Known as the city of palaces and temples, Kolhapur stands on the banks of Pachaganga River and is the home to the famous Shri Mahalakshmi Temple. It is one of the best places to explore the brilliance and grandeur of India.
Kolhapur is situated about 228 km from Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra. Kolhapur is famous all over India for its unique jewelry design and for Kolhapuri chappals (sandals) that are popular for their extremely stiff soles.
According to Hindu mythological belief, Goddess Mahalaxmi started residing in Kolhapur following a tiff with her husband Lord Vishnu. Tirupati Balaji and Kolhapur Mahalaxmi are believed to be husband and wife.
The city of Kolhapur is said to have derived its name from a mythological event. A demon named Kolhasur used to oppress the people and was killed by Goddess Mahalakshmi. When the demon lay dying, he wished that the area be named after him and thus the region came to be known as Kolhapur.
The name of Kolhapur is mentioned in the India epic, Bhagvadgita as well. According to legend, Amoghavarsha, the then king of the region had offered his fingers as sacrifice to Goddess Mahalakshmi to bring relief to his people from a catastrophe.
Panhala was the seat of the Chattrapatis of Kolhapur. The Maharajas of Kolhapur share common ancestry with the erstwhile royal house of Satara. Satara and Kolhapur came into being in 1707, following a succession dispute. When Shahu, the son of Sambhaji who was taken prisoner by the Mughals, was released, Maharani Tara Bai (widow of Chatrapati Rajaram, younger son of Shivaji Maharaj) refused to accept him and proclaimed her son Shivaji I, as king. Two separate principalities become an established fact by 1710. While Shahu established himself at Satara, Tarabai set up her capital at Kolhapur.
At an elevation of 1900 ft, Kolhapur enjoys pleasant climate for major part of the year except for the summer months. The summers in Kolhapur see a huge rise in temperature but after May, Kolhapur becomes a very pleasant place to visit.
The thriving farming sector, textile and mining industries and the film industry of Kolhapur are the main reasons for the growth of the city. The city of Kolhapur has one of the highest per capita incomes among all Indian cities.
Kolhapur has a number of forts, temples and places of great historical importance. Some of the places like the Shri Mahalakshmi Temple, Katyani Temple, Panhala Fort and the palaces of the erstwhile royals are a must visit.
There are many things that can be bought in Kolhapur like the famous Kolhapuri chappals (sandals), Kolhapuri Saaj (jewelry with unique designs), saris and jaggery. Kolhapuri Pheta, the traditional turbans, could be a good gift to take back home.
Kolhapur is also known for the unique style of turban worn by its men, known as Kolhapuri Pheta (pheta or feta means turban). Presenting a person a pheta is considered an act of honouring him.
Saaz or jewelry has a unique style in Kolhapur with Kolhapuri Saaz being famous all over India.
Kolhapuri chappals (sandals) are another speciality of the area.
Where to stay
Kolhapur has a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation from budget, mid-range and even luxury hotels. Most of the hotels are concentrated near Tararani Chowk which is a 10 minute walk away from the centre of Kolhapur.
Government guest house needs prior booking. The guest house is a very good budget accommodation option.
Where to eat
Kolhapur is known for its special cuisine characterized by its use of chilli. The delicacies made of red meat in Kolhapuri style are also popular. Snacks of Kolhapur like misal pav and batata vada are also popular.
Best time to visit
Kolhapur can be visited anytime of the year except for the summer months (April and May). Except for these two months when it gets very hot, Kolhapur enjoys pleasant climate.