Mahalakshmi Temple is located at Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra. This holy abode is one of the Shakti Peethas as listed in various Puranas of Hinduism. Therefore, this temple holds a special religious significance, being one of the six holy places where one can either attain redemption from desires or have them fulfilled. The temple is named after Goddess Mahalakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu. It is also said that divine couple once resided in this area.
According to a legend, a demon named Kolhasura, that tormented the Gods and other beings, was destroyed by Goddess Mahalakshmi here and the spot where he was killed became a thirtha. It is believed that Goddess took abode here which constitutes the temple today.
It is one of the oldest temples built in India. There are many evidences as per the Hindu Puranas which states the existence of this place dated back to 7th century. Researchers also believe that this temple existed during the time of Ramayana. Various kings of different dynasties ruled this place over centuries. During 7th century, Konkan King Karnadeo cleared the jungle and brought the temple to light. Then, in the 8th century, the temple was destroyed due to massive earthquake. In the 9th century, the temple was rebuilt and extended by setting up Mahakali Temple under the reign of King Gandavadi. During 1178-1209, under the regime of King Jayasingh and King Sandhava, the south gate and the Atibaleshwar temple were constructed. In the year 1218, King Tolum established the Mahadwar of the temple and offered jewels and precious stones to the main deity. Further, Shilaharas constructed Maha Sarasvati Mandir and got 64 idols carved. It is said that the present idol of Padmavati was installed at that time. Later, during the reign of Chalukya Dynasty, the temple was renovated and Lord Ganesha statue was installed. During the reign of Mughals, this temple had fallen out of worship and the idol of the Goddess was hidden for protection. Later, the worship got restored in the year 1715 after the Marathas rose to power.
The temple belongs architecturally to the Chalukyan dynasty and may have been first constructed in circa 700 AD. The idol of the four armed Goddess Mahalakshmi adorned with crown is made of rich gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms. It is mounted on a stone platform. The idol is carved in black stone and is 3 feet in height. The Shri Yantra is engraved on one of the walls in the temple. A stone lion, the sacred vahana of the Goddess, stands beside the statue. The crown bears an image of the Sheshnag – the serpent of Vishnu. The deity of Mahalakshmi holds objects of symbolic and divine value in her four hands.
The lower right hand bears a citus fruit (mhalunga), in the upper right, a large stick (kaumodaki) with its head touching the ground, in the upper left a shield (khetaka), and in the lower left, a bowl (panpatra). The image of this deity looks west, unlike most Hindu sacred idols, which face north or east. There is a small open window towards the western wall, through which the light of the sun falls directly on various parts of the idol for three days during 31st January to 2nd February and 9th November to 11th November every year. During this time, Kirnotsav festival is celebrated here. Thousands of devotees flock to this place during this auspicious occasion. There are a number of other shrines in the temple premises dedicated to the Navagrahas, Lord Surya, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and many others. Some of these images are dated back to the 11th century, while some are of recently installed. There is also a temple tank named Manikarnika Kund in the temple premises, on whose bank is a shrine to Visweshwar Mahadev.
Jawahar Nagar, Kolhapur,
Area: Kolhapur Website: www.mahalaxmikolhapur.com
Timings: : 4 AM- 10:30 PM (Open On All Days) Phone: 0231-2626147
State: Maharashtra District: Kolhapur
Languages : Marathi, Hindi, English Weather: 17°C to 38°C (Max.)
Best Time to Visit: September-March
STD Code: 0231 Pin Code: 416012
The nearest airports are at Goa (228 km) and Pune (245 km) from the temple and are well connected to major cities of India and abroad.
Kolhapur has its own railway station named as Chattrapati Sahu Maharaj Terminus and is well linked with major cities of India.
Kolhapur has very good road connectivity. It is easily accessible from major parts of Maharashtra. There are number of buses and taxi services that ply to Kolhapur from major cities like Mumbai and Pune.
Panjim – 207 km
Pune – 238 km
Mumbai – 381 km
Hyderabad – 563 km