About 20 km from Kolhapur, Panhala is the smallest city in Maharashtra and is best known for the fort associated with the Maratha king Shivaji. At an elevation of almost 3100 ft, the climate in the city is pleasant almost throughout the year and the scenic view of the mountains (that is lost in mist for the larger part of the year) make it a major tourist attraction. Dotted with ancient buildings and fortifying walls, the Panhala Fort, considered the largest of all Deccan forts and the greatest attraction in the town, was built between 1178 and 1209 AD. Rising about 400 mt above the surrounding plain, the fort has numerous tunnels that stretch out from underneath the fort, the longest of which runs almost 1 km long. It is believed that Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj spent over 16 months of his life in the fort. There are several other monuments at the fort that are considered notable to the Archaelogical Survery of India. The Parashar caves, considered the residence of Maharishi Parashar (author of many ancient Indian texts like the Vishnu Purana), are also a crowd puller. Another famous resident of these caves was Moropant or Mayur Pandit, the Marathi poet who produced most of his work here. While the cool and pleasant climate of Panhala relieves you of your stress and the pollution-free atmosphere gives you a great escape from city life, it also offers a brilliant trekking trail from the base of the village to the fort.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN PANHALA
With a few budget hotels and an MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) lodge rounding off the accommodation options in Panhala, tourists prefer to book into hotels at Kolhapur. Despite the nominal rates at Panhala, the number of options in terms of cost and comfort available in Kohlapur make it ideal for visitors. Most of the hotels are concentrated near Tararani Chowk which is a 10-minute walk away from the center of Kolhapur. Government guest house needs prior booking.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PANHALA
The food in Panhala is immensely influenced by the Kolhapuri cuisine. Restaurants around Panhala serve local specialties like Pandra Rassa, Tambada Rassa and Kadi (a pungent soup like dish flavored with curry powder and usually eaten with rice). The real taste of the region is found in the restaurants in Udyam Nagar where you get delectable meat dishes like sukka mutton.
Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
BEST TIME TO VISIT PANHALA
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Panhala is as given below. The best time to visit Panhala is also specified.