Kolhapur (Marathi: कोल्हापूर) is a city situated in the south west corner of Maharashtra, India. The population of Kolhapur is around 419,000. The main language is Marathi. It is situated on the banks of river Panchganga and provides the location for the Mahalakshmi Temple. The city also lends its name to many common terms like Kolhapuri Chappal, Kolhapuri Lavangi Mirchi, Kolhapuri Gul (Jaggery), Kolhapuri Pailvan (Wrestler), Kolhapuri Mutton (Non-Veg) and Kolhapuri Cuisine.
The history of Kolhapur can be tracked back to the Satavahan Empire era.
In the modern times, Kolhapur has played a significant role in the politics of Maharashtra state. The city is famous of Kolhapur SAAJ (necklaces with traditional patterns), jaggery, Kolhapur chappal (traditional leather sandals) and wrestling. Kolhapur is also famous for its non-veg food recipes (Marathi: Kolhapuri pandhara rassa, tambadaa rassa) and unique spices.
Kolhapur is on the Pune-Miraj-Kolhapur section of the Central Railway. The railway station is named after Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj. It is well connected with all the important cities in India. Mahalakshmi, Koyna and Sahyadri express connect Mumbai to Kolhapur and they run daily. Miraj is the nearmost major railway station and is well connected to important cities in India. From Kolhapur Railway Station, there are daily trains for Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Tirupati, while weekly trains also run for Delhi, Ahmedabad and Dhanbad.
Kolhapur lies on National Highway 4 a.k.a NH4 which connects Mumbai to Bangalore. Mumbai to Kolhapur is an 8-hour drive by road. Pune to Kolhapur is around 3 hours journey by private car, while bus takes around 4 hours. The road is excellent and almost like Pune-Mumbai express highway.
The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) has buses running every 30 minutes from Pune to Kolhapur and vice versa. These are A/C, Non-A/C general transport buses and cost approximately ₹220 for Non A/C & ₹360 for A/C. There are also hourly buses from Mumbai, which are non-A/C general transport buses and cost approximately ₹180-₹240.
Private operators also operate buses on this route with A/C and Non-A/C option, the fare ranging from ₹200 to ₹350.
Similar options are available from Pune. The private/state buses and shared taxis all start from Swar-Gate in Pune which is a large bus/transport hub to the south of Pune.
From the south side, there are direct buses (private and state-owned) from almost all places from Karnataka, including Bangalore, Belgaon, Mangalore, and Hubali.
Overall, Kolhapur has become a crowded place. Huge number of two wheeler vehicles precides over the number of four wheelers (private & commercial). The central city being non-planned is very crowded during peak hours. Also, due to many road constructions going on, the roads are jammed. You can avoid traffic jams by travelling on newly built roads, which are much more wider and better ones. Auto rickshaw is the popular public transport available.
There are quite a few car rental agencies in Kolhapur. Most of them charge around ₹2400 a day for a mid-size car. There are extra charges for distances above 250 km.
- 1 Mahalaxmi Temple (Mahalaxmi Mandir) (about 5 km from Central Bus Stand and Railway Station, towards centre of the city). The puranas have listed 108 sites where Shakti (the goddess of power) is manifested. Amongst these, the Karveer area (the area where the present town of Kolhapur is located), is of special significance. This is one of the six abodes of Shakti, where one can achieve both fulfillment of desires as well as salvation from them. It is therefore considered to be of greater significance than Uttar Kashi. Shri Mahalakshmi is the consort of Shri Vishnu and it is said that they both reside in the Karveer area. Mahalakshmi also known as Goddess Ambabai enjoys status of one of the important spiritual centers in India. Construction of the temple was initiated in 7th century by Chalukya rulers and further beautified by Yadavas until 9th Century AD. Garuda Mandap used for concerts by renowned artists was built in 1838 AD. During Navratri Festival, the temple is well decorated with lights, flowers and renowned musicians, Kirtankars, artists pay their homage by performing for goddess in front of public at large in temple. The 'Aarati' ritual is most important. Daily at 5:30AM when the Mandir is opened, Aarati is performed after the worship of the idol's feet. This is called 'Kakadarati.' Devotional songs in 'Bhup-Rag' are recited at that time. At 8:30AM Mahapooja occurs followed by 'Mangalarati.' At 12:30PM, worship with fragrant flowers & Kumkum is done for the devotees camphor is burnt and 'Naivedya' (Rich dishes) is offered. If there is no Mahapooja from devotees, milk instead of Panchamrut (milk, curds, sugar, ghee & honey) is spilled on the feet followed by Aarati. This process continues until about 2PM. This is followed with a 'Pooja' where the goddess is offered ornaments. In the interiors of the Mandir, Vedic hymns are chanted. After 7:30PM, with ringing of bells, 'Aarati' is performed. This is called the 'Bhog -Aarati'. The ritual of 'Abhishek Vidhi'is carried on throughout the day. Weekends and long weekends see a lot of rush. One can also pray to the goddess through Mukh Darshan, for which there are shorter queues but one gets the darshan of the goddess from a distance. Cameras are not allowed inside the temple complex, but one can see many people using their mobile cameras to take pictures and selfies.
