Apparently the monsoon was building up while we were waiting for it to come. I went to Kolhapur this weekend as a class trip and it poured the entire time. As we drove there small waterfalls where pouring down the hills as we winded through the Western Ghats south to Kolhapur. It took us about four hours to reach Kolhapur, and upon arrival, we found that the monsoon was alive and well there.
Our adventure began first by going to New Palace Museum where the Maharaja of Kolhapur’s family still resides. The first floor is the museum, which houses furniture, paintings, photographs, weapons, and clothing of a time not so long ago. Many of the artifacts on display were rather reminders of British rule, and the role that some maharajas throughout India played in supporting, directly or indirectly, British rule.
Following the visit to New Palace Museum, we went to see the central site of Kolhapur, the Mahalakshmi Temple. Many pilgrims visit Kolhapur to go to this temple (the literal translation from Marathi to go visit — darshan ghetla — means to take blessings).
The Mahalakshmi Temple is located in the old city, or old palace, of Kolhapur, and Kolhapur is famous for chappals (sandals). So after going to the temple we went bargaining for some Kolhapuri sandals. Then on our way to see Rankala Lake, we were detoured by a handicraft exhibition, which involved much bargaining in Marathi.
The next day we were supposed to see Panhala Fort outside of Kolhapur, but it had rained so much that the roads were flooded and we were unable to go. Despite spending two monsoons in India, I have never seen flooding like this in India, or anywhere else for that matter. The driver told us that even if we did make it out to the fort, it could be days before we would be able to return, so we decided just to go and see Rankala Lake and then head back to Pune. When I returned to Pune it rained heavily for a few more days. The flooding really is unbelievable. It’s amazing how much can be underwater in just a period of a few days. Despite the late arrival of monsoon, it has arrived with force. Because when it rains, it pours.