Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur
The Mahalaxmi temple is very ancient temple in Kolhapur city. Kolhapur is known as ‘Dakshin Kashi’ because of Mahalaxmi temple.
This incredible temple of “Mahalaxmi” has been built over a thousand years ago during the Chalukyas rule.
The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is also known as Ambabai Temple (अंबाबाई मंदिर ) is one of the 18 Shakti Peethas listed in various Puranas of Hinduism. The murti of crowned goddess Mahalaxmi is mounted on a stone. Weighs about 40 kilograms and carved of gemstone the statue is 3 feet in height.
The Vahan of the goddess Lion, stands behind the statue.In Her four hands, the deity of Mahalakshmi holds objects of symbolic value.
In about 634 AD, the King Karnadeva of Chalukya Dynasty had begun the construction of temple but he could not complete it during his lifetime.
Later on Chalukya lost Kolhapur to invaders. Nearly four century later, Shilahara and Chalukya came together and King Gandharadivya of Shilahar Dynasty finished the construction of temple and dedicated in to the Godess Mahalaxmi in about 9thcentury.
There are various opinions regarding the duration of construction period of temple. Satavahan, Rashtrakut, Chalukya, Shilahar, Moghal and Maratha had ruled on this city.
Many Philosophers and academicians have mentioned their opinion about the origin of temple. Major Graham (1854), Kundankar (1939), Khare ( 1957), Mirashi (1975), and Dhere (2009) have mentioned that the temple was built before seventh century.
In `Puranas’, on `Tamrapatta’, and `Shilalekha’ the references about Mahalaxmi has found. Ancient tamrapata of Rashtrakut King Amoghaversha I (814-879), had mentioned the name of Mahalaxmi upon hisTamrapatta.
This shows, according to Dr. Bhandarkar and Dr. Mirashi, the temple was built before 871 AD (Thakur, 2010). The King of Kandabaa Gruhal II (1038 AD) has mentioned the name of Mahalaxmi in his tamrapata along with Gokarn Mahabaleshwar and Sorati Somanath of Gujarat.
It shows that the King was usually used to come to the darshan of Mahalaxmi. Therefore, it is clear that the temple was built before 10th century.
The King of Chalukya, Someshwar has written the article in Kanada language mentioning the name of Mahalaxmi during 970-1068 AD. This article was found in the temple of Shirur village of Bagalkot tahsil of Karnataka state. In 1058 AD, Shilaha King Marshing has written a tamrapata where he had mentioned himself as `Shrimahalaxmilabdverprasadadi’.
This shows that he was great devotee of Mahalaxmi. On 25th December 1091, Chalukya King Vikramaditya IV has mentioned the name of Kolhapur Mahalaxmi on the `Shilalekha’ which was found in the temple of Kaleswar of Sortur village of Gadag tahsil of Karanataka state.
This is first `Shilalekha’ about doanation to Mahalaxmi temple (Dhere, 2009). Shilahar King Bhoj II had made the arrangement of donation for lifelong `naivadya‘ of Mahalaxmi on 25thDecember 1190.
Such type of `Tamrapata’ and `Shilalekh’ has been found in many places around Kolhapur and Karnataka state which shows that the Mahalaxmi temple was built during the 7th to 9th century.
Legends: Mahalaxmi had a fight with her husband and she settled in Kolhapur. She had no roof over her head, so her loyal servants, who were demons, built her a big temple with beautiful carvings made of stones from the lake Rankala within one night. The people treated her very well, and so she promised that there would be no poverty. No person in Kolhapur will remain poor.
Worship at Mahalaxmi Temple
Five worship services are offered each day here. The first worship is at 5 am, and it involves the waking of the deity with a Kakada – torch, to the accompaniment of hymns. The second worship service at 8 AM involves the offering of the Shodashopachara pooja consisting of 16 elements. The afternoon and evening services and the Shejaarati pooja constitute the three other services.
Worship services are offered each day throughout the year. The daily schedule is as follows
|4.00 a.m.||Opening of the Temple Entrance Gate.|
|4.00 a.m. to 4.30 a.m||Ghantanaad (Ringing of the bell)|
|4.45 a.m.||Opening of Main Door by the High Priest (Hakkadar Pujari) for that day.|
|5.30 a.m.||Padhya Pooja (Washing the feet of the idol Goddess Mahalaxmi by Milk.)|
|5.45 a.m.||Kakada Aarati of the Goddess Mahalaxmi.|
|8.30 a.m.||Ghantanaad (Ringing of the bell) and Snan Abhishek (Bathing of the main idol. Goddess Mahalaxmi)|
|9.30 a.m.||Aarati and Shankh Trith|
|11.30 a.m.||Ghantanaad and Abhishek (Milk Bathing of the main idol. Goddess Mahalaxmi)|
|12.30 to 1.00 p.m.||Aarati and Shankh Tirth|
|1.30 to 2.30 p.m.||Alankar Pooja. Salankruti (i.e. Goddess is decorated with beautiful Gold ornaments, Sari and Blouse) This Pooja is kept upto 8.30 p.m. in the evening|
|8.00 p.m.||Ghantanaad (Ringing of the bell)|
|8.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.||Mantrapushp and removing the Alankar (Gold ornaments.) and simple Pooja is performed|
|10.00 p.m.||Ghantanaad (Ringing of the bell)|
|10.15 p.m.||Shejarati (Last Aarti of the day.)|
|10.30 p.m.||Temple’s Doors are closed.|
Special Events: A festival image of the deity is taken out in procession around the temple courtyard each Friday, and on full moon days.
Other Important Rituals Performed
- Every Friday at 9.30 p.m.- Palakhi (i.e. procession of the idol Goddess Mahalaxmi in Palainquin.)
- On every Chaitra Pratipada – Procession of the idol Goddess Mahalaxmi is carried out in Chariot and Palainquin at 9.30 p.m. known as Nagar Pradakshana.
- Procession of the Idol Goddess Mahalaxmi is carried out in Palainquin on every full Moon (Poornima) of Ashwin, Kartik, Margshirsh, Paush and Magh at 9.30 p.m.
- Palakhi (Procession) of the idol Goddess Mahalaxmi is carried out in Palainquin, daily during Navratri Ashwin pratipada upto Dasara Festival.
- Mahaprasad (Delicious Food) is distributed to thousands of Devotees after 12.00 p.m. on Ashwin Poornima. (full Moon)
- Abhishek and Kumkumarchan (Bathing the idol of Goddess Mahalaxmi with Milk and applying Kumkum on to the feet of the idol) are allowed to perform by male devoties only between 5.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Starting from Narakchaturdashi to Kartik Poornima the Temple is opened in the early morning at 2.00 a.m. and Kakada Aarati is performed.
Mahalaxmi Temple Kirnostov
Kirnostav Dates :
- 31 January & 9 November: Sun rays fall directly on the feet of the murti.
- 1 February & 10 November: Sun rays fall directly on the chest of the murti.
- 2 February & 11 November: Sun rays fall directly on the entire body of the murti.
It is not surprising that even the rays of a setting sun pay homage to Goddess Mahalakshmi Ambabai as the life of human being revolve around illumination and prosperity.
But it is the wonder of wise architects who built the temple of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur that the rays of the setting Sun, bow at the feet of the Goddess through a window, for a while before vanishing.
It is the architect’s excellence, which was done more than 1000 years ago, and can still be observed. This special event is celebrated by thousands of people as Kiranotsav.