History Of Kolhapur

History Of Kolhapur


Kolhapur is a city on the banks of the Panchganga River in the southern part of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the administrative headquarter of the Kolhapur district. Kolhapur is known as Dakshin Kashi or Kashi of the South because of its spiritual history and the antiquity of its shrine Mahalaxmi, better known as Ambabai. The region is known for the production of the famous hand-crafted and braided leather slippers called Kolhapuri chappal, which received the Geographical Indication designation in 2019.In Hindu mythology, Kolhapur is referred to as Karvir.

Before India became independent in 1947, Kolhapur was a princely state under the Bhosale Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire. Kolhapur is an important center for the Marathi film industry.



Kolhapur is named after Kolhasur, a demon in Hindu History. According to History, the demon Kolhasur renounced asceticism after his sons were killed by God for harassing people, and prayed to Mahalakshmi that she would leave the area to him for a hundred years. He committed numerous crimes until the goddess returned after the hundred years were over and killed him for his sins. The dying wish of Kolhasur was to name the place after him, which was granted and the place was named Kolhapur. Kolha stands for Kolhasur and pur, a Sanskrit word, means "city".


Medieval era
The Shilahara family founded a dynasty at Kolhapur about the time of the downfall of the Rashtrakuta Empire, that ruled over southern Maharashtra including the modern districts of Satara, Kolhapur and Belagavi (Karnataka). Their family deity was the goddess Ambabai, whose blessing they claimed to have secured in their copperplate grants (Mahalakshmi-labdha-vara-prasada).

Like their relatives of the northern branch of Konkan, the Shilaharas of Kolhapur claimed to be of the lineage of Vidyadhara Jimutavahana, a Jain scholar. Their banner featured a golden Garuda. One of the many titles used by the Shilaharas was Tagarapuravaradhisvara, supreme sovereign ruler of Tagara.

The first capital of the Shilaharas was probably at Karad during the reign of Jatiga II, as known from their copper plate grant of Miraj and 'Vikramankadevacharita' of Bilhana.

Hence, they are referred to sometimes as the Shilaharas of Karad. Later, although the capital was shifted to Kolhapur, some of their grants mention Valavada and the hill fort of Pranalaka or Padmanala (Panhala) as the places of royal residence. Karhad retained its significance during the Shilahara period. This branch rose to power in the latter part of the Rashtrakuta rule and unlike the kings of the other two branches, this branch does not allude to the genealogy of the Rashtrakutas even in their early grants.

They acknowledged the suzerainty of the later Chalukya dynasty for some time. They had used Kannada as an official language as can be seen from their inscriptions. The branch held southern Maharashtra from circa 940 to 1220.

From 940 to 1212 CE, Kolhapur was the centre of power of the Shilahara dynasty. An inscription at Terdal states that the king Gonka (1020 - 1050 CE) was bitten by a snake then healed by a Jain monk. Gonka then built a temple to Lord Neminath, the twenty-second Jain tirthankara (enlightened being). From this era, Jain temples in and around Kolhapur are called Gonka-Jinalaya.

Around 1055 CE, during the reign of Bhoja I (Shilahara dynasty), a dynamic Acharya (spiritual guide) named Maghanandi (Kolapuriya) founded a religious institute at the Rupanarayana Jain temple (basadi). Maghanandi is also known as Siddhanta-Chakravarti, meaning the great master of the scriptures. Kings and nobles of the Shilahara dynasty such as Gandaraditya I, who succeeded Bhoja I, were disciples of Maghanandi.

Kolhapur was the site of intense confrontation between the Western Chalukya Empire and Rajadhiraja Chola and his younger brother Rajendra Chola II of the Chola empire. In 1052 CE, following the Battle of Koppam, the victor, Rajendra Chola II, marched on to Kolhapur and erected a jayastambha (victory pillar).

Between 1109 and 1178 CE, the Kopeshwar temple to Lord Shiva was built by Shilahara kings, Gandaraditya I, Vijayaditya, and Bhoja II in Khidrapur, Kolhapur.

Kolhapur State

The state of Kolhapur was established by Tarabai in 1707 in the midst of a succession dispute over the Maratha crown. The Maratha throne was then occupied by descendants of Tarabai. One of the prominent Kings was Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj (Shahu of Kolhapur). In his reign, he promoted free education to people of all castes and fought against untouchability. The state was annexed by the British in the 19th century. After India's independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Kolhapur acceded to the Dominion of India on 14 August 1947 and merged with Bombay State on 1 March 1949. Kolhapur is sometimes found spelled as Colapore. 


As per the 2011 Census of India, the population of Kolhapur city is 549,236 and that in Kolhapur Municipal and Regional Development Authority is 561,837. Kolhapur has one of the highest Human Development Index ratings among Indian districts, at 0.770 in 2011.


  • Hindu – 460,774 (83.89%)
  • Muslims – 59,760 (10.88%)
  • Jain – 18,420 (3.35%)
  • Christian – 5,251 (0.96%)
  • Buddhist – 2,929 (0.53%)
  • Not Stated – 1,289 (0.23%)
  • Sikh – 581 (0.11%)
  • Others – 232 (0.04%)


Manufacturing Industry

Kolhapur has a higher per capita domestic product than the state's average. It has auto-ancillary, foundry and casting industrial establishments which act as supporting units for industries in Pune and Bangalore.