- New Palace. Residence and a museum about memories of The Great Lokraja Shahuji Maharaj.
- 2 Rankala Lake (about 6-8 km from CBS and Railway Station).
- 3 Shivaji University. A gateway of higher education of international level to regional masses but surrounded by rich nature.
- Temlabai Mandir. Temblai hill is a famous spot in Kolhapur. There is a temple of Goddess "Temlabai" and other small temple on this Hill. In every Ashadha the religious ceremony of pouring water on the steps of the Mandir is celebrated on a grand scale. There is a Yamai Mandir also on this hill. A statue of Shivaji Maharaj is raised by the Devasthan Committee. A huge idol of "Ganpati" is situated at the center of the hill-top. A small garden is developed for visitors. Every year during the month of "Shravan" a one day celebration known as "Tryamboli Yatra" takes place. People from Kolhapur and all other regions visit this place during the yatra. During Navratra Utsav procession of "Mahalakshmi" is carried from Ambabai Temple to Temblabai Temple. It is said that Goddess "Temlabai" & Goddess "Mahalakshmi" are sisters. During the war against devils, Goddess "Temlabai" helped Goddess "Mahalakshmi" but after the victory Goddess "Mahalakshmi" did not give her the due respect which made Goddess "Temlabai" angry and thus she came and settled on Temblai Hill. Hence, this procession is carried during Navratri, where it is believed, that on this day Goddess Mahalakshmi meets Goddess Temlabai, and people worship her with all devotion.
- 4 Amboli. Beautiful rainy hill station, lot of clouds and beautiful waterfall.
- Bahubali. This site is revered by both Hindus and Jains. Devotees flock here to pay respect to the 28 feet tall marble statue of Bahubali and visit the temples of the 24 tirthankaras or saints. This site is 27 km to the south of Kolhapur.
- 5 Dajipur Bison Sanctuary (Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary) (it is about 80 km away from Kolhapur, Radhanagari to Dajipur distance is 30 km). The forest area of Dajipur is on the border of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg districts. Surrounded by rugged mountains and dense forests, this secluded little place is completely cut off from human habitat, but is home to bison, wild deer, gava (bison), and many more spectacular wild animals and birds. An excursion in the vicinity to the Gagangiri Maharaj's Math makes for a pleasant outing. There is a scenic resort near the backwaters of Radhanagari dam which is highly recommended for wildlife lovers. Dajipur is an exciting and beautiful holiday getaway 1200 m above sea level. The roads are not motorable in rainy season.
- 6 Gaganbawda. A hill station about 2-3 hours from CBS (Central Bus Stand, Kolhapur) and Kolhapur Railway Station. Excellent climate during the rainy season.
- Gagangiri Maharaj Math (Temple) (at Gaganbawda). Gagangiri Maharaj was a great yogi. One of the few living sages having unique capacities, vision and synthesis. Gagangiri Maharaj Math is renowned as a spiritual destination for domestic and foreign travelers. The Math is located in the midst of dense forests and thick green vegetation at Dajipur nearby Kolhapur. Shri Gagangiri Maharaj was a Hindu Sanyasi (Sage) following the Nath Sampradaya.The life and history of the sage tells that Gagangiri Maharaj spent many years in this Math undergoing penance from 1932 to 1940. The Sage spent all these years in meditation in the deep jungle in this Math. This Ashram offers the Hindu teachings, yoga and meditation practices and also serves as a religious temple for the devotees. It is an attractive place for meditation, yoga and to clearly understand the Indian culture and its religious importance.
- 7 Jyotiba temple (Jyotiba lies 17 km to the north-west of Kolhapur.). Situated at a height of 3100 feet, this holy site nestles in the mountains, also known as Wadi Ratnagiri. Jyotiba is supposed to be an incarnation of three gods -- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and the seer Jamadagni. A colorful fair takes place on the full moon night of the Hindu months of Chaitra and Vaishakh. During the fair, Devotees from various regions hoist "Sasan Kathi", which is the holy symbol of lord Jyotiba
- 8 Khidrapur. A famous and beautiful Lord Shiva Temple built 900 years ago. The artistic temple of Kopeshwar or Mahadev at Khidrapur is a treasure-house of beautifully carved sculptures and a rare architectural marvel. The entire temple rests on a gajapeeth which is a semi-circular platform resting on the back of 92 carved elephants.
