KOLHAPUR is famous for Goddess Mahalakshmi’s temple. This place is considered as one of the shakthi peethas. Shakti Peetha is a place associated with Shakti, The goddess of power. It is believed that one can either obtain salvation from desires or have them fulfilled here. Kolhapur Mahalakshmi is one of the 18 Shaktipeethas and Sadeteen (3 1/2) Shaktip
MahAlakSHmyabhidA dEvI karavIrapurasthitA /
PuruSHArtha pradAmAtA sampurNAmRita varSHiNI //
This old city has history since 5000 years. There are about two hundred temples in this sacred city. The city present on the banks of penganga(Pancha Ganga) river. This holy city will compared with kasi in many aspects. This was called as Dakshina kasi. Agastya maharshi also visited this city when he came out from Varanasi. Daily Lord Dattareya will also came to Kolhapur for Bhikshatana.
According to scriptures:
1. Sri Dattatreya sleeps in Mahura (200 Kms from Nagpur in Maharashtra)
2. Resides on Sahyadri Hills
3. Takes bath in Ganges in Varanasi
4. Performs Achamana in Kurukshetra
5. Applies Bhasma in Dhoot Papeshwar (in Maharashtra)
6. Performs Sandhya in Karnataka
7. Performs mAdhyAhnika in gANigapur
8. Bhiksha in Kolhapur
9. Wears Tilaka in Pandarapur
10. Eats the Bhiksha in Panchaleshwar (near Pune)
11. Drinks water from river Tungabhadra
12. Rests in Girnar
13. Listens to sacred chants and praises in Badari Kshetra and
14. Performs Sayam Sandhya on the West Coast.
These fourteen places are Datta Kshetras. These are the Kshetras where one can easily feel the presence of Sri Dattatreya and earn his grace by meditating on him. These are also best suited for Dattatreya Mantra Purashcharana.
In the premises of Mahalakshmi temple, while performing pradakshina, one can see the Bala Dattatreya and Sri Nrusimha Saraswathy swamy temples.
STORY OF KOLHAPUR:
Once upon a time this city, Padmavathi pura, was ruled by a demon Kolha. When he went for penance, another demon named Sukesi occupied this city. After completion of penance Kolha got boons from Lord Brahma and returned to his capital, and observed that was captured by another one. He immediately kílled Sukesi and got his kingdom. He put his son Karaveera as in charge of this city. But in a war he was killed by Lord Shiva, but at that time he got a boon from Lord Shiva, that this city will be called as Karaveera pura. Kolha became angry with this action and want to take revenge against devatas. He did penance for Mahalakshmi and got permission that she should not enter in to city for 100 years. She accepted for that, after that Kolha created many difficulties to Devatas and occupied their Swarga also. When Devatas praised Mahalakshmi, she told them to wait for completion of 100 years. After 100 years bond was over, she came to Karaveera pura and defeated Kolha in that war. He realized his mistake and praised her and got three boons from her. First one this city name will come from his name Kolha as Kolhapur, second she should live in this place permanently and third one this place should become as Siddha kshetra. In this way Kolhapur became an important Shaktipeetham.
Second story about Kolhapur:
It is said that after Sati Devi left her physical body in Daksha Yagna, Lord Shiva got angry and carried her body. Her eyes fell in this place . So this has become Siddha ksetra.
Another importance about this place is that Guru Dattatreya used to come here to seek alms from Goddess Maha lakshmi. So for devotees of Datta Guru also this place is of great importance. This fact is symbolically made known by the special decoration done to Goddess during festival days.
DESCRIPTION OF TEMPLE:
The statue of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is made of gemstone and is considered to be at least 5000 to 6000 years old. The image of the Goddess has an extremely pleasant appearance. It is carved in blackstone, is about three feet in height and has four arms and crowned Goddess made of gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms. It contains mater mixed with Hirak bits.. The typical ayudhas of the devi are as follows. In the lower right hand is the matulinga, a fruit not unlike the ordinary lemon, but much larger in size. In the upper right hand is a large mace, kaumodaks, and its head touching the ground. The upper left hand holds the shield or khetaka, the lower one holding a bowl i.e. panpatra.Almost all the idols of the God face the north or the east directions, whereas here the Idol faces the west. The temple belongs architecturally to the Kannada Chalukya empire and may have been first built in circa 700 AD. The Shri 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 of Vishnu.
It is believed that Sri Mahalakshmi once got angry with her Husband Lord Vishnu (when he touched the feet of Rishi Brugu even after the rishi insulted Lord Vishnu by stamping The Lord by his left foot on the chest) and came off to Kolhapur . So Lord Vishnu resides in this place with Maha lakshmi as he resides in TIRUMALA(south India) with Goddess Padmawathy.
SPECIAL DAYS AND SPECIAL POOJAS:
A festival image of the deity is taken out in procession around the temple courtyard each Friday, and on full moon days.
Actual Rathotsav (chariot festival) is organized in April. The chariot bearing the silver representation of the Goddess 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.
There is a small window on the western wall of the main temple through which on special days of the year rays of the setting sun fall on the main idol as if they are paying homage to the deity. The dates are as follows :
1. 31 January & 9 November : Sun rays fall directly on the feet of the deity.
2. 1 February & 10 November : Sun rays fall directly on the chest of the deity.
3. 2 February & 11 November : Sun rays fall directly on the entire body of the deity.
This period is considered extremely auspicious, the Devotees throng the temple on all the three evenings the temple for a glimpse of the beautiful image bathing in the golden rays of the setting sun.
There are many hotels near the temple.
Devotees Who Visit Kolhapur Can Also Pay A Visit To Other Datta Kshetras Nearby Like Narsobawadi(45 Kms Away) ,Oudumbar, Karanja , Mahur, Amarapur&Shirol
Temple Address & Contact Information:
Shree Karveer Nivasini Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur-416012, Maharashtra.
Phone : 0231- 2626147.
Mahalaxmi Bhakt Mandal Dharmashala
Near Kapiltirth Market
Tarabai Road, Kolhapur Maharashtra India.
HOW TO REACH:
Kolhapur Ambabai temple: Ambabai temple / Mahalakshmi temple present in the center of city. It is in 3 km distance from Railway station and 10 km distance from Airport. The temple was came into light by Konkan king Karnadeo in 109 A.D by clearing the forest in surrounding areas, After that several kings in various dynasties like Chalukya, Silhar, Yadavas also visited the temple. Chatrapathi Shivaji and Sambhaji also developed the temple. Jagadguru Adishankaracharya also visited this temple.
Datta Bhikshaling Devsthan (Kolhapur):
Another important temple of Lord Dattatreya in Kolhapur is Bhiksha Lingeswar Datta Devasthan. It is in City and Abhisheka, Arathi will be performed in the temple to Dattaguru everyday.
Jaya Deva Jaya Deva Datta Avadhuta