The city is the home of Kolhapuri chappal, a hand-crafted buffalo leather slipper that is locally tanned using vegetable dyes. Kolhapuri slippers are sold on Mahadwar road. Other handicrafts include hand block printing of textiles, silver, bead and paste jewellery crafting, pottery, wood carving and lacquerware, brass sheet work and oxidised silver artwork, and lace and embroidery making.

Kolhapur is also an industrial city with approximately 300 foundries generating exports with a value of 15 billion rupees per year. A manufacturing plant of Kirloskar Oil Engines [KOEL] is set up in the MIDC at Kagal near Kolhapur, as is the Raymond clothes plant. Kolhapur has two more industrial areas, Gokul-Shirgaon MIDC and Shiroli MIDC. Shivaji Udyamnagar is an industrial area in the city with a rich entrepreneurial tradition of more than 100 years and specializing in oil engines.

Kolhapuri jewelry includes a type of necklace called Kolhapuri Saaj, patlya (two broad bangles), chinchpeti (choker), tanmani (short necklace), nath (nose ring), and bajuband (an amulet).


The Bombay Gazetteer recorded almost 250 temples in the region of which 6 - Ambabai, Temblai, Vithoba, Mahakali, Phiranga and Yallamma temples - are considered the most prominent. Tourism is an important source of revenue with about three million annual visitors. Kolhapur's attractions include:

  • Mahalakshmi Temple
  • Jyotiba Temple
  • Panhala Fort
  • Kaneri Math
  • New Palace
  • The world's first statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar at Bindu Chowk, inaugurated on 7 December 1950
  • Rankala Lake
  • The Tara Rani equestrian statue
  • An 85 feet idol of the Lord Ganesh at the Chinmaya Mission (Top-Sambhapur).
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at Bindu Chowk in Kolhapur

The Kolhapur Maybach car of the chatrapatis of Kolhapur is displayed to the public during the annual Dusshera procession.

Film Industry

Baburao Painter

On 1 December 1917, the Maharashtra Film Company was established in Kolhapur by Baburao Painter. The city has become the primary centre for the Marathi film industry. Kolhapur plays host to many film festivals, including the Kolhapur International Film Festival. The Kolhapur film city was renovated in 2017.

Vishnupant Damle was trusted lieutenant of Baburao Painter in his Maharashtra film Company, Kolhapur. The company had made a name for itself with its silent films in early 1920s.



Kolhapur is known as wrestling capital of India. Kolhapur has a long history of kushti (wrestling) and has produced many wrestlers. The sport flourished during the reign of Shahu of Kolhapur (1894–1922).

During this golden age, he built Akharas or Taleems (as they are colloquially called) all over Kolhapur and organized wrestling tournaments, inviting wrestlers from across the Indian sub-continent. Since then, Kolhapur's wrestling culture has been dominated by various Taleems like Gangavesh taleem, Shahupuri taleem, Motibag taleem, etc. More than 70 wrestlers undertake training in each of these.

India's first individual Olympian Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, India's first Hind Kesari Shripati Khanchnale and Rustam-e-Hind Dadu Chougule belonged to Kolhapur.

Rajarshi Shahu Stadium is a football stadium in Kolhapur. Khasbag Wrestling Stadium, India's largest wrestling stadium is situated in Kolhapur.

B.B. Nimbalkar (former Ranji cricketer), Suhas Khamkar (Mr. Asia, Winner), Virdhawal Khade (Indian Olympian in swimming), Jaysingrao Kusale (Indian shooter), Tejaswini Sawant (Arjuna awardee, world championship gold medalist shooter), Rahi Sarnobat (Arjuna awardee, Asian Gold medalist in shooting), Rucha Pujari (chess - Woman International Master), Shahu Mane also belong to the city. Aniket Jadhav who played the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 is from Kolhapur.



The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus links Kolhapur via rail to India's major cities with express services to Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. A daily shuttle service connects Kolhapur with the main rail hub of Miraj on the Central Railway main line.

A new railway route from Miraj via Kolhapur till Vaibhavwadi has been confirmed, which will connect Kolhapur and many other towns with to the Western coastal region of India.

Kolhapur Railway



Kolhapur is located on National Highway 4 and National Highway 204. The city has three state transport bus stands: Central Bus Stand (CBS), Rankala Bus Stand and Sambhajinagar Bus Stand. Kolhapur Municipal Transport (KMT) provides local bus services. The CBS of Kolhapur is the busiest bus stand in western Maharashtra with more than 50,000 commutators a day.


Kolhapur's domestic airport, also known as Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj Airport, is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) south east of the city at Ujalaiwadi.

There are daily flights from Kolhapur to Hyderabad and Bengaluru operated by Alliance Air. Indigo operates daily flights to Hyderabad Airport and Tirupati Airport as well as three times a week to Ahmedabad Airport. 

Trujet operates flights to Mumbai Airport and Jalgaon Airport. Expansion of runway and construction of and airport terminal building is in progress.

The nearest international airports to Kolhapur are Pune International Airport (240 km [150 mi]) and Goa International Airport (220 km [140 mi]).

Kolhapur Airport
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