are couples of forts around Kolhapur like Panhala, Vishalgad,
Mahipalgad, Kalanandigad. Panhala, where you can yet view three
large buildings called the Amberkhana - a granary with the capacity
to store 50,000 maunds of corn - is now a hill-station.
Panhala is situated 20 km from the industrial city of Kolhapur.
Panhala is a charming hill resort Situated at an altitude of
977.2 m. which makes for a complete holiday. With its hoary
heritage, Panhala provides the right locale.
It was built by King Bhoja between 1178-1209 and is the largest
of all Deccan forts. The innermost citadel is enclosed by a
strong wall over 7Km in length fortified by bastions. Panhala's
historic fort throws up memories of Chhatrapati Shivaji, It
was from here that Shivaji beleaguered for over four months,
escaped one rainy night to Vishalgad, while his faithful general
Baji Prabhu Deshpande laid down his life holding down the forces
of Siddi Johar at a narrow pass, since christened Pavankhind.
It was here in the same building, Sajja Kothi, built by Ibrahim
Adil-Shah in 1500 AD, that Shivaji imprisoned his errant son
Sambhaji who escaped... right into the arms of his father's
it is redolent with memories of Shivaji. Not surprising, though,
considering that barring his capitals at Rajgad and later Raigad,
and Shivneri, where he spent his childhood, Panhala is the only
fort where Shivaji spent more than 500 days.
It was Maratha State capital until 1782 and in 1827 it went
to the British.Besides, there's the Sambhaji temple Someshwar
temple, Teen Darwaza, Raj Dindi
This imposing fort, 20km northwest of Kolhapur, is built on
an outlying spur of the Sahyadris, rising more than 400m above
plain. The strategic importance of Panhala, guarding one of
the principal routes throgh the Western Ghat, can be judged
from its long and varied history. After serving as the headquarter
of the Shilahara ruler Bhoja II (1178-1209), the site subsequently
passed into hands of Yadavas. It was fevourite outpost of the
Bahamanis of Bidar ; Mahmud Gawan, the powerful Prime Minister,
encamped here during the rainy season of 1469. By the beginning
of the 16c Panhala was absorbed into the kingdom of Bijapur.The
Adil Shahis were responsible for strengthening and rebuilding
the ramparts and Gateways.The fort was raided by Shivaji in
1659, but it was not until 1673 that he was able to occupy it
In 1701 Panhala surrendered to Auragzeb, and it was here that
the Mughal Emperor recieved the English Ambassador, Sir WilliamNorris.
Within a few months the fort was retaken by the the Maratha
forces under Pant Amatya Ramachandra, who asserted his autonomy
by founding an independent dynasty.In1782 these rulers shifted
their headquarters to Kolhapur. After a local rebellion in 1844,
Panhala was taken by the British. More than 7km of Fortifications
define the approximently triangular zone of Panhala fort. The
walls are protected for long sections by steep escarpments,
reinforced by a parapet with slit holes. The remaining sections
have 5-9m high ramparts, strengthened by round bastions. Unfortunately,
the East Gate called Char Darawaja, through which the road passes
on arrival at fort, was demolished by the British.
A green-and-white-painted Dargah overlooking a tank is seen
to the left of the entrance. The road continues west about 400m
until it arrives at the Tin Darawaja, or Triple Gate. This elaborate
example of military architecture is assigned to the Adil Shahi
era. The innermo-st entrance displays an arched recess framing
a lobed arch. A nine-domed chamber gives acc- ess to an rectangular
court lined with arcades. The intermediate entrance is topped
with a lintel set within a lobed arch. This frames a plaster
composition with lions and an Image of Ganesha, addition of
The side panels have intricately etched patterns of interlocking
battlement and style arabesques. The prominent battlements are
seen above. The west side of the court is overlooked by an elevated
guardroom with triple arches seperated by decorated jambs. A
passageway beneath leads to the outermost entrance. A with Persian
inscriptions of Ibrahim Adil Shaha is set into the arched recess
over the lintel. A short distance west of the Tin Darawaja a
Step-well built into the inner portion of a bastion. The chambers
at the upper level are arranged on three sides of the deep well.
The road continues north almost 1km until it arrives at the
irregularly shaped Bale Killa in the middle of the comparatively
flat top of the Panhala Hill. This fortified zone is defined
by high walls with bastions, now much dilapidated and overgrown.
Three great rectangular Graneries, capable of provisioning an
entire army, stand freely within the walls. The largest , some
40m by 10m, has 16 chambers roofed with flat vaults rising about
8m above the ground, each with a square hole. Steps on the outside
gives access to the roof.A domed pavilion is set over the balconied
entrance at the east end of the building.Decaying foundations
and plinths hidden in the under- growth are all that remain
of the surrounding palaces and baracks.
The road continues north for about 500m before arriving at Sajja
Kothi, a pleasure pavilion set into the ramparts. This two storeyed
structure has an upper chamber with flattish domes on vaults
decorated in the typical Bijapur style.An arcaded balcony on
west looks down into the fort. The chamber on the east enjoys
fine views of the approach to Panhala from the plains beneath.