Panhala Fort


Panhala Fort

Panhala lies on the Sahyadri Mountain Range and is situated in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. It is about 22 km to the northwest of Kolhapur on the Kolhapur-Ratnagiri road and is at an altitude of 3177 feet above sea level.


Panhala fort was built between 1178 and 1209 CE, one of 15 forts (others including Bavda, Bhudargad, Satara, and Vishalgad) built by the Shilahara ruler Bhoja II. A copper plate found in Satara shows that Raja Bhoja held court at Panhala from 1191–1192 CE. About 1209–10, Bhoja Raja was defeated by Singhana (1209–1247), the most powerful of the Devgiri Yadavas, and the fort subsequently passed into the hands of the Yadavas. Apparently it was not well looked after and it passed through several local chiefs. In 1376 inscriptions record the settlement of Nabhapur to the south-east of the fort.

It was an outpost of the Bahamanis of Bidar. Mahmud Gawan, an influential prime minister, encamped here during the rainy season of 1469. On the establishment of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur in 1489, Panhala came under Bijapur and was fortified extensively. They built the strong ramparts and gateways of the fort which, according to tradition, took a hundred years to build. Numerous inscriptions in the fort refer to the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah, probably Ibrahim I (1534–1557).

Main features

This is Amazing Travel Agency !

Fortifications and bastions (Tatabandi)

More than 7 km of fortifications (Tatabandi) define the approximately triangular zone of Panhala fort. The walls are protected for long sections by steep escarpments, reinforced by a parapet with slit holes. The remaining sections have 5–9 m (2–5 ft) high ramparts without a parapet, strengthened by round bastions the most notable of which is Rajdindi.

Andhar Bavadi

Whenever an army besieged a fort, their first action was to poison the main water source of the fort. To counter this, Adil Shah commissioned the building of the Andhar Bavadi (Hidden Well).This is a three-storey structure with winding staircases that conceal the well which was the main water source for Panhala fort. There are recesses in the wall so that soldiers can be permanently stationed.

Kalavanticha Mahal

The name of this building, which is also called Nayakini Sajja, literally means "Courtesans' Terrace room". It stands on the east side of the fort close to the rampart. By 1886, it had become a complete wreck with only traces of ornamental work on the ceiling.This was used during the occupation of the fort by the Bahmani Sultanate as a Rang Mahal(residences for the ladies of the court.

Sajja Kothi

Sajja Kothi is a one-storey structure built by Ibrahim Adil Shah in 1500 CE.It is also built in the Bijapuri style. Sajja Kothi was constructed as a viewing pavilion looking over the valley below. The domed upper chambers have faceted pendentives with the balconies hanging over the ramparts of the fort.This is where Shivaji imprisoned his son, Sambhaji, when he threatened to defect to Aurangzeb.

Teen Darwaza

The Teen Darwaza was one of the three double gateways of the fort - the others being the Char Darwaja and Wagh Darwaja.The Char Darwaza was destroyed when during the British siege. The Teen Darwaja gate which is the main entrance to the fort is located north of the Andhar Bavai on the West side of the fort.It is a double gate with a court in between that has arcades. The outer gate has an ornate chamber on top with decorated eaves.The inner gate from the court is highly decorated with the lintel having finely carved motifs, including one of Ganesh. The latter has been placed by the Marathas during their occupation of the fort.


The Amberkhana, situated in the center of the fort, were three granaries built in the Bijapuri style of architecture. They enabled Shivaji to withstand a 5 month siege by Siddhi Johar.It consists of three buildings called the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati Kothis. It covers an area of 950 sq m and is 10.5 m high.Rice, nachni and warai were the major provisions stored.Stairs on both sides lead the top of the buildings. It has sixteen bays each with its own flat vault with a hole on top through which grain used to be passed.The eastern entrance has a domed chamber with a balconey and plasterwork of the Bijapuri style.

Dharma Kothi

This was an additional granary next to the three granaries that constituted the Amberkhana. It was a stone building 55 feet by 48 feet by 35 feet high. This has an entrance and a staircase that leads to the terrace.

Wagh Darwaza

This was another entrance to the fort. It was designed to elude invaders such that they would get trapped into a small courtyard and could then be easily neutralized. It has an elaborate Ganesh motif at the entrance.

Rajdindi bastion

The Rajdindi bastion was one of the hidden exits of the fort to be used in times of an emergency. It was used by Shivaji to escape to Vishalgad during the Battle of Pavan Khind.Rajdindi is still intact.

Temples and mausoleums

There are temples devoted to Sambhaji II, Someshwar and Ambabai in addition to the Mahakali temple. The Ambabai temple is very old and it was here that Shivaji would make offerings before embarking on major expeditions.

Current use

The palace of Tarabai, arguably the fort's most famous resident, is still intact. It is now used to house a school, several government offices and a boys' hostel.[17] The rest of the fort is in ruins though the structures within the fort are frequented by tourists who visit Panhala town- a major hill station. It has been declared as a protected monument by the government.


This is Amazing Travel Agency !

Subscribe to our Newsletter

& Discover the best offers!