Posted 07 November 2022

Want to explore the true Maharashtrian culture? Visit Kolhapur and witness amazing cultural festivals

Do you want to get away from the same old tourist hotspots and visit somewhere new in Maharashtra? The good news is that Maharashtra has no dearth of places to explore for all wandering spirits. Kolhapur is one such location that represents the true essence of Maharashtrian culture.

When we think of Kolhapur, the first thing that pops up in our mind is Kolhapuri chappals and sarees. Another interesting fact about the city is its festivals, which are celebrated in all their traditional grandeur. People from all walks of life, faiths, castes, and creeds attend these festivals to watch a remarkable spectacle representing the unity and cultural richness of Kolhapur. As a melting pot of age-old traditions, Kolhapur celebrates the true spirit of life through these festivals around the year.

Here's a list of the famous festivals in Kolhapur that reflect Maharashtrian culture in

its best form

Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is a Maharashtra-wide festival, but it takes on a unique flavour in Kolhapur. The city celebrates the Marathi New Year with a massive celebration. Onlookers come from all over the nation to see how Kolhapur transforms into a sea of joy in the days preceding this festival. Every part of the city is festooned with colourful garlands, Gudis (auspicious ornaments), and embroidered saffron flags. Huge gatherings of men and women dressed in traditional clothing and playing Dhol Tasha can be seen assembling around the city on the day of the festival to ring in the New Year.

  • Best Time: April

Rankala Mahotsav

Rankala Mahotsav, one of Kolhapur's most important yearly festivals, celebrates the bright and colourful Kolhapuri way of life. The great exhibition of Kolhapuri customs and culture draws many revellers to this five-day celebration. This festival is a sight to behold, with pulsating musical performances by renowned Indian and Marathi musicians, thrilling stage acts, gastronomic delicacies, exhibitions, competitions, and other fascinating activities.

  • Best Time: February to March

Kirnotsav

Those who are fortunate enough to experience Kolhapur's awe-inspiring Kirnotsav will be in for a treat since it occurs twice a year, from November 9-12 and January 31st to February 3rd. The celebration begins when the sun's last rays reach the sanctum and land directly on the deity's chest and feet. For Maharashtrians, it is more of a phenomenon than a festival. Due to its international appeal, a great crowd gathers at the Mahalakshmi temple to witness this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.

  • Best Time: February and November

Navratri

Navratri is a ten-day festive celebration held throughout India. Witness a captivating atmosphere and incredible vistas at the Mahalakshmi temple complex during the Navratri celebrations, as Kolhapur cradles one of the Shakti Peethas of Goddess Shakti. It is when Kolhapur is at its most vibrant, with hundreds of thousands of devotees gathering to see the big Navratri festivities. The temple of Goddess Mahalakshmi is decked with colourful ornaments and flowers and is lighted with hundreds of fairy lights. The Ambabai deity, heavily adorned with gold decorations, is accorded particular reverence during this time of year and paraded across the temple complex.

  • Best Time: September to October

Places to visit in Kolhapur

  • Maharaja Palace: This palace, also known as theNew Palace, was constructed in 1884. It is renowned for its Jain and Hindu architectural styles, inspired by Gujarati and Rajasthani architecture. Tourists can visit the Chhatrapati Shahu Museum on the ground floor, while the current Maharaja of Kolhapur lives on the first floor. The museum displays various images, weaponry, artefacts, trophies, costumes, and pieces of jewellery. At one end of the chamber, an elevated throne is placed. The palace also has a zoo, a lake and gorgeous parks.
  • Vishalgarh Fort: Vishalgarh Fort is located on a hill overlooking the city of Kolhapur. It was one of the Maratha Empire's most significant forts. Marsinh, a Shilahara monarch, erected the fort in 1058 AD and has various historical monuments within the complex. Amruteshwar Temple, Takmak Tok, Sati's Vrindavan, Shri Nrusinha Temple,and the Tomb of Hazrat Malik Raihan are part of this fort. Almost all of these sites are now in ruins. The fort also has samadhis for Phulaji Prabhu Deshpande and Baji Prabhu Deshpande, who gave their lives to protect Shivaji from Siddhi Johar.
  • Mahalakshmi Temple: This temple is devoted to Mahalakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, as the name indicates. It was created in the 7th century by Raja Karandev of the Chalukya dynasty. The temple's interior and exterior walls are embellished with beautiful carvings and sculptures. One of the temple's features is the monolithic statue of Goddess Mahalakshmi,and diamonds and other costly stones are used as adornment. On March 21st and September 21st every year, the idol is positioned such that sunlight shines on the idol's face.
  • Kopeshwar Temple: This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is also known as the Mahadev Temple. While Gandaraditya, a Shilahara monarch, erected the temple in the 11th century, Raj Singh Dev of the Yadav dynasty rebuilt it around 1136 AD. Swara Mandapam, Sabha Mandap, Antaral Kaksha and Garbha Griha are the four components of the temple. Also, the temple's interiors feature 108 carved stone pillars. Besides, there are 92 elephants etched on the outside. The temple also has a variety of other sculptures, such as gods and goddesses.

