Kolhapur, also spelled Colapore is a city in the Panchganga River Basin in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.It is the district headquarters of Kolhapur district. Kolhapur came under the administration of Bombay Presidency prior to Indian Independence and was a nineteen gun salute, princely state ruled by the Bhosale Chhatrapati (Bhosale royal clan) of the Maratha Empire.
Kolhapur is mentioned in the Devi Gita, the final and key chapter of the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, a special text of Shaktism. Kolhapur is noted as a place of Kollamma worship. In the text, Devi says,
“O King of Mountains! Still I am now telling something out of My affection to My Bhaktas. Hear. There is a great place of pilgrimage named Kollapura in the southern country. Here the Devi Laksmi always dwells.”
The Shilahara family at Kolhapur was the latest of the three and was founded about the time of the downfall of the Rashtrakuta Empire. They ruled over southern Maharashtra; the modern districts of Satara, Kolhapur and Belgaon. Their family deity was the goddess Mahalakshmi, whose blessing they claimed to have secured in their copperplate grants (Mahalakshmi-labdha-vara-prasada). Like their relatives of the northern branch of Konkan, the Shilaharas of Kolhapur claimed to be of the lineage of the Vidyadhara Jimutavahana. They carried the banner of golden Garuda. One of the many titles used by the Shilaharas was Tagarapuravaradhisvara, supreme sovereign ruler of Tagara.
The first capital of the Shilaharas was probably at Karad during the reign of Jatiga-II as known from their copper plate grant of Miraj and ‘Vikramankadevacharita’ of Bilhana. Hence sometimes they are referred as ‘Shilaharas of Karad’. Later on although the capital was shifted to Kolhapur, some of their grants mention Valavada, and the hill fort of Pranalaka or Padmanala, (Panhala) as the places of royal residence. Even though the capital was shifted to Kolhapur, Karhad retained its significance during the Shilahara period. This branch rose to power the latter part of the Rashtrakuta rule and so, unlike the kings of the other two branches, those of this branch do not mention the genealogy of the Rashtrakutas even in their early grants. Later on they acknowledged the suzerainty of the later Chalukya for some time. They had used Kannada as the official language as can seen from their inscriptions. This branch continued to hold the Southern Maharashtra from circa 940 to 1220.
From 940 to 1212 CE, Kolhapur was the centre of power of the Shilahara dynasty.An inscription at Teradal states that the king Gonka (1020 – 1050 CE) was bitten by a snake then healed by a Jain monk. Gonka then built a temple to Lord Neminath, the twenty-second Jain tirthankara (enlightened being). Jain temples in and around Kolhapur from this era are called Gonka-Jinalya, after the king.
Around 1055 CE, during the reign of Bhoja I, (Shilahara dynasty), a dynamic Acharya (spiritual guide) named Maghanandi (Kolapuriya), founded a religious institute at the Rupanarayana Jain temple (basadi). Maghanandi is also known as Siddhanta-chakravarti, that is, the great master of the scriptures. Kings and nobles of the Shilahara dynasty such as Gandaraditya I who succeeded Bhoja I, were disciples of Maghanandi.
Kolhapur was the site of intense confrontation between rulers of the Western Chalukya Empire and the rulers of the Chola empire, Rajadhiraja Chola and his younger brother Rajendra Chola II. In 1052 CE, following the Battle of Koppam, the victor, Rajendra Chola II, marched on to Kolhapur and there he erected a jayastambha (victory pillar).
Between 1109 and 1178 CE, the Kopeshwar temple to Lord Shiva was built by the Shilahara kings, Gandaraditya Chola, Vijayaditya and Bhoja II in Kolhapur.
The state of Kolhapur was established by Tarabai in 1707 because of the succession dispute over the Maratha kingship. The state was annexed by the British in the 19th century. After India’s independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Kolhapur acceded to the Dominion of India on 14 August 1947 and merged with Bombay State on 1 March 1949. Kolhapur is sometimes found to be spelled as Colapore
The city has a textile manufacturing sector, particularly known for the Kolhapuri chappal, a hand-crafted buffalo leather slipper that is locally tanned using vegetable dyes. Kolhapuri slippers are sold in Mahadwar road. Other handicrafts include: hand block printing of textiles; silver, bead and paste jewellery crafting; pottery; wood carving and lacquerware; brass sheet work and oxidised silver artwork;and lace and embroidery making.
Kolhapur is also an industrial city with approximately 300 foundries producing exports with a value of 15 billion rupees per year. A manufacturing plant of Kirloskar Oil Engines [KOEL] is set up in 5 star MIDC at Kagal near Kolhapur, besides this Raymond clothes plant is also located in the same industrial area. Besides this Kolhapur has two more industrial areas wiz. Gokul-Shirgaon MIDC, Shiroli MIDC & Udyamnagar is an industrial area in the city
Tourism is another source of revenue with about three million visitors to the city per year. Kolhapur’s attractions include: an 85 feet (26 m) idol of the Lord Ganesh at the Chinmaya mission (Top-Sambhapur); the Tara Rani equestrian statue which stands on two of the horse’s legs; and a bronze statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar at Bindu chowk, inaugurated on 7 December 1950. At the annual Dusshera procession, the Kolhapur Maybach car of the chhatrapatis of Kolhapur is displayed to the public.
In 1929, the Maharashtra Film Company was established in Kolhapur by Baburao Painter. The city has become the primary centre for the Marathi film industry. Kolhapur plays host to many film festivals, including the Kolhapur International Film Festival. In 2012, the chief minister of Maharashtra announced a new film city at Kolhapur.