Kopeshwar Temple is at Khidrapur, Kolhapur district, Maharashtra. It is at the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka It is also accessible from Sangli as well. It was built in the 12th century by Shilahara king Gandaraditya between 1109 and 1178 CE. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is to the east of Kolhapur, ancient & artistic on the bank of the Krishna river.
The entire temple is divided into four parts Swargamandapa, Sabhamandapa, Antaral kaksha, and Garbha gruha. The Swargamandapa has a vestibule with an open top. The sanctum is conical. The exterior has stunning carvings of Sanatani deities. Elephant statues sustain the weight of the temple at the base. ln, the interior we first see Vishnu (Dhopeshwar) & Shivaling facing north. But there is no Nandi who has separate Mandir. Separate Actor-Pendal also called Swarga mandap, hall, old pillars, carvings of gods & male and female artists in various poses are attractive. The ceiling is semi-circular with matchless engravings. On the outside, complete ‘Shivaleelamrit’ is carved. The Kopeshwar, Ancient & artistic temple situated on the bank of Krishna is a fine example of ancient sculpture. It was built in the 11-12 century by Shilahara. The ceiling is semi-circular with matchless engravings. Inside there is a statue of Vishnu (Dhopeshwar) and Shivling ” Kopeshwar ” facing north. There is no Nandi who has separate Mandir. Separate Actor-Pendal, hall, old pillars, carvings of gods & male-female artists in various poses are attractive. This is the only Shiva temple in India with the idol of Vishnu.
As the ancient story goes: ‘ Sati ‘ the beloved wife of Lord Shiva went to her father’s place to attend the Yagnya along with Nandi. Her father’ Daksha Parajapati ‘ insulted her & used bad words for Lord Shiva. Humiliated ‘Sati ‘ jumped in the Yagnya fire and ended her life. Lord Shiva got very angry when he heard this news & he created Virbhadra the Rudra from his hairs & asked him to destroy Prajapati’s yagnya. Lord Shiva was very angry at the death of his beloved wife ‘ Sati ‘, so the name derived is ‘Kopeshwar Mahadev’. Due to his anger, the whole world started shaking & was on the verge of destruction. To pacify Lord Shiva from anger Lord Vishnu came there & stopped Lord Shiva from destroying the world, so the name ‘ Dhopeshwar ‘ was given to the idol of Lord Vishnu. Since Nandi had gone with ‘ Sati ‘, we do not see a Nandi idol in the Kopeshwar mandir.
Apart from the legend, the name might have originated from the ancient name of the town, which was “Koppam”. The town witnessed two major battles. The first one took place in 1058 CE between Chalukya king Ahavamalla and Chola king Rajendra. The Chola king Rajadhiraja was killed during the battle, and coronation of the second king, Rajendra Chola took place right on the battlefield.
The second battle took place between Shilahara king Bhoj-II and Devagiri Yadav king Singhan-II, during which king Bhoj-II was captured by Yadavas and was kept captive on the fort of Panhala. This event is recorded in the 1213 CE inscription near the south entrance of the temple. This battle brought the rule of Kolhapur branch of Shilaharas to end.
There are about a dozen inscriptions on the inside and outside of this temple, out of which only a couple of inscriptions are in good condition now. These inscriptions reveal the names of few kings and their officers. All these inscriptions except one are in Kannada language and script. The only Devanagari inscription in the Sanskrit language is by Singhan-II and is located on the outer wall near the South entrance of the temple.
When we enter the Swarg Mandap, it is open to the sky with a circular opening. Looking at the sky one gets mesmerized and gets a feeling of looking at the heavens, justifies the name Swarg Mandap. At the periphery of the swarg mandap we can see beautifully carved idols of Lord Ganesh, Karthikeya swami, Lord Kubera, Lord Yamraj, Lord Indra, etc. along with their carrier animals like peacock, mouse, elephant, etc. If we stand at the center of the swarg mandap we can see idols of Lord Brahma on the left-hand side wall of the entrance of sabha mandap. In the center, we can see the Lord Shiva Kopeshwar shivling situated in the Girbh Gruha & towards the right-hand side wall we can see the beautifully carved idol of Lord Vishnu. So at one glance, we can see the Tridev ‘ Brahma Mahesh Vishnu ‘. A stone pedestal mounted east of the temple’s southern door has a carved inscription in Sanskrit, written in Devnagari script. It mentions that the temple was renovated in 1136 by Raj Singhadev of the Yadav dynasty.
About Dnyaneshwar Prakash Vaidya
I am Dnyaneshwar Prakash Vaidya. I am an amateur photographer from a small village near Kolhapur city, Maharashtra.
Maharashtra is a very ancient and historical state in India. There are a historic culture and tradition that vary from town to town and mile to mile. There are many festivals and traditions followed by worldwide photographers for which they came across Maharashtra, not just doing photography but became a part of this tradition and enjoys a lot. There are cultural festivals like Palkhi Festival, Haldi Festival, Lord Ganesha Festival, Kushti Festival and many more.
I have started photography in the year 2015. I am working on Maharashtrian Tradition and Culture. Telling stories through my photography is my passion. I have participated in a lot of festivals that happened in and around Maharashtra. These Photo Walks improved my photography view and as well as great respect for my culture and tradition.
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