Read more about - These Twenty Indian forts will keep you spellbound with their beauty

Street shopping in Kolhapur

  • Kolhapuri souvenirs: Kolhapuri chappals are among the most popular goods to purchase in the city. These handmade leather T-strap sandals are an absolute must-have. Next, you could look at Kolhapuri Saaj,' a classic necklace style in which artists merge stunning motifs with religious figures. Another popular item to add to your shopping list is the Kolhapuri saree, known for its ethnic motifs and brilliant colours. Because of its original flavour, Kolhapuri jaggery is another popular delicacy. So, before you leave, bring some authentic Kolhapuri souvenirs as a memento of this lovely city.
  • Mahadwar Road: The market is surrounded by an arched entrance known for its beautiful architecture. Walking through the small streets of Mahadwar Road will allow you to experience the culture of the city. It is one of Kolhapur's oldest retail districts and is generally highly packed.
  • Bahu SinghjiRoad: From this market, choose your favourite pair of Kolhapuri chappals in various styles. Other leather products, such as shoes and belts, are also available. Have a great day going around the market and remember to bargain to obtain the best value.

Adventure activities in Kolhapur

  • Amba Ghat offers an incredible experience with misty mountains, rich flora, and various thrilling activities. Explore Waghzara's environment on a forest safari, paraglide over the atmospheric Western Ghats, and trek up to Konkan Darshan to capture the surreal grandeur of the 60-km-long Konkan Range in your lenses.
  • Dajipur, or the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, is a must-see on your adventure trip to Kolhapur. Located on the southern point of the Sahyadri Range on the Kolhapur-Sindhudurg boundary, the densely forested sanctuary is home to 425 unique plant and 390 animal species. Take a jungle safari in this evergreen forest, traversing magnificent hilly terrains.
  • Kolhapur's trekking routes guarantee a one-of-a-kind experience to visitors. Trekking routes to the Dandoba Hills, Amboli, Barkhi and Nangartas Waterfalls offer breathtaking views of the Western Ghats and the Sahyadri Range. You can also opt to trek to Panhala Fort, Vishalgad Fort, Samangad Fort, and PadargadFort that provide fascinating insights into the great Maratha legacy.

Read more about - Adventure destinations in India - The ultimate guide for every adventure enthusiast

 Travelling Tips for Kolhapur

  • During the summertime, you must carry enough water because the majority of it is lost to sweat. So, drink as much water as you can. Also, carry your own water bottles.
  • When visiting holy sites, it is vital to be respectful. Dress conservatively, wash your hands before entering and take off your shoes at the entrance.
  • Do not forget to taste Maharashtrian delicacies such as vada pav, dabeli, and misal pav.
  • Kolhapur also offers unique items as souvenirs,such as Kolhapuri chappals, Kolhapuri saree and saaj.
  • If you are planning to visit Kolhapur during festivals, then make sure to keep your belongings safe and close to you.

Best time to visit Kolhapur

  • Winters: Kolhapur's winter season lasts from November through February. It is the best time to visit Kolhapur since the weather is at its most pleasant. During the season, the temperature ranges between 14 and 30°C.
  • Summers: They are scorching and humid in Kolhapur. The highest temperature in the region reaches around 35°C, while the lowest temperature is approximately 26°C. The month of May is the hottest of the year. Therefore, it is best to avoid visiting Kolhapur during this period.
  • Monsoon: Rains are inviting due to the pleasant climate. If you love the monsoon, then the city receives little rain from June through September. The temperature remains between 23 and 30°C during the wet season, attracting many visitors to Kolhapur.

Conclusion

With a plethora of tourist attractions in Kolhapur, this charming city leaves no stone unturned in providing you with the greatest experience possible. There is a lot to do here, whether it is attending festivals, photographing the splendour of the temples, meandering through the forts, or simply taking in the beauty of nature. So, the next time you plan a vacation to Maharashtra, you know what to include in your itinerary!

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