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Kolhapur Tourism And Travel Guide
18.8° C / 65.9° F
October to February
3 to 4 Days
Kolhapur Airport (9 kms)
Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus (2 kms)
The city of Kolhapur in south western Maharashtra and towards the south of the capital city of Mumbai is predominantly famous for Kolhapur Mahalakshmi temple and the River Panchganga on whose banks the ancient city of Kolhapur was built. Located near the eastern slopes of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the city has its fair share of exceptionally picturesque natural places like mist capped mountain peaks and serpentine ghat roads, most charming lakes and rivers, wildlife sanctuaries and fields of sugarcane besides a plethora of ancient temples, ruined hilltop forts of the Maratha and Mughal periods, palaces of the Maharajas of Kolhapur and early monuments.
Kolhapur’s tryst with Kushti or wrestling is a prominent one that goes back to the days of the Maharajas. Do visit India’s oldest Khasbagh wrestling stadium to watch a wrestling tournament or a taleem to watch the young wrestlers work out. Shop for some of Kolhapur’s exclusive products or indulge in some of the city’s finest culinary fare!
If you are planning a trip to Kolhapur, our tourism and travel guide should help you plan a good trip.
How to Reach
Kolhapur is a thriving tourist and industrial city and is well connected to the rest of the country by air, road and rail. The easiest way to reach the city would probably be by rail.
Kolhapur’s Airport at Ujlaiwadi has domestic flights from some cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thirupathi and Belgaum. You could also fly International flights from the airport at Goa, Pune or Mumbai. Taxis or buses are available from either of these cities to Kolhapur.
Kolhapur’s Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus has trains chugging in from a number of major cities across the country along with passenger and DEMU trains from Pune, Sangli and Miraj. There are auto rickshaw stands right outside the railway station for transport.
Private and state transport buses ply between cities including Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bengaluru and Belgaum to Kolhapur. You could also drive to Kolhapur or fix up a cab from any of these cities.
There are Kolhapur Municipal Transport buses, as well as taxis and auto rickshaws for getting round town, beside two wheelers and self-drive cars on hire.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best months to visit Kolhapur are the months from October to February when it’s a cool and pleasant winter. It’s the best time to explore the countryside and to indulge in trekking or bird watching.
Summer (March – June):
Summers are very hot and are at best considered off season for tourism. The town gets festive for the Rathotsav festival in the Mahalakshmi temple. You could visit the cooler ghat regions in summer.
Monsoon (July – September):
There are moderate to very heavy rains. It’s a beautiful season up at the hills and ghats but travel and trekking might face a damper.
Winter (October – February):
Post rainy seasons are pleasant and a delightful season in Kolhapur. Check out the boat rowing festival and the Kiranotsav festival in Kolhapur Mahalakshmi temple. Winter’s the right time for bird watching, safaris into the Dajipur Bison Sanctuary and trekking up the hills.
Things to Do
Get off on a trekking tour to some of the most exciting mountain paths around Kolhapur. Most peaks have ancient forts on them and you could combine a trek with a heritage walk as well.
Kolhapur’s neighborhood has some of the most scenic ghat sections that lead from the Western Ghats. If you would like a drive along the winding ghat roads, do check out the pictographic Amba ghat and the Bhuibawada and Karul ghat roads near Kolhapur.
Explore the Caves:
The Ramling Cave temples said to belong to the period of the Pandavas, the Pohale Budhist caves and the Jakhin Caves near Gargoti are some cave temples you could explore.
Go for a bird walk along some of Kolhapur’s waterways. Beyond enjoying the views, you could photo shoot some of the most exotic birds of the Western Ghats.
See the Cascades of Kolhapur:
A pleasant day spent in a verdant forested region with nothing but the chirping of birds and gurgle of a waterfall is what makes the monsoon falls of Savdav and Rautwadi a delightful one.
Rankala Lake Getaway:
What better way to unwind than a walk by the picturesque Rankala Lake. Listen to the legends behind the Rankala Lake that is said to have a submerged temple for Shiva and an ancient direct water canal to the Panhala Fort. Visit the Shiva temple near the Lake that has a gigantic sculpture of Nandi.
Experience Kushti, the ancient sport:
Watch a wrestling tournament or visit the wrestling schools of Kolhapur. Wrestling is a part of the historical legacy of the city and a trip to the ancient Kausbagh Maidan built by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj on the model of the Callocium of Rome is a must visit.
Visit a Palace Museum:
One of Kolhapur's iconic structures, the ancient New Palace where the current descendents of the Kolhapur royal family live, has an impressive museum of historic collections. Tour the Laxmi Vilas Palace where Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was born.
Kolhapur’s cuisine is what the city is renowned for; its exotic vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that are very particular to the region. Some of Kolhapur’s dishes that you might not want to overlook are Kolhapuri bhel, batata vada pav and missal, spicy non veggie Golyachi biryani or kheema rice balls, Tambada rasa and Pandara rasa that are meaty red and white soups and kanda (onion) and lasun (garlic) chutney that is a spicy accompaniment to vegetarian and non-veggie dishes.
While these are Kolhapur’s signature dishes, you could feast on the traditional Maharashtrian or Gujarathi thali meals as well. Kolhapur is a foodie’s paradise and you would find the special cuisine of Kolhapur in restaurants as well as in street side stalls. Finish off a thali meal with pedhe, puran poli, burfis or creamy basundi for dessert!
Kolhapur has a list of must buys that you might want to check out while on a shopping spree. The most popular is of course the handcrafted Kolhapur leather slippers. You could also buy block printed textiles, Pheta or Kolhapuri turbans, cotton textiles especially Kolhapuri Nauwari saris, lacquer and oxidized silver jewelry.
Kolhapur’s brass ware, embroidered and lace worked materials are sought after as well. Kolhapur Saaj, an exquisite set of designed jewelry which includes a thushi or necklace, nath or a nose pin, ambada or decorated pins for the hair and vanki for the arms are quite popular. Narsobawadi’s local produce of corn, brinjal and cucumber and Kolhapur’s own white jaggery could be bought to be packed home.