The beautiful temple of Kolhapur, known as the Jyotiba Temple lies near the village of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. The temple is constantly laden with 'rang which translates to colour, implying the colour used to play Holi. This is because the gulal is offered to Lord Jyotiba as a token of sincerity by the pilgrims. The glorious temple is built for Lord Jyotiba as its name suggests, who was believed to be an embodiment of three different deities. It is believed that this temple should be visited after visiting the Mahalaxmi Temple. Standing 3124 feet above sea level, the view from the temple is beautiful and breathtaking. The serene environment along with the divinity of the structure gives a feeling of peace and calm to all the pilgrims and visitors.
Jyotiba Temple was constructed by Ranoji Shinde in the year 1730. The striking temple is believed to be approximately 55 feet in length, 37 feet in width and 77 feet in height. The interior is elegant and straightforward while the exterior includes a long flight of stairs that pilgrims need to climb to reach the main temple. This climb is of about 100 steps and is lined with some shops. The shops vary from ones selling coconuts and flowers, to ones that sell CDs and pictures of Lord Jyotiba.
The Mahalakshmi temple was built in the 7th century by Chalukya rulers and is one of the six abodes of 'Shakti' (Goddess of Power) from where one can attain fulfillment and salvation of desires.
Mahalakshmi is also known as Goddess Ambabai and is a revered Goddess among Hindus. The temple enjoys a status of one of the most important pilgrim sites in India. The temple is situated about 5km from the Railway station and Central Bus depot of the city. Near the temple, there is a temple in honor of Goddess Bhavani.
The Rankala Lake is a very famous tourist attraction for people from all over the world. Marked by the natural beauty and peaceful environment it provides, it sure does become one of the must-visits on everyone's list. The lake was constructed by Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the then king of Kolhapur. Rajgath and Marathghat are the two ghats that the lake has. The lake covers an area of as large as 107 hectares. The lake is generally visited during the evening time.
The Rankala Lake is a place of serene beauty further mystified with various legends. This Lake has a circumference of 4.5 miles. On its west lies the regal Shalini palace and on its east is the Padma Raje gardens. The Rankala lake has a fascinating history dating back to the days of Shri Chhatrapati Sahu Maharaj who was the ruler of Kohlapur. Many believe that the Rankala Lake is not a real natural lake at all and that is was built by Shri Chhatrapati Sahu Maharaj.
The Panhala Fort lies 20 km away from the main city of Kolhapur, situated at its north-west. This fort holds its position amongst the most massive location in the country and is the largest one in the Deccan region. It was built in a strategic position where a major trade route ran within Maharashtra from Bijapur to the coasts of Arabian Sea. This place is not only a must-visit for the people who love exploring historic locations but also for those who love to trek.
Looking over the green slopes of Sahyadri, it has around 7 kilometers of fortifications along with full proof protection guaranteed by three double-walled gates which are humongous in size. The entire stretch of Panhala Fort is dotted with parapets, ramparts, and bastions and styled with motifs of different dynasties that ruled over the fort - the Marathas, Bahamanis, Mughals and so on. The old Panhala Fort was founded in the late 12th century by Raja Bhoja. It was constructed during the period 1178-1209 AD to be later modified by the Marathas. The Indo-Islamic style fort is famously known for being residences to the great Maratha ruler Shivaji and the Queen Regent of Kolhapur - Tarabai.
People visit this place to have a glimpse of the glorious past the country had, which needed the protection of forts such huge and grand. The sight from atop the hill on which the Panhala fort stands is also a spectacular one
Binkhambi Ganesh Temple
After the Mahalakshmi Temple, this is the most important temple in Kolhapur, built in honor of Lord Ganesha. The temple attracts a lot of devotees as well as architecture enthusiasts because the marvel of the temple is that it is made without a single pillar.
The Temlabai temple is situated on the Temlabai Hill both of which derive their name from the Goddess Temlabai who according to mythology is the sister of Goddess Mahalakshmi.
It is said that Temlabai fought alongside Mahalakshmi to eradicate all evils however after the war, Mahalakshmi didn't give her due credit. Furious, Temlabai left and lived in the hills which is now named after her. During the festival of Navtrati, The procession from Mahalakshmi temple goes to Temlabai Temple according to the legends this is the only day Mahalakshmi meets her sister Temlabai