|Town Hall with famous Shivaji statute|
I often pass by Town Hall enroute to famous Ambabai / Mahalaxmi Temple; during my yearly visits to Kolhapur. Every year; my plans of visiting Town Hall did not fructify due to multiple reasons.This year; I was determined to visit Town Hall - come what may !!
I was vaguely aware that there is a small Museum on the premises; but was totally unprepared for this magnificent Neo - Gothic building with a lovely lush green garden !! The entire place looks quite majestic and island of peace - far away from maddening traffic and blaring ambulances from CPR Hospital across the main road !
|Then : Old pic of Town Hall.. Credit : British Library|
|Now: Present day Town Hall June 2019. |
Compare both pics. nothing seems to have changed except for minor modifications
The Town Hall was built in 1876 by Charles Mant & was converted in to a museum to house Satavahana-period items discovered in excavation at a nearby Bramhapuri Hill. This establishes Kolhapur's connection with ancient Greece and other global trading hubs. Notable items are figurines of the Greek god Poseidon, riders on an elephant, pottery fragments, coins and beads. Kolhapur being a cultural hub of #Maharashtra; there are different dedicated galleries to display various relics, artifacts , sculpture, weapons and old photos of Kolhapur. There is also a art gallery displaying paintings by notable Kolhapur artists. The most striking artefact is the Portuguese giant bell captured by Peshwas and donated to famous Ambabai [Mahalaxmi] temple in Kolhapur. How did it land in the Town Hall is not known !
Unfortunately; I couldn't find any history of Town Hall prior its conversion to a Museum. I guess; it must have been used for local administrative purposes.
|Backside of TownHall. Note the boarded up columns & imagine the place apx 100+ yrs ago !!|
There is also a war memorial dedicated to brave soldiers from Kolhapur who fought during World War I.
The Town Hall is located in a lush green campus which shields it from incessant traffic noises outside. Once can come & sit peacefully amidst without getting disturbed by amorous couples, children and vendors.
|A house on the campus|
On the whole; Town Hall is a must visit atleast once when you are in Kolhapur. It barely takes about 30-45 minutes [depending on your interest level] to do the Museum tour.
While majority of Kolhapur residents are aware of Town Hall; unfortunately; very few locals and tourists visit the place. One attendant told me that the Museum barely gets footfalls of less than 100-150 even during the peak tourist season. This is rather sad; considering the entrance fees cost INR 3. Never saw a different fee structure for foreigners. Photography is prohibited inside the Museum.
Make a visit to Town Hall - the next time you are in Kolhapur ; especially if you are a History & Nature buff. If not; still visit the place to get a feel of local history !!!
Connect with me to get more details on this place.