The Rankala Lake is a very famous tourist attraction for people from all over the world. Marked by the natural beauty and peaceful environment it provides, it sure does become one of the must-visits on everyone's list. The lake was constructed by Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the then king of Kolhapur. Rajgath and Marathghat are the two ghats that the lake has. The lake covers an area of as large as 107 hectares. The lake is generally visited during the evening time.
A person who visits the lake is likely never to get bored of it since there is so much more to it like Shalini Palace to its west and the evergreen Padma Raje gardens to its east. There is a park on the southeast bank of the lake where one can spend a relaxed picnic with food stalls serving delicious dishes. Some of these food items include chaat, bhelpuri, roasted corns, etc. Horse-riding, as well as boating too, are offered to the tourists at a very nominal price. It has recently become a popular spot for the shooting of Hindi movies.
The Rankala Lake never existed from the very start. It was a stone quarry- unbelievable but true! There is believed to be an earthquake which shook the face of the earth in 9th Century AD due to which there was a shift, and the underground water surfaced up covering the quarry thereby creating the so-called natural lake. Rankala as a name is derived from the Rankabhairav temple which was said to be plunged into the water in the center of it. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and follows an unusual ritual according to which when the idol of 'Nandi (a form of Lord Shiva)' will reach the lake, it will mark the end of Earth.
Rankala Lake is well connected by roads. One can either take a train or a flight to Kolhapur. Auto-rickshaws are available from the railway station which is 5 km away from the lake. The airport is situated at a distance of 17 km from the lake and can be reached by hiring a cab.
Rankala lake can be visited throughout the year. It is very famous for its boating. One must take care and follow all safety tips while boating. Also, take care of the belongings and consult the locals in case of any ambiguity related to the way.