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How Old is Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur

As an architecture enthusiast, I always look forward to visiting historic temples when I travel across India. Last year, I had the opportunity to explore the vibrant old city of Kolhapur, known for its spectacular temples. My main purpose was to discover the origins and history behind the magnificent Mahalaxmi Temple, dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi.

Built in the year 715 AD, the Mahalaxmi Temple has stood strong for over 1300 years. As I entered through the enormous wooden doors into the inner sanctum, I was awestruck by the intricate stone carvings on the walls depicting various Hindu gods and goddesses. The serene ambiance and chanting of hymns made me feel at peace instantly.

Tracing the History Behind the Temple's Construction

As I sat down with one of the senior priests to understand the history of the temple better, he narrated captivating stories about its construction in the 8th century. It was commissioned by Chalukya King Karnadeva for his kingdom's prosperity after his release from the Pratihar rulers who had held him captive.

How Old is Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur

As I gazed at the spectacular stone spire soaring above me, I couldn’t even imagine the efforts that must have gone into manually carving it to perfection all those centuries ago!

Why Goddess Mahalaxmi is Revered in Kolhapur

The priest went on to explain why Goddess Mahalakshmi is the presiding deity of this temple and the city itself. In the 10th century, an Arabian sea tradesman who was a devotee of the goddess found a gem-studded icon of Mahalakshmi floating in the sea. He offered it to the king who built this stunning temple to install this revered idol. Since then, Goddess Mahalakshmi has been the patron goddess of Kolhapur and is believed to be the protector of the region.

How the Temple Withstood the Test of Time

As an architect keenly tracking architectural trends, I was curious to know how this ancient temple withstood numerous attacks by invading armies over centuries. The priest highlighted that although the spire and some outer structures were damaged in attacks, the inner sanctum always remained protected, and rebuilding efforts began swiftly after each attack.

For instance, in the early 18th century, the spire collapsed but was splendidly restored within a few years by the regional rulers. Thanks to their efforts, devotees can still experience history when they visit this 800-year-old temple!

My Personal Experience at the Temple

Being at such an ancient site filled me with awe at the skills of artists who built ornate stone monuments way before modern construction equipment existed! As I circumambulated the inner shrine and gazed at the Goddess’ dazzling idol decorated with pure gold jewelry and exquisite garlands, I felt immense divine energy engulf me.

How Old is Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur

The priest was kind enough to take me behind the scenes into the underground storage rooms housing intricately carved pillars to be used for the next renovation. It gave me perspective into the continuous efforts put in for centuries to maintain this living temple and adapt it to modern needs without compromising on its historic integrity.

Tips for Visitors Planning a Trip Here

For anyone planning to visit this marvel of architecture, allocate at least half a day to admire it in detail. The complex also has shrines dedicated to other deities, sacred trees, and even an underground cave holding prison cells used centuries ago!

I’d recommend getting an authorized guide to understand the intriguing history behind each structure. Be sure to attend the elaborate rituals held at dawn, noon, and dusk when the deity is decorated with fresh flowers and ornaments. Photography is allowed only from outside, so do capture the resplendent gopuram glowing in the sunset!

Kolhapur can get quite humid in summer, so winters are ideal for exploring its temples comfortably. Stay hydrated, wear comfy shoes, and respect the sanctity of the place by dressing modestly. Once you visit, you’ll surely agree that this is undoubtedly the jewel of Maharashtra’s architectural heritage!

Looking Ahead to the Future

Being at this living temple where millennia-old rituals are still practiced daily made me hopeful about India’s priceless cultural continuity. However, the challenge is to sensitize younger generations disconnected from traditions so they value our heritage. Temple trusts must also use technology prudently for conservation efforts to ensure historic structures endure for centuries ahead!


As I left Kolhapur, I felt profound gratitude for those nameless artisans whose unmatched talents still fill devotees with divine bliss. More people must visit such architectural wonders to value the glorious heritage India holds, so it continues enlightening future generations!

Which ancient temple are you excited to explore next?


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