|Inner gate of the teen dharwaza, Panhala Fort, Panhala, near Kolhapur.|
| Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,(1627-1680), pinterest.com|
Sambhaji temple, Panhala fort Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to worship here beforte war expeditions.en.wikipedia.org
|Ibrahim Adil Shahi of Bijapur Sultanate, (1534–1558) pinterest.com|
01. Fort is built at an altitude of roughly 850 m (2,772 ft) above the sea level in a tough mountainous terrain. It is a nice place to hike uphill amidst captivating scenery.
02. Once Panhala Fort was the capital of Shilahara King Bhoja II from 1178 to 1209. Subsequently it came under the rule of Yadava and Bahamani Kings. Adil Shahi, Mogul Aurangazeb. Adil Shahi dynasty took over the fort in the year 1489. The English possessed the fort and the adjacent lands during the minority of Shivaji IV (1837–1860). Till independence, Panhala Fort remained with the Kolhapur Princely State.
03. The sheer massive size, with the circumference of about 7 km of thick tall, sturdy walls beefed up by escarpments and the slope with thick vegetation provide extra protection to the fort.
04. The fort has a perimeter of 14 km (9 miles) and 110 lookout posts at vantage points. Since the watch towers overlook the valley, any enemy movements can be detected easily from atop the fort.
05. There are numerous underground tunnels carefully built beneath the fort which could be used to exit the fort secretly in case of emergency. One tunnel is roughly a mile long.
06. Panhala fort, initially, had three huge double walled entrance gates, of which only two remain today. Teen Darwaza, an impressive structure lies north of Andhar Bavai. It was one of the three double gateways of the fort - the others being the Char Darwaja and Wagh Darwaja. Char Dharwaja was destroyed during the British siege. Wagah Dharwaja was built in a unique way as to mislead the enemies, draw them in to an open courtyard and then neutralize them.
07.The fort en-composes many monumental structures associated with various events. For example a double story structure, known as Sajja Kothi, is in the northeast corner of the building. It was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah in 1500 CE. It is a viewing pavilion overlooking the valley below. It was here Shivaji had imprisoned his son, Sambhaji for his misconduct and intention to defect him.
|Amberkhana (granary) in the center of Panhala fort.near Kolhapur. en.wikipedia.org|
09. Adil Shah had hidden water wells called Andhar Bavadi built for the uninterrupted supply of copious water during siege. The purpose of this well was to avoid poisoning of water sources by the enemies. This three-story structure has a winding staircases that conceal the well and there are large recesses in the wall where soldiers can be permanently stationed.
10. There are several hidden escape routes in the Andhar Bavai, leading outside the fort to escape from any eventuality.
11. Rajdindi is one of the hidden bastions to be used as an escape route in case danger to the royal families during war.
12. There are Hindu temples devoted to Sambhaji II, Someshwar and Ambabai besides Mahakali. There are many mausoleums - Samadhi among them are the Mausolems of of Ramachandra Amatya, Jijabhai, et al. Ramachandra Amatya was the the author of Ajnapatra, an important work on statecraft.
Those, who are on a holiday trip to Kolhapur, can include this historical fort in their travel itinerary.