Mahalakshmi Temple

Mahalakshmi Temple
Mahalakshmi Temple

The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is a revered Shakti Peetha located in the city of Kolhapur, Maharashtra – also known as Dakshin Kashi. It stands within Karveer region and thus Godess Mahalakshmi here is famously referred to as ‘Karveer Nivasini’. This temple holds much significance according to ancient Indian puranas which have listed 108 shaktipeethas where Shakti (the goddess of power) manifests her presence. Of these, the Kolhapur Mahalashmi Temple especially provides both fulfillment of desires and salvation from them.In the Karveer region (where today stands the city of Kolhapur), Shri Mahalakshmi holds an invaluable importance.

The sparkling crown of Mahalakshmi boasts an image of the Sheshnag, Vishnu’s serpent. Her four hands grasp objects that are symbols of great value – a mhalunga (citrus fruit) in her lower right hand, a powerful mace known as kaumodaki and touching the ground with its head in her upper right hand, a shield called khetaka held by her upper left arm and finally puja bowl or panpatra grasps firmly within her bottom left.

Unlike Hindu sacred images which are traditionally directed toward the north or east, this deity’s image is pointed west (Pashchim). Through a small window on the western wall, sunlight passes through and basks onto the face of this figure for three days in March and September around the 21st.

As the Karavira Mahatmya argues, Vishnu is believed to be in his manifestation of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur. Legends suggest that it was here where Kolhasura, a devil who caused chaos for divine and mortal beings alike, was defeated by none other than Mahalakshmi herself. In reminiscence of this momentous occasion, the temple stands today on said spot as an immortal tribute to her feat. Interestingly enough however, legend also hints towards Parvati – or ‘Kolhambika’ – having destroyed Kolhasura at Tryambakeshwar instead.

The primary entrance to the temple, called Mahadwara, is located on the west wall. Upon entering this doorway, you will notice deepamaalas (ornamental lamps) flanking either side of it and find yourself in an 18th-century Garuda mandap comprised of square pillars and carved wood arches – a signature style within Maratha temples. Permanently set in front of the sanctum stands a grand stone structure with three shrines pointing outward towards western directions; each shrine holds an image dedicated to Ganesh.At the center lies Mahalakshmi and on each side of her, resides Mahakali and Mahasaraswathi.

The temple complex is characterized by mortar-less construction, hearkening back to the early Deccan temples. Additionally, its horizontal mouldings and vertical offsets create a dynamic play of light and shadow that further enhances its beauty. Notable among these sculptures are deities in dancing poses, musicians playing instruments, gods & goddesses – all made with great attention to detail. The three sancta have rather simple shikharas from the 19th century which were built using brick and mortar techniques of those times.

The 3 foot tall black stone carving of Mahalakshmi is the focal point of this majestic temple, with a Shri yantra carved onto one wall. The sanctum has been specially designed for an annual phenomena; during the months of Pisces and Leo, the setting sun’s rays gracefully illuminate Mahalakshmi’s visage for three days in duration.

According to Hindu mythology, Kolhapur has a rich and storied history. Mentioned in the concluding chapter of Devi Gita- a celebrated mythological book- it was originally named “Kolhasur,” which is derived from the demon that Goddess Mahalaxmi vanquished. Different Indian dynasties such as Ydavas, Rashtrakutas, and Chalukyas successively governed this city; however, its greatest prosperity occurred under Maratha rule when it grew into an epicentre for artistry and athletics alike.During the 19th century, Britain annexed this area and after India achieved independence it was united with Bombay State.

By flight
For those looking to travel to Kolhapur, the most convenient airport is located in Pune. After arriving there, one could quickly and easily procure a taxi or board a bus for their onward journey.

By road
Kolhapur is situated on the National Highway 4, connecting Mumbai and Bangalore. If you’re making your way from Mumbai, it’s roughly an eight-hour drive; however if departing from Pune, it reduces to merely three hours. State buses depart for Kolhapur every half hour from Pune and one hour from Mumbai alike – with private bus options available too!

By train
Named in honor of revered Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the Kolhapur Railway Station provides seamless transportation to and from cities throughout India. It is a station on the Central Railway’s Pune – Miraj – Kolhapur section, where daily trains for Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Tirupati can be found along with weekly trips to Delhi and Ahmedabad.

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