The land of magnificent temples...this is the town of Kolhapur, the religious pride of Maharashtra. Nestled in the tranquil laps of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, it is situated on the verge of the river Panchganga. Surrounded by rivers from all directions with Krishna Ganiki to the east, Shiva and Mayuri to the west, Veda and Yaksha to the south and to the north, Krishna and Warana, this part of terra firma houses a plethora of fascinating temples. It is believed to be a milk-rich area and the hill-side weather conditions are believed to be beneficial for bodybuilders. Winters are mild and misty and the people remain enthusiastic. Also termed as a city of palaces and gardens, it is a historic Maratha city, with the Mahalakshmi temple forming the focus.
Kolhapur was an imperative Buddhist base during 3rd century BC. There's evidence to prove the same. Even today this place is termed as Dakshin Kashi and is believed to be 108 kalpas old (1 kalpa = 100 years). Also called Karveer, a very rich and glamorous town once, it was turned entirely into shambles in the 8th and the 9th century; the cause... earthquakes. Later, the Rashtrakoot kings thought of bringing back the town to life and developing it to form an important city. That they did, and the city got a new face in the 12th century. It was then declared as the capital of the King Sheeldatta. 1945 witnessed certain archaeological excavations near a hill in Kolhapur.
And there was a discovery... Remains of a prehistoric town that supposedly belonged to the Roman Era. Kolhapur was the main target of the Mughal forces. Demolition and rejuvenation was surprising no more. The early 19th century was a spectator to the rise of the British control over the Marathas. Rigorous attacks lead to agitation of the Kolhapur troops in 1857. The British regime saw the coronation of Shri Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj as the King of Kolhapur in 1894. The land became a part of India in 1947. Prior to this, it was a province that ranged from the Western Ghats to the Deccan Plains, and was under the rulers called the Marathas. The land later turned into a major avenue of outdoor sports, hunting being a key hit in those times.
Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was a great ruler, who took immense pains to identify the sufferings of his subjects, unlike the other princes of his time. He took to developing the land and its people. A princely state that it was during the British rule, it still has palaces, gardens and monuments displaying the Indo-British architecture.
The growth of district in modern times is fascinating. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaja is an architect and founder of modern Kolhapur. The district is abundant in natural resources- water, soil, natural vegetation, animal wealth and minerals. As a result, Kolhapur is one of the most agriculturally advanced districts of not only Maharashtra but also India. It is fast becoming an industrialized district as well and already a front runner in agro-based industries. There are two MIDC areas and a newly started SEZ which take Kolhapur to higher panes in terms of Manufacturing and processing various products. Kolhapur District is one of the shining examples in the Co-operative Movement of India. No doubt, the district has the highest per capita income in the Maharashtra State and one of the highest in the country.
A Historical Background can be easily noticed in the culture and the architecture of the city making it a Historical Tourist spot. Also various temples and religious places in and around the city make it an important destination for Religious Tourism. Apart from that Numerous Lakes and River Panchganga add to the beauty of the city thus also attracting Leisure Tourism. Kolhapur also offers quite a lot for adventure seekers, proximity to Hills & Forests gives enough for the rough and tough ones.