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Sri Kalahasthi Temple in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradhesh ( Vayu )

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Srikalahasti Temple is situated in Chittoor district of the state of Andhra Pradesh. In South India, it occupies a place of eminence among the holy Shiva kshetras. The temple is called as Dakshina Kailasam located on the banks of the river Swarnamukhi. The architecture of Srikalahasti Temple-Chitoor is extraordinary, it has three massive Gopurams which are breathtaking. Another striking feature of the temple is its huge Mantapam with hundred pillars. Srikalahasti is a holy town and a municipality near Tirupati, Chitoor District of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the river Swarnamukhi. It is also informally and wrongly referred to as Kalahasti. It is a popular ancient Temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams (temples celebrating Shiva as the embodiment of the primary elements), air being the element in case here, the other five temples being Tiruvannamalai (Fire), Chidambaram (Space), Tiruvanaikkaval (Water) and Kanchipuram (Earth) respectively. Thousands of pilgrims from all over India visit the temple to have darshan of the almighty Sri Kalahasteeswara God and Goddesses Sri Gnanaprasunambika Devi.

Srikalahasti Temple is one of the most famous Shiva temples in South India, and is said to be the site where Kannappa, one of the 63 Saivite Nayanars, was ready to offer both his eyes to cover blood flowing from the Shiva linga before the Lord Shiva stopped him and granted him moksha (salvation).

It is one of the five major Shiva temples (Pancha bhoota Sthalam), representing one of the five major elements - Wind. The other four temples are Chidambaram, Ekambareswara (Kanchipuram), Jambukeshwara (Thiruvanaikaval) and Tiruvannamalai. There is a lamp inside the inner sanctum that is constantly flickering despite the lack of air movement inside. The air-linga can be observed to move even when the priests close off the entrance to the main deity room, which does not have any windows. One can see the flames on several ghee lamps flicker as if blown by moving air. The linga is white and is considered Swayambhu, or self-manifested.
The main linga is untouched by human hands, even by the priest. Abhisheka (bathing) is done by pouring a mixture of water, milk, camphor, and panchamrita. Sandal paste, flowers and the sacred thread are offered to the utsava-murti, not the main linga.

The temple is also a famous parihara sthalam for Rahu and Kethu doshams. Special parihara pujas are performed here for Kalasarpa dosham and other afflictions associated with Rahu and Ketu. If the People who have Rahu Kethu Doshas and Sarpa Doshas, the unmarried and couples without children perform the most effective Rahu - Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja in this Temple. Thousands of Devotees from the country and abroad perform this puja and fulfill their vows again and again after receiving good results.

Srikalahasti has an ancient Shiva temple that has several mentions in Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana and Linga Purana. Several Tamil Shaivite saints had visited the shrine for seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. The famous shrine of Srikalahasti was built by Kulothunga Cholan I, II and III during the 11th century. A huge mandapam was later added in the 16th century by Krishnadevaraya.


As the legend goes, the town got its name because of the temple named after Sri (spider) Kala (serpent) hasti (elephant) after the three ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. These three animals attained divinity by worshipping Lord Shiva. The spider was Vishwakarma`s (architect of the deva ganas) son Oornanabha. He was trying to replicate Brahma`s creation and thus annoyed Brahma who cursed him to become a spider. Siva himself cursed the snake. The elephant was god Pramadha cursed by Shiva`s wife, Parvati, when he intruded on their privacy. The Shiva linga here is an amalgamation of the three animals.

The spider as devotion wanted to spin webs in the shape of temples and mantapams. The morning dewdrops would make the cobwebs look like pearl houses and sunrays would make them shine like rubies. But these would break and crumble with the wind. The spider would connect the threads and weave the web all over again. One day Siva, to test the spider's devotion, burned his webs with a lamp from his shrine. The enraged spider swallowed the flame and sacrificed its life. Pleased with his devotion, offered the spider a boon, Shiva merged the spider unto Himself. And so one can still see the spider on the Linga.

