Kopeshwar Mandir/Kopeshwar Temple Kolhapur is a very ancient and artistic temple located on the banks of the River Krishna, which is an excellent example of ancient sculptural technology. The Kopeshwar temple timings are from 7 AM to 8 PM.
The Kopeshwar temple had built in the 7th century A.D. during the reign of the Chalukya kings. The Silhara kings in the 12th played it and 13th century, a few centuries later. The temple is built of basalt stone and is an excellent example of the artistic skills and quality of the time.
The most striking fact about this temple is that the black stone (basalt) used to build this temple was not found in the vicinity, at least 600 km in any direction.
Legend has it that these stones used are from South India and moved by the Krishna River canal to build this temple. Kopeshwar Mandir is also known as Khidrapur Temple.
The temple has a circular open sky roof, hall, old carved pillars of deities, animal sculptures on the walls, and male and female performers performing various dances.
Kopeshwara Temple History and Structure
Kopeshwar temple is star-shaped and mainly divided into four sections: Swargamandapam, Sabhamandapam, Antara Kaksha and Garbha Griha.
The section forms the entrance to the temple and the appearance of the temple. The external pillars extending from the temple’s foundation symbolise power and strength.
The carving of wild goats, elephants, etc., with an ox and crooked horns, symbolises the symbolic strength of the temple structure.
Sculptures of the divine trinity of the Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are guarded on both the back and the side of the temple. The presence of Lord Shiva between the three idols indicates that the temple has always been a Shiva temple.
The temple’s most exciting and attractive part is the second section. The top of which is a dome with a complete open circle.
If you lie down under this dome and look at the sky above, you will feel how close the moon is!! It gives the feeling of being on a moon.
According to local legend, the secret of this dome is that rituals performed in ancient times and the sacred recitations, the sacred smoke go directly to the deities in heaven.
The third section contains several sculptures on the Kopeshwar temple pillars, describing the ancient Panchatantra, the Ramayana and a collection of famous myths related to the reincarnations of various deities.
Statues of Gautama Buddha and saints of other faiths are the most astonishing and problematic parts of this section. It shows that this temple is a valid secular temple, and it had aimed at the followers of all religions.
The fourth section of the temple forms the sanctum sanctorum (central dome). In the centre of this section is the Shivalingam.
Destruction of the Kopeshwara Temple Kolhapur
Unfortunately, the Islamic invaders destroyed many sculptures close to the ground level in the following centuries.
Adil Shah, the ruthless ruler of Bijapur, Aurangzeb, Khader Khan and his army smashed the carvings on the temple and cut off almost all the elephant trunks.
Although there is no definite historical evidence of ‘who destroyed what, it is sad to see such a beautiful piece of art destroyed.
How to reach Kopeshwar Mandir
Devotees can reach Kopeshwar Temple or Khidrapur Temple via Kolhapur, Ichalkaranji or Miraj.
The distance from Kolhapur to Kopeshwar Temple is about 58 km.
Nearest station and bus stand: Kolhapur Railway Station / S.T. Bus Depot in Kolhapur city.
State transport buses also ply from Kurundwad (Kolhapur) to Khidrapur for the 1 hour from 08:00 am to 12 noon.
Khidrapur has located 18 km from Kurundwad and takes about 20 – 25 minutes to reach here.
Kopeshwar Temple Timings
The Kopeshwar temple timings are from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Accommodation and Food
Kidrapur is as good as lodges or hotels. So it is best to find accommodation in Kurundwad or Narsobawadi. There is nothing to do here except the Kopeshwar Temple, so there is no need to stay overnight.
Some food joints offer essential snacks like Vada Pav, Bhaji Puri, etc. However, it had strongly recommended taking your food and plenty of water.
Best time to visit Kopeshwar Temple
Devotees can visit Kopeshwar Temple any time of the year, but not during the summer (April to June).
The morning visit is the best time to see the entire temple and the surroundings.