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Timings : 5:30 AM - 10:30 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Jyotiba Temple, Kolhapur Overview

The beautiful temple of Kolhapur, known as the Jyotiba Temple lies near the village of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. The temple is constantly laden with 'rang which translates to colour, implying the colour used to play Holi. This is because the gulal is offered to Lord Jyotiba as a token of sincerity by the pilgrims. The glorious temple is built for Lord Jyotiba as its name suggests, who was believed to be an embodiment of three different deities. It is believed that this temple should be visited after visiting the Mahalaxmi Temple. Standing 3124 feet above sea level, the view from the temple is beautiful and breathtaking. The serene environment along with the divinity of the structure gives a feeling of peace and calm to all the pilgrims and visitors.

Jyotiba Temple was constructed by Ranoji Shinde in the year 1730. The striking temple is believed to be approximately 55 feet in length, 37 feet in width and 77 feet in height. The interior is elegant and straightforward while the exterior includes a long flight of stairs that pilgrims need to climb to reach the main temple. This climb is of about 100 steps and is lined with some shops. The shops vary from ones selling coconuts and flowers, to ones that sell CDs and pictures of Lord Jyotiba.

The most prominent festival of this magnificent temple is celebrated in the Hindu months of Chaitra and Vaisakha. They occur on the full moon night during this month, thereby being named Chaitra Poornima. This is the annual festival when all the devotees throw and play with gulal. The entire hill of the Jyotiba Temple is then covered with gulal, making it a beautiful sight and a great festival to experience.

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Legend of Jyotiba Temple

Lord Jyotiba, as mentioned earlier, is known to be an incarnation of three deities. It is believed that when the evil demon Ratnasur was terrorising the region, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma decided to take one form and kill the demon. Lord Jyotiba was born to Vimalmbuja, the wife of sage Pougand on Chaitra Shukla. He helped Goddess Mahalakshmi in destroying Ratnasur and founded his kingdom from this very mountain. He is also believed to have destroyed Raktabhoj, the demon.

History and Architecture of Jyotiba Temple

The Jyotiba temple was made in three different stages. The original temple was established by Navji Saya while the main temple that stands today was built by Ranoji Shinde in 1730 in the place of the original. It is 55 feet in length, 37 feet in width and 77 feet in height. The second part of the temple was built by Daulatrao Shinde in the year 1808 which is approximately 44 feet in length, 22 feet in width and 89 feet in height. The third temple was built before the second temple. The exact date isn't known, but it is circa 1780. This part of the temple was built by Malji Nilam Panhalkar and is 13 feet in length, 13 feet in width and 40 feet in height.

The entire temple has an ancient interior. A few changes have been made recently to make the temple more pilgrim friendly and accessible. The triangular domes of the temples are painted in shades of yellow while the main body and walls are still in the same stone that they were made of.

Festivals Celebrated at Jyotiba Temple

During the holy months of Chaitra and Vaishakha, the Jyotiba temple has an annual fair. Devotees and pilgrims travel from all around the country to attend this festival. The month of Chaitra is recognized for the coming of spring. The deity of Jyotiba is celebrated grandly during these months. Devotees play with gulal on the day of this fair. The entire temple is coated with the color and gives out this beautiful hue of pink that can be seen from the farthest point.

The devotees carry a stick around the temple which is called 'Sasan.' The stick is immensely heavy and long, thereby a group of men ranging from 15-20 in number volunteer to carry the stick. To carry the stick is believed to be a very auspicious deed, it is a rite of god in a manner. Men who do not get the opportunity to carry the huge stick, carry smaller one of their own as a symbolic representation for the rite. All men attending the festival wear an orange or yellow turban. Visually, it strikes as an alluring contrast to the gulal that they are covered with. The hue of the turban that men wear is similar to the one worn by the idol of Jyotiba in the temple.

The annual fair of the Jyotiba Temple is one of India's most culturally rich events that has been going on for centuries. It has been attended by generations of families. The government of Maharashtra recognizes the immensity of the festival and deploys special forces to conduct and supervise the devotees and the various happenings of the event as lakhs of people from across the country travel to Kolhapur for the fair.

Tips For Visiting Jyotiba Temple

1. It is recommended to avoid visiting this temple on full moon days and Sundays as the place is thronged by visitors during this period.
2. You might need to stand in a long queue for hours so carry water along with you.
3. Avoid wearing white or light coloured clothes to the temple as the devotees keep throwing gulaal.
4. Do try the delectable lassi at the Surya Lassi shop located near the temple.

How To Reach Jyotiba Temple

Jyotiba Temple is situated at a distance of 17 km from Kolhapur. It has a well-connected network. One can hire a cab or an auto-rickshaw from the railway station and reach the temple.

If you plan to visit the temple by a private vehicle, you will need to park a little far from the main compound as there is a lack of ample parking space near the temple. 

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