A little-visited town, Kolhapur is the perfect place to get intimate with the flamboyant side of India. Only a few hours from Goa, this historic town boasts an intensely fascinating temple complex. In August, Kolhapur is at its vibrant best, when Naag Panchami, a snake-worshipping festival, is held in tandem with one at Pune. Gastronomes take note: the town is also the birthplace of the famed, spicy Kolhapuri cuisine, especially chicken and mutton dishes.
The old town around the Mahalaxmi Temple is 3km southwest of the bus and train stations, while the ‘new’ palace is a similar distance to the north. Rankala Lake, a popular spot for evening strolls, is 5km southwest of the stations.