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The Ancient Temples of Mahabaleshwar

Updated on August 29, 2017
radhikasree profile image

Radhika likes visiting temples that are old and having significant legend. It gives spiritual pleasure and peace of mind.

Krishna Valley in Mahabaleshwar
Krishna Valley in Mahabaleshwar | Source

Apart from its glorious points and green valleys, Mahabaleshwar is popular as a pilgrimage site on account of the ancient temples it upholds. They are situated in Old Mahabaleshwar which is believed to be the place of origin of five rivers Krishna, Koyana, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, Venna and Koyana are said to be Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma themselves. This place is also called as ‘Old Kshetra’ which is a gathering of the old temples of Lord Mahabaleshwar, Atibaleshwar, Panchganga and Krishnabai.

Historical fact about Old Mahabaleshwar points out the period 13th century when the King Singhan of Deogiri visited it. He built a small temple and water tank at the source of the river Krishna. Around 13th century, a Brahmin dynasty started ruling this area. In the middle of the 16th century the Maratha family of Chandarao More defeated the Brahmin dynasty and became the rulers of Javli and Mahabaleshwar. This period witnessed the reconstruction of Mahabaleshwar temple in South Indian architecture style.

1. Mahabaleshwar temple

Very calm and peaceful environment surrounds this temple. Mahabaleshwar derives its name from Lord Mahabal(Lord Shiva). This temple has a sanctum sanctorum and a main hall. Lord Shiva is enshrined in a naturally occurred (swayamboo) lingam in the shape of a Rudraksha seed in the sanctum sanctorum. The lingam is expected to be 500 years old. This lingam is considered more sacred than the 12 jyothirlingams. It is also called Trigunatmaka as it is believed to represent Brahma, Vishnu as well as Shiva.

The temple also comprises a square shaped raised platform. According to the legend, the Maratha ruler, Shivaji weighed his mother Jijabai in gold at this platform and then gave away the gold in charity.

Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple
Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple | Source

2. Atibaleshwar Temple

This temple lies next to Mahabaleshwar temple. The statue of ‘Nandi’ or holy cow outside rests in such a way that it is the guard of the temple. Built in South Indian style, Atibaleshwar temple contributes another historic prominence to Mahabaleshwar.

Lord Atibaleshwar Temple
Lord Atibaleshwar Temple | Source

3. Panchganga temple

Walking from Mahabaleshwar temple take you to this temple where the five rivers Krishna, Koyana, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri are said to originate from the spout of a stone carved cow’s mouth. The water that gets collected down is almost the “theertha” of Lord Mahabaleshwar.

Panchganga Temple
Panchganga Temple | Source

4. Krishnabai Temple

Behind Panchganga temple, there is a small trail that leads to Krishnabai temple. River Krishna is being worshipped here that is built on the hilltop overlooking Krishna valley. The temple has a Shiva lingam and a beautiful statue of Goddess Krishna. A small stream of the river flowing from a cow-face (gomukh) falls on a ‘Kunda’ or water tank. Stone carved columns and ceilings are the special characteristics of this temple. This years old temple has gathered moss and is in ruins. Also it is not much visited by tourists and so it is isolated. But the most exquisite view of river Krishna flowing down is obtained from here.

It is said that abode of Gods is heaven. Mahabaleshwar enshrining various gods and goddesses is really a heaven on earth that won’t make a visitor bid farewell to it.

Krishnabai temple
Krishnabai temple | Source

Have you visited these temples of Mahabaleshwar?

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Atibaleshwar temple, Mahabaleshwar

A markerMahabaleshwar -
Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra 412806, India
get directions

© 2013 Radhika Sreekanth


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    • radhikasree profile imageAUTHOR

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      12 months ago from Mumbai,India

      swalia...I visited them long back and those memories cool me up even now also!!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      12 months ago from India

      Very informative. I wasn't aware of these temples.

    • radhikasree profile imageAUTHOR

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Dear Rajan sir,

      Thanks for making such an engaging comment. Visit Old Mahabaleshwar and attain the blessings of Lords.

      Thanks for the votes and share.

    • radhikasree profile imageAUTHOR

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Hi Ruby,

      Such an impressive comment! Your unending support is motivating me in keeping up with this challenge.

      Welcome to India always and Mother Teresa was an earthly angel in India. These temples are very old that showcase our cultural heritage.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Radhika, I visited a few temples but it's so long long back that I just don't remember which ones. I need to visit them once more.

      Voted up and interesting. Shared too.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I watched the video, everything looked ancient, the carved animals were worn from long ago. Your article is very interesting with history unknown to me. India is a land i would love to visit. When i think of india i think of Mother Teresa. Thank you again for sharing your country..Cheers...


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