Solapur, a picturesque city in the state of Maharashtra, India, is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. The city is home to a myriad of tourist attractions in maharashtra, from ancient temples to majestic forts and serene lakes. In this article, we will explore the top 10 must-visit spots in Solapur, and learn about their historical and cultural significance.
1. Siddheshwar Temple
The Siddheshwar Temple is an iconic temple situated in the middle of the beautiful Siddheshwar Lake, surrounded by water on all sides. This temple ranks as the most picturesque tourist spot in the entire city of Solapur. Constructed by a devoted disciple of Sri Mallikarjuna, who belonged to Srisailam from Shri Siddharamehswar, the temple houses the idol of Siddheshwar, signifying the holy incarnation of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
The temple is located on Siddheshwar Lake, which consists of three gates that allow you to enter the temple’s courtyard. The lake’s serene waters and lush surroundings make it an ideal spot for relaxation and reflection.
Adjacent to the temple, a lush green garden houses a small shrine dedicated to Saint Nalatwad. The temple complex also accommodates a few shrines built in worship of Lord Vithoba and Goddess Rukmini. The Siddheshwar Temple is worth at least one visit while you are in Solapur.
2. Naldurg Fort
Situated about 45 km away from Solapur in the Osmanabad District, the Naldurg Fort is a famous historic monument. Originally called Yeral, the fort was owned by the Bahmani Sultans before being passed to the Mughal Empire.
Nar and Madi Waterfalls
Naldurg Fort is especially famous for its picturesque waterfalls, known as Nar and Madi, which translate to Male and Female in the local language. These waterfalls are at their scenic best during the monsoons or the post-monsoon period when they are in full swell, cascading down the stunning mountains.
The fort itself is a historic wonder, depicting a classic Indo-Islamic style of architecture. This unique architectural style sets the Naldurg Fort apart from the numerous forts scattered across Maharashtra.
3. Chand Bawdi
Constructed by Ali Adil Shah in 1557, Chand Bawdi is a massive water tank located near the eastern boundary of Bijapur. It took nearly three years to build and once provided water to the entire city of Bijapur, boasting a storage capacity of 20 million liters of water.
Significance and Legacy
Chand Bawdi later became a benchmark for other tanks created in the region. An exquisite complex was built around the tank, mainly used for maintaining the royal family and their recreational purposes. Ali Adil Shah named the tank after his wife, Chand Bibi.
4. Gol Gumbad
Located in the village of Bijapur, roughly 100 kilometers away from Solapur city, the Gol Gumbad is a highly prominent part of India’s ancient cultural history due to its architectural significance. The term “Gol Gumbad” translates to “Rose Dome,” referencing the lotus and rose petals surrounding the base of the dome, making it resemble a budding flower.
The mausoleum was built in memory of Mohammed Adil Shah, the then Sultan of Bijapur, in 1656 by Yaqut of Dabul, a renowned architect of that time. The tomb spans an enormous area of 18,000 sq ft and boasts one of the largest and most luxurious chamber spaces in the world.
The Whispering Gallery
The Whispering Gallery found inside the monument is an exciting place where even the softest sound can be heard on the mausoleum’s other side due to its architectural brilliance that shrewdly took care of the acoustics. The simplicity of the tomb’s structure is both captivating and regarded as the “structural triumph of Deccan architecture.”
5. Asar Mahal
Constructed under the guidance of Mohammed Adil Shah in 1646, the Asar Mahal served as the Hall of Justice for the reigning kingdom at that time. The monument dates back almost three and a half centuries and also served as a unique place to preserve the hair from the Prophet’s beard.
The entire monument is exquisitely made with fine attention paid to every little detail. The upper storey of the building is adorned with amazing frescoes paintings. The festival of Urs was organized and celebrated annually at this very place.
Square Tank and Mosque
The front porch of the site is home to a square tank – a place that was barred for royal women. There are three large tanks placed here, with the largest being almost 15 ft deep. The other two tanks are smaller in dimensions and depth. Behind the historic monument of Asar Mahal, one can still witness the remains of an old mosque on top of a citadel wall, about a kilometer away. The mosque consists of a grand entrance, and the entire place is made of stone that holds plenty of inscriptions on each one of them. The Asar Mahal is currently maintained under the Archaeological Survey of India.
6. Moti Baug Lake
Also known as Kambar Talao Lake, Moti Baug is a popular bird-watching center in Solapur. This spot is a favorite among nature lovers and bird watchers who visit to observe the numerous migratory birds that make Moti Baug Lake their temporary haven.
Kambar Talao was once filled with pretty pink and white lotuses that floated on its surface. However, since the Solapur Municipal Corporation took up the maintenance and cleaning of the tank, there have been fewer lotuses. A few lotuses still remain, adding beauty to this natural haven.
7. Revansiddheswar Mandir
Located near the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Nannaj and the Moti Baug Talao, the Revanisiddheshwar Mandir is an ancient temple with significant cultural importance. These three major attractions hold great potential for tourist development, especially as an International Bird Park.
