The history of Kolhapur can be tracked back to the Satavahan empire era. In the modern times, Kolhapur has played a significant role in the politics of Maharashtra state. The city is famous of Kolhapur SAAJ (necklace with traditional pattern), jaggery ,Kolhapur chappal (traditional leather sandal) and wrestling. Kolhapur is also famous for it non-veg food recipes (Marathi: Kolhapuri pandhara rassa, tambadaa rassa) and unique spices.
Kolhapur is on the Pune-Miraj-Kolhapur section of the Central Railway. The railway station is named after Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj (Search in the railway or IRCTC website as "C Shahumharaj T" station code- KOP,instead of city name Kolhapur, else you will not find it) It is well connected with all the important cities in India. Mahalakshmi, Koyna and Sahyadri express connect Mumbai to Kolhapur and they run daily. Miraj is the nearmost major railway station and is well connected to important cities in india. From Kolhapur Railway Station, there are daily trains for Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Tirupati, while weekly trains also run for Delhi, Ahmedabad and Dhanbad.
Kolhapur lies on National Highway 4 a.k.a NH4 which connects Mumbai to Bangalore. Mumbai to Kolhapur is a 8 hours drive by road. Pune to Kolhapur is around 3 hours journey by private car, while bus takes around 4 hours. The road is excellent and almost like Pune-Mumbai express highway.
MSRTC ( Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) has buses running every 30 minutes from Pune to Kolhapur and vice versa. These are A/C, Non-A/C general transport buses and cost approximately Rs. 220 for Non A/C & 360 for A/C. There are also hourly buses from Mumbai, which are non-A/C general transport buses and cost approximately 180-240 INR.
Private operators also operate buses on this route with A/C and Non-A/C option, the fare ranging from 200 to 350 INR.
Similar Options are available from Pune. The Private/State Buses and shared Taxis , all start from Swar-Gate in Pune which is a large bus/transport hub to the south of Pune.
From south side, there are direct buses (private and state-owned) from almost all places from Karnataka, including Bengaluru, Belgaon, Mangalore, Hubli etc.
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Flights are upto Pune or Belgaum only.
Overall, Kolhapur has become a crowded place recently. A huge number of two-wheel vehicles presides over the number of four wheelers (private & commercial). The central city, being non-planned, is very crowded during peak hours. Also, due to much road construction going on recently, the roads are jammed. One can avoid traffic jams by travelling on newly built roads, which are much wider and better.
There are quite a few car rental agencies in Kolhapur. Most of them charge around Rs 2400 a day for a mid-size car. There are extra charges for distances above 250 km.
The first phase of the museum spans over 7 Acres of area with almost 80 main scenes and around 300 statues. Several subtle village lifestyles are taken into consideration. There is a unique combination of expression, accuracy and liveliness in the whole village. Each sculpture has a multi dimensional effect and lifestyle theme which Swamiji very keenly arranged each and every scene to make a proper visual story. In the total cluster the village demonstrate a self sufficient machinery within village. Barter economy, Interpersonal healthy happy relationship among villagers is reflected. The Museum projects the entire village as a single family, and as single family members in a joint family. No adulteration, no cut thought practice, no mad Rat Race, No pollution, but Caring, and delightful atmosphere, no bitter feeling, but fertile land, clean water, clean air, quality food, maximum use of natural resources, cattle field, livestock, job satisfaction. All these things are reflecting the beauty, Joy, satisfaction of human race and oneness with nature. It advises us to get back to nature, without disturbing the equilibrium of nature and many other things which are beyond our imagination.
A visit to Mahalaxmi Temple can be followed by a trip to Panhala Fort. The Auto Rickshaw charges approx. Rs.800 to Rs.900/- for Panhala Trip from Kolhapur to Panhala and back. The visit will take around 4 hrs (by walk). There are Auto Rickshaws who charges approx. Rs. 250/- & will show you around the Panhala Fort. After coming back to Kolhapur city one can go to Rankala Lake in evening and visit Shalini Palace Hotel and Chowpatty there. One can enjoy snacks from vada pav to South Indian dishes at the Chowpatty.
Next day one can start the morning in Kolhapur with a visit to New Palace Museum. After seeing museum one can proceed to Jyotiba Temple.
It is also recommended to visit a local" Gurhal" a traditional family owned Jaggery Making place just outside of the city. Here you can watch local people make jaggery from scratch with sugarcane juice. They are also open for visitors to try and taste fresh sugarcane juice and jaggery.
One should also visit Bhavani Temple near Mahalaxmi Temple.
Also to visit is much forgotten "Ruikar Colony" which was MAHARASHTRA state's first ever Residential Bunglow's estate (and so far the only estate that has remained like this and most estates are now being converted to appartments) Ruikar Colony, always featured in Marathi Films, is famous for its huge beautiful mansions complimented by landscaped gardens, nature strips, well designed roads, community gardens, Ganesh and Jain Temple, playground and Community Hall and its own shopping area.
( Rajarampuri ). Here you will find the best saaj and one of the best collections in Antique jewellery . They are one of the CO-Founder members of the Saaj and 3RD generation in the same business . we had a talk with Mr.Sandeep Karekar owner of the same as we were told they have the best and the least labour charge for all this jewellery . definitely this shop is worth a visit . For those who cannot travel all the way to Kolhapur for buying antique Jewellery, Karekar Jewellers have now opened their second showroom in Thane west at Korum Mall.