The serpent worshipped the linga with precious gems. An elephant, would bathe in the nearby Swarnamukhi River, push the precious gems away and worship the linga with leaves and flowers from the forest. On the next day the snake, would find her precious offerings pushed away, would get enraged. The serpent pushed away the leaves and flowers and worshipped the linga with the precious gems it brought from underground. One day the snake got upset and kept a watch hiding under the leaves waiting to catch the mischief-maker. The elephant also lost its temper finding her offerings pushed away. One day it came early and was pleased to find the flowers undisturbed. It went and took bath and brought fresh flowers and leaves. While the elephant was clearing the previous day`s leaves and flowers, the snake got into the elephant`s head through its trunk, causing unbearable pain. The elephant ran helter-skelter with pain and banged its head on a mountain. He died; the snake was also crushed to death. Lord Siva took them into his fold.The main linga is shaped like an elephant trunk, with tusks on each side and a figure of the spider at the bottom. If you look at the linga from above it looks like a snake with five hoods. The spider is call "Sri," the snake "Kala," and the elephant "Hasti." The three names are combined together in the name Srikalahasti. The spider is said to have a web above the linga to protect it from the sun and rain. The elephant would get water with its trunk and bath the linga (perform abhisheka) and the snake would perform worship.

Another legend says, the Shiva Linga, which is in Srikalahasti, actually belongs to Vali (Sugreeva`s brother) of Ramayana. Once, on his way to some place (being an ardent devotee of Shiva, he carried the linga wherever he went), Vali stopped near a lake for morning abulations. He placed the Linga on the ground and went to take bath in the lake, before worshipping the Linga. After the pooja, when Vali tried to lift the Linga to proceed with his journey, he could not budge it from its place, however hard he tried. He came to the conclusion that Lord Shiva was enamoured by the beautiful big lake and hence did not wish to leave. He spotted a mountain nearby, uprooted it and dumped it in the lake, which flowed as the present Swarnamukhi River. Even then the Linga would not budge. So Vali had to give up his efforts and proceed, leaving the Linga there.

There is another very interesting and devotional legend connected with Kalahasti, namely the story of a great Saivite Bhakta called Kannappa. Kannappa was a hunter who was called Tinnappa before he became a saint, and be lived in the forest hunting animals. He was a great Bhakta of the Lord, and he used to offer the flesh of the animals to the Lord first as sacrament after tasting if they were good enough to be offered to the Lord. To test his sincerity and devotion, the Lord one day made it appear as if water was dropping from the eye of the Lingam. Tinnappa. Thought that some one had harmed the Lord, and immediately without any hesitation removed one of his own eyes and offered it to the Lord in place of the one from which water was flowing. The water from the eye of the Lord stopped at once. After some time Tinnappa noticed that the other eye of the Lord was also affected. He at once began to remove his other eye also to offer it to the Lord as he did with his first.Since on removal of both his eyes he would become blind, and would not be able to locate the Lord's eye, he with his left foot marked the place of the Lord's eye, so that by feeling the eye of the Lord with his leg he could locate the exact spot where the Lord's eye was and replace it with his own eye. At that time the Lord, pleased with the strength of his devotion, gave him Darsan and restored his eyesight and also gave him the name "Kannappa," that is, one who gave his eyes to the Lord. Pleased with his devotion the Lord also ordained that be should be near the Lingam permanently.Therefore we find the idol of Kannappa near the Lingam and Pujas are first offered to him and then only to the Lord. On the top of the hill there is another temple of Kannappa Nayanar.

Architecture of Srikalahasti Temple

The temple architecture is a treat to the eyes for all those who visit Srikalahasti. A huge white architecture with three lofty gopurams speaks volume for its construction that dates back to Krishnadevaraya and Chola dynasty. Srikalahasti Temple was built by Chola Kings including Todaman Chakravarti. Historically, the temple was constructed in parts by different kings of Chola Dynasty. It is the Chola Dynasty which is credited for renovating and embellishing the temple with intricate sculpture and art. Kulottunga Chola, the great Chola King, contrived and built the beautiful gopurams, located at the entrance facing south, during the 11th century AD. In the late 12th century, Veeranarasimha Yadavaraya festooned the temple with outer Prakaras and four other gopurams connecting four entrances. The Mantapams and Galigopurams facing east were developed by the Vijaynagar rulers in 16th century. Finally, the Natukottai Chettiars of Devakottai gave a final touch to the temple in 1912 by contributing 9 lakhs of rupees.The tower built by Krishnadevaraya in 15th century over the main gate stands at an imposing height of 120 ft. Alongside, the hundred pillared Mantapam (hall inside temple) is another architectural splendour that Srikalahasti is famed for. The Prakara or the compound and four gopurams were built by Veeranarashimha Yadavaraya in 12th Century. The Mantapam or 100 pillared hall was contrived and built by Krishnadevaraya during 1516 AD.

