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How to Reach Kolhapur from Mumbai - A Guide for Fellow Travelers

As someone who grew up in Mumbai but has family in Kolhapur, I've made the journey between these two Maharashtrian cities more times than I can count. Over the years, I've discovered the most affordable, comfortable and scenic routes.

So if you're looking to travel from Mumbai to the historic temple town of Kolhapur, allow me to guide you through some of the best options, based on my personal experiences.

Weighing the transportation options from Mumbai

The most direct options to reach Kolhapur are by train, bus, or driving your own vehicle on the Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway (NH 48).

Train travel is comfortable and the journey takes around 10-12 hours depending on the route and number of stops. You can choose between second seating, second sleeper, or AC coaches on multiple daily expresses like the Koyna Express. Tickets range from ₹300-₹1000 for second seating and ₹600-₹2500 for sleepers.

Buses ply frequently between Mumbai and Kolhapur, taking 12-14 hours. Both state transports and private operators offer Volvo and Mercedes buses with ticket prices averaging ₹700-₹1600 for a seater. The roads are well-maintained so the journey is smooth.

Self-drive road trips on NH 48 provide scenic views but do involve nearly 16 hours of driving with breaks. A one-way cab trip costs upwards of ₹5000. While self-driving, one must account for highway tolls and fuel expenses which can add up.

Considering cost, convenience and comfort - I personally recommend train travel to reach Kolhapur from Mumbai.

Breaking down the best train routes from Mumbai

Over the years, I've tried every possible train on the Mumbai-Kolhapur sector. Here are my top 3 picks for the best train travel experience:

1. Koyna Express (11023/11024)

This fast train takes around 10 hours to reach Kolhapur from Mumbai with limited stops. I prefer seating in the second sleeper class (around ₹600) for the ability to rest during the journey. The train has bio-toilets and snack/meal options are available.

2. Sahyadri Express (11029/11030)

I once traveled from Mumbai to Kolhapur on this train in AC 2-tier (₹1600 approx.) and found it exceedingly comfortable for the 12-hour journey. Sahyadri uses an LHB rake with large windows and friendly attendants. Food is included with the AC fare.

3. Vishwabharati Express (12809/12810)

On a shoestring budget? The unreserved second seating coaches (₹140 approx.) on Vishwabharati Express allow you to travel cheaply. Just be prepared to squeeze in with other passengers. I packed a home-cooked meal to last the 10.5-hour trip.

While there are faster trains, they prioritize AC coaches over second seating. For a common man like me, trains like Koyna, Sahyadri and Vishwabharati provide the best bang for the buck.

Tips for hassle-free train travel

Here are some pro tips to make your Mumbai to Kolhapur train journey pleasant:

  • Book early: Tickets tend to fill up quickly, so book 1-2 months in advance if your dates are not flexible. Tatkal is always an option for last-minute plans.

  • Travel light: Don't carry more than 1 or 2 bags per person to easily board trains with slimmer crowds.

  • Keep snacks handy: Stock up on biscuits, fruits and sandwiches for the journey since meal breaks are limited. Always carry a refillable water bottle.

  • Charge gadgets: Pack your chargers, power banks and headphones to keep phones and tablets charged. It's a long journey, after all!

  • Secure belongings: Use chains to secure your bags to the under-seat handles or luggage racks to prevent theft. Keep valuables in the upper pockets or bags that stay with you.

Home away from home

Once you've arrived in Kolhapur by train, you'll be pleased to find a thriving city steeped in history. And while you explore the Mahalakshmi temple and famous cuisine, you needn't worry about accommodation.

Kolhapur has accommodation options for all budgets - from lodges under ₹500 a night to lavish 5-star hotels. I usually book into a simple, homely lodge near the central bus stand through apps like OYO. It offers clean rooms with complimentary breakfast at bargain prices.

Additionally, if you have relatives in Kolhapur like I do, you may score free accommodation and delicious home-cooked meals! The locals are friendly too.


So the next time you plan a trip to magnificent Kolhapur from Mumbai, I hope this guide gives you a sense of the transportation and lodging options, based on my own experiences over the years.

Let me know in the comments below if you need any other tips for an enjoyable journey.


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