Culture of Kolhapur
The culture in Kolhapur is an amalgamation of several cultures which has been influenced by history that is several centuries old. Many elements of diverse cultures such as religion, festivals, and cuisines have made a profound impact on this city. A majority of residents in Kolhapur follow Hinduism and Marathi language is commonly used by people in both urban and rural areas of this district, and are generally referred to as 'Kolhapuri' or 'Kolhapurkar'.
Festivals and Fairs in Kolhapur
Shree Mahalakshmi Kiranotsav
Is celebrated when the sun rays fall directly on the Goddess Mahalaxmi’s idol at the time of sunset. This festival is generally celebrated on 31st January, 1st and 2nd February and on 9th, 10th and 11th November, at the time of sunset every year or depending on the planetary conditions during the year. According to Hindu mythology it is believed that the Sun God pays his respect to Goddess Mahalaxmi for three days consecutively in a year.
Kolhapur Rankala Mahotsav
This is an annual event which sees some amazing performances by artiste from all overs the country. The grounds near the Ranakala lake are the common venue for all the events and the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation oversees it.
A great festival also known as Maharashtrian new year is celebrated enthusiastically by the citizens of Kolhapur with great joy. On this day, Maharashtrians hang 'Gudis' outside their homes to thwart off evils or bad omen. A 'gudi' is a long stick on top with a kalash (brass or silver pot) hung upside down and it is covered with colourful silk cloth and decorated with a coconut, marigold flowers and mango leaves. On this auspicious day people from most communities purchase Gold or new goods useful for their house.
A holy fair of lord Jyotiba is considered one of the biggest in south Maharashtra. The pilgrimage lasts for five weeks during the Hindu month of Chaitra with the full moon day observed as the main day. Around four lakh devotees of Jyotiba who are spread among the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, and Madhya Pradesh of India visit this fair each year. The temple of Jyotiba is situated at an altitude of 3,124 feet on the hills near Panhala.
On the eve of Holi, people of Kolhapur city burn a pyre marking the death of Holika, a demon princess. This ritual symbolizes the victory of good over evil and also signals the onset of spring. On the following day the entire country celebrates Holi and since early morning, devotees are seen in temples, offering prayers. Celebrated with high degree of energy and excitement, Holi is one among the most keenly anticipated festivals in India.
Is popularly known in Kolhapur as Dahi Handi and is celebrated by local people with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. A clay pot filled with buttermilk and is positioned at a convenient height prior to the event; the topmost person on the human pyramid tries to break the handi and when it happens the buttermilk flows over the entire group showcasing their achievement through unity. Many handis are set up locally with a price tag in several parts of Kolhapur city, and groups of youngsters, called Govindas, tour around in trucks trying to break as many handis as possible during the day. With changing times these days, group of young girls are actively taking part in Dahi handi festivals organized by their housing societies and colonies with great enthusiasm.
A prominent festival of Maharashtra the Ganesh festival is marked by welcoming an idol at home and worshiping it for a period of 1 to 11 days depending on each household the period varies and then immersing it in water. This devotion brings wellness and prosperity to the family. In Kolhapur big mandals (Sarvajanic mandals) arrange shows and entertain people and are well known for their huge tall Ganpati idols (24 to 30 feet) and their immersion processions are followed with great fanfare. Kolhapur hosts the world’s tallest Lord Ganesh idol (85 feet) at Chinmaya Mission near top-Sambhapur.
Boat Rowing Competitions
Kolhapur is gifted with a good monsoon every year which makes rivers and lakes flow to their highest marks. Boat rowing competitions are held every year after rainy season on Krishna lake & Panchganga river near Norsobachiwadi. Recently rowing competitions are being arranged in Rankala lake.
Wrestling schools in rural western Maharashtra are called taleems, and not Akharas as in the rest of India. The wrestling culture here is a colourful blend. Kolhapur is home to most champion wrestlers of India. International Players from Russia, Iran, Pakistan, etc have played with Kolhapur wrestlers on Kolhapur wrestling grounds. Khasbag taleem and other wrestling stadiums in nearby villages play host to many competitions all year round.
celebrated over nine days by people of all religions in Kolhapur the festival is marked by Dandia Rass and Garba(a Gujarati folk dance).
Symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The effigy of Ravana is burnt in public and during the celebrations a procession of the present Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj and the members of the royal family in traditional attire is taken out on the only Maybach car which is still a princely possession of the Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. This model of the Maybach is the only model of its type in India today. Dassera Mahotsav is celebrated for over three days wherein local artist perform and display their talent followed by competitions in Wrestling and Kolhapuri food festival.
Other major Indian festivals like Diwali, Eid and Christmas is celebrated with equal zeal and fervour.
Traditional Kolhapur Handicraft Culture
Original Kolhapuri chappals are handcrafted buffalo leather slippers traditionally made by the local cobbler community and are further tanned by using vegetable dyes. Also known as “Pie-taan” in local language Kolhapuri chappals are world famous. There are three major types of Kolhapuri chappals the first type is made in Kolhapur and the other types are Kapashi and Dongari. Kolhapuri chappals are stout and sturdy due to which they are very popular in rural areas of Maharashtra. But there are also fashionable varieties of Kolhapuri chappals available nowadays in the local markets with extra addon materials added to make an attractive look. An exclusive footwear as it brings out the typical traditional look when worn with kurta-pyjama. Be it any occasion Marriages, festivals and parties the Kolhapuri chappal is a must have in your wardrobe. So don't forget to buy a pair when you visit Kolhapur.
The Kolhapuri 'saaj' is a traditional gold necklace with delicate craftsmanship worn by Kolhapuri women since a long time. Other jewellery items in Kolhapur are Thusshi, Bangles, Mohanmal etc a pride collection of many Indian women. The goldsmiths at Gujri Market in Kolhapur design and make these ornaments.
Traditionally in Kolhapur, the turban was worn by men of high status in society. Kolhapuri Pheta i.e. Turban is a specialty in Kolhapur. But today during many functions and festivals it is a custom to honour guest who comes from other places by the offering them to wear the traditional turban. The Pheta is a long cloth off about 3.5 to 6 meters and is of a specific saffron colour. In olden days it was necessary to be a part of the costume for male members in any household but today except from important functions and festivals, pheta is not worn regularly.
Kolhapur Cultural Dances and Entertainment (Films and Theatre)
The Lavani dance is a blend of traditional song and dance, which is specially performed to the beats of the Dholak. Derived from the word Lavanya which means ‘Beauty’ Lavani gets its name.This is one of the most popular forms of dance and music that is practiced all over Maharashtra.This can be termed as a folk dance of old Kolhapur. In olden days the Rulers kept themselves entertained with this kind of local dancing and singing.Lavani is a special type of art and with time this art is now preserved through some families and groups only. Lavani dance performances are held regularly at Keshavrao Bhosale Natyagruha and Shahu Smarak Hall which is located in the heart of city.
The Tamasha is another famous dance given by the folk theatre of Kolhapur. This dance form has been influenced from a number of other dance forms. Basically there are two types of ‘Tamasha’ performed in Kolhapur The Dholki Bhaari and The Sangeet Bhaari which contains more dance and music than drama.
Traditional a Marathi folk art 'Tamasha' is often accompanied with singing and dancing and is widely performed by local or travelling theatre groups within the state of Maharashtra.
Povadas is another famous dance type, more of a ballad, which shows the life history of great Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The great king has always held a reverential position in the hearts of the Marathi people and through these ballads they remember the great leader and his glorious life.
Kolhapur prides itself as the birthplace of Indian cinema. Mr Dadasaheb Phalake produced first film of Indian cinema named ‘Raja Harishchandra’ based on pauranic classical literature in 1913.Today Kolhapur is an important hub to the Marathi film industry which gave the film industry legends like V.Shantaram,Surykant and Chandrakant Mandare.
Kolhapur in Record Books (achievements by common people) and facts
The Children of Kolhapur set a new world record by wearing a dress of Mahatma Gandhi on his 143rd birth anniversary in the year 2012 at Tapovan, a city suburb. A total of 575 children dressed as Mahatma Gandhi gathered at Tapovan Vidaylay situated in Kolhapur district and with this act they broke the earlier Guinness Book of World Record made previously by students of Kolkata.
A barber by profession, Ramdas Namdeo Aswale from Kolhapur has entered the Limca Book of Records for his remarkable feat 460 hair cuts in 27 hours with just two breaks of 10 minutes each.
The statue of 'Queen Tararani' at Maharani Tarabai Chowk riding a horse is the only statue in the world famous for its unique architectural design. Supposedly, only one leg of the horse supports the entire statue.