Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kolhapur Mahotsav


Kolhapur may have derived its name from the demon Kolhasur who got killed by Mahalakshmi, but the goddess still rules here. For, Kolhapur is also best-known for having the highest number of Mercedes in the state only after Mumbai.

Nevertheless, it took a man of unconventional energy, Mr. Vinay Kore, the Minister for Non-conventional Energy and Horticulture to actually bring Kolhapur to Mumbai. On Jan 11, The Prati-Kolhapur Mahotsav will see a congregation of over 2 lakh Kolhapurites come together at Shivaji Park, Mumbai on January 11. The day will also mark the establishment of Raja Shri Sahu Kolhapur Vikas Prathisthan that strives for the development of this historic town.

Visually, Nitin Desai has, with his amazing art direction expertise, brought Kolhapur to Mumbai in the real sense, recreating the glory of Kolhapur at Shivaji Park, complete with the temples and historic structures.

The Mahotsav has a lot to offer. From the famous hot and spicy Kolhapuri misal to tambra-pandra rassa to the vada and bhaji to the ghaati mutton to the the molten gold of Kolhapur-jaggery, the fest is a treat for the taste buds. The Kolhapuri saaz and the other traditional silver jewellery and articles, the clothing range from Ichhal Karanji and of course, the ever-haute Kolhapuri chappal vie for space, while corporates of the likes of Warna, and educational institutions like DY Patil College will make their presence felt. Art and culture of Kolhapur will also reign --dhanpatta, lezim, kushti, laavni, gondhal and dhargani dhol among others will rule the roost.

"This is just the beginning", enthuses Mr. Vinay Kore, Minister for Non-conventional Energy and Horticulture, and the visionary who conceptualized the entire Fest. "We are looking at the Raja Shri Sahu Kolhapur Vikas Pratishtan being housed on a two-acre land with a 10,000-capacity hostel facility, a business development centre, an employment exchange office, a counselling centre among others. There is still a long way to go."

The Prati-Kolhapur Mahotsav will be inaugurated by Mr. Ashok Chavan, Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Mr. Chhagan Bhujbal, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra on January 11.


India's pre independence history is in fact, history of kings and their kingdoms. Kolhapur is not different from the others, it has also seen and gone under the various regimes and since the emergence of the Marathas, the place was being ruled by the Bhonsle dynasty.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was not among the male ancestor of this dynasty as he was born as the eldest son of Appasahed Ghatge [Chief of Kagal(Senior)] on 26th June 1874 and was named as Yashwatrao Ghatge. Those were the days around the Holi [an Indian Festival related with colour and usually celebrated in the months of March – April] in the year 1884, when Rani Shrimant Anandibai Raje Saheb decided to adopt him and made him Chhatrapati of the princely state of Kolhapur.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj ascended the throne of Kolhapur in 1894, bringing an end to the 50 year old regency administration. His reign of 28 years from 1894 to 1922 ushered A new era of social, cultural and economic reforms for which he is remembered as one of the greatest rulers in Maharashtra.

The most benevolent and progressive rule of only 28 years from 1894 to 1922 of Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur was a distinct epoch and an important landmark in the history of modern Maharashtra as it engendered a number of socio-religious movements of a revolutionary nature like the Vedokta Movement, the Satya Shodhak Movement. These movements were mainly responsible for effecting social change on a large scale and for helping the rise of new social leadership in Maharashtra.

It is pertinent to note that as Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj was the prominent central figure and the powerful moving force of these movements, he exerted tremendous influence on planning a social revival and on changing the course of social history in Maharashtra.


* Kolhapur is one of the oldest civilizations of the country. Kolhapur's cultural history is dated back to 17th Century. Situated at the banks of River Panchganga, Kolhapur is called as DAKSHIN KASHI for its spiritual history.

* Kolhapur is a very ancient city, famous for its food, headwear, footwear, jewellery, wrestling and religious connections. According to legend it was settled by Kolhasur, a demon who was later killed by Mahalakshmi to relieve the local populace. However, honouring the demon's dying wish, the city was named after him.

* The land of magnificent temples, the town of Kolhapur is known as the religious pride of Maharashtra. Nestled in the tranquil laps of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, it is situated on the verge of the river Panchganga.

