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.
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 had booked 2 tier sleeper bus tickets and reached Panjim at 8 in the morning. From there, we took a bus to Calangute which took around 40 minutes to reach. We booked two rooms at a hotel near the beach for 1200 a day. It had two big beds, a nice and clean bathroom and a balcony! We anyway needed the room just to crash at night! We spent that day chilling at the beach, drinking beer and eating goan food at one of the beach shacks.
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.
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.
137 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - N/A
This is a place which was first discovered by the hippies and is situated in the Northern part of Goa. This is a beach known to be one of the most popular in Goa and is surrounded by the Calangute Beach on one side and the Anjuna Beach on the other side. The Baga Beach starts from where the Calangute Beach ends though the place cannot be exactly pin pointed. This is also a shoppers paradise with all sorts of flea markets and the fresh seafood is wow over here. Also, you can enjoy a number of water sports and activities in this beach area such as jet skiing, para sailing, surfing and others. The people around here are always in a festive mood and dance and music are a major part of their culture here. They have carnivals during christmas and New Year too. Also, the people here are very religious and the main religion followed here is Christianity. The lifestyle here is a blend of Indian and Portuguese to a large extent. This is a stunning evidence of the fact that Goa was under the rule of Portuguese colonies till even a decades ago before it was taken over by the Indian Government.
150 Kms from Kolhapur
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,October,November,December
Of panoramic views, perennial waterfalls and picturesque landscapes, Mahabaleshwar stands out as the largest and most popular hill station in the Western Ghats. Owing to comfortable temperatures, Mahabaleshwar is thronged by tourists throughout the year, except during the four months of heavy monsoons from June to September. Being the erstwhile summer capital of the Bombay presidency during the British Raj, this place has a lot to offer — spectacular sunrise and sunset viewpoints, popular one-day treks to go on, and boating at the Venna Lake. Additionally, tourists can retrospect history at the centuries-old Pratapgad Fort and savour some toothsome jams and marmalades at the Mapro Garden. One must not miss out on the famous corn patties and strawberry cream when in Mahabaleshwar. Should you visit in March, you will be lucky to witness the gastronomically delightful Strawberry Festival that takes place every year. Plan a weekend getaway to this hill station and you will be impressed.