SITUATED ON the banks of the Panchgani river, the city of Koihapur is a thriving commercial centre, noted today for its flourishing dairy industry. It is also one of Maharashtra’s most important pilgrimage sites, associated from early times with the worship of Shakti (the Mother Goddess). Ruled by the Hindu Yadava dynasty between the 10th and 13th centuries, it was later occupied by the Mughals. In 1675, Koihapur was finally seized by the Maratha chief Shivaji  and was later inherited by his younger son. The state remained with the Bhonsles (one of the four Maratha pence y ) families Independence.

the numerous temples in Kolhapur, the Shri Maharashtra or Amba Bad Temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess, is the most venerated. Built in the 7th century by the Chalukya king Karnadeva, the temple’s idol, said to be a swayambhu, or naturally occurring monolith, is encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones. The mandapa has a finely carved ceiling. Behind the temple are the remains of the Old Palace or Rajwada, where members of the former maharaja’s family still live. Its huge entrance hall was once used for large public wedding ceremonies.

Situated near the palace gates are the town’s wrestling grounds, where young men practise traditional Indian wrestling, known as kushti. The New Palace, 2 km (1.3 miles) north of the city centre, was completed in 1881 and designed by Major Charles Mant  who merged European, Jain, Hindu and Islamic elements to create a style which widely became known as the Indo- Saracenic style of architecture. The palace is today the Shahis Chhatrapati Museum and displays a collection of royal memorabilia, including garments, hunting photographs and one of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb swords. )the Town Hall, another structure designed by Mant, has a small museum with a number of artifacts from nearby excavation sites. Koihapur is also famous for its handcrafted leather slippers, known as Koihapuri chapels .

ENVIRONS: One of the most important forts in the Deccan is at Panhala, a hill station 19 km (12 miles) northwest of Situated on a steep hillside, the fortress is well protected by three impressive double walled gates, and ‘ km (4-mile) long ramparts. Within its walls stand two temples, one dedicated to Ameba Bai and the other to Maruti, the Wind God. The most interesting monuments due the huge stone granaries, the’ largest of which, Gangs kohi covers 948 sq in 110,204 sq ft). Established in  12th century by Raja Bhoja II, the fortress fell successively to the Yadavas, the Adil Shahis of Bijapur, shivaji, Emperor Aurangzeb and the British. There are many private homes in Panhala as well, including that of the famous Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar

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