Kolhapur is a small region located in Maharashtra. Before independence, it was a small princely state under the control of Maratha Empire. This region is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, holy text of Hindus, as the place of Kollamma /Amba Devi (a deity). Although the town is geographically small, it has managed to become an important tourist destination in Maharashtra. The town is famous for its mixture of historic elements and natural beauties. Apart from these, the town is also famous for its collection of medieval temples.
If you love shopping, Kolhapur has its own set of unique souvenirs like leather slippers (made with buffalo leather and vegetable dye), brass articles, silver works, wood handcrafts, accessories and others.
Here are the top five places to visit in Kolhapur.
#1. Mahalakshmi Temple
This temple is dedicated to Hindu goddess, Amba Devi, a local deity related to Goddess Lakshmi. It is an important tourist attraction and pilgrimage site of the region. This 7th century temple was built during Chalukya reign.
The temple is famous for beautiful and intricate carvings, numerous sculptures of mythological and ancient characters, idols of other Gods of Hinduism like Shiva, Ganesha, Vishnu and others. Talk with the priest of the temple to learn more about the structure and interesting anecdotes related to the deity.
#2. Jyotiba Temple
This temple has an interesting architectural feature, which is visible on the exterior parts of the temple. Located at a height of 32000 feet above mean sea level, this temple is located, a little away from Kolhapur. This temple is dedicated to Lord Jyotiba, who is said to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is a prime deity of the locality. The temple is at its prime beauty during specific full moon days.
A large fair is celebrated inside the temple, which is the right time to enjoy the culture of the region. The best way to enjoy the temple is by choosing private taxi or auto service from Kolhapur to the temple. It is hard to find public transportation to and from the temple. It is an important pilgrimage destination of the region.
#3. Rankala Lake
This is a man-made lake, built in 19th century, by Chattrapati Shivaji. It was once a stone quarry. This lake provides drinking water to the city. Thus, swimming is not allowed in the water. It is one of the ancient and important lakes of the state. The lake is very famous for sunset view and for enjoying a romantic time. You can find many tourists near the lake during sunset to enjoy the view. The temple gets its name from an ancient temple, located in the center of the lake.
The Rankabhairaw Temple makes the lake more beautiful. The only way to get closer to the temple is via boating. You can enjoy many recreational activities on the sides of the lake like horse riding, strolling and others. Sometimes, you can find small street vendors selling delicacies near the lake. The cuisine of the land is unique. Top delicacies to try here are Kolhapuri bhel, misal, lavangi, pandhara rassa and others.
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#4. Chhatrapati Sahu Museum
This museum was one the thriving palace of Chhatrapti Shivaji, in the past. It is also the current royal residence for the descendants of the royal family. It is also called as the Palace of Maharaja. This palace was converted into a museum in 19th century. Only a part of the palace is converted in museum and is open to tourists. The new residence of the royal family is located inside the palace, in the top floors. Entry to these regions are prohibited.
The ground floor of the palace holds the notable museum. This collection includes jewels, sculptures, war artifacts, stone carvings and others of ancient times. You can find that the architecture of the museum is a mixture of Jainism and Hinduism style. You can find Chhatrapati Shivaji’s clothes and weapons too.
#5. Panhala Fort
This fort was once called as Panhalgad. It is located 21 km away from Kolhapur. The fort was built in 11th century. The fort has managed to stand strong, with the passage of time. Thousands of tourists visit this fort for a peaceful exploration time and for photography session. The fort is located 3128 feet above mean sea level.
This is an important weekend getaway spot from Kolhapur. Top attractions of this fort are Amber khana, mausoleums, teen darvaza, sajji kothi and others.
The town is also famous for cultural fairs, peaceful spots and many beauties. If you are looking for a peaceful time away from the hustle of commercial world, Kolhapur is the best place to visit. The best time to visit this town is during winter. The town has a very small population and it is one of the cleanest regions of the state.
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