The choice of a travel destination differs from person to person. Some like being accompanied by the heavenly atmosphere of temple towns while others prefer outdoor adventures to get their adrenaline going. Sometimes you might want a combination of both. If you fall in the last category, Kolhapur will cater to your travel needs the best.
Located on the banks of the river Panchganga in southern Maharashtra, it is a beautiful and historically rich city. Famous for a number of reasons right from its trademark Kolhapuri chappal to being a city of wrestlers. If you have a thing for delving deep into the history of a place, you’re going to love the city. So, take notes as you’re about to receive a ton of information to build your Kolhapur itinerary by the end of this article.
In today's time, Kolhapur embraces modernity and is a well-developed city. But in certain nooks and corners of the city, you will stumble upon age-old historical sites like New Palace, Shalini Palace, Laxmi Vilas Palace, Panchganga Ghat, and several other preserved monuments. That’s when you will soon realize that it's a city where the past and present live in union. By visiting the many temples, royal palaces, and historical forts, you will be able to experience bits and pieces of how the Maratha empire in particular impacted the city.
One of the many rulers that particularly had an influence on the arts, theatre, and wrestling culture of the city was Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj. His name echoes in eternity because when he came to power, he ended a tyrannical regime and brought in a new era of social and cultural brotherhood. His 28-year rule was a revolutionary phase in the city’s history. A place of significant strategic importance, Kolhapur has also seen the rise and fall of humongous dynasties fighting for power. All in all, trust us that you’re looking at a melting point of thrilling historical stories waiting to be unraveled.
Now when it comes to Kolhapuri culture, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic red turban called “Pheta” that the locals tie around their heads. For any big occasion or an event in this culturally rich city, you’ll find numerous such Pheta enhancing the overall aesthetic of the room or any such setting. Festivals like Shree Mahalakshmi Kiranotsava and Gudi Padawa are celebrated in full force in this city. Lastly, there is absolutely no shortage of lip-smacking authentic delicacies in Kolhapur that will melt your heart. Some of which include Kolhapuri Misal and Tambada Rassa.
Though Kolhapur has no airport of its own, you can get to the city via the nearest civil airport, the Pune International Airport which is at a distance of 240kms. Since this airport is connected by all the domestic airlines in the country, you can travel there directly from any part of the nation! Once you step down, you can avail of the bus and taxi services to commence your journey to Kolhapur.
If you opt for the traditional travel option of railways, the Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Train station will take care of you in that aspect. It is the main railway terminus of Kolhapur and connects various important places with the likes of Ahmedabad, Nagpur, and Nizamuddin among others. A couple of trains you should know about while traveling to Kolhapur include Haripriya Express and the Kolhapur Solapur Express.
The state of Maharashtra in general is blessed with a robust public transport system all thanks to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). Regular bus services to and fro from cities like Mumbai and Pune make traveling to Kolhapur a whole lot convenient. The NH4 is the prominent highway in Kolhapur that connects the city of Bangalore apart from Mumbai and Pune. Good-quality roads in this part of the state will only make your road trip even more worthwhile.
You can choose to visit Kolhapur anytime throughout the year as the weather is reasonably mild. But to explore a place to the fullest, you want the weather to cooperate on your trip. If you visit Kolhapur in the summer season, the temperature here oscillates between mild to hot, serving a hard time for those who cannot stand sweaty weather conditions. Though there are a few spots in the city where you can escape the scorching heat.
The ghats and the hill stations in Kolhapur are a sight to behold during the monsoon season. The rainwater makes the elevated areas of the city even more picturesque as if they just emerged from a vast beautiful ocean. It does come at a price though, the Panchganga River often brings floods to the city. When such a situation arises, there is a high possibility that you’ll be stuck in traffic for quite some time as flooded roads can be an obstacle.
So when is the best time to visit Kolhapur? The answer is the winter months which is anytime between October and February. Away from the sweltering summers and heavy downpours, the foggy morning winter weather will make your trip to the Maharashtrian city even more worthwhile. Also, your hot cup of chai will never look any better with a cloud-covered mountain in the backdrop!
As mentioned above, the transportation system in Maharashtra is pretty well-maintained. If we speak of Kolhapur, the Kolhapur Municipal Transport (KMT) provides a plethora of bus services at almost every hour of the day for you to move in and around the city.
The best way to move around in the city is by the classic black and yellow three-wheeler auto-rickshaw. All you have to do is hail an auto-rickshaw and you would be able to explore sites across Kolhapur. The fairly cheap meter fares are also very convenient for budget travelers.
