Mythology - Ambabai Mahalaxmi Kolhapur

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Shri Kshetra Karveer is the extremely favorite place of the goddess Mahalaxmi (Ambabai). The supreme power resides here in three different forms. i.e. Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. It is strongly considered as after formation of this universe, Lord Vishnu himself created Kashi and karveer. There was an argument over the greatness of their places in between Bhagwan Shankar and the supreme goddess. Bhagwan Vishnu brought the scale and weighted, and found that Karveer is a greater place. The reasons are the prosperity of life (Bhukti) and complete freedom after death (Mukti).  

Here is a popular myth behind the name of Kolhapur. Brahmadev had three sons. Gay, Lavan and Kolh. Gay died at Gaya in the north India. Lavan died in Vidharbhh, near Lonar Lake. Their brother Kolhasur was sent to Rakshalaya (today’s Kolhapur) to fight with demon Keshi. Kolhasur won this battle and became king of this region. He and his wife Kadamba (her name is given to the village Kalamba. Its very close to Kolhapur city.) had four children. Karveer, Vishal, Kulandhak and Lajjasur. Kolhasur handed over his state to his four sons and went to the forest where he started asceticism. His four sons started harassing the people. Bhagawan Shankar killed Karveerasur and put his weapon (Trishul) down. These places after the time being were popular as Karveereshwar and Shuleshwar. Thus, this town was named as Karveer. Bhagwan Vishnu killed Vishalasur near Shinganapur. At this place, a Vishaltirth was formed. Brahmadev killed Lajjasur and Indra killed Kulandhak.

After god killed Kolhasura’s four sons; angrily, he returned from the forest. He again worshiped the supreme goddess and asked her to leave this place for 100 years. She blessed him and went to the Himalayas. (most probably she went to Vaishnodevi, because three masses in a form of Pindi still exist there). Kolhasura has tormented local people for 100 years. All Gods obsecrated the goddess for freedom from the demon. The goddess returned along with Kedareshwar, Mahargaleshwar, Ujjwalaamba and the other fellows. She stayed at Shriyala (today’s Battis Shirala). While the granted 100 years were over, Goddess Katyayani went to welcome Goddess Mahalaxmi. The place where happiness of their meeting was celebrated is Mangale. This village is close to battis Shirala.
 
Kolhapur appointed four demons to the four sides of Karveer. Raktlol to the east, Raktbeej to the south, Raktaaksh to the west and Raktbhoj to the north. The goddess Mahalaxmi attacked Karveer from the east. Ujwalamba killed Raktalol and took responsibility to protect this region. Bhairav & Katyayani defeated Raktbeej at the south. At the west and Raktaksha was killed by Siddha Ganesha. To kill Raktbhoj to the north, Bhagwan Kedar (Kedarling) appeared here. Raktaksha was killed by Charpatamba. Charpatamba was powered by Kedarling.

Then there was a great war in between Gods and demon, Kolhasur. Kolhasur fought powerfully. Bhagawan Shankar was impressed with Kolhasura’s war skills and asked him for his wish. Further, Kolhasur requested, “the supreme goddess should not be angry with me. And she should kill me in a form of Mahalaxmi (with 18 hands)”.  At last goddess Mahalaxmi killed Kolhasura on Ashwin Shuddh Panchami. Further, while on deathbed, Kolhasura requested three wishes. First, to give my name to this region. Second, this region should be a holy pilgrimage same as Gaya. Third, every year you must kill a pumpkin for me. Thus, this region was named as Kolhapur. This battle took place near Laxmitirth (today’s Ayodhya talkies). A temple of Gaya Gadadhar still exists here. And thirdly, a pumpkin (representing Kolhasur) is killed every year on Ashwin Shuddha Panchami also known as Kohal Panchami in front of goddess Tryambuli.

Kolhapur (Karveer) is a very sacred place. In different durations, gods appeared here on various locations. The places and gods are; on the bank of Padmala tirth, Shri Narsimha; Near Katyayani mandir, Shri Parshurama, Near Ravaneshwar Tirth, Shri Ram and Janaki. Shri Krishna has appeared here numerous times in various locations. Lord Vishveshwar stays on the right hand side of the goddess. Lord Brahmadeva’s temple is on the bank of river Panchganga. Lord Kapileshwara is the village god of Kolhapur. This holy place is being blessed by many sages such as Kardam, Anubhuti, Lopamudra, Agasti, Parashar, Satyavati etc. Thee most important is Karveer is Anusaya’s motherly home. Anusaya is the mother of lord Datta. This is the only reason, Lord Datta appears every afternoon and ask for ‘Bhikshaa’ (to beg for livelihood).

Goddess Mahalaxmi has promised that only by remembering in mind, devotees will be granted a prevalence of residing in Kolhapur.  
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