It is believed to be linked directly to a well in Panhala Fort which Shivaji Maharaj is believed to have crossed. Nowadays it is a famous spot for residents of Kolhapur to spend the weekends. It lies in Kolhapur. In recent past, Kolhapur Municipal corporation has built "Padpath Udyan" for a lakeside walk. This lake was constructed by Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. It is located on the western side of MahaLakshmi temple. This wide and spacious lake is so called because at its centre lies the temple of Rankabhairav.
Prior to the 8th century this historical place was just a stone quarry. In the earthquake which took place sometime in the 9th century some natural structural change took place in the quarry. Water started accumulating in this quarry due to opening of an underground source. This accumulated water is today’s famous Rankala Lake. This historic lake has a temple with very big Nandi. As per Hindu mythology Lord Shiva uses Nandi for traveling. It is believed that this idol of Nandi moves about a distance of a single wheat grain towards the lake and back about a distance of single rice grain daily. It is also said that when this idol reaches the lake the whole world will be destroyed. Sandhya Math was built on the banks of this lake. Towards the north side of this lake there is "Shalani Palace" and towards north-east "Padmaraje Garden" makes the scene of this lake enchanting. Recently for development of tourism, South-East bank the lake has been developed into a pathway, park and sit-outs. This historical lake has a temple nearby with a mammoth structure of Nandi, the chariot of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that a golden temple is submerged under the temple of Rankabhairav.
It is surrounded by chowpati, other gardens and pathway. The area surrounding the lake has been converted into a garden where people sell Bhel-Puri, Ragda Patis and various mouth-watering snacks like roasted corns etc. Rankala is also famous for horse riding and boating. . The Shalini Palace stands on the west bank of the lake. It is built of intricately carved black stone and Italian marble. Recently, the palace is now converted into a hotel.
Today lake is facing problem of sewage pollution due to discharge of nallahs from residential areas nearby. Occurrence of algal species since last three years has led concern in minds of Rankala lovers in the city. Lake is turning green since 2011 in every August as this year also. KMC (Kolhapur Municipal Corporation) is striving hard to cope up with eutrophication. Problem of pollution is aggravated by visitors as they throw wastes in to the lake.