Saturday, October 3, 2009

Panhala and Kolhapur

I reached Panhala pretty late in the night. I stayed in the homestay of Mr Kurade. He is lawyer by profession and was very nice person to talk to.

The next day morning I explored fort of Panhala. Luckily I got a very good guide through Mr Kurade; Sharif Hanif Nagarjee. Sharif belonged to family of Nagarjees; one’s who beat “Nagara” (traditional giant drums to announce opening, closing of the fort gates along with other important events). Their family was appointed by Shivaji during his rule. He is 8th descendent from this family; he knows history well and can also tell you some inside stories about the rule at that time.
Panhala is a huge fort on a hill. It is also a very old as it was first constructed in the 11th Century A. D. under rule of Shalivahans. The 15 km boundary wall constructed during that time is still visible with 135 bastions. The wall is made of Soil and at places supported with stone wall exterior, to absorb shock of cannon balls.

There is ample water and food storage on the and as such it was suitable to operate this fort as the capital. Shivaji operated from this fort through bulk of his rule.
The courtyard leading to Teen Darwaja
There are many interesting places to be seen on this fort. The most important of them are 1. Teen Darwaja 2. Sajja Kothi 3. Konkan Dawaja.

Teen Darawaja:
This is one of the main entrances to the fort. The huge entrance is said to constructed first by Hindu rulers and hence first part is in Hindu architecture. The second part was constructed by Muslim rulers and hence it is in shape and dome. The third part was constructed by British and hence it looks like gate of a church.

Teen Darwaja: See the difference between First Arch (Hindu Temple Architecture) and second arch (Islamic Shape)
Sajja Kothi:
This was the main building in the fort. Shivaji's son Sambhaji was kept here under house arrest due to misunderstanding during their family feud. You can brillinant view of the surroundings from here.

Interiors of Sajja Kothi
View of Sunset from Sajja Kothi

Konkan Darwaja:
This gate faces western side towards region of Konkan. Shivaji had visited this fort after his Konkan conquest and since then it is called as Konkan Darwaja.

Siege of the fort and escape of Shivaji:
Siddi Jauhar, a senior lieutenant of Mughals led a siege to the fort in 1660. It continued for quite some time. He also brought long range cannons from Portuguese and some signs of damage by them can be seen at Konkan Darawaja even now. Once it was clear that it was no longer possible to hold on to the fort; Shivaji escaped from the fort on 12th July.

The story of his escape is very interesting. Shiva Kashid from nearby village was trained to act as his dummy. Shiva Kashid escaped first only to be captured and Shivaji escaped later from the same route. Shivaji moved fast towards Vishalgarh(a fort 80 km away) and while on the way ; Siddi’s forces came very close; Baji Prabhu Deshpande adviced Shivaji to go ahead so that he would hold forces in Ghodkhind ( a small pass in the mountains). With a small platoon; Baji kept Siddi’s forces engaged till morning while Shivaji reached Vishalgarh safely. Baji attained martyrdom in the process and his story is one of the most important chapter of sacrifice and bravery in the history of Maratha Empire.

Besides history of Maratha's there are locations which are from time of Shalivahan Rulers and the most important of them are granaries. Three massive granaries were built by King Bhoja in approx 1000 A.D. . During the construction phase the wall of the granaries would keep collapsing after being raised to 6 ft or so. A priest was called and he suggested to make human sacrifice of either a pregnant lady or a lady who has just delivered a baby. Subsequently announcement was made and lady called Jakhubai who was daughter-in-law of Gangu teli(people who used to sell oil) became ready. She was sacrificed at this place and even now there is stone statue depicting the event. The three granaries are named after her daughters as Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. The fact that to build a wall even a king had to take help of a lady; gave rise to the saying 'Kahan Gangu Teli aur Kahan Raja Bhoja.' Over period of time this context changed and today it is said in exactly opposite manner and spirit.

Granaries - (Estimate height by comparing with standing at gate - constructed in 1000 A.D.)

Statue depicting Jakhubai's sacrifice at the place of sacrifice

Besides Historical Significance, famous temple of Jotiba (Shiva in the form of a warrior)is just 8 km away. Kolhapur is also just 20 km from Panhala. Kolhapur has famous Mahalaxmi temple and Palace of Bhosale’s with Museum.

Hence I would recommend this place to all those who travel to Bangalore by Car. It is a nice place to take night halt; it is almost midway to Bangalore and has nice weather and history both. Not to forget it is also famous for food with specialty in spicy non-veg. food. Stay at homestays and enjoy real history of Panhala and distinctive taste of Kolhapur cuisine(visit It is far better way to experience real India than Hotels and Resorts at better prices. See for largest collection of homestays in India.

I left from Panhala and went to Kolhapur. There I stayed at Homestay called Hirwai. It is a really nice place with small garden owned by Mr Chandrakant Patil . In his small garden he keeps water and food for birds and you can see them chirping in the morning. At least 7 to 8 varieties of birds can be seen there, he is also a photographer and you can see some nice photos with him. In the morning Naved reached from Nagpur and we then started our onward journey on NH 4 together

Coming up next Chikamagalur and Coorg …………in the amazingly green Karnataka……………


vinesh said...

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Kishor said...

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Surendra said...

Panhala is a beautiful place. I visited this place few months back. The govt. is not at all taking any pains to maintain the fort. Planning to visit again in monsoon to enjoy the rains. Thanks.

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snigdha G said...
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anjali gupta said...

It was really worth reading your blog. Thanks for sharing information about Panhala fort and Kolhapur city.Have been looking for hotels in Kolhapur and came to your blog. Thanks for the information :)

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