Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur is one of the 52 Shakti Peethas in all of India and one of the important three and a half Shakti Peetha of Maharashtra. All Shakti Peetha temples in India represent the Goddess Shakti i.e, Sati or Parvati, wife of Mahadev.
Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Shaktipeeth is one of the many significant pilgrimage sites in India. Mahalaxmi Mandir is also known as Ambabai Mandir. As Mahalakshmi is the wife of Lord Vishnu, Hence, the custom of visiting Venkateswara temple in Tirumala (Balaji temple) and Mahalakshmi in Kolhapur is followed in Hinduism. In Skanda Purana Goddess Kolhapur Mahalakshmi is composed as “Om Karveer Niwasini Namah” “Om Sesha Vasuki Sansevyaya Namah”.
Ambabai (Mahalakshmi) of Kolhapur is the Kuldaiwat of many families in India.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj ruled this place for many years.
The architecture of Kolhapur Shaktipeeth Temple belongs to the Chalukya Empire and it is said that the temple is first built by Karnadeva around 700 AD. The Mahalakshmi idol of Kolhapur is made of sandstone and weighs 40 kilograms. The goddess wears a beautiful jeweled crown on her head. The height of Mahalaxmi goddess idol is about 2 feet 9 inches tall. Shree Mahalakshmi Devi's vehicle Lion, made of stone stands behind the Idol of the goddess. Shree Mahalakshmi Devi has four hands holding Mahalunga fruit (lemon fruit), Kaumodaki (mace), shield, and a Panpatra. In Hinduism, almost all sacred idols are seen facing east or north. But Shree Mahalakshmi faces west. It is the architect's excellence, on 6 days from January 31st to February 2nd and November 9th to 11th, the rays of the sun coming from the Mahadwar fall directly on the face of the goddess Mahalakshmi. These days are celebrated as Kironotsav in Kolhapur Shakti Peeth temple.
The walls of the Kolhapur Shaktipeeth temple have beautiful carvings of niches and flowers. In each of the niches, there are beautiful dancing nymphs whom we know as the 64 yoginis.
Above the Garbhagruha it has an upper temple with an idol of Lord Ganesha and a Shiva linga in front known as Matulinga. An idol of Lord Shankara's vehicle Nandi stands outside the gabhara. And Sri Yantra is seen carved on a wall inside the temple which is covered with glass for safety.
Under the tallest Mandapa in the east has the idol of Goddess Mahalakshmi. Under the central mandapa is the Kurma mandap and under the western mandapam is the Ganapati Chowk.
At a distance from the arches of the Garbhagruha is another entrance gate made of black stone, the entire temple's weight rests on this framework and this gate is considered a symbol of Shiva and Shakti.
The Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple was beautified in the 11th century by King Gandharaditya of the Silahara dynasty, he built a circumambulatory path to circumambulate Goddess Mahalakshmi. There are two domes of Goddess Saraswati and Mahakali on the north and south are connected by a circuitous route.
Rang Mandap :
Rang Mandap is hexagonal and it is divided into two parts. The temple where the first toran (तोरण) is built is called the Rang Mandap. The very beginning of the first toran (तोरण)is called the Darshan Mandapa and from here we can have the closest view of the idol of Goddess Mahalakshmi (Ambabai).
Kurma Mandap :
After that, the second part of the temple i.e., Kurma Mandap, is called Kurma because of the turtle (Kurma) sitting there. At this place, devotees who come for darshan are sprinkled with Tirtha from Shankh, so now this mandap is also called Shankhatirtha Mandap.
Both, Rang Mandap and Kurma Mandap have many dutifully carved pillars built from basalt Carnatic stone and black Kadappa stone.
Ganapati Chowk :
The third part of the temple is called Ganapati Chowk. In the area of Ganpati Chauk there is a temple of Lord Ganesha and an idol of Rishi Agasti with his wife Lopamudra.
King Singhan of the Yadav dynasty built this Kurma Mandap and Ganapati. The portion from Shree Mahalakshmi Devi Temple to Ganapati Chowk is built with black stone and further construction was done with wood during the Maratha period.
The outermost temple called Garuda Mandap was added by Daji Pandit between 1838 and 1843.
In the north, Rajshree Shahumharaj has built Ghati Darwaza with a big bell. Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Devi Temple has several smaller temples. In 1941, Shrimant jagirdar Babasaheb Ghatge installed the idol of nine planets (navgraha) on the left side after entering through Ghati Darwaza. On a high stone, there are idols of the Sun God, Shivlinga, Naugraha, Mahishasuramardini, Sheshashahi Vishnu Temple. On the south side near the university gate, there are small temples of Kalabhairava, Radhakrishna, Siddhivinayak, Tuljabhavani, Lakshmi-Narayana, Annapurna, Indrasabha, Rameshwar, Narayanaswami Maharaj, various deities.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s daughter-in-law Tarabaie made a canon near the northern entrance of the Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Devi Temple. This canon is fired on certain days to salute Goddess Mahalakshmi. There are two water tanks named Manikarnika and Kashi in the Kolhapur Shaktipeeth temple area.
Kolhapurc Temple is surrounded by a pentagonal wall and this wall has 4 entrances. The idol of the goddess is easily visible from the main entrance in the west.
Three and a half Shaktipeeths in Maharashtra are given special religious importance. Many people come from far to visit these temples to take vows and fulfill their wishes. A divine couple resides in the Kolhapur Shaktipeeth Mandir (Temple of Ambabai). In the Kolhapur Shaktipeeth temple, Goddess Mahalksami (Ambabai) is worshiped many times a day.
Festivals Celebration in Kolhapur Mahalaxmi (Ambabaie) Temple:
Padyapuja: Rs 151 / Padyapuja fix deposit – Rs 6,001
Kunkumarchan: Rs.201 / Kunkumarchan Fix Deposit – Rs.8001
Panchamrit Abhishek: Rs 501/ Panchamrit Abhishek Fixed Deposit – 11,001
Panchamrit Abhishek with Sari: 751
Fixed deposit means, if you pay the fixed deposit amount, you can perform that Pooja at Mahalaxmi mandir for free once a year throughout your life.
11 Mar '23 Saturday