History of Shri Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur
The main temple to visit during your Kolhapur city visit is Shri Mahalakshmi Temple. It is also called Ambabai temple or Karverrnivashini temple.
The construction history of Shri Mahalakshmi temple is very old and there is no concrete information about the date but based on Hinduism ancient literature it is found that the temple is built in approximately 800 AD.
In 109 A. D. Karnadeo cut off the jungle and brought the temple to light. The existence goes back to the 8th century, according to Dr. Bhandarkar & Mr. Khare.
In the 8th century, the temple sank down due to an earthquake. In the 9th century, the king Gandavadix extended the temple by building Mahakali Mandir.
During 1178 -1209, in the time in power of Raja Jaysing & Sindhava, South gate and Atibaleshwar Temple were built.
In 1218 Yadav king Tolum built Mahadwar and offered jewels to Shri Mahalakshmi. Further, Shilaharas built Maha Sarasvati Mandir. He being a Jain, got 64 idols carved. It is possible that new idol called Padmavati was installed at that time. Further, in Chalukya times, Ganapati before the temple was installed. In the 13th century, Shankaracharya built Nagar Khana & Office, Deepmalas.
About Shri Mahalakshmi Goddess
The statue of the Goddess consist of four armed and crown is made of gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms. The statue of Shri Mahalakshmi carved in black stone is 3 feet in height. The Shri Lakshmi Yantra is carved on one of the walls in the temple. A stone lion, the vahana of the goddess, stands behind the statue.
The crown contains an image of the Sheshnag — the serpent (snake) of Shri Lord Vishnu. In Her four hands, the deity of Mahalakshmi holds objects of symbolic value.
An angry Mahalakshmi is said to have stayed upon hearing the news of her husband being married to Tirumala Padmavati, the second wife of Shri Tirupati Balaji.
About Shri Mahalakshmi Temple – Kolhapur
Whenever you visit this temple you can watch the architecture and you will come to know that the whole temple is carved in a single black stone. The temple located in the heart of Kolhapur city in the state of Maharashtra. This is one of the oldest temples of Shakthi peetha built during the 12th century by the Kings of Chalukya Dynasty.
The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur is valued as a Shakti Peetha and it is one of the 51 Shakti Peetha also called as Shri Peetham. Shakti Peethas are highly admired shrines of Shakti by the Hinduism. It is believed that Sati Devi’s ( Goddess Parvati) Eyes are believed to have fallen here.
This temple is famous for its exquisite architectural and sculptural work. There are four entrances to this temple known as Maha Dwar/Paschim Dwar, Uttar Dwar, Purva Dwar, and Dakshin Dwar respectively.
It is considered that darshan of Lord Balaji of Tirupati is incomplete without visiting the temple of Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur.
There is no specific dress code to wear while visiting the temple.
How to reach Shri Mahalakshmi Temple
Address of the temple is – Mahadwar Road, B Ward, Kolhapur, Maharashtra 416012.
The temple is situated at the center of the Kolhapur city so you will get a lot of options to reach the temple.
Distance from Kolhapur bus stand to a temple is around 3 km and you will get a lot of city buses to reach the temple. Even if you hire auto it would not cost you more as the temple is just 3 km away.
Distance from Kolhapur Railway station to Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is around 2 km.
Nearest Airport –
I have the news that airport is started at the Kolhapur city but not sure, you can inquire about it and if you have a flight from your place then you can directly land in Kolhapur.
Otherwise, the nearest airport to Kolhapur is Pune which is around 220 km. From Pune (swargate bus stand) there are lots of Shivshahi buses (AC direct buses to Kolhapur) it would reach in 4 to 5 hours to Kolhapur. They charge Rs 430 (17 June 2018). If you have a family then you can hire a private car which will be economical.
Nearest Railway Station
Kolhapur has also got a Railway station and lots of trains are connected to this station. You can check through www.irctc.co.in or https://indiarailinfo.com for train schedule.