History and Festivities
The Revanisiddheshwar Temple was built in dedication to a renowned saint named Revanisiddheshwara. The temple’s chamber basement houses the great saint’s idol, while the shrine is covered by several stone chambers. The Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervor at this temple, which hosts a large animal market during the auspicious occasion.
8. Bhuikot Fort
A significant attraction around Solapur, the Bhuikot Fort was built during the Bahamani Dynasty’s rule in the 14th Century AD. History states that Aurangzeb spent quite some time in this fort, and once handed over to the Peshwas, Bajirao II also resided here.
Animal Park and Family Activities
The fort is popular for its Animal Park, home to various animals like ducks, peacocks, rabbits, and monkeys, among others. Children will enjoy the numerous amusement facilities available here. This locale is ideal for spending some quiet time with your family, watching the animals, or simply admiring the picturesque landscape. A nearby octagonal well also dates back to the Bhuikot Fort’s era.
9. Shri Dahigaun Tirth
Located in a village with the same name within Solapur District, the Shri Dahigaun Tirth is a popular Jain pilgrim destination. Revered for its 244 cm high black-colored idol of Lord Bhagwan Mahavir seated in a Padmasana position, the temple also houses the holy footprints of Mahattisagarji Maharaj Saheb, dating back to the Vikram era in 1889.
Temple Art and Legend
The temple walls are ornately decorated and beautifully crafted. Exquisite paintings hang on these ancient walls, including a special oil painting of Digmabar Acharyas. The legend behind the Tirth claims that believers and devotees rid themselves of all their agonies and curses here because Mahattasagarji ardently meditated for them. The Tirth center is easily reachable by bus from Solapur’s bus or railway station.
10. Kudal Sangam
Kudal Sangam is a historically significant pilgrim center located on the banks of the rivers Sina and Bhim. With a history dating back 800 years, Kudal Sangam is home to the oldest temple built in the Hemandpathi style of architecture.
Unique Lingam and Local History
The Lingam found at Kudal Sangam is unique and not found anywhere else in India. The Kudal Sangam Development Board has been set up by the Government to aid in developing this spot into a pilgrim center. The Naldurg Forts, Nar and Madi waterfalls are nearby, and the famous rivers Krishna and Ghatprabha converge here and flow towards another historic spot – Srisaila.
Kudal Sangam has the oldest Hemad Panthi temple, and the Lingam found here is not found anywhere else. Basveshwara, a revered sage, once lived in Kudal Sangam, adding to the site’s cultural importance.
Velapur, a small village located about 32 km away from Pandharpur and close to Solapur, houses a famous temple of historical importance in the northeastern part. Built in the Hemandpathi style of architecture, the temple is home to nearly 20 stone memorials alongside its shrine.
Hara-Nareshwara Temple and Village Structures
The Hara-Nareshwara Temple is another temple in the nearby vicinity, which leads visitors down a flight of steps riddled with inscriptions to a square water tank. The village is replete with old structures and buildings that provide a glimpse into the cultural lifestyle of the people who lived here centuries ago. Velapur is easily accessible from Solapur city via local buses or the Solapur railway station.
12. Indra Bhawan
Indra Bhawan, established in 1907 by the Late Shri Appasaheb Varad, is a three-story structure managed by the Solapur Municipal Corporation. This attraction can be visited on all days from 11 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
13. Nannaj – Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary
Popularly known as the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, Nannaj was identified by B. S. Kulkarni in 1971 as a tourist hotspot in Solapur. The sanctuary is an International Tourist Centre and home to the extremely rare Great Indian Bustard, or Maldhok.
Wildlife and Historic Fort
The sanctuary spans over a massive area of about 8,500 sq km and is home to a 14th-century Muslim fort. The Great Indian Bustard, the common mongoose, the Indian fox, the hyena, the blackbuck, and the wolf are among the numerous animals found within the sanctuary’s precincts.
14. Ekrukh Hipparga Talao
The Ekrukh Hipparga Talao is a combination of the Hipparga Lake and the attached Ekrukh Tank. Established during the British rule of Solapur by Colonel Fife, this Talao has an abundant water supply all year long and was the main source of water supply to the entire district of Solapur. The Ekrukh Tank at the lake is considered the second-largest irrigation project in the Deccan region.
The Karmala village is home to several religiously significant temples, with Barshi and Mangalwedha also housing saints who gave rise to these places of worship. The temple architecture in Karmala is unique in its style, with one temple having a significant connection to the number 96. The structure is built with 96 pillars, accommodates 96 pictures, and has 96 steps leading to the temple gates.
Kamala Bhawani Temple
Constructed in 1727 by Rao Raje Nimbhalkar, the Kamala Bhawani Temple is one of the most prominent temples in Karmala. Dedicated to Goddess Kamaladevi, the temple is styled in the Hemandpathi style of architecture. Festivals like Navratri and Kartik Poornima see an increase in pilgrim crowds seeking the Goddess’s blessings.
In conclusion, Solapur is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking to explore India’s rich heritage. Whether you’re interested in ancient temples, majestic forts, or serene lakes, Solapur has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover the wonders of this captivating city.