(Last Updated on : 03/10/2013)
Pilgrimage tourism in Mahabaleshwar
is famed for its beautiful temples. These temples attract a number of pilgrims from far off places owing to their sanctity. Built in ancient times, the temples still stand as impressive monuments of the past. Apart from being the sacred places, the temples are also famous for their magnificent architecture amidst the captivating landscape. Owing to this, they also allure numerous tourists.
Mahabaleshwar temple is a significant pilgrimage site situated in old Kshetra Mahabaleshwar which is about 6 kilometres away from the main city. Lord Shiva
is the presiding deity of the temple. It is an ancient temple constructed by the Chanda Rao More dynasty in 16th century. The temple is a testament the Hemadant architectural style, prevalent in south India. The temple is encircled by a 5 feet high wall of stone. Mahabaleshwar temple is divided into two parts viz. the central hall and sanctum sanctorum. In the sanctum sanctorum there is a self originated lingam
of black stone which is about 500 years old.
Panchganga temple is another prominent pilgrimage site in Mahabaleshwar. Near the temple the water of five rivers namely Krishna River
, Savitri River
, Koyna River
, Venna River and Gayatri River meet. The temple exhibits exquisite architecture housing an idol of Nandi
. A Shiva lingam is enshrined in the temple. This ancient temple was established by Raja Singhandeo in 13th century. Shivaji
, the Maratha Emperor
renovated it in 16th century.
Krishnabai temple is located near the Panchganga temple at a distance of a few hundred metres. This old temple has ruined to some extent, over time. Goddess Krishnabai is the presiding deity of the temple. The temple bears exquisite stone carvings on the columns and ceilings. The picturesque location of the temple makes it further more popular. The temple also offers a beautiful view of Krishna valley.
Shankar temple is another important temple of Mahabaleshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva. A 'Mahalinga' is enshrined in the temple which resembles the shape of a Rudraksha
. It is believed to be the most superior among the twelve Jyothir Lingams
. It is also known as Trigunatmaka which means Brahma
-Mahesh are always on it. Marks of five sacred rivers can also be observed on its head. The mother of Shivaji, Jeejabai, was weighed by gold in this temple after which the gold was distributed as charity.