24 hours in Kolhapur- a Photo diary
Kolhapur hardly ever features on any itinerary to India, and that is now quite hard for me to understand. While I tend to guard details whenever I stumble upon a hidden gem such as this one, today isn't one such day. I am still smitten, and Kolhapur certainly deserves recognition for it is a magical place. Hence, this photodiary.
I could have easily spent a week there, but I only was allowed a day. Yet, the city didn't play hard to get. The drive from Bangalore to Kolhapur was a precursor to the meager but magical 24 hours I spent there. That we chose to drive there during the monsoons aided Kolhapur's case. I'll certainly think twice before complaining about the state of India's highways from here on. Smooth, thoughtfully constructed roads (with service roads for residents of villages this highway cuts through), wind farms that were a sight and a continuous blanket of green that urges you to leave your city life behind and settle for one of the quaint villages.
The city of Kolhapur is that perfect size- neither too small to seem removed from civilization (like Bhuj felt), nor too big to swallow you whole. It's a city of about 600,000. Legend has it that Kolhapur was founded by a demon, Kolhasur. When he was being killed at the hands of goddess Mahalakshmi, his last wish was that his city be named after him. Don't we all love such stories that eschew the organic and scientific growth of a city and blame it on divine intervention?
Kolhapur is most known for the ingenious footwear that is worn by everyone from the 80s 'art film' brethren, the caricaturish journalist and the present day Indian hipster. While I did make that trip down to 'Chappal lane', I forgot (yes, I did) to document it. Sigh.
I had to forego many spots on the usual Kolhapur itinerary (Panhala, the lake et cetera), but devoted my time to its charming old town. It helped that a childhood friend lived in the city and matched my enthusiasm about waking up in the wee hours and walking the city with me as I photographed it. The city centre of Kolhapur holds within its walls important places like the Mahalakshmi Temple, Bhavani Mandap, and numerous folklore. I also spent a little time photographing the august Shahu Museum & Palace. Here's what I saw and experienced.
Much love, Minu
Old Town Kolhapur