Information and History of Panhala Fort and Hill Station
The Panhala as Hill station
It is the nearest and best hill station near Kolhapur city. People visit during both in summer and monsoon. In summer the temperature at the Panhala hill is lower then Kolhapur city and nearby places so most of the people stay at the hill as there are a lot of options available to stay on the hill. Various restaurants and hotels are available for tourist.
In monsoon, the fort turns into greenery panoramic view so most of the tourist visit Panhala hill station and also spend few days enjoying beautiful nature with hot and tasty delicacies. I personally enjoy a lot whenever I spend some time at the hill. I had traveled both in summer and during monsoon.
The Panhala as Fort
The Panhala fort is the only fort where the great Maratha warrior Shri Shivaji Maharaj spent more than 500 days beside Raigad and Shivneri. The Panhala Fort was Maratha State capital until 1782 and in 1827 it went to the British.
It is definitely worth visiting place taking into consideration its historical importance.
What is History says about Panhala Fort
It was built by King Bhoja between 1178-1209 and is the largest of all Deccan forts. The innermost fortress is enclosed by a strong wall over 7 Km in length fortified by a support.
It is strategically located during that time over a pass in the Sahyadri mountain range which was a major trade route from Bijapur in the interior of Maharashtra to the coastal areas. Due to its strategic location, it was the center of several battles in the Deccan involving the Marathas, the Mughals, and the British East India Company, and on the very notable battle was the Battle of Pavan Khind. Here, the queen of Kolhapur State, Tarabai, spent her critical years. Several parts of the fort and the structures within are still intact.
Panhala as a historic fort throws up memories of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was from here that Shivaji struggled for over four months and escaped one rainy night to Vishalgad fort, while his faithful soldier Shri Baji Prabhu Deshpande sacrificed his life holding down the forces of Siddi Johar at a narrow pass since it is called as a battle of Pavankhind.
It was here in the same building, Sajja Kothi, built by Ibrahim Adil-Shah in 1500 AD, that Shivaji imprisoned his son Shri Sambhaji who later escaped.
List of places to visit at Panhala Fort
- Statue of Baji Prabhu Deshpande – He was one of the greatest warriors of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj army.
- Fortifications – Most of the fort walls are still intact. There is more than 7kms of tathbandi (border wall) at Panhala which is a must see.
- Andhar Bavadi – This is a well. This is a three storey structure on the fort also called as hidden well.
- Kalvanticha Mahal – The state of this building is not that good in these days
- Ambarkhana – This was the food storage area on the fort which is located at the center of Panhala and due to this storage Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj army never ran out of food supplies and withstand a 5-month obstruction by Siddhi Johar.
- Dharma Kothi – One more Storage on the fort.
- Teen Darwaja – The main entrance of the fort. There are Persian inscriptions on this gate which signify that this was built in the early ages.
- Wagh Darwaja – Another entrance of the fort. This door was used as a trap for any intruders. Intruders would get in and could easily be neutralized in the small courtyard behind this door.
- Rajdindi Bastion
- Palace of Tarabai
Where the Panhala fort is located
The fort Panhala is a beautiful hill located at a distance of 20 km from Kolhapur. It was built to keep an eye on the nearest Sahyadri Mountain range pass which was used as a trade route during the old days.
How to reach the Panhala Fort
People traveling from Pune need to take the NH4 and head towards Kolhapur. After the Kini Phata, there is a diversion that goes to
Warnanagar and then to the village called Panhala.
People traveling from Belgaum need to continue on NH4 and after crossing Kolhapur there comes a kini phata and take a diversion to reach Warnanagar and then Panhala.
Best time to visit Panhala Hill station
Nowadays you can see people all around the year on the fort but if you want to really want to see the nature’s beauty around the Panhala fort then monsoon season and even till Oct/Nov is the best.
The weather is just perfect during these months and a stay at some good hotels can be preferred. Today, Panhala is a sort of hill station that provides all the necessary facilities for tourists.
You will find a lot of restaurants and hotels for accommodation.