- 9 Narsobawadi. This holy place is situated on the confluence of the rivers Krishna and Panchaganga. It is well known for the holy padukas (slippers) of Dattaguru ( an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). Narasimha Saraswati, considered an incarnation of Dattaguru who lived here for 12 years. The devotees have erected a temple called "Jahaz Mandir", which is unique in its own way, because it has been built in the shape of a ship with beautiful landscape. Narsobachiwadi is famour for Basundi, Kundhi Pedas, Kawatchi Barfi's.
- 10 Panhala Fort. Built in 1100 AC. Historic memories of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Hill Station. Carrying a rich heritage, Panhala Fort forms the largest of all the Deccan forts. This fort was built between the 1178-1209 AD, this is the only fort where the great ruler, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is believed to have spent more than 500 days. The history of Panhala Fort is one of the oldest, and famous amongst Maratha warriors. Sajja Kothi, where Sambhaji was imprisoned. Ambabai Temple, where Shivaji used to seek blessings before venturing on expeditions. In addition to history, Panhala at an altitude of 977 m offers some inspiring scenery and a soothing climate. An average temperature of 25 °C.It is a must place to visit, while in Kolhapur.
As you enter the fort complex, there is a statue of Baji Prabhu Deshpande who defended the Pawan Khind during Shivaji's escape. There is a parking area on the left. Women's self help groups have setup many eateries where one can enjoy the traditional pithla-bhakri (bread and gram-flour dish). A 45 minute journey, accompanied by beautiful landscape, a trip to Panhala will surely be a memorable one!
- 11 Radhanagari Dam (about 15-20 km from CBS and Railway Station).
- Siddhagiri Gramjivan Museum. A unique project, perhaps the only project in India situated at Shri Kshetra Siddhagiri Math, Kaneri, Tal. Karveer, Dist. Kolhapur. The place is near Kolhapur city on Pune Banglore Highway. Shri Kshetra Siddhagiri Math has a history of more than 1000 years, and is a holy place of worship of Lord Mahadeva. The surrounding around the museum is very calm and quiet, a hilly place with a good collection of Flora and Fauna.
The project is a dream village of Mahatma Gandhi, visually and symbolically created through the vision and efforts of present 27th Mathadhipati H.H. Adrushya Kadsiddheshwar Swamiji.
The main objective of the Project is to refresh the history of self sufficient village life before the invasion of Mughals in Maharashtra. There were 12 BALUTEDARS (12 main profession based casts i.e. Professions performed by generation by family members) and 18 ALUTEDARS, who provided equipments to all villagers useful in their day-to-day necessities of domestic as well as Agricultural life.
These Balutedars, Alutedars and others had a special characteristics with which they served society. The description of all 18 Alutedars, 12 balutedars and other people and there duties are vividly depicted in the museum.
The first phase of the museum spans over 7 Acres of area with almost 80 main scenes and around 300 statues. Several subtle village lifestyles are taken into consideration. There is a unique combination of expression, accuracy and liveliness in the whole village. Each sculpture has a multi dimensional effect and lifestyle theme which Swamiji very keenly arranged each and every scene to make a proper visual story. In the total cluster the village demonstrate a self sufficient machinery within village. Barter economy, Interpersonal healthy happy relationship among villagers is reflected. The Museum projects the entire village as a single family, and as single family members in a joint family. No adulteration, no cut thought practice, no mad Rat Race, No pollution, but Caring, and delightful atmosphere, no bitter feeling, but fertile land, clean water, clean air, quality food, maximum use of natural resources, cattle field, livestock, job satisfaction. All these things are reflecting the beauty, Joy, satisfaction of human race and oneness with nature. It advises us to get back to nature, without disturbing the equilibrium of nature and many other things which are beyond our imagination.
A visit to Mahalaxmi Temple can be followed by a trip to Panhala Fort. The Auto Rickshaw charges approx. ₹450 for Panhala Trip from Kolhapur to Panhala and back. The visit will take around 6 hrs and after coming back to Kolhapur city one can go to Rankala Lake in evening and visit Shalini Palace Hotel and Chowpatty there. One can enjoy snacks from vada pav to South Indian dishes at the Chowpatty.
Next day one can start the morning in Kolhapur with a visit to New Palace Museum. After seeing museum one can proceed to Jyotiba Temple.
