Rankala Lake is located at a distance of half a kilometre from the famous Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur with a circumference of 2.5 miles. This was an extensive mine of black stone that has witnessed many historical events. The earthquakes during 800-900 AD transformed the mine into big holes through which water from underground collected and the lake thus formed was called the Rankala lake because at its centre lies the temple of Rankabhairav. This wide and spacious lake is believed to be the oldest of all lakes in the State.
Legend has it that a golden temple is submerged under the
temple of Rankabhairav. It was given importance in the past because of a
big temple of 'Nandi' situated next to it. The idol of Nandi is very big
and rare. A fine resort called 'Sandhya Math' had been built here. The
'Sandhya Math' in the lake is mostly under water during the rainy reason.
Around Rankala Lake, there is enough to keep you occupied. This lake is picturesque and it's a pleasure to go for a walk along this lake. One can reach the water from two spots, from Raj Ghat and Maratha Ghat. There is a tower on the Raj Ghat. In front of this tower are the Shalini Palace and Ambai swimming tank. The spot is famous for movie shootings. Shant Kiran Studio on Rankala Lake was shot in numerous movies.
The Shalini Palace stands on the west bank of the lake. It is built of intricately carved black stone and Italian marble. Towering palm trees, lush greenery and lovely gardens surround the palace. Recently, the palace was converted into a hotel, which is the only star-rated palace hotel in Maharashtra.
To the southeast of the lake is Padmaraje garden. It is a popular evening spot and a recreation centre. Chaupati and other gardens surround the lake.
Kolhapur is well connected by air, rail and road with the important places within and beyond the state. Taxis, auto's and city buses are available for local transportation. Tourists can reach Rankala Lake using local transportation.
Accommodation is available at the hotels in Kolhapur.