My stay in Kolhapur was so far very satisfying. My kids were thoroughly enjoying the liveliness and sanctity of Kolhapur and I was as always gleeful. Making out time from the busy schedule of household is quite difficult for homemakers like me. But this was like a break from the monotonous life and solace surrounded me from all the sides. I decided to make a visit to the Bhavani Mandap in Kolhapur during the sixth day of my stay here.
The Bhavani Mandap is a place having religious importance and is much acknowledged in the state of Kolhapur. Goddess Tulja Bhavani or simply Goddess Bhavani is worshipped in this temple. You can call it a temple or palace, but the architecture of the building is splendid and is located just behind the Mahalaxmi temple. Some 200 years ago, this palace was built and due to some reasons this palace got destroyed with fire. However it was rebuilt in future again.
The structure was built around in the year 1785-1800 A.D by Shivaji Maharaj and is known to be the glory of Kolhapur. Presently, The Bhavani Mandap holds the statue of the prince of Kolhapur, Shahu Maharaj. Shahu Maharaj loved to hunt animals in the forest and there are images of incarnations of the prince hunting a wild bison, pdeers and even panthers. There are wood thrones present within the mandap which is known to be the place for sightseeing for the prince of Kolhapur.
The Bhavani Mandap is largely visited by tourists and people from outside Kolhapur. The temple has rich embellishments and a large hall which has motifs from the art forms of previous era. Zumbur is known as a cluster of lights which is found in the Bhavani Mandap and it increases the richness of the temple. Thhe large image of prince Shahu Maharaj is present in the midst of the mandap which stands to be the major attraction for the people visiting it.
There are also certain findings about the temple which are yet to be confirmed like the underground tunnel that stretched from the Bhavani Mandap to Panhala across a length of 20 kilometers under the ground. This long route was built in order to create an escape route for the soldiers of Maharashtra.