Kolhapur is a city located in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It lies to the south of Pune, about 228 km away. Traditionally, the place is famous for its footwear and jewellery. Kolhapuri sandals are a trademark and have originated from this city of India.
Kolhapur is said to have derived its name from a mythological account. Kolhasur was a demon and he was killed by Goddess Mahalakshmi in order to bring relief to people of the region. However, the demon’s dying wish was that the city should be named after him and his wish was granted.
The city also finds a mention in Srimad Bhagwadgita, where it is referred to as an important religious centre. Legend has it that Amoghavarsha, who was a Rasthrakuta king and ruled the city in the 9th century, offered his finger’s sacrifice to Goddess Lakshmi to bring relief to the people from a local calamity. Historically speaking, it was Shilahara dynasty’s capital during the 10th century.
Kolhapur lies at an altitude of 569 metres above sea level. This altitude gives it a cooler climate as compared to other cities in Maharashtra. However, the temperature remains the same throughout the year with no major fluctuations. The average day temperature here is between 25-30° Celsius while the average night temperature ranges from 18-20° Celsius.
The city is home to a number of temples, forts and historical places of significance. Some of the major places of tourist interest in Kolhapur are the Mahalakshmi Temple, Katyani Temple, Vishalgad Fort, the Wax Museum and the New Palace among others.
Kolhapur is also known for its Kolhapuri cuisine, which is characterised by the use of many spices. The red meat preparations of the cuisine are especially well known. Tourists visiting Kolhapur should try local delicacies like misal pav, batata vada and of course its mutton curries. Although majority population of Kolhapur comprises of the Marathas, there are other communities present as well in sizeable proportion. Some of these are the Gujaratis, the Brahmins, the Marwadis and Muslims, which has influenced its cuisine to a large extent.
Getting around Kolhapur should not be a concern for travellers. Taxis and rickshaws can be used to explore the city. For shopping, tourists ought to buy the famous Kolhapuri chappals, antique jewellery and of course, sarees that are distinct to this region.
The economy of Kolhapur largely depends on the farming sector while textiles and mining industries come in next. Kolhapur is reputed to be one of the Indian cities with the highest per capita income. It even made it to a list of ‘most number of Mercedes cars’ in a Maharashtrian city, and was placed just below Mumbai. Kolhapur also has a thriving film industry, with a majority of Marathi films being made here each year.
Kolhapur is well connected to other cities in Maharashtra and neighbouring states by road, rail and air. The city has an airport which has regular flights from cities like Mumbai and Pune. But the best way to reach Kolhapur is by boarding a train or bus from Mumbai or Pune, which takes close to 10 hours and three hours respectively.
The best time to visit Kolhapur is anytime during the year except during summers and therefore, tourists should avoid visiting the city in April and May.