Tuesday, 7 October 2014

MahaLakshmi Devi

                Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple is a famous pilgrimage center and is also one of the Ashtadasa Maha ShaktiPeethas. It is believed that the Eyes of Sati Devi has fallen here when Lord Shri Maha Vishnu has cut the corpse with his Sudarshana Chakra. It is located in the city of Kolhapur in Maharastra. 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. This is almost 5000 to 6000 years old statue. 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).



Unlike most Hindu sacred images, which face north or east, the image of this deity looks west (Pashchim). There is a small open window on the western wall, through which the light of the setting sun falls on the face of the image for three days around the 21st of each March and September. The ancient petite idol is found in a small structure next to the stairs, between Goddess Mahalakshmi and Goddess Mahasaraswati’s sancta sanctorum. On the other side of the same stairs is a sculpture of a boar carrying Goddess Earth on its tusk. The boar represents one of the avatara of Lord Vishnu. Besides, a boar was also the emblem of Chalukya Kings of Badami. Right behind the sculpture of boar is an inscription depicting a bull, Shivalinga and a sword.



In the superstructure of the temple, on the first storey, lies a Ganapati idol with stone carving behind it that carries a Kirtimukh (face of glory depicted by a ferocious lion) in the centre. This symbol of the ferocious lion is representative of the Chalukya era. Similarly a sculpture of Vyala16 (a composite mythical leonine beast with horns) is found near the staircase leading to the superstructure. 

       Some more remains of the ancient epoch lie elsewhere. To cite a few, on the either side of the Mahadwar (main entrance), are two sculptures, one of a majestic bull in seated position and the other of a ram. Below the five Deepmalas (lamp pillars) is located a Nagsheela, (Snake sculpture) with five hoods. Also in the same place are found Shivalingas facing the North. All the aforementioned sculptures seem to be the relics of the earlier temple. Some sculptures of Vyala, Kirtimukh as well as nymphs and other ladies are found in the Town Hall Museum in Kolhapur. A survey of these sculptures proves that the former structure of the temple was inspired by the Badami (Bijapur) style of temples and was built in the Chalukya era in and around the place where today stands the sanctum of Goddess Mahasaraswati.

Mythology

           Once upon a time this city, Padmavathi pura, was ruled by a demon Kolha. When he went for penance, another demon named Sukesi occupied this city. After completion of penance Kolha got boons from Lord Brahma and returned to his capital, and observed that was captured by another one. He immediately kílled Sukesi and got his kingdom. He put his son Karaveera as incharge of this city. But in a war he was kílled by Lord Shiva, but at that time he got a boon from Lord Shiva, that this city will be called as Karaveera pura. Kolha became angry with this action and want to take revenge against devatas. He did penance for Mahalakshmi and got permission that she should not enter in to city for 100 years. She accepted for that, after that Kolha created many difficulties to Devatas and occupied their Swarga also. When Devatas praised Mahalakshmi, she told them to wait for completion of 100 years. After 100 years bond was over, she came to Karaveera pura and defeated Kolha in that war. He realized his mistake and praised her and got three boons from her. First one this city name will come from his name Kolha as Kolhapur, second she should live in this place permanently and third one this place should become as Siddha kshetra. In this way Kolhapur became an important Shaktipeeth.

          Another story linked with Kolhapur is, Once sage Bhrigu rishi tested the greatness of trimurthys, at that time he visited Vakuntha also. First Lord Vishnu deliberately unnoticed him, Bhrigu rishi got angry with this nonrecognition and hit the Hridaya sthala of Lord Vishnu with his foot. That is the place of Lakshmi mata. Then Lord Vishnu respected Bhrigu rishi and pressed his Ahamkara eye in his foot. Bhrigu rishi recognised his mistake and went back to his ashram. But at that time Lakshmi mata got angry upon Lord Vishnu, as he did not punish Bhrigu rishi when he hit his Hridaya sthala, which is Lakshmi mata's place. Even he shows respect towards the sage. Because of this reason Lakshmi mata left Vaikuntha and came to Kolhapur. After Lord Vishnu also came to earth and did penance for Maha Lakshmi in Tirumala, then she accepted Lord Vishnu and came to Tirumala. Lord Venkateswar swamy temple also present in Kolhapur Mahalakshmi temple.



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