The fort of Panhala occupies a prime place in the history of Maharashtra and is also a favourite destination as a hill station. Built by the Shilahara dynasty of Kolhapur in 12thcentury, the fort passed into the hands of the Yadavas of Devgiri, Bahamani, Adilshahi and subsequently the Marathas. Shivaji Maharaj spent many days on this fort which was under the dominance of the Marathas until the 17th and mid-18th century. Queen Tarabai was the founder of the Panhala throne of Karvir alias Kolhapur princely state. The fort has witnessed great many upheavals and battles and is located around 20 kilometers from Kolhapur. An interesting view from Panhala is that of the pass that connects the rest of Maharashtra with its coastal areas.
There are many a remains of the fort which are now being looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort can be visited during any season but what make it more compelling, mysterious and exciting are the fog and the dense greenery that sprouts up during the monsoon. There are hotels aplenty in Panhala and you can enjoy here the typical Kolhapuri cuisine. While entering Panhala you will come across the mausoleum of Vir Shiva Kashid whose statue is at the entrance of the fort. Walk along the opposite side of this statue and you will reach the Parashar cavern which possibly could have been a Buddhist cave.
Further, at the summit of the roads is the statue of Bajiprabhu Deshpande. From there a road leads to the three-storied andharbaw (the dark well) and Teen Darwaja and Konkan Darwaja along with their fortifications. The other leads to the Sajja Koti which was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah to watch over the lower regions. Then the third road leads to Someshwar or Somale Tank which has a mention in the medieval treatise ‘Karveer Mahatmyam’. In the centre of the fort is situated the Amberkhana or granaries, three in number built in typical Bijapur style. Apart from these, the Naykinicha Sajja (place of the courtesan), Dharm koti, Wagh Darwaja and Rajdindi are worth visiting.
Along with these beautiful medieval architectural specimens, there is a monument dedicated to Sambhaji Raja and temples of Ambabai, Mahakali, Someshwar along with mausoleums of Jijabai, Sambhaji Raja II’s wife, Ramchandra Pant Amatya and Moropant, the famous Marathi poet.
Distance from Mumbai: 374 kms