Jyotiba (Marathi: ज्योतिबा) is a holy site of Hinduism near Wadi Ratnagiri in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra state in western India. The deity of the temple is known by the same name, and is held by the locals to be an incarnation of three gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesha, and Jamadagni. An annual fair takes place on the full moon night of the Hindu months of Chaitra and Vaishakha.
This temple is ensconced on a hill at a height of 3124 feet above sea level, 18 km to the north-west of Kolhapur city. Legend states that three gods took the form of Jyotiba to destroy the evil demon Ratnasur who was terrorizing the region. Jyotiba, the amalgamation of the souls (jyotis) of 3 deities- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha is believed to have helped goddess Mahalaxmi to liberate the region from the tyranny of Raktabhoj Rakshasa and Ratnasur the demon. Jyotiba founded his kingdom on this mountain.
The original Kedareshwar temple was built by Navji Saya. In 1730, Ranoji Shinde built the present temple in its place. This shrine is 57 ft x 37 ft x 77 ft high including the spire. The second temple of Kedareshwar is 49 ft x 22 ft x 89 ft high. This shrine was constructed by Daulatrao Shinde in 1808. The third temple of Ramling is 13 ft x 13 ft x 40 ft high including its dome. This temple was constructed in circa 1780 by Malji Nilam Panhalkar. The idol of Jyotiba is four-handed. There are a few other minor temples and light towers in the premises as well.
While Sundays are special for visiting this temple, there is also an annual fair that takes place on the full moon night of the Hindu months of Chaitra &Vaishakha. On Chaitra Poornima lakhs of devotees throng the temple carrying tall ‘sasans’ or sticks and chanting Jyotibachya Navane Changbhala . They smear ‘gulal’ (pink coloured sacred powder) on their foreheads and everywhere else turning the whole mountain into a beautiful pink.The government has initiated several improvements for the pilgrims and locals at this holy site and a Plaza Garden Plan is in the pipeline.
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