Goddess Shakthi. The idols of Durga, Mahalakshmi and Saraswathi are beautifully adoned with stunning gold and diamonds. It is believed that the Mata will accomplish the needs of her devotees. Navathri is the main festival, many cultural programmes are arranged for the public during important occassions.
Jyotiba Temple : Nested in the majestic peaks, Jyotiba temple stands at a height of 3000 feet above the sea level. Jyotiba the main God, is said to be the embodiments of Lord Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva. On the full moon nights of Vaisakh and Chaitra exciting fair is organised.
Ramling, Bahubali : This place is worshipped by both Jains and Hindus. People fill their eyes with wonderful 28 feet idol of Bahubali and also pay a visit to the temple dedicated to the Thirtankars.
Narsobhachiwadi : This place is located at the junction where the rivers Panchaganga and Krishna meet. It is famous for the padukas of the Dattaguru. A person called Narasimha Saraswathi who is said to be the embodiment of Dattaguru is believed to have resided here for 12 years. Narsobhachiwadi is famous for delicacies such as pedha, burfi and basundi.
Panhala Fort: This fort is considered to be the biggest of all forts in the Deccan plateau. This fort is historically important as King Shivaji was hiding here for more than a year. It is located at a height of about 980 mts from the sea level. The fort is fringed with majestic scenic beauty.
Gaganbawada : The beauty of Ganganbawada is still unscathed by the modernization. It is a beautiful hill station which is about 50kms from Kolhapur. It is famous as the "Cheerapunji Of Maharashtra" as it receives the highest rainfall. It is said in history that Gagangiri Maharaj meditated on the Gagangad hills, where a small ashram is built. Many people visit this ashram and take part in yoga and meditation. Trekking and rock climbing can be undertaken. This is a recommended picnic spot for those who prefer to enjoy the lovely warmth of nature.
Radhanagari Dam : This spectacular dam was built across the Bhogawathi river. It is about 100 years old and was built in the reign of Shahu Maharaj. It is mainly used for power-generation and irrigation purposes. The dam has self opening gates. Many species of birds and varieties of colourful flowers can be viewed here. There is also a beautiful resort in the backwaters.
Rankala Lake : This lake attracts with its cool and calm ambience. In the center of the lake there is an ancient temple called Rankabhairav temple. Boating facilities are provided to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Horse-riding is another famous activity.
Chhatrapathi Sahu Museum : The palace which was built in 1884 by Major Mant is now converted to the famous museum. The palace is the combination of Rajwada, Jain and Hindu styles of architecture. This museum has wide collection of the articals used by the royal family such as clothes, jewellery, weapons, guns etc. This place will take us back to the ancient times.
Ramtirth : It is believed that Lord Rama had made his presence here during his exile. This place is a perfect combination of natural beauty and calmness.
Old Palace : This palace has the famous Bhawani Devi idol and is famous for its magnificent stone work.
Dajipur Bison Sanctuary
HOW TO REACH
By Air : Nearest airport is in Ujalaiwadi which is about 10kms from Kolhapur.
Kolhapur-Mumbai is a one hour plane journey.
By Train : Kolhapur-Mumbai or Kolhapur-Bangalore takes about 10-11 hours by train.
By Road : Kolhapur has many Government and private buses to Mumbai and Pune.