Mahalaxmi Temple, Kolhapur

The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India, is one of the Shakti Peethas also called Dakshin Kashi, listed in various puranas of Hinduism.

According to these writings, a shakti peetha is a place associated with Shakti, the goddess of power. The Kolhapur peetha is of special religious significance, being one of the six places where it is believed one can either obtain salvation from desires or have them fulfilled. The temple takes its name from Mahalakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, and it is believed that the divine couple reside in the area.

The temple belongs, architecturally, to the Kannada Chalukya empire, and may have been first built circa 700 AD. Mounted on a stone platform, the image of the four armed and crowned goddess is made of gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms. The image of Mahalakshmi carved in black stone is 3 feet in height. The Shri yantra is carved on one of the walls in the temple. A stone lion, the vahana of the goddess, stands behind the statue.

The crown contains an image of the Sheshnag — the serpent of Vishnu. In Her four hands, the deity of Mahalakshmi holds objects of symbolic value. The lower right hand holds a mhalunga (a citrus fruit), in the upper right, a large mace (kaumodaki) with its head touching the ground, in the upper left a shield (khetaka), and in the lower left, a bowl (panpatra).

Jyotiba Temple,Kolhapur

Jyotiba is a holy site of Hinduism near Wadi Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India.

The deity of the temple is known by the same name, and is held by the locals to be an incarnation of three gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesha, and Jamadagni[1]. An annual fair takes place on the full moon night of the Hindu months of Chaitra and Vaishakha. Jyotiba temple is an important Hindu religious destination located at an altitude of 3124 feet above sea level in the Panhala range of Maharashstra. It is believed that the main deity the Jyotiba is formed from the souls of three Primary Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Legendery stories tell that Jyotiba is formed to kill the demon Ratnasur.

Visiting and offering prayers to the Incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as Jyotiba is a sacred ritual according to Hindu belief. Devotees and tourists throng to this temple premises for the large fair held yearly in the full moon days in the months of Vaishakh and Chaitra

This temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. This is also called Kedarnath and Wadi Ratnagiri. Mythology says, Jotiba helped Mahalaxmi in her fight with the demons. He founded his kingdom on this mountain. He belongs to the Nath cult. He was born in the hands of Vimalmbuja, the wife of the sage Pougand, on Chaitra Shukla 6.

Rankala Lake, Kolhapur

Rankala Choupati, Kolhapur

Rankala is famous place to visit in Kolhapur. This lake was constructed by Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. It is said that its deep area was get created due to quarries of stones which were used for construction of Mahalaxmi temple.

There is temple of Rank Bhairav at the center of the lake. The name rankala to the lake is also derived from this god. The lake area is very large. There are differant types of birds around. One can see many lotuses in the lake. There is 'Choupati' around the lake. The 'Choupati' is beautified by Gardens. There are several coconut trees in ' Shalini Palace' garden. At 'Choupati' you can get all kinds of 'chatts' and Ice creams. The 'Vada Pav' over here is famous in Kolhapur. In garden there are some special amenities available for children to play . It is nice place to stroll in the evening. Jotiba temple and Panhala fort are easily visible from here which gives panoramic view. One should not miss sunset view from this place.

Panhala Fort, Kolhapur

Panhala lies on the Sahyadri Mountain Range and is situated in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. It is about 22 km to the northwest of Kolhapur on the Kolhapur-Ratnagiri road and is at an altitude of 3177 feet above sea level.

Panhala or Panhalgarh, about 19kms north-west of Kolhapur, is possibly the largest and most important fort of the Deccan. Roughly triangular in shape, the hill fort stands at a height of about 850 metres and has a circumference of approximately 7.25kms. Half of its length is protected by a natural scarp reinforced by a parapet wall and the remaining half is surrounded by a strong stone wall strengthened with bastions. The fort had three magnificent double walled gates, out of which two have survived. The Teen Darwaza to the west is an imposing and powerful structure. There are a number of ruined monuments in the fort. The most impressive among them are the three huge granaries. The largest among them, the Ganga Kothi, cover nearly 950 sq m space and 10.7 metres high. In the north-east corner there is a double story building, called Sajja Kothi, where Shivaji had imprisoned his errant son, Sambhaji.

Panhala was the capital of the Shilahara king Bhoja II during 1178-1209 Ad. It was successively held by the Yadava and Bahamani Kings. In 1489 AD, the fort and the territory was taken over by the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur.

Shree Chhatrapati Shahu Museum, Kolhapur

New Palace Museum, Kolhapur This is an ancient building on the Bahvani Mandap-Kasaba Bavda Road. It was constructed during 1877-1884.

Being an excellent specimen of architecture build in black, polished stone, it has been an attraction for the tourists. It has extensive premises with a beautiful garden, fountain and wresting ground. The whole building is eight-angled and has a tower in the middle. The clock on it fixed in 1877. At separate distance there are small towers. On every glass are painted the events in Shivaji's life. There is zoo and a ground lake. Even today, it is the residence of Shreemant Shahu Maharaj.

The New Palace is 1.5 kms further north on Bhausingji Road. Completed in the same year as the Hospital, this complex presents a novel blend of disparate features in contrasting basalt and sandstone. The principal south facade presents a double-storeyed range, with Neo-Mughal lobed arches beneath and temple-like columns and brackets above.This scheme is interrupted by trefoil arches capped with curving cornices and small domes. The same elements cap the octagonal corner towers. The central porch is marked by a pronounced curved cornice. To one side rises a 45m high clock tower capped with an octagonal domed pavilion. The interior of New Palace accommodates the Shahaji Chhatrapati Museum, given over to memorabilia of the Kolhapur rulers.

Its furnished appartments and corridors are crammed with arms, haudahs, paintings and photographs.The Darbar Hall occupies a double-height space in middle of the Palace. The side walls display lobed arches filled with stained glass illustrating scenes from the life of Shivaji, carved coloumns with temple-like brackets support the cast iron balcony above. A raised throne is placed at one end of the Hall.