Kolhapur is well known paradise for non vegetarian lovers, but it has many eating options equally wonderful for vegetarian food. Also, in general there is a misconception about "Kolhapur" food that it has to be really spicy and having lot of chillies. Only when you visit Kolhapur, one realizes that this is myth!
Once in Kolhapur, you should never miss out on "MISAL", which is famous maharashtrian snack. Authentic misal can be tasted only in Kolhapur, because outside Kolhapur, in many places in Maharashtra, people only add lot of oil and red chilly and serve it as 'kolhapuri misal'. There are many famous misal eating joints.
"The Oven " is the pioneer in Pastries, Cakes, Pizzas, Burgers,Rolls, Chocolates etc. Situated in the upmarket Rajarampuri area with a branch in Nagala Park, it is a mustvisit place in Kolhapur. They have now started a new Multicuisine Restaurant, "MILANO'S" adjacent to 'The Oven'in Nagala Park, near the Collector's Office.It serves great authentic Italian, Mexican, Thai & Chinese(All Vegetarian)specialities.This ia also a mustvisit. Milano's remains closed every Wednesday.
Khemraj Bakery:-Freshly prepared mouth watering mil bread, cakes, kharis adn all bakery products.(Daily prepared products stocks gets over by EOD) Hindustan Bakery is famous for its biscuits, cookies and bread. It also serves fast food items such as pizza and burger. There are 2 branches, one in city area near the Mahalaxmi temple in front of the Kapilteerth Market and the other new one in Rajarampuri.
List of Restaurants:
A full meal without drinks will cost around 80 to 200 INR. Hotels generally close by 11 PM, while some of them have Coffee shops that also serve rice variety round the clock.
Don't forget to eat the "paandhraa rassaa" & "taambdaa rassa" in non-veg. These are two special curries which are tradition of Kolhapur. It is bit expensive for the food he serves. Approx. Rs. 260/- to Rs. 350/- for chicken & Rs. 280/- to Rs. 400/- per meal. The waiters do not even serve an extra cup of curry too for the chapatis.
For party freaks Kolhapur has got some decent bars & restaurants like Scores (beside Hotel Victor Palace) & Texas (in Hotel Ayodhya), also Mithila is a family bar & restaurant in Hotel Ayodhya.
["Lava Rocks Inn"]:- If nothing fit's your bill above; head straight to 'Lava Rocks Inn',Takala Chowk, Near Old Income Tax Office; this place sure does have some dishes straight out from the best star restaurants across the globe and the dishes list is ever increasing every month. Inspired, tried and tested by the south asian, central asian, new zealand & european ethnic communities in the heart of Auckland's suburban business district of Sandringham. Lava Rocks Inn, is in its maiden venture in Kolhapur, India. They offer authentic Greco-Lebanese, Mediterranean, European, American, Oriental and Asian cuisines and their list is ever increasing.
Their range of Whole Grilled & Full Size Chicken include one of the best selling full meals like 'Barbecue Grilled Chicken', 'Lebanese Spicy Chicken', 'Olive & Herb Chicken', 'Red Wine Chicken', 'Stuffed King Chicken' & The Great American 'Beer Can Chicken' - beer infuse cooking. Advance Orders are appreciated on these. All these come in wide combo packages which on request can include grilled chicken sausages, cheesey mashed potatoes, grilled veggies and some cool range of non alcoholic (NA) beverages which include NA Beers & NA Wines to go with them. They also do rotisserie chicken's for party orders. They also do have the expertise to use slow cooking mediums of smoke, grill & barbecue using charcoal, lava rocks and flavored wood chips
The famed gyro grill / shawarma is now available here. One can choose from a wide range of veg, chicken or mutton (goat meat) specialties. The salads offered here have everything from the most popular 'Spicy Chicken Salad' followed by the sweeter version, 'Tropical Chicken Salad' & 'Tropical Paneer Salad'. Their 'Grilled Chicken Submarine' is the best rated dish adapted to local tastes; The submarine menu also includes the famous coleslaw in chicken & vegetarian formats. The Oriental cuisine gets a filip with the introduction of the vegetarian & chicken momos (dumplings). The European cuisine gets introduced with 'Scotch Eggs' - Spiced up mutton mince wrapped around hard boiled eggs and deep fried to perfection. The 'croquette'lined up in chicken, mutton and cheesy mashy fillings has been adapted to local spice and taste. The menu would see an aggressive ramp up on the vegetarian dishes very soon ( July 2011 )
The Non-Standard Menu; does have fresh dishes coming out every month; where customers get a chance to taste something new & if it is not available on the fixed menu, then it eventually would come up on it based on the popularity amongst kolhapuriites. We love to experiment, not on customers, but on the menu before it goes live & official. If you have already tasted the dish you liked & is not on the fixed menu, call in to check if it is available.
Contact: +91-231-2521918 (Work Hours); +91-8237873073 (24 Hr Hotline No; If your call is not attended, you will get a call back & thats what they promise!)
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