There are around 15 trains from Pune to Kolhapur for timings see above links. A city called Miraj is a major junction (50 km from Kolhapur) and some trains reach to this place so you need to check your destination properly before booking tickets.
Kolhapur is well connected to various parts of India so reach Kolhapur is not a major challenge.
Shri Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur timings
Present Timings of Temple and Arati Schedule
The Opening Time of the temple is at 6.00 a.m.
Aarti Schedule: Morning – 7 a.m. to 7.20 am (Main arati)
Evening – 6.30 p.m. to 6.40p.m.(Dhoop Arati – depending on timings of Sunset)
7.30 p.m. to 7.50p.m.(Main Arati)
Night – 10.00 p.m.(Shejarati – at the time of closure)
Daily Naivedya : 12:00 (Afternoon)
Mahapooja & Abhishek and Archana
Festivals celebration at the Mahalakshmi temple
Mainly the Navratri festival is celebrated at the very grand fashion with various different events as explained below.
Navarathri – Celebration of Shri Goddess of Mahalakshmi for nine nights is called as Navarathri festival. This festival is celebrated in a very big manner at Shri Mahalakshmi temple and it comes around the month of October. During this period the temple gets a large amount of crowd. If you are coming from out of the city for darshan then this period should be avoided due to large crowds but evening events can be watched.
During this period – Abhishek is performed followed by Mahanaivedya and Aarti – at 8.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. Later at 2.00 p.m., the Goddess of Mahalakshmi is decorated with all the ornaments.
On all nine days at 9.30 p.m., the form of Statue of the Goddess is decorated in different forms with flowers and lights and is taken out in procession in the temple complex.
The police and military band is playing at the head of the procession. The event completes at 10.30 p.m. and the statue returns to the Garud Mandap and is placed on a special base.
The Goddess then receives one gun salute from a Military band. Lot of people across India and Maharashtra visit the temple during this period to watch various cultural programmes that are organized by the Shri Mahalakshmi Temple Trust in this Navratri festival.
Lalita Panchami festival at Mahalakshmi Temple:-
On the 5th day of Navarathri festival, at 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. Abhishek is performed along with the other routine rituals on Lalita Panchami the 5th day of Navratri. At 10.00 a.m. the form of Original Statute of Goddess Shri Mahalakshmi is given one Military (police) Canon salute and it leaves the temple premises to visit Goddess Tryambuli’s temple which is at a short distance from the main temple in Kolhapur.
On the way, the procession halts at Shahu Mill and Takala for Puja and Aarti and the procession reaches Goddess Tryambuli’s temple by noon.
The Chhatrapati (the local royal ruler) performs Kushmandabali (breaking a pumpkin gourd into two with a sword. Finally, the procession reaches the temple at 2.00 p.m. and concluded with Aarti.
Rathotsavam (chariot) Celebrations in Mahalakshmi Temple:-
Rathotsav (chariot) in Shri Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur is organized in the month of April. The chariot bearing the silver representation of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is decorated with flowers and lights. It is taken out in a procession in the evening from 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.
The devotees can pay their respects to the Goddess when the procession arrives at the main entrance of the temple.
At 9.30 p.m. one gun salute is given to the Goddess and the procession is taken outside the temple. It moves in the city and returns to the temple.
The procession is accompanied by military or police band. Huge Rangoli (floor paintings) is drawn along the path of the procession and fireworks add to the festivities. Several devotees flock to participate in this event.
Kirnotsavam (sun rays falls on the Goddess):-
Kirnotsavam (festival of Sun rays) is celebrated when the sun rays fall directly on the Goddess Shri Mahalakshmi at the time of sunset on the following days :
31st January & 9th November: Sun rays fall directly on the feet of Goddess Shri Mahalakshmi.
1st February & 10th November: Sun rays fall directly on the chest of Goddess Shri Mahalakshmi.
2nd February & 11th November: Sun rays fall directly on the entire body of Goddess Shri Mahalakshmi.
The following pictures can show how remarkable it is:-