Present day district of Kolhapur was a former princely state and historic seat of Chatrapati Shivaji's capital. Due to presence of River Krishna, Panchganga and their tributaries, Kolhapur is blessed with highly fertile soil. Sugarcane and jiggery are prominent produce.

Kolhapur finds description in ancient texts of 'Padmapurana' and 'Skandapurana' in the names of 'Karveer' and 'Dakshin Kashi'. The prominent and historical temples belong to Satavahana and Shilahara kings. The archaeological excavations took place around 1945 AD nearby Brahmagiri hill on the banks of Panchaganga river found Kolhapur as an ancient town. The antiquity, thus of Kolhapur goes back to the time of Roman Empire.

The hill fort of Panhala is of historical importance as Sambhaji, Chatrapati Shivaji's son, was detained there. The Jyotiba temple at nearby hilltop is also a tourist attraction of Kolhapur. The Ambabai Temple in Kolhapur city draws thousands of pilgrims from all over India. Kolhapur is a city rich with history and culture.

The city produced world famous wrestlers, singers, musicians and pioneering film artists and producers. Kolhapur has some magnificent palaces, gardens and huge water reservoirs. It also has a library, few colleges and a university, named after Shivaji Maharaj. Leather footwears are known for their workmanship and style. Silver ornaments of Kolhapur are popular in India and abroad.

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