* Kolhapur finds mentions in Devi Gita, the final and most important chapter of the Srimad Devi Bhagawatam, as one the important places of Shakti worship.

* Surrounded by rivers from all directions with Krishna Ganiki to the east, Shiva and Mayuri to the west, Veda and Yaksha to the south and to the north, Krishna and Warana, this part of terra firma houses a plethora of fascinating temples. It is believed to be a milk-rich area and the hill-side weather conditions are believed to be beneficial for bodybuilders.

* Also termed as a city of palaces and gardens, Kolhapur is a historic Maratha city, with the Mahalakshmi temple forming the focus.

* While the states of Gwalior, Indore, and Baroda are the residue of the great Maratha military expansion of the eighteenth century, Kolhapur is the last trace of the founding father of Maratha power, the seventeenth- century warrior, Shivaji.

* Kolhapur was an imperative Buddhist base during 3rd century BC. There's evidence to prove the same. Even today this place is termed as Dakshin Kashi and is believed to be 108 kalpas old (1 kalpa = 100 years). Also called Karveer, a very rich and glamourous town once, it was turned entirely into shambles in the 8th and the 9th century; the cause... earthquakes. Later, the Rashtrakoot kings thought of bringing back the town to life and developing it to form an important city. That they did, and the city got a new face in the 12th century. It was then declared as the capital of the King Sheeldatta. 1945 witnessed certain archaeological excavations near a hill in Kolhapur.

* Kolhapur has one of the highest per-capita income for a city in India. Trade is mostly dependent on farming of cash crops like sugarcane, the metal industry with important inputs from textiles and mining. The prosperity and the resulting spending prowess of the Kolhapuri people was famously reported in a list of cities with the highest number of Mercedes cars in the state of Maharashtra, where Kolhapur came second only to Mumbai[2].

* Another field that Kolhapur prides itself of is films. In certain circles, Kolhapur was and is still considered the capital of the Marathi film industry. Legendary personalities like Bhalaji Pendharkar, Baburao Painter and V. Shantaram started their careers from Kolhapur. It has been credited as the place where Raja Harishchandra, the first feature film ever produced in India was conceptualised. Kolhapur still plays host to many film festivals and provides location for shooting. Kolhapur is also a strong political center.

* As of 2001 India census,[5] Kolhapur had a population of 485,183. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Kolhapur has an average literacy rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 75%. In Kolhapur, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

* Kolhapur is now developing into a futuristic city. Hopefully we will be able to develop into an IT City in near future.


Mr. Vinay Kore (born October 4, 1971) is the leader of the Jan Surajya Shakti Party of Warananagar, Maharashtra, India. He was born in Sangli. He is the grandson of Tatyasaheb Kore. Vinay Kore was chosen to take the reins of Warna Complex, from where he started an unprecedented progress in evolution of this already famous co-operative in Asia. He is also the Chairman of the Warana Group of Industries & the Honourable Minister of Non-Conventional Energy & Horticulture, Govt. of Maharashtra.

Tatyasaheb Kore was the first one to bring a sugar factory to the area nearly 50 years ago. Now its turnover is around Rs 250 crore.

Warananagar is now an engineering and agricultural town. This small upcoming town houses the Warana dairy, an engineering college, arts and science college, pharmacy college, dental college, several schools, an agricultural goods processing cooperative society, cooperative supermarket, a fruit pulp factory, paper factory, a distillery where industrial alcohol is made -- the list is endless.

It is also where Lijjat Papad and Bournvita are made. Then there is the Wired Village Project, which links 70 villages in the area to the Internet. Its applications relate to agriculture produce, schemes, and crop technology. The residents of the also use it for educational purposes.

The project, the first in Asia, costs Rs 2.5 crore and was funded by the central (50%) and state governments (40%) The Kore family has a direct hand in all these achievements and this is the goodwill that Vinay Kore is depending on.

In fact, such is his influence in the area that the NCP did not put up a candidate against him when he contested as an independent and won from Panhala in Kolhapur district. Mr. Kore wants to break the Congress-NCP stranglehold in the area and he knows that if his party can win even four seats, it will be the beginning of a new era in western Maharashtra

The Prati-Kolhapur Mahotsav is the brainchild of Mr. Vinay Kore.

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