Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, is a land of temples and regal palaces. The most revered of them is the Mahalaxmi Temple, which has a simple yet fascinating structure. Other temples here are the Temlabai temple, Jyotiba temple and the Bimkhambi Ganesh temple. The Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Museum, which was once the residence of the first Maharaja of the Maratha Empire, is a vivid display of artefacts representing the ancient history of the city. Take a walk through history at the Panhala Fort, which is an imposing fortification believed to have housed Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. Kolhapur is known for its spicy array of Maharashtrian food. Try some of the local delicacies at Padma Guest House, Waman Guest House and Parakh. Being a bustling tourist destination, Kolhapur has a lot to offer when it comes to lodging for all types of budget travellers. Don't forget to take back the local Kolhapuri Chappals, that make for lovely traditional footwear.
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300 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Perhaps the largest metropolis in the country, Mumbai is a multi-faceted city with something to offer everyone. From the imposing architecture of Gateway of India to the crystal clear waters of the Marine Drive, from the modern architecture marvel of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to the Elephanta Caves, the city brings the old and new together. It is also home to the very popular Hindi film industry and most Bollywood celebrities have residences here. The most famous spot here is probably the Chowpatty Beach, which remains packed throughout the year, especially during Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival which sees thousands of Mumbaikars get together to immerse an idol in the waters. The Siddhivinayak Temple of Mumbai is a famous place that is frequented by believers in large numbers on a daily basis. Lying along the salty waters of the Arabian Sea is the Juhu Beach, which is another popular beach in the city. The Essel World Amusement Park here is an ideal picnic spot to cool off in the hot summers of Mumbai. The city, being a metro, offers all kind of food from different parts of the world. The local pao bhaji and vada pao can be sampled at any local eatery. Popular restaurants here are LSD, Indigo, Cafe Churchill and Cafe Leopold.
209 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Called the Oxford of the East, Pune is a bubbling cosmopolitan city. A large student hub, this city loves art, culture and theatre. The Sahyadri hill range of the Western Ghats makes this destination ideal for hiking and wildlife spotting. A shower of rain brings the city alive. The Agha Khan Palace of Pune is a sprawling complex with emerald green gardens and sprawling lawns, perfect for a casual stroll. The Shaniwarwada is an ancient structure built by the Peshwas and the ruins of this marvellous architecture can still be seen in the city. Dedicated to the brave hearts of the Indian Army, the National War Museum is a popular tourist destination and houses militia paraphernalia. Those interested in meditation can get day passes from the Osho International Meditation Resort, which is very popular with tourists. Handcrafted beer, baked goodies at the Kayani Bakery on East Street and eateries such as Touche the Sizzler, Malaka Spice and Dario's will complete your trip here.
293 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Before the tropical air hits you here, an uncanny sense of time travel does, as you scan the historic Vijayanagar's devastatingly beautiful ruins and temples spread across the boulder-strewn landscape. The ancient capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (1343-1565), which has now become a favourite hipster holiday destination, is best explored on foot or bicycle. It has a lot of famous attractions such as the Hemakuta Hill, home to the ancient scattered ruins and a monolithic sculpture of Hindu God Vishnu, along with Hampi Bazaar, once an ancient trading spot for horses, silk, cows, precious stones and now a hub of handicraft shops and little restaurants, with the 15th century Virupaksha temple at its western end and the 16th century Vittala temple at its eastern end. Sule Bazaar and the Achyutaraya temple is also a must visit. This historic expedition can get tiresome and overwhelming for many, and the village in contrast maintains a very laid back atmosphere, with innumerable guest houses spread around, some even with a fascinating spartan setting, costing no more than 300 rupees. Just like its ruins, an ancient festival called the Hampi Utsav has also been kept alive since the Vijayanagar reign and is celebrated annually in November, with light and sound shows, music and dance performances, all boasting of the Kannadigas' rich culture, set against the backdrop of Hampi's ruins. The Mango Tree restaurant is a quaint place reached via passing through a banana plantation. Other good places to eat include Prince Restaurant, Goan Corner Restaurant and Laughing Buddha, popular for South Indian, Chinese, Israeli, Tibetan, and usual vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, enjoyed by the riverside.
