Rathotsav in Mahalaxmi Temple Kolhapur (chariot festival) is on marathi month chaitra shudda pournima (April). The chariot bearing the silver representation of the Goddess Mahalaxmi is decorated with flowers and lights. It is taken out for a procession. The devotees can pay their respects to the Goddess when the procession brought by hereditary worshipper at the main entrance of the temple & festival idol of shree mahalaxmi is place in the chariot for thair aarati ritual etc. At 9.30 p.m. one canon salute is given to the Goddess and the procession is taken outside the temple. It moves in the city and returns to the temple. The procession is accompanied by military or police band. Huge Rangoli (floor paintings) are drawn along the path of the procession & fireworks add to the festivities. Several devotees flock to participate in this event.
It is not surprising that even the rays of a setting sun pay homage to Goddess Mahalaxmi as the life of human being revolves around illumination and prosperity. But it is the wonder of architects who built the temple of Mahalaxmi at Kolhapur that the rays of the setting Sun, bow at the feet, middle part, & next on the face of the Goddess through a open corridor, for a while before vanishing. This period is considered extremely auspicious, This special event is celebrated by thousands of people as ‘Kiranotsav' This period lasts for three days, the Devotees throng the temple on all the three evenings the temple for a glimpse of the beautiful image bathing in the golden rays of the setting sun, every year this festival is celebrated on the following days.
Day 1 - 31st January & 9th Nov. at local sun set time on each year on the feet of idol.
Day 2 - 1st February & 10th Nov. at local sun set time on each year on middle part of idol.
Day 3 - 2nd February & 11th Nov. at local sun set time on each year on the face of idol.
Navratra ( Nine Nights) festival is celebrated for ten days. Every year from Ghatsthapana ( First day of Navratra) upto Dashami (last day of Navratra) puja is carried at 8.30 am and 11.30 am after which Mahanevedya ( Holy food) is offered to goddess Ambabai then aarati is done. The goddess is adorned with traditional ornaments at 2 pm. The temple is opened for the devotes to take darshan of the goddess Ambabai.
For 10 days at 9.30 p the procession is carried out in silver palanquin, the palanquin is decorated with flowers and lights. After the puja is performed the palanquin procession starts for pradakshana. For this procession Police Band and Militery Band is provided by the government. The procession ends at 10.30 pm. The devotees take darshan at Garud Mandap at 10.30 pm one canon salute marks the end of the day’s ritual.
Lalit Panchami (5th day of Navratri)
At 7 am and 10 am abhishek is performed along with routine puja. At 10 am one canon salute is give to Goddess Ambabai, then the procession leaves to visit Goddess Tremboli’s Temple. It reaches the Tremboli goddess temple at noon. Kushmandabali ritual is performed by shri Chhatrapati (this ritual represents killing of the enemy.) Around 2 pm the procession is back and aarati is performed. At night procession begins temple pradakshana.
Ashtami - Jagar (8th Day of Navratri)
Puja is performed at 8.30 am and 11.30 am abhishek and daily rituals are performed. After the abhishek. Between 7 to 9.30 pm devotees are allowed to take darshan. One canon salute is given to start the nagar pradakshana.
Navami (9th Day of Navratra)
Daily puja is performed at 8.30 am, 11.30 am and at 9.30 p.m.
Puja is performed at 8.30 am , 11.30 am Abhishek and daily rituals are performed. After the abhishek shalu (Mahavastra) is offered to goddess, the shalu is gift from Shree Tirumala Tirupati, Venkateshwara Devstan, Andhra Pradesh. At 5 pm Goddess Ambabai’s procession visits Dasara Chowk, where traditional puja is performed by Chatrapati after which the procession is back at the temple. At 9.30 p.m. mandir pradakshana is carried out where devotes take darshan at Garud Mandap. The days ritual ends at 10.30 pm. With one canon salute.
At 2 am puja is performed at the goddess temple. Oil lamp placed at the temple top. At 2.45 am temple doors are opened. Morning puja, Padya Puja & Panchamrit abhishek is performed at 5.00 am. At 6.00 am morning aarati is performed. At 11.30 am Panchamrit abhishek is performed. At 7.45 pm & 9.45 aarati is performed, at 10 pm Shejarati ( night aarati). At 10.30 pm temple door is closed for the day.
As per every year Tulsi Vivah is performed in temple premises at 7 pm.
It also called festival of lights of the gods. At 2.45 am temple doors are opened. As usual Padya Puja, aarati is performed. At 5 am panchamrut abhishek is performed. Aarati is performed at 6.00 am. At 11.30 am Panchamrut Abhishek, aarati and ornamental puja is performed. Between 5 pm to 8 pm Satyanarayana pooja is performed at Garud Mandap and Prasad is offered to devotes. At 9.30 pm chariot procession is carried out around temple. Fire works ceremony is carried out in front of the procession. Procession return to the temple around 10 pm at Garud Mandap, At 10.30 canon salute is given to mark the end of procession.