Sri Mahalakshmi Temple
At a distance of 2.5 km from Kolhapur Railway Station, Sri Mahalakshmi Temple is a prominent Hindu temple situated in the city of Kolhapur, Maharashtra. It is one of the popular places of pilgrimage in India, and among the must include places in Kolhapur Tour Packages.
Sri Mahalakshmi Temple is dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Sri Mahalakshmi, also known as Goddess Ambabai, the guardian deity of Kolhapur who killed demon Kolhasura. Also known as Dakshin Kashi, Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is one of the six abodes of 'Shakti' (Goddess of Power) from where one can attain fulfillment and salvation of desires. The temple was built in the 7th century by Chalukya ruler Karandev. King Gandaraditya of the Shilahara dynasty, built the circumambulation path along with two sanctum sanctorums for Goddess Mahakali and Mahasaraswati in the 11th century CE. It is one of the prominent places to visit in Kolhapur.
The temple is an excellent example of the Hemandpanthi architectural style. The walls of the temple complex are decorated with beautiful carvings and numerous sculptures. The temple complex also comprises five towers and a chief hall. Mounted on a stone platform, the image of the four-armed and crowned goddess is made of sandstone. The image of Mahalaxmi is about 3 feet in height and is elegantly adorned with diamonds and precious stones. In her four hands, the deity of Ambabai holds a mhalunga (a citrus fruit) in the upper right, a large mace in the upper left, a shield in the lower right, and a bowl in the lower left. A stone lion, the vehicle of the goddess, stands behind the statue. Unlike most Hindu sacred images, which face north or east, the image of this deity looks west (Pashchim).
On the left side of the main shrine is the temple of Mahasaraswati and on the right is the Mahakali temple. The Shri Yantra is carved on one of the corners opposite Mahakali Temple in the temple premises. There are several other shrines in the courtyard dedicated to Navagrahas, Surya, Mahishasuramardini, Vitthal-Rakhmai, Krishna, Swami Smarth Dashavartar, Ram Mandir, Mahavishnu, Hanuman, Laxmi-Narayan, Khandoba, Atibaleshwar, Kalbhairav, Sidhivinyak, Lord Datta, and Tulja Bhavani. The complex also has a temple tank Manikarnika Kund, near Datta Mandir.
Kirnotsav is celebrated in the Mahalakshmi Temple at Kolhapur when the rays of the sun fall directly on the deity at the time of sunset. It is said that the Sun god pays his homage to Mahalakshmi Ambabai for three days in a year on the occasion of 'Rath Saptami' (during January every year). On the first day, ray falls on the feet, on the second day, on the middle portion of the deity, and the third day on the face of the deity. Navratra festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm for ten days during the Hindu months of Ashwin (around October). On all ten days, the Goddess is decorated in different forms with flowers and lights and is taken out in procession in the temple complex.
Timings: 5 AM - 10 PM
Aarti Timings: 5:30 AM Kakad Arati, 6.30 PM Dhoop Arati, 8 PM Main Arati, 10 PM Shejarati