It is also recommended to visit a local" Gurhal" a traditional family owned Jaggery Making place just outside of the city. Here you can watch local people make jaggery from scratch with sugarcane juice. They are also open for visitors to try and taste fresh sugarcane juice and jaggery.
One should also visit Bhavani Temple near Mahalaxmi Temple.
Also to visit is much forgotten "Ruikar Colony" which was Maharashtra state's first Residential Bunglow estate (and so far the only estate that has remained like this and most estates are now being converted to apartments) Ruikar Colony, always featured in Marathi Films, is famous for its huge beautiful mansions complimented by landscaped gardens, nature strips, well designed roads, community gardens, Ganesh and Jain Temple, playground and Community Hall and its own shopping area.
- Kalamba (Lake), Kalamba (about 6-7 km from CBS). It's very beautiful place, where various birds come every year.
- Kolhapuri Chappals.
- Kolhapuri Saaj. One of the best place to buy Kolhapuri Saaj and other antique jewellery is Karekar Jewellers (Rajarampuri). Here you will find the best saaj and one of the best collections in Antique jewellery.
Kolhapur is well known paradise for non vegetarian lovers, but it has many eating options equally wonderful for vegetarian food. Also, in general there is a misconception about "Kolhapur" food that it has to be really spicy and having lot of chillies. Only when you visit Kolhapur, one realizes that this is myth!
Once in Kolhapur, you should never miss out on misal, which is a famous Maharashtrian snack. Authentic misal can be tasted only in Kolhapur, because outside Kolhapur, in many places in Maharashtra, people only add lot of oil and red chilly and serve it as 'kolhapuri misal'. There are many famous misal eating joints.
- 1 Fadatare Misal, Shivaji Udyam Nagar. This is in 'Udyam Nagar' and by far the most popular misal place. It has been featured extensively in print and television media, but owners still prefer to run this place in the backyard of old factory in an industrial area. It has retained its taste for all these years, and hence it is popular among local as well as tourists.
- 2 Khasbaug Misal, opp Khasbaug maidan,C Ward.
- 3 Chorage Misal, Gujari Rd,C Ward (Off Mahadwar road). popular place
- Bawada Misal. This used to be very famous misal joint and has been visited by many celebrities, a fact easily seen from the pictures hanging on its wall.
- Rajabhau-Bhel. This is a very famous Bheel place- dish made with Rice puffs, tamarind, chillis and onions.
- Akkha Masur. a famous local mini-meal- red lentil curry in thick tomato-cashew base served with Bharaki (local bread) and chillis. you can find this in Bawda area -popular hawker food.
- Datta Caffe.
- Ahar Vihar.
- Khas Bag misal.
- Kothawale (Laxmi) misal.
List of restaurants
- 4 The Oven Bakery, 7, Kusum Plaza (in the upmarket Rajarampuri area), ☏ . Pastries, cakes, pizzas, burgers, rolls, chocolates. It has a branch in Nagala Park. It is a must-visit place in Kolhapur.
- 5 Milano's, Shop no. 8&9, Kusum Plaza (in Nagala Park, near the Collector's Office), ☏ . remains closed every Wednesday. Multicuisine restaurant. It serves great authentic Italian, Mexican, Thai & Chinese (all vegetarian) specialities.
- Khemraj Bakery (There are 2 branches, one in city area near the Mahalaxmi temple in front of the Kapilteerth Market and the other new one in Rajarampuri.). Freshly prepared mouth watering mil bread, cakes, kharis and all bakery products. (Daily prepared products stocks gets over by EOD) Hindustan Bakery is famous for its biscuits, cookies and bread. It also serves fast food items such as pizza and burger.
- Lava Rocks Inn, ☏ . 7-10:30PM, Thursdays closed. Cafe, Pan America, Middle Eastern & Asian Cuisine
- Padma Guest House (Located very close to Mahalaxmi Temple.). A traditional Kolhapuri cuisine restaurant serving authentic Kolhapuri Thali's (veg & non-veg) since 1947.
- Hotel Victor Palace.
- Hotel Raysons. (24 /7 Coffee shop)
- Hotel Pearl.
- Hotel Meghdoot.
- Hotel Opel. For veg and non-veg.
- Hotel Khavvaiya, Gujrathi.
Don't forget to eat the "paandhraa rassaa" & "taambdaa rassa" in non-veg. These are two special curries which are tradition of Kolhapur.
For party freaks Kolhapur has got some decent bars & restaurants like Scores (beside Hotel Victor Palace) & Texas (in Hotel Ayodhya), also Mithila is a family bar & restaurant in Hotel Ayodhya.