Panhala fort also known as ‘Panhalgad’which literally means the ‘house of serpents’. Located at a distance of 25 km northwest of Kolhapur city,Maharashtra.Panhala fort is among the one of the most famous fort in Maharashtra.This fort lies on the Sahyadri mountain range and is at an altitude of 3000 ft. above sea level.
This fort is blessed with natural beauty which attracts every tousist.Ancient architectural structure,massive wall, this fort tempts everyone with its beauty.This fort is one of the largest fort of the Deccan region,which is very important geographically and in terms of war.With a fortification of more than 7 Km,this fort was considered as one of the safest forts in Maharashtra.
This fort was built by the Shilahara dynasty in the 12th century.Later Singhana belongs to Yadava’s dynasty seized the fort by defeating Bhojraja and the fort cames into the hands of Yadava’s.In 1489 this fort came under Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur.After capturing this fort,Adil Shahi dynasty totally renovated and extended this fort.
In 16th century,Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj assissinated the Bijapur general Afzal Khan and then Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort from Bijapur.In 1660,Adil Shah II of Bijapur sent his army under the command of Siddi Johar to lay siege to Panhala to win back the fort from Shri Chhatrapati shivaji Maharaj.But Adil Shah unsucced to conquer this fort.
The siege continued for 5 to 6 months.Due to this long time siege,there was a shortage of food and other necessities on the fort.In such critical condition,escape was only option.So chhatrapati shivaji Maharaj decided to escape the fort. Shivaji Maharaj cleverly escaped from the siege of Siddi and immediately set out for Vishalgad.
At that time Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was accompanied by Baji Prabhu Deshpande,Shiva Kashid(who looked like Shivaji Maharaj) and some other soldiers.Shiva Kashid who looked exactly like Shivaji Maharaj,pretending that he was Shivaji Maharaj and kept Siddi’s army busy.
On the other hand,Baji Prabhu Deshpande kept the pass closed till Shivaji Maharaj reached Vishalgad. Baji Prabhu Deshpande,who fought in front of thousands of troops with only few mans,fought with the enemy till his last breath.This pass,sanctified by the bravery of Baji Prabhu Deshpande,is known as ‘Paavan Khind’.(Khind-Pass or Gap between two hill.)
In the 16th century,Kondaji Farjand captured Panhala fort with only 60 man.And this fort came back under the control of Marathas empire.This historical moment is described in the Marathi film ‘Kondaji Farjand’.
How To Reach:
Almost all the state highways in Maharashtra are well connected to Kolhapur city.At the bus stand of any district in Maharashtra,you will easily get number of buses to Kolhapur.From Kolhapur bus stand you will easily get buses to Panhala. If you are coming from outside of the Maharashtra,you can prefer NH-48 National Highway of India to reach Kolhapur .NH 48 National Highway is cuts through total seven states of India.
The National Highway (NH 48) passes through seven states namely Delhi,Haryana,Rajasthan,Gujarat,Maharashtra,Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.You can easily reach Kolhapur by this NH-48 National Highway.And the important thing is that this National Highway passes through Kolhapur city.
Panhala fort is located at a distance of 30 km from kolhapur railway station.Kolhapur railway station is the nearest station to Panhala fort.From Kolhapur railway station about 5 to 10 min. of walking distance you will get kolhapur bus stand.From bus stand you will easily get buses to Panhala,which will directly drops you to the fort.Otherwise you can take cab to Panhala from Kolhapur railway station.
Kolhapur airport is the nearest airport to Panhala fort.Kolhapur airport is situated at a distance of 30 km from Panhala fort.Pune airport is also the nearest airport to kolhapur city.The distance between Pune airport to Panhala fort is around 250 km.
From Kolhapur railway station: 22 Km
From Kolhapur bus stand: 23 Km
From Kolhapur airport: 32 Km
From Pune airport: 250 Km
From Mumbai airport: 400 Km
From Kolhapur railway station to kolhapur bus stand: 1.2 Km
Best Time To Visit:
There is no set time to visit historical forts.You can visit this fort in any season as you wish.But if you want to make the journey even better,you can come here in the rainy or winter season.Situated in the beauty of nature,this fort takes a unique look during monsoon.If you come here in the rainy season,this historical fort,will surely enchant you.
1. Teen Darwaza (Door):This is the main entrance to the fort.
2.Sajja Kothi:This structure was built by Adil Shah in 15th century.
3.Ambarkhana: This construction was built by Marathas and used to store large amount of grains. It is located in the centre of the fort.It has total three granaries-Ganga,Yamuna and Saraswati built in the Bijapuri style of architecture. The ganga Kothi is largest compare to other two, had a capacity to store up to 25000 Khandis of grain.
4.Wagh Darwaza:This was another entrance to the fort.This door was designed to deceive the enemy.
5.Dharma Kothi:The grain in this storehouse was kept for charity to the needy.
6.Chaar Darwaza:This door was demolished by the British in 1884.
7.Rajdindi bastion: This is the secret exit was designed to get out of the fort in case of an emergency.When Siddi laid siege to this fort,Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj proceeded to Vishalgad by this secret route.
Places To Visit:
If you are going to Kolhapur,don’t forget to visit the famous Goddess Mahalaxmi Temple. This temple of Shree Mahalaxmi is located at a distance of 20 km from Panhala,2.5 Km from Kolhapur Railway station and 3.7 Km from Kolhapur Bus Stand.Be sure to visit this holy place.