Mahalaxmi Temple, Kolhapur
The location of Mahalaxmi Temple lies in Kolhapur which is in Maharashtra (India). It is the holy place of Hindus. It is included in the list of 108 Shakti peeth. It is completely devoted to goddess mahalaxmi (goddess of treasure and opulence) with her companion Lord Vishnu. Aficionados use to call Goddess Mahalaxmi as Amba Bai. This temple was built during the rule of Chalukya kings.Another name of this temple is Dakshin Kashi. It is belief that the visit of Balaji temple of Tirumala is not considered without the visit of this shrine. Legend said that the ancient temple was ruined in 8th century due to earthquake. At present times also its ruins are observed. From 9th to 13th century it was recreated during the rule of Shilahaar vansh.
One can reach Kolhapur by mean of three modes: Bus, Train and Airplane. There is a long bus network which connects many cities to Kolhapur. The bus stations are Kolhapur Bus Station and Kolhapur (Bye Pass) Bus Station. The journey through train can be carried out by Shahu Maharaj Terminus (KOP) Railway Station and Rukadi (RKD) Railway Station. The journey through air can be carried out by Kolhapur Airport (KLH). After reaching Kolhapur one can reach Mahalaxmi Temple by mean of local bus or by hiring taxi.
Security And Some Tips
Heavy security arrangements are made within the shrine of Mahalaxmi. The authorities of the shrine entail CCTV cameras for viewing all the activities of the devotees and metal detector for avoiding the entrance of unwanted element. Yatri should not take cash and ornaments with them. Yatri should keep their luggage at safe and secure place.
When To Visit
The sanctum of Mahalaxmi can be visited throughout the year. The best time to visit the temple is in the afternoon at the time of lesser crowd. The timings of the temple are: 4 AM to 10:30 PM. It is opened all the day of the week.
What To See And Do
The cores, walls and exteriors of the sanctum are decorated with sculptures (dancing poses, musicians, gods and goddesses) which are the finest example of art and architecture of that epoch. Mahadwara is the main entrance of the shrine. This mahadwara is followed by different deepmalas on both sides. After mahadwara there is arrival of Garuda mandap entailing the square columns. After that there is another stone mandap which comprises three sanctums in which the central one is of Mahalakshmi and other two is of Mahakali and Mahasaraswathi.
The height of the deity of Mahalaxhmi is 3 feet and it is made up of black stone. It is placed on the podium which is also made up of stone. The deity consists of four arms. The peak of the goddess is made up of gemstone. The upper right hand bears a club, the lower right hand beara citrus fruit, the upper left hand bears armor and lower left hand bears a bowl. The lion is the vehicle of the goddess. The crown of the goddess is attached with statue of the snake god called as Sheshnag. The deity is adorned with many diamonds.
There are various religious activities which takes place at a certain period of time. At 4:30 AM the ringing of bell takes place. At 5:30 AM the Padhya Pooja takes place in which the feet of the goddess are washed with milk. At 5:45 AM Kakada Aarati takes place. At 8:30 AM the bell ringing and Snan Abhishek use to take place in which the presiding deity uses to get bath. At 9:30 AM aarti is again performed. At 11:30 AM bell ringing and milk bathing of the deity use to take place. From 12:30 to 1:00 PM there is a time for Aarati and Shankh Tirth. From 1:30 to 2:30 PM goddess is adorned with ornaments of gold with sari and blouse. From 8:30 to 9:00 PM the ornaments are removed and the puja is performed. At 10:00 PM bell ringing take place and at 10:15 PM the last aarti is performed.
Where To Stay
There are many dharamshalas, guest houses and lodges in Kolhapur where yatri can have their stay at reasonable prices. They are: Mahalaxmi Dharmashala, Bhaiyasaheb Pardeshi Dharmshala, Srinivasa Residency (budget rooms for 30 persons), Mayuresh Lodge and Sai Lodge etc.
Where Else To Stay
Yatri can also have their stayat hotels which provide luxury. These hotels are Hotel Raysons Regency, Hotel Skylark, Hotel Landmark, Hotel Tourist, Hotel Victor Palace, Hotel Vijayraj, Hotel Rajat Executive and Hotel Panchshil etc.
There are many festivals which are celebrated here with great zeal of joy and entertainment. These festivals are Shardiy Navratra, Kirnostav, Lalit Panchami, Ashtami – Jagar, Navami, Vijayadashmi, Rathostav, Kartik Snan, Tulsi Vivah and Tripuri Poornima etc.
There are many other places to visit in Kolhapur. They are: Khasbag Maidan, Irwin Agricultural Museum, Gagangiri Maharaj Math, Panchaganga Ghat, Saraswati chitra cinema, Bhavani Mandap , Vishalgad and
Temblabai Temple etc.
Yatris should take video camera with them for trapping each and every moment of the trip. They also should take personal diary in order to have a written record of the journey along with the feelings and emotions at that moment. They should also hire a tourist guide to have the complete knowledge of the temple including its history. They should also take first aid in order to cure frequent injury.
Thus, yatri can express his/her true devotion and faith by mean of sacred journey of Mahalaxmi Temple.
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