The verdant hills, the terraced farms and the omnipresent mist bestow Panhala with a unique allure, a mystic. The aerial roots of the banyan trees that flank the road form a beautiful archway, a prelude to the royal remains of the fort to come. Situated at a magnificent height of 3177 feet above sea level, Panhala commands a panoramic and awesome view of the valley below.
The weather in Panhala is salubrious throughout the year except July and August. The ideal weather to visit Panhala is from October to December although tourists visit till May. The temperature ranges from 25-32 degree C in summer to 20-24 degree C in the rainy season.
The small yet scenic hill resort, Panhala lies in the lap of the Sahyadri mountain range. Panhala is located in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Panhala is situated about 22 km to the northwest of Kolhapur on the Kolhapur-Ratnagiri road at a height of 3177 feet above sea level.
While at Panhala you must visit Ambarkhana. Ambarkhana was built by the Marathas and housed the administrative section, the palace, the mint, and the granary. Titled Ganga, Jamuna, and Saraswati, the granaries could store as much as 25,000 khandis of grain. Since the soil was not suitable for agriculture, the provisions had to be stocked. Then there is the Teen Darwaja i.e. the three important gates to gain access to the fort.
Another major attraction at Panhala is the Sajja Kothi that was built by the Mohammedans in 1008 AD. There is a very interesting anecdote attached to this monument. It is said that when Siddi Johar, a formidable Bijapur General, attacked Panhala, Shivaji tricked the general by escaping from the window of Sajja Kothi while a brave stalwart Shiva Kashid disguised as Shivaji combated the wrath of the general.
Shivaji, a religious devotee, did not undertake any perils without paying obeisance to the goddess. The Ambabai temple stands vigil to this, which is another, must visit at Panhala.
While at Panhala you may also visit the Sambhaji temple. The Sambhaji temple was built in memory of Sambhaji, the first ruler of Kolhapur.
The Someshwar tank of Panhala too is worth visiting. The tank came into existence due to the quarrying of stones that were required for the construction of the fort wall. There is a very well camouflaged well with a three-storied structure on top, Andhar Bav. This was cloistered to prevent any kind of water poisoning by the enemy.
The Nayakini Sajja at Panhala manifests the intelligent warfare strategy used by the Marathas to dupe the enemies. The Nayakini Sajja has been very strategically located near one of the corners of the fort to conceal a deep ravine in between. When the enemies attacked from that corner, they would actually climb over the make-believe corner of the fort to accede the Nayakini Sajja and in the endeavor fall into the deep ravine.
By Air - The airport closest to Panhala is the airport at Kolhapur airport at a distance of 35 km from Panhala. Panhala is 416 km from Mumbai and about 200 km from Pune.
By Rail & Road - State Transport buses ply between Kolhapur and Panhala every 2 hours during the day. The Kolhapur railway station is only 26 km from Panhala.