Panhala is the smallest city and beautiful hill station destination in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Located at an altitude of 3177 feet above sea level, the place is renowned for its rich Maratha history, the magnificent Panhala Fort and other significant building of the Maratha Empire. The spectacular hill resort of Panhala is located amidst the Sahyadri Mountain Range and the place offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. The scenic charm and salubrious climate of Panhala draws both national and International tourists to this destination. The visit to Panhala will leave you rejuvenated from head to toe.
Location : State/District
The tiny city of Panhala is located in the state of Maharastra and under the district of Kolhapur. The latitude of Panhala is 16.8200⁰ N where as the latitude of this place corresponds to 74.1200⁰ East.
Panhala is a pristine hill station destination located in the Western part of India. Owing to its rich Marathan history, the place is also a heritage site.
Panhala is a destination worth visiting with family members and friends. The pleasant and cool climate of the place will make you forget all your tensions. The trekking trails of the Panhala also make it a chosen destination for adventure enthusiasts. The cultural significance of Panhala makes it a must visit for historians.
Panhala enjoys pleasant and comfortable weather in all seasons. Summer season in the place is not very hot and lasts from March to June. The temperature during this time ranges from 22⁰C to 39⁰C. Monsoons in Panhala are marked with moderate rainfall and the beauty of the place increases manifold during this time. The freshness in the air from July to August will completely seduce you. November marks the arrival of winters in Panhala and continues till February. The place is pleasantly cold with minimum temperature being recorded at 12⁰C. Panhala is a year-round destination but the ideal months for travelling are from October to January. The climate is ideal for sightseeing and enjoying outdoor activities in Panhala.
Indian citizens can freely travel to Panhala at their discretion. However tourists from outside India, need to take visa permission from the government of India. It is only after their visa approval that they can visit the quaint hill town of Panhala. Even then they must carry all the important travel documents and their valid passport with them at all times.
Places to Visit
Panhala Fort is the chief tourist attraction of the place. It is the oldest and the biggest fort in the Deccan Plateau and built in the year from 1178 to 1209 AD. The Panhala Fort has immense historical importance as it is believed that the great Maratha ruler, Shivaji Maharaj resided in this fort for over a period of one year. Tourists visit this destination to admire the magnificent architecture of the fort.
Ambarkhana Fort is another famous fort of Panhala that should not be missed. The fort was built during the rule of brave Marathas and still stands strong over years. The Ambarkhana fort also holds a beautiful palace, Mint and an administrative division. An old momument called Dhanyancha Kothar is located close to the fort and was used to store and pile grains.
Sajja Kothi is also a destination that is symbolic of rich Maratha culture. It is believed that Shivaji Maharaj held his meetings at this very place during wartime. Sajja Kothi is a main monument in the state of Maharashtra s it was built during the Maratha rule.
Parashar Caves are considered to be sacred caves that were abode to Maharishi Parashara. It is also known that Moropant, a famous Marathi poet wrote his poems inside the Parashar Caves. This cave in Panhala is mentioned in the Karvir Puraan as a ‘tirths’ implying holy waters.
Sunset Point is a very popular tourist spot amongst visitors. The place offers stunning view at the time of sunset. There is also a small fort located close to this point that offers scenic view of the surroundings and visited by tourists in large numbers.
The Empress Botanical Garden is a favourite picnic spot for tourists. The garden is adorned with huge lawns and tall trees and a beautiful arched gateway as an entrance. The space is abundant for kids to enjoy running and other activities. The Bund Gardens located close to the Empress Botanical Gardens is worth visiting. This garden is a chosen destination to enjoy horse riding and boating.
Teen Darwaza meaning three doors is actually the famed three consecutive gates that mark the grand entrance of Panhala Fort. The rich cultural heritage of Panhala is aptly represented in the Teen Darwaza and the place is a must visit by all means.
Kolhapur is a very popular town in Maharashtra that is located at a distance of 24 kms from Panhala. Several famous temples are located in this place making it an important pilgrim site for Hindu followers. Some of the prime attractions of Kolhapur are Mahalaxmi Temple, Jyotiba Temple, Shaktipeetha Temple and Narsobawadi Temple. The well-known Kolhapuri chappals are also a main draw for tourists.
Amba Ghat is located at a 56 kms from Panhala. Surrounded by rain forests, it an ideal getaway from the harsh summers of the plains. The world renowned Bison Wildlife Sanctuary is also located here. Amba Ghat is a chosen destination for bird watching and wildlife viewing. This place is a must visit for wildlife and outdoor lovers.
Gaganbawada is a wonderful hill station that is situated at a distance of 75 kms from Panhala. The popular ashram of Late Pujya Shri Gagangiri Maharaj is located here making it a pilgrimage destination. Devotees flock to Gaganbawda to practice meditation to relax their mind and body.
Food and Accommodation
The local cuisine of Panhala is influenced by Kolhapur. The place has several local restaurants that serve the traditional food along with other cuisines. Hill Top Restaurant, Sanjha Chula Restaurant, Shivprasad Dhaba and Anand Delux Restaurant are the popular eating joints of Panhala. When you visit these restaurants you must try vegetarian local specialities of Panhala as Tambada Rassa, Pandra Rassa and Kadi. If you are a non-vegetarian eater visit the restaurants located in Udyam Nagar and try mouth-watering meat dishes such as Sukka Mutton.
There are not many hotels in Panhala and if you are looking for better accommodation, Kolhapur is the only option. Valley View Grand is a comfortable accommodation option in Panhala that offers good service and facilities. The MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) is a government run lodge that provides accommodations at budgeted rates.