Brief History about Kolhapur city
Kolhapur is one of the oldest civilizations of the country. Kolhapur’s cultural history is dated back to 17th Century. Situated at the banks of River Panchganga, Kolhapur is called as DAKSHIN KASHI (Kashi is a holy city in Northen India and Dakhin means South) for its spiritual history.
India’s pre-independence history is in fact, history of kings and their kingdoms. Kolhapur is not different from the others, it has also seen and gone under the various regimes and since the emergence of the Marathas, the place was being ruled by the Bhonsle dynasty.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was not among the male ancestor of this dynasty as he was born as the eldest son of Appasahed Ghatge [Chief of Kagal(Senior)] on 26th June 1874 and was named as Yashwatrao Ghatge. Those were the days around the Holi [an Indian Festival related with color and usually celebrated in the months of March – April] in the year 1884 when Rani Shrimant Anandibai Raje Saheb decided to adopt him and made him Chhatrapati of the princely state of Kolhapur.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj ascended the throne of Kolhapur in 1894, bringing an end to the 50-year-old regency administration. His reign of 28 years from 1894 to 1922 guided a new era of social, cultural and economic reforms for which he is remembered as one of the greatest rulers in Maharashtra.
The kindest and progressive rule of only 28 years from 1894 to 1922 of Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur was a distinct period and an important landmark in the history of modern Maharashtra as it created a number of socio-religious movements of a revolutionary nature like the Vedokta Movement, the Satya Shodhak Movement. These movements were mainly responsible for effecting social change on a large scale and for helping the rise of new social leadership in Maharashtra.
It is relevant to note that as Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was the prominent central figure and the powerful moving force of these movements, he applied tremendous influence on planning a social revival and on changing the course of social history in Maharashtra.
After the Reign of Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the Bhosale Dynasty has continued on the Throne of Kolhapur. Post-Independence Princely State of Kolhapur became an integral part of Union of INDIA.
However, the royal family is still held with High Respect amongst the people of Kolhapur. Shrimant Maharaja Shahu II Chhatrapati Maharaj ascended the royal throne on 9th May 1983 and is the current Head of Royal House.
Shahu Maharaj seated with palace servants
Watch this video to have a small introduction about Kolhapur city.
Geography of Kolhapur City
Kolhapur is an inland city located in south-west Maharashtra state, 228 km south of Pune, 615 km north-west of Bengaluru and 530 km west of Hyderabad. Within Maharashtra, Kolhapur’s nearest cities and towns are Ichalkaranji(27 km), Kodoli (35 km), Peth-Vadgaon (15 km) Kagal (21 km), Sangli (49 km), Satara (115 km), and Miraj (50 km), Gadhinglaj(67 km). Kolhapur has an elevation of 569 meters(1867 ft).
It lies in the Sahyadri mountains in the Western Ghats. Chandgad is the coolest place in the Kolhapur district (citation needed). Tambraparni river dam is the spectacular place near Umgaon village.
Climatic Conditions of Kolhapur city
Kolhapur’s climate is a blend of coastal and inland elements common to Maharashtra. The temperature has a relatively narrow range between 10 °C to 35 °C.
Summer in Kolhapur is comparatively cooler but much more humid, than neighboring inland cities. Maximum temperatures rarely exceed 38 °C and typically range between 33 and 35 °C. Lows during this season are around 24 °C to 26 °C.
The city receives abundant rainfall from June to September due to its proximity to the Western Ghats. The heavy rains often lead to severe flooding during these months.
Kolhapur experiences winter from November to February. The winter temperatures are warmer than other cities in Maharashtra such as Pune and Nashik. Lows range from 9 °C to 16 °C while highs are in the range of 26 °C to 32 °C due to its high elevation and being adjacent to the Western Ghats. Humidity is low in this season making the weather much more pleasant.
Most of the people write to us asking best time to visit Kolhapur but according to me, Kolhapur is such a place that every season is enjoyed based on your preference. For example, there are some people who want to enjoy the waterfall and rainy season around Kolhapur so they prefer to visit during monsoon. There are lots of spectacular waterfalls around Kolhapur.
Some people visit from Nov to Jan/Feb as the climate is most pleasing during this time and also you will be able to see lush green mountains, farms, and valleys.
The specialty of Kolhapur
The Kolhapur city is very famous for the Kolhapuri chappal – It is a hand-crafted buffalo leather slipper that is locally tanned using vegetable dyes and the best market to buy them is Mahadwar road.
The Kolhapur also is known for sugar cane hub so you will get good Jaggery (sugarcane juice concentrate) and also spicy red chili and chili powder.
Other handicrafts include – hand block printing of textiles; silver, bead and paste jewelry crafting; pottery; wood carving and lacquerware; brass sheet work and oxidized silver artwork and lace and embroidery making.
