We had a 2 days short trip to Kolhapur. On the first day of our visit (in morning) we went to Mahalaxmi temple, Kolhapur. It was a memorable experience. On second day, visited the temple in the evening. We missed kiranotsav (festival of sun rays) by one day but were able to see sunset from the temple and also moon rise.
The Shri Mahalakshmi (AmbaBai) Temple of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India, is one of the Shakti Peethas listed in various puranas of Hinduism. The temple belongs architecturally to the Chalukya empire and was first built in the 7th century. (Source of information-Wikipedia).
It is not surprising that even the rays of a setting sun pay homage to Goddess Mahalakshmi as the life of human being revolves around illumination and prosperity. But it is the wonder of wise architects who built the temple of Mahalakshmi at kolhapur that the rays of the setting Sun, bow at the feet of the Goddess through a window, for a while before vanishing. This special event is celebrated by thousands of people as ‘KiranUtsav’ (festival of sun rays). Every year this festival is celebrated only on the following days at evening: (31 January,1 February,2 February) and then on (9 November,10 November,11 November)
The first day, ray falls on the feet, on second day, on the middle portion of the deity and on the third day on the face. It is the architect's excellence, which was done more than 1000 years ago, and can still be observed. (Source of information-Wikipedia)We visited temple on 12th of November (so missed the opportunity to see this festival by a day) but still were lucky to witness sunset from the temple.
Front view of the temple- (This place faces the entrance of the temple, saw sunset from this place)
Sun rays -
Fountain in temple premises-
Colourful lighting at the evening time-
The idol of Mahalaxmi is made of jewel - stone, approximately weighing 40 kg. It stands on a stony stage with a lion behind it. In the middle there is natural lotus. It is four-handed, having Vetak, shield, Mhalung & Water-Pot. There is crown on the head and a snake holds shade.
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 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. (Source of information-Wikipedia)
Clicked this photo of Goddess from a photo frame (there are many shops outside the temple , we bought flowers and prasad from the shop outside , the shopkeeper allowed us to click a photo of photo frame available for sale) -