Kolhapur is a historical city located in the heart of Maharashtra. Apart from the sugarcane fields, the
chicken and mutton rassa, and Kolhapuri chappal , Kolhapur is worth a visit to experience the real history of Maharashtra. A cultural hub, Kolhapur is the seat of the descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Kolhapur is home to the ancient temple of Goddess Mahalakshmi (Lord Vishnu’s partner). This ancient temple is a beautiful place and is architecturally very intriguing. It is said that this temple is one of the few places where one can go and ask for one’s heart’s desire (better known as a mannat), and it will be fulfilled. Thousands of people, believers in Shakti and the Goddess herself flock to Kolhapur to visit this temple.
Adjoining Kolhapur, is Panhalgad the fort. This fort is of great historical significance. Here is where Shivaji and an entire village were kept under siege for a long period of time. When the king realized that they were running out supplies, and decided to escape to a nearby fort- the entire village and army fought for his preservation. At the entrance of the fort is a statue erected in the honour of Baji Prabhu Deshpande a valiant soldier who gave up his life to protect Shivaji and thus became immortal. The fort is located on the top of a hill, and it is very well maintained. It has also been preserved in such a manner that you can almost imagine it all happen before your eyes.
Royalty has always played very important role in Kolhapur’s history and evolution. You can witness the real royal elements of Kolhapur at the Chhatrapati Shahu Museum. It has been converted from a palace, which makes it more than realistic. Set at the centre of sprawling grounds, this museum pays real homage to the true rulers of Kolhapur. The rooms, clothes, weapons and even animals which they had hunted (stuffed) have all been preserved very well.
If you believe that to truly experience the place one has to eat their food as well- the first place to head to would be the Opal Restaurant. Renowned for its scrumptious original Kolhapuri cuisine, Opal restaurant will provide a full and proper meal with the taambda rassa and paandhra rassa and really spicy meat. Opal is a definite visit for those who want to experience Kolhapur. Another food item which is a must try in Kolhapur is the Kolhapuri misal. It is so popular that it is one of the most preferred breakfast items all over the state.
Kolhapur is famous worldwide for its special brand of chappals which are made here. This footwear is not only comfortable but stylish as well. A thing to keep in mind while shopping for these chappals is to take a localite along as far as possible. Not just to haggle, but also so that you can be guided to the better shops with better rates.
Kolhapur is not too far from the other great cities of Maharashtra like Pune, Nagpur and Mumbai. In spite of being in the same state, none of the other cities have the kind of zing which Kolhapur does.