276 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,December
In recent years Matheran has gained such popularity that it's unmissable. A must on any traveller's list, it offers one a peaceful, quiet and laidback holiday. Situated close to Mumbai, this plateau is home to dense forests, waterfalls and the lovely Ulhas River. Matheran is a non-motorable zone and you'll be thankful for the quiet it offers even though it's so crowded. One would also spot a number of tourists from Mumbai, especially if you are here during the weekend. Matheran has a number of touristy spots including various view points. Though the best way to explore and experience this serene destination is on your own. Any direction you head in, you will be accompanied by dense forests, melodious sounds of nature and striking sights of surrounding hills. Some of the more popular viewing spots in Matheran are Panorama Point, Monkey Point and Echo Point. They are a must-visit and you should definitely include them in your itinerary. There are tons of great hotels in Matheran that attempt to offer visitors an exceptional experience with unique activities and experiences.
240 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,September,October,November,December
A small town in the state of Karnataka, Gokarna is about 5 hours away from Goa. The town is considered holy for Hindus as there are some very revered temples here, especially those dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main temples are the Mahabaleshwar and the Ganpati Temple. A mini-Goa or rather Goa's hipster counterpart, Gokarna is a blessing for travellers. Its four main beaches, Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach are all you need after the chaos of the cities. Spend time relaxing on the beach, indulging in one of their luxurious Ayurvedic messages or join a yoga course – everything here is an experience to remember. The shacks near the beach offer delicious continental and Indian food, and have a very relaxed environment. Though there are many wonderful places to visit around Gokarna, space out your days to enjoy the pristine sunsets and radiant sunrises the beach town offers!
142 Kms from Kolhapur
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of the North Goa District and is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River Estuary is the Tiswada Region. The more popular name is Panaji but Panjim is also a commonly used term. This was the name by which the Portuguese used to address this city. When the whole of India got independence, Goa was still under the colonial rule of the Portuguese who freed it a number of years later. The Portuguese effect is what you will get in each and every thing of Goa and Panjim too. The attractions here are the lovely white church, the food that you will get here and of course the different types of building lined on the sides of the narrow streets. These houses are the remains of the various clans who have ruled here including the Latins and the Portuguese. The houses look beautiful and brightly coloured and many of them have simple yet pretty wrought iron balconies too. Many of these are now either resorts for budget concious travellers or restaurants for the ones who love to taste Portuguese and Goan cuisine.
139 Kms from Kolhapur
We reached the bus stop at around 8 am, took a bus to Calangute beach and in between saw the lanes of Old Goa with Portuguese houses all around us. We reached our hotel and the rest of the people joined us in the afternoon. Directly we headed to Baga beach, some of us saw the beach for first time and they were captivated by its beauty. The tossing waves of Baga and people jumping into it for a good amount of time really held us.
247 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Surrounded by lush green valleys and numerous caves, Lonavala is a hill station set in the Sahyadri ranges. Its various treks, such as the Lonavala-Bhimashankar trek and the climb to Lohagad Fort and Duke’s Nose make it a favourite spots for trekkers and hikers. Lonavala gleams beautifully green during the monsoon months, with waterfalls oozing out of everywhere. Besides the hikes, there are the the Karla and Bhaja caves, Tiger’s Leap, Lonavala Lake and Bhushi Dam to visit. Apart from its boundless scenic beauty, Lonavala now boasts of a private adventure park as well. With endless shops in a row selling chikkis of all flavours, Lonavala is a paradise for all chikki lovers. The trademark chocolate walnut fudge is another scrumptious sweet treat. By virtue of connecting the prominent cities of Mumbai and Pune by both road and rail, Lonavala serves as a quick escape resort town having accommodation of all kinds and for all budgets.