Famous Shaktipeeth Devi Temple
Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur - The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is situated in the city Kolhapur in Maharashtra one of the Shakti Peethas also called Dakshin Kashi . Kolhapur is an important and significant city lying in the ancient Karveer region that is why Godess Mahalakshmi is also called Karveer Nivasini , Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple is one of the six sites of Shakti, where one can get both fulfillment of desires as well as salvation from them.
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.
Legends: The Karavira Mahatmya states that Vishnu resides in the form of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur. Legend has it that Kolhasura, a demon that tormented the Gods and other beings, was destroyed by Mahalakshmi here at Karavira, and that the spot of his death became a thirtha and that she took abode here in a shrine which constitutes the temple today. (Legend also has it that Parvati – Kolhambika destroyed the demon Kolhasura at Tryambakeshwar).
The Temple: The main entrance Mahadwara of the temple is the western entrance. Upon entering the Mahadwara one is confronted with several deepamaalas on either side, and enters the Garuda mandap with square pillars and foliated arches of wood, characteristic of Maratha temples. This mandap dates back to the 18th century. An image of garuda faces the sanctum. Another stone mandap, on a raised platform enshrining Ganesh, also faces the sanctum. Following this is the mandap with three shrines facing west. The central one is that of Mahalakshmi and the two on either side are those of Mahakali and Mahasaraswathi.
The temple complex exhibits mortar less construction echoing the style of the early Deccan temples. Also to be noted here are the horizontal mouldings and the vertical offsets which create a rich light and shade pattern. Also seen in this temple is a rich display of sculpture of figurines in dancing poses, musicians, gods and goddesses. The three sancta have rather simple shikharas of brick and mortar dating back to the 19th century.
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. The sanctum is designed such that once a year, the setting rays of the sun fall on the face of the image of Mahalakshmi for a period of 3 days in the months of Pisces and Leo.
Above the Mahalakshmi sanctum is a shrine with a Shivalingam and a nandi. The devakoshtas house Venkatesha, Katyayani and Gowri Shankar – facing the north, east and the south. There are a number of subsidiary shrines in the courtyard to the Navagrahas, Surya, Mahishasuramardini, Vitthal-Rakhmai, Shiva, Vishnu, Tulja Bhavani and others. Some of these images date back to the 11th century, while some are of recent origin. Also located in the courtyard is the temple tank Manikarnika Kund, on whose bank is a shrine to Visweshwar Mahadev.
Worship: Five worship services are offered each day here. The first one is at 5 am, and it involves the waking of the deity with a Kakada – torch, to the accompaniment of hymns. The second worship service at 8 am involves the offeirng of the Shodashopachara pooja consisting of 16 elements. The afternoon and evening services and the Shejaarati pooja constitute the three other services. A festival image of the deity is taken out in procession around the temple courtyard each Friday, and on full moon days.
Tuljapur Bhavani temple - Shri Tulja Bhavani Mata Temple - Shri Tulja Bhavani Mata Tuljapur, the one amongst three and half Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra, is situated in the Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, wherein resides Goddess Tulja Bhavani. Shri Tulja Bhavani Mata is also described as the impressive and formidable Goddess in Hindu Puranas, who is known to combat demons and evil forces and maintain the moral order and righteousness in the universe.
Shri Tulja Bhavani Mata is revered and worshipped all over India as Ambabai, Jagadamba, Tukai, Bhagwati, Durga, and Tulja Bhavani by her devotees who throng in millions to Tuljapur for her Darshan and for seeking her divine blessings. TuljaBhavani is also worshipped as the Family Deity (Kuldaivat), not only in Maharashtra, but in innumerable families of India, from Himalayas to Kanyakumari. In Maharashtra, TuljaBhavani worship is of great antiquity and many royal houses and their nobles have been her devotees. Shri Tulja Bhavani Mata is the family Deity ( Kuldaivat) of the great Bhonsla dynasty , whose most celebrated progeny was Great Shivaji, the founder of Hindavi Swarajya. Legend has it that it was Tuljabhavani who gifted the Bhavani sword to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to vanquish his opponents in the battlefield
Saptashrungi the one amongst three and half Shakti Peethas of Maharashtra
Mahau Gad Shaktipeeth temple - Mahur is amongst the four places of pilgrimage having the abodes of one amongst three and half Shakti Peethas that are of major significance in the state of Maharashtra. The other three are Kolhapur, Tuljapur, and Saptashrungi Gad in Vani and Mahur is half, because it is only the head of the goddess that is visible.
Mahur is the abode of the goddess Renuka, mother of Parshuram, an incarnation of Vishnu. The place is in Kinwat about 130 km away from Nanded. It is believed that the temple has been constructed by a Yadava king of Devgiri about eight or nine hundred years ago. The temple of Renukadevi is located on a hill top. There are carved caves in the hills around Mahur.
Mahur -A pilgrim Centre of great significance. It is considered to be one of the Shaktipith of Maharashtra. The temple of Goddess Renuka Devi is situated on a hillock abounding in natural beauty at a distance of about 2.415 km. from the village of Mahur.On the day of Dasara every year a very big fair is held in honour of Renukadevi.
Legend of renuka Devi temple - Renuka was the daughter of the king Renu of Kubaj country and the wife of the sage Jamadagni. When the king Sahastrarjuna paid a visit to Jamadagni in his abode, he was taken by surprise by the hospitality of the sage. When asked about the same, the sage told him that it is all because of the Kamadhenu, i.e., cow that fulfils the desires of the owner given to him by Indra, the king of the Gods.
Thinking that if the Kamadhenu was in his possession he would be able to maintain his vast army easily, the king Sahastrarjuna tried to seize the Kamadhenu from the sage by farce when his request to hand over the Kamadhenu to him was turned down by the sage. In the scuffle that ensued the sage died and his wife Renuka was injured due to 21 wounds she had received at the hands of the king. At this juncture many soldiers appeared on the scene from the body of the Kamadhenu by divine magic and farced the king to retreat.
On coming to know of the above incident Parasuram, the son of Jamadagni who rushed there vowed to defeat and punish the king 21 times. His mother asked him to cremate his father. He carried his father and mother to Mahur and cremated his father there. His mother became a sati.
The religious rites were conducted on this occasion by the God Sri Dattatreya himself. However, after everything was over Parasuram was stricken by grief and at this time a voice from the heavens told him that his mother would came out from the earth but he should not look behind. Being eager to see his mother, Parasuram just saw behind far a fraction of a second to find the mother's face aver the earth. The upper facet is the present upper facet of the Renukadevi.
Renukadevi is adorned with various gold ornaments such as the golden flowers to be used as earrings, gold garlands (putal mal candrahar, jaymal, etc.), nose-ring (nath), etc.