Sri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India is one of the ‘Shakti Peethas’. The Temple is located on the banks of ‘Panchaganga River’. It is also called as ‘Dakshina Kashi’ according to various puranas of Hinduism. The temple gets its name from Mahalakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu. The Kolhapur peetham is significant as, it is believed to be one of the six places where one can either obtain salvation from their desires or fulfil them. Architecturally this temple belong to Kannada Chalukya Empire and might have been built around 700 AD. Mahalakshmi Temple is mounted on a stone platform.
The murti of the crowned goddess is made of gemstone and weights about 40 kg. The Shri Yantra is carved on one of the walls of the Temple. The crown of the goddess contains an image of Sheshnag- serpent of Vishnu. The idol of Mahalakshmi has four hands holding objects of symbolic value. The lower right hand holds a mhalunga (citrus fruit) and upper right hand has a large mace (kaumodaki). In the upper left hand there is a shield (khetaka) and in the lower left hand there is a bowl (panpatra). Unlike other Hindu deities, which face towards north or east this deity faces or looks towards west (pashchimam). There is small window on the western wall, which is open and the light of the setting sun falls directly on the face of the murti or deity for three days around 21st of each March and September.
About the Temple
The main entrance, the Mahadwara of the temple is on the west. After entering the Mahadwara one can see several deepamalas on both the sides. Then one can enter the Garuda Mandap with squared pillars and arches of wood. The Garuda Mandap dates back to 18th century. There is an image of garuada facing the sanctum sanctorum. There is another stone mandap, enshrining Lord Ganesh, facing sanctum sanctorum. After this there comes the main mandap with three shrines facing the west. The main one being the goddess Mahalakshmi and the other two are Mahakali and Mahasarasvati. Above the sanctum of Mahalakshmi there is a shrine with Shivalingam and Nandi.
Kirnotsav Celebrations– means the festival of sun rays. This festival is celebrated when the sun rays directly fall on the deity of Mahalakshmi, at the time of sunset. It is said and believed that the Sun god pays his homage to Mahalakshmi for three days in a year. This is on the occasion of Rath Saptami.
- 31 January and 9 November – Sun rays fall directly on the feet of the deity
- 1 February and 10 November – Sun rays fall directly on the chest of the deity
- 2 February and 11 November – Sun rays fall directly on the entire body of the deity.
Lalit Panchami – this is celebrated during Navratri. On the fifth day of lalitapanchami, a palkhi procession is taken from the Mahalakshmi temple Kolhapur to Temblai Mandir at Temblai hill.
Kartik Festival – starting from Narakchaturdashi to Kartik Poornima/ Pournima the temple is opened at early morning at 2 AM and Kakada Aarti is performed.
Timings and Daily Programme of Puja
|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|
|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.|