Panhala dashes all preconceived notions of a conventional Indian hillstation. Panhala measures just about 7 Km in circumfrence, and its strategic location near Kolhapur with easy access to Konkan meant that at various point in history it was embraced by different dynasties. However Panhala and Panhala Fort is mostly identified with Shivaji Maharaj who captured it in 1659 and Sambhaji who was imprisoned here.
Panhala is not a conventional hillstation so if you expect one you might just be disappointed. Its a small town with a charm of antecedence. A place you would associate with a small break and getaway, Panhala is a place where you would just laze around taking morning walks enjoying the fresh mountain air, gaze at the vast expanse of the plains leading to the Konkan and may be a walk in the evening to the bhelpuri wallah after watching a serene sunset.
Jyotiba temple lies on an offshoot of Kolhapur-Panhala road. Long flights of stairs lined with little stalls peddling pooja offerings leads from the parking lot to the beautiful temple complex. You will find a resemblence to the 'gopuram' style of architecture in these temples. The legend goes that Jyotiba is an incarnation of three gods Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh and Jamadagni.
Sightseeing in Panhala..
An ideal place to do a whole lot of nothing Panhala, pleads to be explored on foot. Start at Sajja Kothi on the eastern wall of the fort and walk north along the ramparts to Teen Darwaza an imposing gateway to the west of the town. This easy undemanding walk through narrow walk ways of Panhala town can take upto 45 minutes. Tourist guides would be eager to point out the homes of politicians and industrialists.
The main attraction of Panhala fort is Sajja Kothi. A single storey structure rising out on the eastern side of the fort offers a compelling view of the valley outside. Sambhaji, Shivaji's son was imprisoned here. Teen Darwaza, an imposing gateway comprised three gates on the western wall of the fort. The british entered Panhala from here when they captured Panhala in 1844 and they destroyed the maingate.
Amberkhana is one of the few structures that is still well maintained of the earlier fortifications of Panhala fort. Amberkahana were the granaries were food was stored for Shivaji's troops and also his subjects. There are three granaries - Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati.