Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur & Its Legend Of Demons & Gods
Located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, Kolhapur’s Mahalakshmi Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas — a place associated with Shakti, the Goddess of Power — found in India. The Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur temple is revered to be one among the 6 places where devotees can either attain salvation from their desires or have them fulfilled instead.
History Of Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur
The temple belonging to the presiding deity, Goddess Mahalakshmi, also known as Ambabai was built by kings belonging to the Chalukyan Empire in the 7th century. The temple complex has been expanded over a period a time with even the Marathas contributing in the 18th century; although it is believed that in the interim period between the 8th and 10th century this revered temple was buried in the earthquake and the idol of the Goddess was housed elsewhere.
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A Tale of Valor & Undying Love
There are many legends surrounding Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur. One legend states that when a demon named Kolhasura tormented the Gods and other living beings, Goddess Mahalakshmi slayed the demon and the place of his death became a holy spot. Furthermore she took the form of a shrine in the exact place and began residing here eternally.
As per Puranic legends, another story tells that Daksha, the father of Goddess Sati; consort of Lord Shiva in a bid to insult the latter performed a yajna. Sati, unaware of the plot her father hatched against her beloved, self-immolated herself in her father’s presence upon knowing the truth. Later, deeply pained and grieved by this incident, Shiva ravaged the yagna ceremony and killed Daksha. After wreaking a havoc, Shiva at last found the burnt corpse of Sati and took it with him and began wandering the universe. It is said that in order to pacify Shiva’s grief, Lord Vishnu cut Sati’s corpse and its parts fell on the places where Shiva wandered. Legend has it that Sati’s eyes fell in the spot where the temple stands today.
The Stunning Architecture Of Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur
Kolhapur’s Mahalaxmi Temple resembles the architectural style of the early Deccan Temples – a mortar less construction. The temple has horizontal moldings and vertical offsets which produces a rich shade of light and pattern.
The temple’s main entrance, Mahadwara, opens on the western side which is also known as the Paschim Dwar, although there are three other entrances – Uttar Dwar, Dakshin Dwar and Purva Dwar. The western side entrance has several Deepmaalaas — carved grills to hold lamps — on either side through which one enters the Garuda Mandapa with square pillars and designed arches of wood resembling the Maratha architecture. This mandapa houses the image of Garuda – the vehicle of Vishnu. Following the Garuda Mandapa, is a stone mandapa housing an idol of Lord Ganesha. This is followed by three shrines facing west. The central shrine belongs to Goddess Mahalakshmi while the other two belong to Mahakali and Mahasaraswati.
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The Divine Darshan At Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur
The idol of Mahalakshmi carved in black stone is 3-feet in height and weighs about 40 kilograms. The goddess’ vehicle — a lion — carved out of a stone stands behind the idol whereas Mahalakshmi’s crown has an image of Sheshnag – the serpent of Vishnu. Unlike other Hindu idols which face north or east, the idol of Mahalakshmi faces west. The presiding deity in her four hands holds weapons and other objects of symbolic value. The upper right hand holds a mace whereas the lower right hand holds a citrus fruit. Similarly the upper left hand holds a shield whereas the lower left hand holds a bowl.
There is also a small window on the western wall through which the rays of the setting sun falls on the idol of Mahalakshmi thus bathing it in golden hues. This architectural phenomena occurs every year on the 21st of March and September. During this time devotees throng in large numbers to get a glimpse of the goddess and seek its blessings. Throughout the day five worship services are offered to the Goddess; the first one being at 5 am whereas the last one being at 10:15 pm.
Visit Mahalakaxmi Temple On Your Royal Journey
As a part of the Maharashtra Splendor journey, a visit to this 1300-year-old Mahalakashmi Temple, Kolhapur with Deccan Odyssey is incomplete without getting a local taste of Kolhapur’s culture. Therefore we arrange for you a special viewing of the Mardani Khel – a form of Indian Martial Art that flourished in the 1600s during the reign of Maratha Empire. This form of martial art uses light armor and weapons including swords and sticks. Mardani Khel was developed owing to the geographical conditions of Maharashtra which is full of valleys, jungles and caves.
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Visit the Mahalakashmi Temple, Kolhapur among the other attractions of Maharashtra aboard the Deccan Odyssey. Feel free to tell us what you think of this hidden gem of India on the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!
About The Author
Sumit Roy is an Editor, Writer, Researcher, Translator and Proofreader at Aatman Innvoations Pvt. Ltd. When not working, he likes to read, write, watch movies or series, play computer games or even better – procrastinate. He believes in free basic education for all and thinks that capitalism first and socialism next can change this world for better.