Escape to the hills. Just 20 kms from the industrial city of Kolhapur, Panhala provides the ideal get-away as a hill station.
With its hoary heritage, Panhala provides the right locale. 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 Sidi Johar at a narrow pass, since christened Pavankhind.
It was here in the same building, Sajja Kothi, built by Ibrahim Adil-Shah in 1500 A.D., that Shivaji imprisoned his errant son Sambhaji who escaped... right into the arms of his father's foes.
The largest of all Deccan forts, Panhala, was built between 1178-1209 A.D. Though it was the seat of the Shilahara dynasty since 1190 A.D., and held successively by the Yadava and Bahamani kingdoms, it is today 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.
Ajanta & Ellora
Visit the innermost citadel, enclosed by a strong wall fortified by bastions. March past the three magnificent double-walled gates which guard the entry to the fort. Be awed by the huge granary.
Amberkhana, said to contain 25,000 khandis (50,000 maunds) of corn poured into it from symmetrical gaps in the ceiling. Walk down the Raj Dindi, stealing some picturesque valley views. And, relive the final moments of destruction, as you view the 40 yard wide breach, just 100 ft. away from the Teen Darwaza, engineered by the British to seek entry into the fort.
Comfortable accommodation is available at Panhala. Besides some reasonably priced hotels, MTDC offers rooms and tents. Also, restaurants and trekking facilities make for an interesting stay.
Information: Courtesy Government of India
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.