Also read: Top 7 Things To Do In Maharashtra
Maharashtrians are known to be hardcore followers of their cultures and religions. No wonder you’ll find a myriad of temples every 10 km in the state. One such temple is the Mahalaxmi Temple in the city of Kolhapur which is also known as the Ambabai Mandir. Devotees from all over the country visit this Hindu temple to get the blessings of Goddess Laxmi. Known as the Goddess of wealth which is why you’ll be hearing this name quite often in the country when the festival of Diwali is around the corner.
You might ask what sets this apart from the numerous other temples in the entire nation. For starters, the temple was built somewhere between the 6th to 12th Centuries when the Chalukya Dynasty was at the helm of things in the city. Secondly, the 40kg idol (‘murti’ in the local language) is made entirely out of gemstones! This is a good reason why Goddess Laxmi is termed the Goddess of wealth.
As rich as the history of this holy temple is, it also has a unique culture which is often experienced in the form of the festivals here. One such is the Kirnotsav celebrations. It is a festival of Sun Rays. The reason behind this celebration is that rays of the sun fall on the deity’s sculpture only thrice a year and is really an amazing spectacle. The locals tie this phenomenon with the theory that it is a sign of prosperity and happiness. So, if you happen to be traveling to Kolhapur around the months of November to February, you might just get to experience it!
A triumphant history of the Marathas has a lot of mentions of a number of forts. The battles fought, dynasties changed, and lifestyles changed frequently, but the iconic forts that provided shelter and a towering edge were a constant throughout. Amidst the chaos and the battles for power, this fort was a pivotal strategic trade route that went up to the coast of the Arabian Sea. History buffs will have a gala time exploring all the stellar structures inside the fort. Some of which include the Ambarkhana, Sajja Kothi, and Rajdindi Bastion among others.
By now you should have guessed that every place in this city has some sort of history attached to it. Adding another name to that list is the Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary. A former hunting grounds for the Maharaja of Kolhapur is now an ideal location for species like bison and gaurs. Apart from these, you will also find a large population of the cat’s extended family, the striped leopards, and tigers.
A city surrounded by the Panchganga River already has the edge over other scenic cities in the state of Maharashtra. When you add a serene waterfall to the mix, its value just increases four-fold. The waterfall in question is the Rautwadi Waterfall which has lush greenery to complete a picturesque ensemble. The area is also one of the cleanest and most well-maintained public spots, making it all the more aesthetically pleasing and a definite contender for the top tourist places in the city.
If you have been a resident of India for long enough, interesting words like “Tapascharya” may have whistled past your ears quite often by now. The word basically means an act done by a Tapasvi which involves extensive meditation and relinquishing all worldly needs. The reason why we are mentioning this here is that the Ramling Caves Temple is known to have been home to the monolithic temples where the Pandavas did their Tapascharya. So, if you wish to visit a calm place with a breathtaking backdrop, Ramling Caves Temple will be your best bet.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Kolhapur?
Though Kolhapur is an all-season tourist destination, you will get to experience the best of the city’s offerings in the winter months from October to February.
What Is Kolhapur Famous For?
The city of Kolhapur is famous for a lot of things, be it its rich history or cool shopping items. To name a few, the Kolhapuri sarees and the Kolhapuri Chappals are famous in the entire country. Another specialty of this city is the Kolhapuri SAAJ (a classic necklace with a traditional pattern) and jaggery.
Is Kolhapur Good For Tourists?
If you are big on history and outdoor trekking, there is no better place you’d rather be than Kolhapur. The city is filled with historical treasures that will leave you craving for more to be uncovered.
What Language Is Spoken In The City Of Kolhapur?
Being a Maharashtrian city, the primary language spoken by the people in Kolhapur is Marathi. The other commonly spoken languages include Hindi and English.
What Food Is Famous In Kolhapur?
The city of Kolhapur is big on fast food and breakfast dishes. The most famous one is the Kolhapuri Misal Pav which will leave a lasting taste on your taste buds.
What Is Famous In Kolhapur For Shopping?
Kolhapuri chappals, Kolhapuri jewellery, Kolhapuri masalas, and Kolhapuri sarees are some of the best souvenirs one can buy in Kolhapur.
Why Are Kolhapuri Dishes Spicy?
One particular ingredient in most dishes of Kolhapur is the Lavangi chillies. These chillies are known to be highly spicy and give Kolhapuri recipes their well-known red color.
Is Kolhapur Worth Visiting?
Kolhapur is a beautiful city in Southern Maharashtra. It is a hub for Maharashtrian history and culture. Moreover, the people here are extremely friendly and welcoming. All of these things make Kolhapur absolutely worth visiting.