Panhala Fort (Panhalgad): History, Structure, Tourist Experience, Places to See Near Panhala Fort, Getting There (2023)
Panhala Fort holds an integral spot in the history of the Maratha regime and the history of the Konkan region. The fort is famous for its build and unique zig-zag shape, making it different from most of the other forts in the Konkan region. Since then, the fort is a favorite of travelers and people interested in fort tourism in Maharashtra. If you plan to visit Panhala fort sometime soon, this article will help you decide how to.
History of Panhala Fort
Panhala Fort has seen a lot of action because it was a strategic location, looking over the Sahyadri mountains. The Raja Bhoja II built this fort sometime in the 12th century.
The fort is one of the few that is still in contemporary discussion. In India, there is a famous phrase, ‘Kahaan Raja Bhoj, Kahaan Gangu Teli’ (The oil seller Ganju is inconsequential in comparison to the King). The statement reeks of casteism, and now, some experts say that the lore is not as non-violent as earlier thought.
Structures Inside Panhala Fort
The Panhala fort has a perimeter of about 14 kilometers, making it one of the largest-sized forts in the Konkan area. The fort has more than 7 km of fortifications.
There is a lot of architectural beauty, ancient structures, and objects that tourists can see. The architecture itself is one of the few remaining examples of Bijapur architecture. You will see several motifs and carvings that are in honor of the
The fort has some temples and tombs, a Mahakali Temple, one dedicated to Sambhaji II. It has tombs of other prominent personalities of the Maratha regime. Panhala Fort was the home for Tarabai, a Maratha Queen. Her palace is now home to some government offices, making it one of the few historical monuments that the Government uses.
Of specific importance and grandeur are the doorways, the three-walled doors that invite guests inside the fort. You see several inscriptions that show how Indian history has both Hindu as well as Muslim references all over. There is another structure, the Kalavantinicha Mahal, which was home for the ladies of the court.
Apart from this, you will also see some of the fortifications that kings decided on. For example, there’s a hidden well in this fort; so that enemy soldiers couldn’t find the water source in a hurry. Also, there’ are several underground tunnels, one of them around 1 km in length. If you hire an experienced tour guide, he will show you the hidden escape routes in the fort as well. There is also an imprisonment cell, the Sajja Kothi. According to legend, this was the cell where the Chhatrapati imprisoned his son, Sambhaji.
Some other forts in the Konkan region have granaries, but nothing as big as the Ambarkhana in the Panhala fort. These structures are big and the build quality and size of the structures lead tourists to marvel.
Panhala Fort is one of the most popular locales in the Konkan area, and one visit tells you why. You get a breathtaking view of the sunset and the sunrise from the top of the fort.
People still live in this fort, and there are some government offices inside as well. There’s commercial activity inside the fort, so you do not need to plan and pack for lunch. But if you do not want to pay for products like water, stock up. Panhala fort has a specific sunset point as well, towards the Northern end, which makes for some great photographs.
The fort has several tour guides available, and they will tell you all the information you need about the Panhala Fort. This fort is on the Sahyadri hills, so the best time to travel here is during the monsoon season, as that is the time the hills and valleys come alive.
Places Near Panhala Fort
The Panhala area has several other places of interest for tourists. You can visit the Jyotiba Temple. The origin of the temple date back to the eighteenth century. There’s some lore about this place, saying that the god Jyotiba, an incarnation of Dattatreya destroyed the demon Ratnasur.
The Mahalaxmi Temple is nearby as well as the Botanical Gardens. This garden is within the Panhala fort and is rich in flora and fauna. There is also the Siddhagiri Museum, where you can look at some statues and buy others. The museum is a good place to spend an afternoon, looking at the more than 300 wax statues and 80 others that depict village life.
You can also visit the Parashar Caves, which has inscriptions by the 18th century Marathi poet, Moropant. Mythologically, experts believe that a sage, Parashar, lived in these caves.
How to Reach Panhala Fort?
You can reach the Panhala fort from Mumbai or Pune. To reach Panhala from Mumbai, you need to take a train until Kolhapur and then travel further by cab. The total distance you need to cover by train is 300 kilometers. You can also board a train until Kankavli, Sangameshwar, Ratnagiri, Satara, Belgaum, and Chiplun.
To reach Panhala fort from Pune, you can either board a train or take a drive of about 4 hours. The bus ride is for four hours. You can take a bus from Pune to Kolhapur and it’s a 30-minute drive from Kolhapur to Panhala. You can also take a train from Pune to Kolhapur, which is a journey of about eight hours.