Friday, 24 August 2018

Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur - shakti shrine of great antiquity

t Mahalaxmi Temple,KolhapurKolhapur Tourist Places
 The Shri Mahalakshmi (Amba Bai) of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India, is one among the 108 Shakti Peethas listed in various puranas of Hinduism and  is a popular one. Its religious significance being its seat as a Shakti peetam which is  one of six sacred places of  Shakti. It is said that Sati's eyes fell at this place while Shiva was carrying the dead body of his consort  around. The deity in the Garbagraha here faces West, a rare thing among Hindu temples.
Mahalakshmi_Temple,_KolhapurTripAdvisor
Here, the shrine  is called the Kolhapur Shakti Peetha dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi who has four arms and is  endowed with six divine qualities, among which spiritual happiness and material prosperity get due importance. The lower right hand holds a mahalunga (a citrus fruit), in the upper right, a large mace (kaumodaki) with its head touching the ground, in the upper left a shield and in the lower left, a bowl (panpatra). Located on the banks of the Panchganga River, about 156 miles (252km) south of Pune, this temple  takes its name from Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity. Navaratri is a major festival here. There is a Kalabhairava Shrine  present in this temple.
Mahalaxmi Temple,Kolhapur.  Car on Rent Kolhapur
The presiding deity Mahalakshmi / Amba Bai is made of  black stone, presumably Basaltic rock, Her gem-studded crown is made of gold  weighing 40 kg and may be a few thousand years old. The Crown has an image of Adi Shesha - the serpent. Here, the Sri  Yantra is carved on one of the walls in the temple. It is said the crown has a small image of Shivalinga as well.
The small  open window on the western wall is placed in such a way the Sun's light rays during the Sunset fall on the face of the image for three days around 21st of each March and September. The other deities in the temple (in the court yard) are Vitthal-Rakhmai, Shiva, Vishnu, Navagrahas, Surya, Mahishasuramardini, Tulja Bhavani and others. Some of these images  are said to have been  made in the 11th century, while others  are of recent origin. The temple tank is called  “Manikarnika Kund” on whose bank is a shrine to Visweshwar Mahadev.

The temple belongs architecturally to the Chalukya empire and was first built in the 7th century. It was the Konkan king Kamadeo, who  cleared the dense jungle and brought to light the presence of this ancient temple. Subsequently several rulers contributed to the growth of this temple.  In the 13th century, Shankaracharya of  Kaladi, Kerala  built Nagar Khana, office, and Deepmalas. In the Mogul reign, the devotees had hidden the idol for protection.  Later, the idol was found in the city bazaar. During the time of Marathas, the temple was repaired. as several invasions caused damages to the temple. According to the then Maratha ruler Sambhaji (his letter dated 8 November 1723), one Sindhoji Hindurao Ghorpade of Panhala installed the idol again on 26 September 1712, an auspicious day (Monday, Ashwin Vijiya Dashami).