Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur
Mahalakshmi Temple and Kolhapur have an interesting story that lends a sense of aura to the place. According to the Puranas, the demon Kolhasura was killed by Mahalakshmi at Karavira (present day Kolhapur).
Upon his death, Kolhasura got his desire fulfilled to have a place named after him and the goddess took her residence in the area as Goddess Ambabai along with her consort Lord Vishnu and the place soon became a pilgrimage site. The fact that Kolhasur got his desire fulfilled by the goddess is probably the reason why people come here in large numbers.Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur is one of the Shakti peetha located in Maharashtra.The Puranas of ancient India have listed 108 sites where shakti (the goddess of power) is manifested. Amongst these, the Karveer area (the area where the present town of Kolhapur is located), is of special significance.
Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur is one of the six sites of the Shakti, where one can get both fulfillments of desires as well as salvation from them. It is therefore considered of even greater significance than Uttar Kashi, the place where one prays for salvation to Shri Mahalakshmi the consort of Shri Vishnu.It is said that both Shri Lakshmi and Shri Vishnu reside in the Karveer area eternally and shall not leave even at the time of Mahaprayakala. This region is therefore also referred to as avimuktakshetra.Karveer region is eternally blessed and is believed to be held by Mother Jagdamba in her right hand, and so this region is protected from all destruction.
Lord Vishnu himself likes this region more than Vaikiuntha or the Kshirsagar since it is the home of his consort Lakshmi. The greatness of this region has therefore attracted many sages and devotees, the blessings and affections showered by this region on its devotees are immeasurable.
It is believed that Prabhu Shri Dattatreya still comes here every noon to seek alms. (Bhiksha). The statue of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is made of gemstone and is considered of at least 5000 to 6000 years old. It weighs about 4 Tons. The precious stones that adorn the deity indicate the antiquity of the idol.
The platform of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is made of stone. The statue of the Goddess has four arms. In the lower right hand she holds the Matulinga, (a fruit similar to and ordinary lemon but much larger in size). In the upper right hand she holds large mace, kaumodaks, and its head touching the ground. In the upper left hand she holds the shield or khetaka, and while in the lower one she holds a bowl, Panpatra. On the crown of the Goddess Mahalakshmi are a cobra-hood and a Shiva-ling with a Yoni around it. Standing behind is the Goddess’ vahana lion.Almost all the idols of the God face the north or the east directions, whereas here the Idol faces the west.
The small window on the western wall which is open. Once a year, the rays of the Sun during sunset falls on the face of the image through this window. This period lasts for three days, each time, the 29, 30, Nov. & 1 December every year. 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.(called as Kirnotsava).