Kolhapur has also an Industrial zone representing top companies Menon and piston, Manugraph etc, Kirloskar Oil Engines is set up in 5-star MIDC at Kagal near Kolhapur, besides this Raymond clothes plant is also located in the same industrial area. Kolhapur has two more industrial areas wiz. Gokul-Shirgaon MIDC, Shiroli MIDC & Udyamnagar is an industrial area in the city.
You can also view a world tallest Lord Ganapati at the Chinmaya mission (at Tope Sambhapur) which is 85 feet (26 m) idol and the annual Dussehra procession (the last day of Navaratri) which include Maybach car of the Chhatrapati of Kolhapur.
This video will show how the Dassera is celebrated in Kolhapur.
Food Specialty to Enjoy in Kolhapur
Kolhapur cuisine is very popular for special mutton dishes and also Kolhapuri Misal and Kolhapuri Bhel. The city lends its name to food products such as Kolhapuri Lavangi (chili peppers or Mirchi), Kolhapuri jaggery (cane juice concentrate), and Kolhapuri masala (spice mixture).
Pandhara rassa, meaning white curry, is a soup like a dish made from mutton stock, spices such as cinnamon, coriander, ginger and garlic, and coconut milk. It is used as a starter and also has medicinal uses for a cough and throat ailments. Kolhapur has two outlets of McDonald’s, as well as a Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Subway.
Numerous cafes are also spread throughout the city. The city has a very famous dish Tambda and Pandhra rassaa, RajaBhau bhel near Khasbaug is famous;Mohak lassi and Davangiri Dosa are also very famous. Akkha Masoor is another delicacy of the city served at various joints in Kolhapur.
Kolhapur Film City
On December 1, 1917, the Maharashtra Film Company was established in Kolhapur. The city has become the primary center for the Marathi film industry. Kolhapur plays host to many film festivals, including the Kolhapur International Film Festival. Kolhapur has film city which is spread over 75-acre in Morewadi and was set up in 1984 by the state government.
The objective of setting up film city was to provide an infrastructural set-up to the Marathi film industry and provide all facilities, from shooting to post production, under one roof. The work of renovation and new locations of Kolhapur film city is going on and it is most likely to be inaugurated as per the latest information.
Shopping Malls in Kolhapur
There are various shopping malls in Kolhapur – There are two D marts, Reliance Mart, Big Bazaar, DYP Citi mall which hosts PVR cinemas.
Sports and Famous Sports Personalities from Kolhapur
A number of sports are played in Kolhapur. Wrestling and Football are the most played sports in the city.
In January 2013, the Indian women’s football team hosted a training camp and played a demonstration game against representatives from the Netherlands in Kolhapur. Rajarshi Shahu Stadium is a football stadium in Kolhapur.
There is also a tradition of wrestling in Kolhapur. Khasbag Wrestling Stadium is a national wrestling stadium in Kolhapur.
Kolhapur has given many elite sports personalities to the nation like Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He was one of the first athletes from India to win a medal in the Olympics. B.B. Nimbalkar (Former Ranji Cricketer), Suhas Khamkar (Mr. Asia, Winner), Virdhawal Khade (Indian Olympian in Swimming), Tejaswini Sawant (Indian Shooter), Dadu Chowgule (Rustum-e-hind), Rucha Pujari (Chess – Woman International Master) and many more. Aniket Jadhav who played the FIFA under 17 was from Kolhapur.
Where is Kolhapur and How to reach Kolhapur and distance from major cities
To reach Kolhapur by Road
Traveling by road is perfect option to reach Kolhapur city because the city is near NH4 Highway so it is well connected to all major cities in Maharastra like Mumbai, Pune, Solapur and also in Karnataka like Belgaum, Hubli, Dharwad, Bangalore. Travelers can make use of public transportation of buses or also drive in by their private vehicles.
There are plenty of regular bus services that ply between Kolhapur and Pune, Mumbai and major Karnataka cities. Nowadays you can also do online bus booking of Maharashtra as well as Karnataka buses.
If you are traveling through your private vehicle then it is also well and good and can reach much faster.
Even Goa is also well connected to Kolhapur.
To reach Kolhapur by Rail
The nearest railway station is in Kolhapur city so people can also adopt trains. Also, there is one more major railway junction (Miraj) near Kolhapur and it is just 50 km away and this junction also connects to major railways stations in India. So you can check the train schedule at Indiarailinfo and find out how you can reach Kolhapur.
To reach Kolhapur by Air
Recently the new airport has started at Kolhapur and it is just 10 KM away from a city. But while writing this post I am not having any information whether flights have started so you can find more information about it.