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Jyotiba Temple History – Architecture - Jyotiba Temple At Panhala Near Kolhapur

The famous Jyotiba Temple at Wadi Ratnagiri atop Panhala near Kolhapur in Maharashtra represents both the sacred fire or jyoti and the sun god (surya) in the form of fire. Jyotiba temple is around 20 km from Kolhapur.

Jyotiba Temple – Architecture

 The temple of Jyotiba represents the architectural form evolved around Kolhapur. The Shikharas of the temple are many faceted, and are strengthened by the predominant rathapatta, which reaches upto the kalasha.

The precinct of the temple has a magnificent gateway of stone, with a strong recessed pointed arch. There are numerous slender Deepmalas, which are typical of Maratha temples within the temple.

The popularity of the deity led to its renovation often, and additions have been made in different places. The complex is paved and cloisters are constructed on the sides.

The walls of the temple are plain and offset, to give a feeling of contrast. Small arched openings add to the feeling of massiveness.

The patronage of the Shindes has resulted in a strong and well-built temple. It is evident from the details of the columns, the nandi, and other decorations.

Deccani and Southern influence is clearly visible in the massive construction.

The turbulent times during which the temple was completed resulted in a limited variety of ornamentation and a massive stone construction.

The use of heavy and massive podiums add to the visual impact and aesthetics of the temple complex.

The Yamai temple in the complex is smaller and has a rectangular sabhamandapa and slender shikhara with a rathapatta. The sabhamandapa has canopies which are supported by regular brackets. Simple mould bands run around the structure lending unity to the mass. 

History Of Jyotiba Temple

The original temple was constructed by Navji Saya. The present temple was constructed by Ranoji Shinde in 1730 AD. The Kedareshwar temple in the comple was constructed in 1808 by the Daulatrao Shinde. Ramalinga temple was constructed by Malji Nilam Panyalkar in 1780 AD. The Yamai temple and Jamadagni tank were constructed by Ranoji Shinde.

Jyotiba sits on a horse, and therefore it is possible that he many symbolically represent the sun god. The image faces south, towards Mahalakshmi temple, in Kolhapur as a protective gesture towards her. 

God Worshipped At Jyotiba Temple

It is believed that Kedarnath (Shiva) from North was invited by Goddess Mahalakshmi to overpower demons who were harassing people in the region. Since then Kedarnath Shivling is associated with Jyotiba, and Shiva and The Sun God are merged into one God at Jyotiba Temple.

There is a belief that Shiva defeated Demon Ratnasur on the hill. As per some devotees Shiva took the fierce Kalbhairav form to defeat the demon.

The deity is also referred to as Khandoba.

The influences of local traditions are clearly visible on the rituals and stories associated with the temple.

There are several historic references connecting the temple to fire worship.

The deity is the family deity of many Maratha and other communities in Maharashtra.

The priests belonging to the Gurav community reside in the town. Many families in Maharashtra has a Gurav priest, and they visit the same Gurav family for generations. 

Festival – Pujas – Rituals

The most important associated with the shrine is observed on the full moon day in Chaitra month (April) – Chaitra Purnima.

Sunday is the most important day in the shrine and many families visit Jyotiba on the day.

A great stimulus and inspiration is provided by the drums and music played by the devotees. Gulal, vermilion and dry coconut are showered on the the murti during processions.

The kathya procession held during important rituals and festivals is noted for yellow, red and pink colors. 

Procession From Jyotiba Temple To Yamai Temple

God Jyotiba visits his sister Yamai on the Chaitra Purnima day with great pomp. The temple of Yamai is located at a distance from the Jyotiba complex. Sasan Kathya, or bamboos 10 to 12 meters in height decorated with tufts and wrapped in red and white cloth are taken in procession. Four people hold the ropes tied to support these bamboos, and at the base of the bamboo there is a horizontal plank to support them on the shoulder.

Chang Bhale, Chang Bhale slogan is shouted in the procession and it reaches Yamai, where the doors of the temple are closed for a while.