Kolhapur
 
     
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Kolhapur
 
 

Arts, aristocracy and graciousness. A legacy of valour combined with a culture steeped in spiritualism, education and modernism. Kolhapur with its myriad images emerges as a city with a multi-faceted persona and a rich cultural, historical and mythical past. Ancient texts such as the Padmapurana and the Skandapurana speak in glowing terms of Karveer or Dakshin Kashi which is, in fact modern-day Kolhapur on the banks of river Panchaganga nestling among the Sahyadri ranges.

Kolhapur


A journey through the past reveals that Kolhapur has lived through the regimes of various rulers from the mythical past to the modern age. The Hindu era lasted till 1347, followed by the Muslim rule which was from 1347-1700. The magnificent temples of Kolhapur were built during the glorious periods of the Satavahana kings and the Shilaharas. The Marathas controlled this area from 1700 to 1849. In 1849, the British took over and Chhatrapati Sahu Maharaj was installed as the ruler of Kolhapur.


Chhatrapati Sahu Maharaj's reign lent a progressive spirit to the city and he extended his patronage to theatre, films, music, painting, sculpture, wrestling and crafts. As result, the city has a rich cultural ethos. In 1945, archaeological excavations close to a hill named Brahmagiri on the banks of the river Panchaganga revealed the existence of an ancient town dating back to the Roman times. Today, Kolhapur combines its artistic past with a dynamic present and is a modern, industrial city.

Attractions:

Mahalaxmi Temple


This exquisitely carved temple draws millions of pilgrims from all over India and is an important spiritual centre. Over the years, members of several royal families have sought the blessings of the goddess -- Mahalaxmi or Amba Bai. The temple complex has artistically sculpted structures and houses the temples of other deities such as Kashi Vishweshwar, Kartikaswami, Sheshashayi, Siddhivinayak, Mahaswaraswati, Mahakali, Shree Dutta and Shree Ram 

In the seventh century AD, the Chalukya ruler, Karandev initiated the construction of this temple and later on in the ninth century, the Shilahara Yadavas beautified it further. The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered idol of the goddess weighing 40 kgs. The idol has not been fashioned by any human being but exists in its natural form -- a primeval monolith of uncut diamonds and precious stones. This is known as Swayambhu.

Kolhapur

Besides the 'Palkhi' ritual performed on every Friday, there are enthusiastic celebrations on the Hindu festivals of Chaitra Poornima and Navratri. The temple also holds music concerts wherein renowned artistes perform during festivals.

Timings: The temple is open from 4 pm to 11pm.
Devotees can stay at the nearby dharamshala (boarding house) for a nominal fee.

The New Palace (Chhatrapati Sahu Museum)

A royal palace partly converted into an unforgettable museum, the New Palace has lush green parks, a zoo and a picturesque lake to soothe tired souls.

The museum houses rare paintings and artifacts used by the royal family. Royal weapons and a tableau depicting court life of the last century create an aristocratic ambience.


The Town Hall Museum
Antiques found during the excavations at Brahmagiri, old sculptures, filigree work in sandal wood and ivory, old coins and paintings of master artists of the region are all displayed here.


The Old Palace
Located behind the temple of Mahalaxmi, this magnificent structure has an impressive marqee with filigree work in stone. It also houses a temple of the goddess Bhawani


Binkhambi Ganesh Mandir
Students of architecture will enjoy visiting this place as this unique temple does not have any pillars.


Rankala Lake 

This wide and spacious lake is so called because at its centre lies the temple of Rankabhairav. Legend has it that a golden temple is submerged under the temple of Rankabhairav. The Shalini Palace stands on the west bank of the lake. It is built of intricately carved black stone and Italian marble. Recently, the palace was converted into a hotel.

Kolhapur

Access:

Kolhapur is well connected to the rest of the state and country. By air, you can reach Kolhapur from Mumbai by a one-hour plane journey. Ujalaiwadi Airport is 10 kms from the main city of Kolhapur.

By train, it is a 10 to 11 hour journey from Mumbai or Bangalore. There are several day and night trains that leave Dadar or Chhtrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai for Kolhapur.

By road, Kolhapur can be reached easily from Mumbai, Pune and other places. There are regular State and private buses that ply between Kolhapur and Mumbai/Pune. Kolhapur is 395 kms from Mumbai and 225 kms from Pune.

 

 
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