This week, The Musafir Stories speaks with a very dear listener - Amruta Dhalkar, a museologist, who takes us to a beautiful yet underrated city in Maharashtra!
Today's destination: Kolhapur, Maharashtra
Nearest Airport: Kolhapur Airport, KLH
Nearest Railway Station: Kolhapur Railway Stn, KOP
Prerequisites - N/A
Packing - Pack light, carry extra liquids as it can get hot during the day
Time of the year - September to February is the best time to visit
Length of the itinerary: 3-5 days
- We start off our conversation by a quick peek into the history of Kolhapur, the origin of its name originating from the Kolhasur demon, as well as the other popularly known names of Kolhapur in the past - Brahmagiri and Karvir.
- The city was ruled by various dynasties including Satvahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Shilharas and marathas.
- We also talk about the erstwhile links of Kolhapur to european countries as early as 1-2nd century CE
- We start off our exploration with the most iconic temple the Mahalaxmi temple or the Ambabai temple that is important to both Shaivites as well as Vaishnavites.
- Other important places include the Old Palace, which was the seat of Tara Rani Devi, wife of Chattrapati Raja ram, the second son of Chattrapati Shivaji. We briefly discuss the two lineages or gaddis of the Maratha empire - Satara and Kolhapur and the important personalities
- The next pitstop is the New Palace, designed by Major Mant and built during the time of Maharaj Rajarshi Shahu, it is built in a stunning Indo Saracenic architecture.. A part of the palace also serves as the royal family’s residence. Apart from this the palace also houses a museum, a lake, formerly a zoo, and Khasbaag - a wrestling stadium.
- We also discuss the contribution of Maharaj Rajarshi Shahu, who was as much a social reformer as a king. He was involved in encouraging Dr. BR Ambedkar in his movement as well as starting his newspaper - Mookanayak. He was also the first to introduce reservation for backward classes, as early as the 1900s. He was also a patron of artists and sportspersons, especially wrestling.
- The next point of interest are some museums starting off with Townhall, which has a variety of artefacts including some found from the 1st century CE on the banks of the Panchaganga river.
- Kolhapur has a significant contribution to the Maharashtra film industry and there are a number of museums dedicated to this and personalities from the field. This includes Chandrakant Mandare museum and Bhalji Pendharkar museum. Finally a unique lifestyle museum is the Kanheri Mutt museum that depicts life in a village 200 years ago.
- We then come to the most important part of the journey - food and shopping! Food of the region include Kolhapuri Misal, Mutton and chicken tamda rasa (mutton and chicken curry), kolhapuri bhel. Another unique offering of Kolhapur is the Doodh katta - a place where milk from the buffalo is provided as a nutritional drink.
- From a shopping perspective there are several options beyond the very popular kolhapuri chappal or jutis which have their own unique style (and a sound when you walk) along with the kolhapuri petha or headgear, kolhapuri saaj or jewellery.
- FInally, a couple of other options close to Kolhapur include the iconic Panhala fort, the beautiful temples of Adinath Jain temple and Kopeshwar temple and the beautiful water bodies of Kolhapur including Panchaganga river and its ghats, and of course the popular Rankala lake to cap off the journey!
Link to Amruta’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amrutadhalkar/
Link to Amruta’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/amruta_dhalkar
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