Panhala is a picturesque hill station about 3177 feet above sea level, situated 18 km northwest of Kolhapur in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. It is strategically located looking over a pass in the Sahyadri mountain range which was a major trade route from Bijapur in the interior of Maharashtra to the coastal areas.
This charming hill station has both historical and religious significance. Panhala is mostly identified with the Maratha warrior king Shivaji, who captured it in AD 1659.
Panhala is looked at as a pleasing hill station, for weekend getaway with prominent historical monuments, battlements or bastions.
Panhala is not a typical Indian hill station but a small sized town at a strategic location which makes it a favorite place of various dynasties, especially the Marathas ruler Shivaji. Bounded within the four walls of a mighty fort, Panhala stands as a unique hill station.
Major Tourist Attractions
Panhala Fort :
Like all other forts in Maharashtra, Panhala fort also carries malodorous reminiscences of the great Maratha regime. Perhaps this might be the only citadel where Chatrapati Shivaji had spent so many precious years of his great reign. A monument of rich heritage, Panhala fort stands out right there with its impressive, elegant look and attracts thousands of visitors for decades.
Sajja Kothi :
Botanical Gardens : The Empress Botanical Gardens in Panhala and its large lawns, tall trees, cool shades and the quite calm ambiance makes this botanical garden a hot spot of the picnickers. The rambling gardens are well maintained by the forest department. The arched gateway of the old fort serves as the entrance to the green lawns of these gardens. A scaled model of the old fort, exhibited near the entrance, is interesting to watch.
The gardens open from 7 am – 7 pm everyday. Mottled with lovely tropical trees and beautiful plant varieties, the botanical gardens of Panhala are the best place to spend the leisure time.
Jyotiba temple :
Teen ( three ) Darwaza :
Sun Set Point : Located on the northern end of the magnificent Panhala fort, Sunset Point presents a breath taking view to the visitor. A hot spot of the tourists, this vantage point is located on a small tower on the northern portion of the fort wall.
When the sun sets in the western horizon, it makes a fabulous view on the western wall of the fort and one can see this enchanting vision from the sunset point. Normally one can see the sun sets in the west only on the seashore. But seeing this natural splendor on a historic monument is a wonderful experience and that is what sunset point offers to the tourist.
Shopping in Panhala – Traditional craftsmanship has been honed to perfection in Panhala near Kolhapur. The city also boasts of dazzling jewelry and eye-catching footwear. The Kolhapuri ‘saaz’ is a traditional gold necklace with delicate craftsmanship. The Kolhapuri Chappals (slippers) with their sturdy rustic look are renowned internationally. These Chappals are renowned for their durability and beauty of make. Hundreds of families in Kolhapur are engaged in the production of these Chappals.
Panhala Accommodations – Though choice is restricted, Panhala is better than Kolhapur to stay at. Comfortable accommodation is available at Panhala. Besides some reasonably priced hotels, lodges, cottages and MTDC guestrooms and tents. Also, restaurants and trekking facilities make for an interesting stay.
How to reach Panhala
By Air: The airport closest to Panhala is the airport at Kolhapur airport at a distance of 35 km from Panhala. Panhala is 416 km from Mumbai and about 200 km from Pune.
Road & Rail: State Transport buses ply between Kolhapur and Panhala every 2 hours during the day. The Kolhapur railway station is only 26 km from Panhala.