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Situated on the banks of River Panchganga, the ancient city of Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, is peppered with a host of grand monuments and old temples. Home to one of the largest forts in the Deccan region, Panhala, where Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji is said to have spent a lot of time, the city is a mine of Maratha legends. Kolhapur also hosts one of the 51 shaktipeethas (devotional shrines where the body parts of Goddess Sati fell) and draws a large number of pilgrims every year.
Such is Kolhapur's spiritual significance that it is colloquially called Dakshin Kashi (Southern Kashi), since it is located in the southernmost part of the state.Lying in the lap of the Sahyadri range, Kolhapur also boasts a host of wildlife sanctuaries that are teeming with flora and fauna. Enjoy a jungle safari and experience nature at close quarters, as you may get to see a tiger ambling by your jeep or an elusive leopard peeping from behind a tree.The city's heritage sites are worth exploring and its bustling bazaars are a delight for shoppers. The main attraction is the Kolhapuri saaj, an opulent necklace renowned all over the country. Shoppers can also stock up on the famous Kolhapuri chappals (leather sandals) that come in multiple styles, colours and embellishments.Once a princely state in pre-independent India, the city is mentioned in the holy Puranas. Founded by Chhatrapati Tarabai, Kolhapur flourished under the rule of the Chhatrapati clan of Kolhapur (1710–1949).