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    Moderator Crown R.Varadarajan's Avatar
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    Default Sri Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur

    Dear Members,
    In this post I write about the Favourite Goddess of Maharashtra, The Karaveeravasini, Sri Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur.
    The darshan was so beautiful that I am looking forward to going there once again.
    Come on,let us read about HER.
    varadarajan


    KOLHAPUR MAHALAKSHMI AND JOTIBA
    MAHARASHTRA TEMPLES VISIT
    Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur

    We had long desired to visit Kolhapur to have a darshan of Sri Mahalakshmi. This desire increased after our sojourn to Pandarpur,Parli Vaijnath,Tuljapur Bhavani Temple and Sri Siddheshwar Temple of Solapur.Hence we booked two sleeper berths by Bus from Secunderabad. We wanted to find our how comfortable sleeper bus travel was.We found it fairly comfortable.
    We left Ameerpet in Secunderabad at 9.00 p.m. but after travelling throughErragadda,Moosapet,Kukatpalli, Ramachandrapuram etc on the outskirts, and changing buses a couple of times for no known reason, finally from Ramachandrapuram the bus left around 10.45 p.m. The berths in the bus are laid in two tiers and we were allotted a double berth in the middle.It had a raised moulding in the mattress to serve as a pillow. Not very uncomfortable. Luckily we had brought dinner with us as we knew that the hotels en route, near Zaheerabad etc are unclean and in a stinking environment .This was the condition in 2004 when we went. Now I think the road side motels are far better.
    Somehow we could go to sleep after 01.00 Hrs and reached Kolhapur around 06.45 Hrs.We had booked our return by the same operators for the next day night, as we planned to stay a night in Kolhapur to have few darshans of Sri Mahalakshmi and also visit other tourist places like Jotiba,,Panhala etc.
    We engaged an auto rikshaw and went to a fairly decent hotel called Hotel Rajpurush opposite the Railway Station and took a double room. The rent was ,if I remember, around Rs.450.

    After a bath and breakfast in the restaurant we went immediately to the Sri Mahalakshmi Temple. It is called by locals as Ambabai Mandir also. It is a beautiful temple with exquisite carvings on black granite towers. With oncoming festivals , the authorities were getting the towers and all places cleaned using waterjets and compressed air and the job was being done in a very professional way. No wonder the temple was very clean and the sculptures gleaming.



    kOLHAPUR SRI MAHALAKSHMI TEMPLE

    Now a little information about the temple:

    The Mahalakshmi Temple in this region, called the KARVEER region was built in the 7th century by king Karamdev of the Chalukya Dynasty.It is one of six temples which are known as the giver all of all you desire and a darshan gives you salvation..

    The main entrance is on the western side and is called the Mahadwaar.Garuda Mandap and a Ganesh Mandap face the Sanctum.The main mandap has 3 shrines facing west.The central one is that of Sri Mahalakshmi flanked by Mahakali and Maha Saraswathi on either side.The idol of Mahalakshmi is of gemstone and weighs 40 Kgs. She is with four arms and a cobra hood is over her head.
    sRI mAHALAKSHMI OF kOLHAPUR

    SRI MAHALAKSHMI OF KOLHAPUR

    Each year, for 3 days,31 January-2 February and 9 November to 11 November the rays of the sun fall at the feet of the Goddess Mahalakshmi and is celebrated as a festival called “KIRAN UTSAV’.

    Same way the rays of the sun falls on the face of the deity for 3 days in March and September. The rays enter through a small window on the western wall of the temple. This is considered extremely auspicious and to see it and have darshan of the Goddess Mahalakshmi thousands of devotees come to the temple.

    Daily five times poojas are performed:at 5a.m.,8a.m.,and in the afternoon,evening and night. During the night poojas women are only permitted to sit in the front hall of the sanctum sanctorum and observe/participate while men have to stay behind in the second hall.One thing good about this temple is ,there are no touts and the poojaris are not out to fleece devotees like in Pandaripur where the poojaris try to extract hundreds of rupees by allowing you to touch the Lord ‘s feet with your head (Which is actually permitted there for everyone) and offer a coconut or some such thing.Here one can have a good darshan in a calm and quiet and serene atmosphere. We had four or five times darshan in the 2 days we had stayed there to our utmost satisfaction. May other temples also follow this .
    View of the temple from the entrance

    View of the temple from the entrance


    After having a very satisfying darshan of the Goddess Mahalakshmi, and other deities in the temple, we had our lunch and took a bus to Jotiba temple which is about 17 Km from there .







