The Shri Mahalakshmi (Amba Bai) Temple is one of the Shakti Peethas listed in various puranas of Hinduism, situated in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India
According to these legends, a Shakti Peetha is a place related with Shakti, the goddess of power. The Kolhapur Shakti Peetha is having special significance being the places where it is supposed that one can either obtain salvation from desires or have fulfill their desires. The temple takes its name from Mahalaxmi, the consort of Vishnu, and it is believed that the divine couple resides in this area.
The temple belongs architecturally to the Kannada Chalukya Empire and may have been first built in circa 700 AD.
Mounted on a stone platform, the image with four arms and crowned idol is made of gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms.
The Idol of Mahalakshmi is black stone and 3 feet in height.The crown contains an image of the Sheshnag – the serpent of Vishnu. In Her four hands, the goddess 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 Hindusacred 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.
Worship Structure: Five worships are offered here every day.
The first at 5 am, for waking of the goddess with a Kakada – Aarti,
The second worship at 8 am involves the Mahalaxmi Shodashopachara pooja consisting of 16 elements.
The afternoon and evening worship and the Shejaarati pooja constitute the three other worships.
Special Events: A festival Idol of the goddess is taken out for procession around the temple square every Friday, and on full moon days ( Pornima).
Kirnotsav in Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur (festival of Sun rays) is most important festival celebrated when the sun rays fall directly on the godess
It is strongly believed that the Setting Sun rays worships the Goddess Mahalakshmi. This special “festival of Sun rays” known as “KiranUtsav’ or Kirnotsav” is celebrated by thousands of devotees at Mahalaxmi temple Kolhapur.
This is surprise of that wise architects who built the temple of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, that the setting Sun rays, bend over at the feet of the Goddess through a window, for a while before disappearance.
Every year this festival is celebrated on the following days in evening:
First day 31 January: and 9 November: Sun rays falls on the feet of Godess Mahalaxmi
Second day 1 February: and 10 November:Sun rays falls on the middle portion of Godess Mahalaxmi
Third day 2 February: and 11 November: Sun rays falls on the entire body of Godess Mahalaxmi
It’s the architect’s excellence, which has been prepared more than 1000 years ago, and can still be experiential.