Panhala or Panhalgarh, about 19kms north-west of Kolhapur, is possibly the largest and most important fort of the Deccan. Roughly triangular in shape, the hill fort stands at a height of about 850 metres and has a circumference of approximately 7.25kms. Half of its length is protected by a natural scarp reinforced by a parapet wall and the remaining half is surrounded by a strong stone wall strengthened with bastions. The fort had three magnificent double walled gates, out of which two have survived. The Teen Darwaza to the west is an imposing and powerful structure. There are a number of ruined monuments in the fort. The most impressive among them are the three huge granaries. The largest among them, the Ganga Kothi, cover nearly 950 sq m space and 10.7 metres high. In the north-east corner there is a double story building, called Sajja Kothi, where Shivaji had imprisoned his errant son, Sambhaji.
Panhala was the capital of the Shilahara king Bhoja II during 1178-1209 Ad. It was successively held by the Yadava and Bahamani Kings. In 1489 AD, the fort and the territory was taken over by the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur. Shivaji seized the fort in 1659 AD. It was from here that Shivaji, when encircled by the forces of Siddi Johar, escaped one rainy night to Vishalgarh. Later, the fort remained with the Marathas, except for a short period in between, when it went to the Mughals. The fort remained with the Kolhapur State till India achieved independence.
The famous Marathi poet Moropanta (1729-94Ad) was bron and brought up at Panhala. There is also the Samadhi of Ramachandra Amatya, the author of Ajnapatra, an important work on statecraft, including for construction. Today, Panhala is a sort of hill station and provides all the necessary facilities for tourists.
The nearest airport is at Kolhapur, which lies at a short distance of 35 kilometer far off from Panhala. There are many Indian Airlines that operates domestic flights which well connects other main cities of Maharashtra and India. Once you hail here, just outside the airport you can get numerous facilities of tourist taxi to reach Panhal. The nearest airport is Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport which schedule regular international flights for tourist to hail here who travels from other countries of the world. this intenational airport is situated at a long distance of 420 kilometer far away from Panhala Fort, it also well connects not only major cities of India but also some cities of abroad. Other main domestic airports near by Panhala are Kolhapur Airport (25 kilometer), Sambre Airport in Belgaum (120 kilometer), and Lohegaon Airport in Pune (197 kilometer).
The nearest railway station is Kolhapur, which lies at a distance of 30 kilometer far off from Panhala. The railhead in Kolhapur is fine linked with two main cities of Maharashtra such as Mumbai and Pune. It also connects with meter gauge railroads that pass through the other major cities and towns in India. The most popular junction where frequent trains and expresses are available is Mumbai’s VT Railway where you can get railheads to Panhala. Once you reach Kolhapur railway station, ranges of tourist taxis are available to reach at Panhala Fort. From Bangalore, you can board Rani Chennamma train which arrives at 1.40 PM every day. From Mumbai (Sahyadri Express- 06.05 AM), (Mahalaxmi Express- 07.20 AM) all days, and many more.
Traveling by road is perfect option to reach Panhala fort, which well connects to all major cities of Mumbai by the public transport of buses. It is the cheapest Transportation one can choice instead of taxis because it will charge you quite expensive. There are plenty of regular bus services that ply between Kolhapur as well as Panhala. Some of the buses also link with Pune that lies at a distance of 200 kilometer and Nasik around 450 kilometers. Other than state bus services, there are also tourist taxis which will charge you around Rs. 600 to Rs. 650 INR, the chargers varies as per the season.