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.
It Is Known For:-
Jyotiba Temple is dedicated to Lord Dattatreya. He was an incarnation of the combined powers of the holy Hindu trinity. They took this form to kill the demons Ratnasur and Raktabhoj and putting their tyranny to an end.
He also helped Goddess Lakshmi to fight a war against demons. After the war, he chose the hillock as his abode.
Lord Dattatreya also founded the Nath community in Hinduism.
His shrine was built on the hillock by a wealthy merchant known by the name of Ranoji Shinde.
Chaitra Poornima is an auspicious day and is observed here with a great pomp. The entire hillock turns greenish pink as the devotees apply gulaal in abundance to each other.
Best Time To Visit:-
Jyotiba Temple is a mesmerizing attraction that should be visited during a trip to Kolhapur. Though it can be visited throughout the year, Chaitra Poornima is the time when it attracts countless devotees of Lord Dattatreya. A big fair is organized here that promises to merry make to all.
Jyotiba Temple is well-connected via all roads in Kolhapur. Due to the location on a hillock, it can be reached conveniently either by enjoying a small trek or by hiring the service of the local cabs and jeeps available.
Nearest Railway Station:- Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Station
Nearest Airport:- Kolhapur Airport