Kolhapur City Tourism
"The high point of everybody's visit to Kolhapur is invariably the offering of prayers to the resident goddess Mahalaxmi (Ambabai) & seeking her benevolent blessings for a peaceful, prosperous & contented life. The ancient Mahalaxmi Temple, steeped in history & mythology, is situated a mere 3 Km away from both the Central Bus Stand & the Railway Station.
Behind the Mahalaxmi Temple, one finds the Old Palace, commonly known as Juna Rajwada. In the premises of the Juna Rajwada nestles a beautiful temple of the goddess Tuljabhawani, the beloved deity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The architecture & sculptures of this temple are worth going miles to see.
The Town Hall Museum is another stellar attraction close to Juna Rajwada. The museum showcases the mercantile & cultural tradition of Kolhapur. Stone sculptures excavated in & around Kolhapur district are displayed here. A small statue of Poseidon, the Greek Sea God, which is a major attraction of this museum, is an astounding 3000 years old. It was found during the excavations of Brahmapuri hill near Kolhapur. This small statue goes a long way to illustrate the trade relations of Kolhapur with the legendary merchants from the Far East. A separate gallery has many paintings by famous artists from Kolhapur.
Next is Khasbaug Maidan. This jewel of Karveer Nagari was built by Chh. Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur specially to promote wrestling, one of the stalwart traditions of Kolhapur. The Palace Theatre is situated in the same premises. Kailasgadchi Swari Mandir is close to Khasbaug Maidan, where you will see marvelous paintings by the famous artist G. Kamble. This temple has been maintained in spick & span condition to this day.
No narration of Kolhapur would ever be complete without a mention of what is perhaps the rarest sports monument in the world; Saathmaari Maidan. Saathmaari is a glorious example of Royal Sports; distilling the essence of bravery. Here, players used to joust with angry elephants. This type of arena can be found only in Kolhapur & nowhere else around the world. Definitely a must-visit on any visitor's list!
Our next destination is Lake Rankala. Situated a stone's throw away (merely a kilometer) from Mahalaxmi Mandir, the lake has it's own glorious history. The beauty of this lake has inspired (& continues to inspire) countless artists. Shalini Palace, situated on the distaff side
of the lake, adds to the lake's beauty. The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation has developed a beautifully landscaped garden around Lake Rankala, with all the attractions worthy of a pier & promenade. Our next destination would have to be Panchaganga Ghat & the Brahmapuri Picnic Point. A beautiful panoramic view of the River Panchaganga can be seen from this point.
Now Bhalji Pendharkar Cultural Center & Museum beckons us. A priceless collection of rare photographs of Bhalji Pendharkar, the doyen of Marathi movies, is displayed here. The museum instantly transports us back in time to the golden days of the Marathi film industry. Our next stopover is the New Palace Museum. A heritage collection, painstakingly put together over the years by the royal dynasty of Kolhapur, can be seen here. The Darbar Hall has been maintained beautifully, with exceptional care & attention to detail. In the premises of New Palace, myriad species of birds & animals can be seen in their natural habitat. A miniature lake in the premises of New Palace attracts hundreds of migratory birds every year. Now we shall backtrack across the breadth of Kolhapur City to Kotiteerth Talaav. This is an ancient lake, with a temple of Lord Mahadev near it. The newly-built Swamy Samarth Mandir nearby is an added attraction. From Kotiteerth Talaav, one can drop in at the Chandrakant Mandre Art Gallery. A famous Marathi thespian & master-wielder of the artist's paintbrush, Chandrakant Mandre donated all his paintings, along with his own home, to the Government of Maharashtra to create an unmatched shrine to art. Here you can also see paintings by Abalal Rehman, Baburao Painter & many other artists from Kolhapur. The next attraction is Shivaji University. Two more must-see destinations, albeit not within city limits but close to Kolhapur, are both situated on the Pune-Bangalore highway. One is Chinmay Ganadhish - an awe-inspiring Ganesha statue 66 feet tall & a mind-numbing 90 feet from ground level - perhaps the world's tallest of it's kind! All this a mere 8 Km from the Central Bus Stand, towards Pune. Near Chinmay Ganadhish is Toap Sambhapur, a small town close to the Shiroli MIDC area. One can even visit the Chinmay Ganadhish after finishing a tour of New Palace. The other attraction is Siddhagiri Gramjeevan Museum; 9 Km from the Central Bus Stand, towards Bangalore. The town near Siddhagiri is Kaneri, close to the Gokul Shirgaon MIDC area. Ideally, one should visit Siddhagiri after visiting Shivaji University, as it is hardly 7 Km away from Shivaji University. Established in 1962, Shivaji University is home to the quaint V.S. Khandekar museum, named after the noted Marathi literateur, first-ever Marathi winner of the prestigious Jnanpith Award."