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    JOTIBA TEMPLE

    It is a famous temple of Lord Shiva. It is said that Jotiba helped Sri Mahalakshmi in fighting and overcoming the demon. Jotiba is the destroyer of the demon Ratnasura and the place is called Wadi Ratnagiri. But is called Jotiba now.Sunday is an auspicious day for this temple.

    Jotiba is said to be an incarnation of the Trimurthis, Shiva,Vishnu and Brahma and sage Jamadagni.

    The present temple was built in 1730 .Light towers, Deepa Stambhas, abound in this region. On Chaitra poornima ( April-May) a fair is held and attended by thousands of devotees from all over the region.They dance all over with sticks, and spray so much gulal that the whole mountain region gets tinted pink.On poornima days the deity is taken around in a Palanquin-Pallakhi Seva.

    i





    The light towers-Deepa sthambas



    We had a wonderful darshan of the Lord and other deities and went to Panhala Fort.

    PANHALA FORT

    Panhala Fort, 19 Km from Kolahapur is situated at 3127 feet above sea level amidst scenic beauty.

    Built in 1052 by King Bhoj this fort is one of the largest forts in Deccan and was ruled by Shilahara and Yadava dynasties.The greatest warrior king of Maharashtra,Chattrapathi Shivaji Maharaj is said to have spent over 500 days in this fort.Well planned, it had a hidden well for water resources protected from enemy’s poisoning efforts, Ambharkhana ,a huge granery for storing grains as a precaution against long siege, as well as the Ambabai Mandir, the Goddess Bhavani from whom Shivaji Maharaj used to seek blessings everytime he ventured out on his forays with enemies are located here. Sajja Kothi, where Sambhaji was imprisoned is also here.Hajiprabhu Deshpande was his most trusted General. 12 July 1660 is a day to remember for Panhala as on this day Shivaji had to beat a retreat secretly to Vishalgad to plan and regroup when Panhala was under a long siege. When he was on his way, his barber, devoted to Shivaji, dressed and disguised himself as Shivaji and went in a palanquin to a place called Char Darwaza pretending to capitulate to the enemy. Thus he gained valuable time for his master Shivaji to go away,whilst sacrificing himself at the altar of devotion.

    General Hajiprabhu Deshpande , on 13 July 1660 fought defiantly with a heavy sword in each hand and gave his life in serving his master. As a mark of recognition to his valour and devotion and his service to save Mahratta pride, his 50 Kg bronze statue is erected at the entrance to the fort. His valiant effort was not wasted. Shivaji Maharaj regained the Panhala fort the very next year and it was held till 1700 when Aurangzeb captured it.

    After seeing all the sights and with a feeling of nostalgia we returned to Kolhapur late in the evening. We had our dinner in a restaurant and went to our room for a well earned rest and an enjoyable day.

    Panhala Fort will be dealt with in detail in another post soon.
    Due to lack of time we spent an hour or so on the banks of the Rankala Lake not far from the temple of Mahalakshmi. It was a mine earlier of black stones. The lake shores are good for evening strolls.
    The other important places to see are,The New Palace (Chatrapathi Shahu Museum),Kidrapur Sri Kopeshwar Mandir, Shalini Palace among others.
    May be Sri Mahalakshmi will call us again another day and we may see these places. As they say in North India, " Agar Mataji ka bulawa hai to sab kuch ho jaayega"

    So, when are YOU planning to go over to see Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur and Jotiba?

    The details of the Hotel we stayed is given below. The hotel was quite comfortable.
    Food is not costly in Kolhapur. And quite good too..

    HOTEL RAJPURUSH
    343,'E' Opp., Railway Station Near Ganesh Arts,
    Kolhapur, MH
    09372423047
    Last edited by R.Varadarajan; 07-09-2012 at 07:56 AM.

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