Kshetra Mahabaleshwar is very famous for three temples namely Panchaganga, Mahabaleshwar and Krishnabai. Panchaganga temple is probably the most well-known of the three as the waters of five rivers Koyna, Krishna, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri come together in this temple. Close to the Panchaganga temple is a well-marked trail that leads to the beautiful Krishnabai Temple.
Set on a hilltop overlooking the Krishna valley, the majestic Krishnabai temple is supposed to be the origin of the Krishna river. Very little is known about the origin of the Krishnabai temple with some locals saying that the temple was built by a ruler of Ratnagiri in 1888 and some others saying that it has been here since the time of the Pandavas. The local priest though firmly says that this temple is at least 5,000 years old if not more.
The temple has an arcaded court though originally might have been an open one with the addition of a roof later on with a high stone on the rear. This temple is quite similar to the Panchaganga Temple where you see water passing through a stone spout carved as a cow collecting in the cistern below. The water flowing from the mouth of the cow (Gomukh) is supposed to be perennial and it flows into a pond which flows out as the mighty river Krishna. Like most temples in this region, Krishnabai temple is built in the Hemadpanti style of architecture (style incorporating black stone and lime without using any mortar using the technique of mortise and tenon joint).
The temple has a Shiva linga and a beautiful statue of Goddess Krishna. The temple has stunning stone carved columns and ceilings. This temple in the monsoons would make for a very rewarding spiritual and visual experience. The moss on the temple walls, the lovely carvings and panoramic view of the Krishna valley will leave you breathless. What history and stories this magnificent temple hides is known to none as it remains a silent witness to changing times.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)