In the centre of the bustling street and bazaars on the sides, Srikalahasti Temple stands elevated with an architecture enwrapped in old world charm. Estimated to be a 1000 and more years old, during a recent repair work, the Shiva temple reflects oodles of culture and antiquity in look.

Sculptures of sage Kannappa, Shakti Vinayak and Saivaite bronze figures are quiet old and the exact date of these idols are known till date. Even the lingam of the temple dates back to more than 1000 years. An inside view and study of the pillar and carvings in the temple prove its antiquity beyond 1000 years.

While all the temples are closed during the eclipse, the temple of Srikalahasteesvara is open and special Abhishekams are performed here.The Manikanteswara temple, also in Kalahasti dates back to the period of Raja Raja Chola I (early 11th century), and it was reconstructed in stone in 1196 by Kulottunga III. Shiva here is also referred to as Manikkengauyudaiya Nayanar. There is also a Vishnu shrine in this temple.Bhaktha Kannappa, a hunter is said to have been a great devotee of Kalahasteeswarar. Legend has it that he offered his own eyes to the Shivalingam, and for this reason earned the name Kannappan (his original name being Thinnan), and the distinction of having his statue adorn the sanctum. Nakkiradevar, Indra, Rama, Muchukunda and others are believed to have worshipped Shiva at this temple.

The main Linga, which is in the shape of an elephant trunk, with tusks on each side and a figure of a spider at the bottom, is untouched by human hands, even by the priests. Abhishekam (anointing the Lord) is done to the ‘Utsava Murthi’ by pouring a mixture of water, milk, camphor and Panchamrita. Even sandal paste, flowers and sacred threads are offered to the utsava murthi and not to the main idol. There are some legends and myths associated with the temple of which two are most popular. One of them is in "Sri Kalahasti Satakam", describing the origin of the name of the temple and the other, in the Tamil hagiology, describing the association of the original jungle temple where Kannappa, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva worshipped.

Pujas done at Temple
  • Kaalsarp Puja - Kaal Sarp Dosh is all about faulty planetary position, with a snake like formation, found in the person’s natal birth chart. In a dosha like this, the planetary positions are such that Rahu (head of the snake) and ketu (tail of the snake) happen to fall on the beginning and end of the formation, respectively. There are many other ways by which Kaal Sarp Yoga can be formed, the moon in the eight house of the natal chart being one of the ways. However, there are no rules of thumb to Kaal Sarp Dosha and it requires a good astrologer to study the planetary position accurately. The person suffering from Kaal Sarp Yoga finds it difficult life to lead a happy life. He/she suffering from Kaal Sarp Dosha has problems in married life, loss of money and constant health problems. The Dosha can be cured and control by offering prayers to Lord Shiva at some chosen destinations. Srikalahasti is one of them.
  • Rahu-Ketu/ Sarpdosha/ Grahadoshas/Sarvadoshas Puja - Rahu Ketu Sarpdosha Puja is performed in order to minify ill effects of yoga. Thousands of devotees flock to Srikalahasti to get the desired results through this pooja. Many of these pujas are performed with ascertained results for those who suffer with marital discord, not begetting children, problems in jobs and many long-standing problems. The puja is performed to neutralize the malefic effects of the planets and cut out its negative effect on the life of the individual.
  • Rahu Ketu Dosh Nivaran Puja at Srikalahasti - Charges: Rs 600 per person. Only 3 people are allowed at a time on purchase of one ticket of Sarp Dosh Pooja. The charges are inclusive of the puja ingredients. A special rahu ketu pooja can be availed by paying Rs 1500 (excluding the dakshina).The Rahu ketu Pooja lasts for 30-40 minutes, and it is always better to get the pooja performed during Rahukalam, preferably on Saturdays. Unlike other pooja that consist of hawan or homa (fire ceremony), the Rahu-Ketu dosh Nivran Puja is all done by chanting mantras for two metallic snake strips that represent Rahu and Ketu. Flowers and vermillion are sprinkled or proffered to the rahu-ketu representing metals while the mantra is cantillated to complete the whole puja routine. Mantra recitations are also done in favour of one’s gotra, caste and janamnakshtra . The person, in whose name the puja is offered, is required to discard their clothes and take bath after the pooja. The act is symbolic of doing away with the ill effects.
Temple Timings

Saturday to Monday - 6.00 AM to 9.30PM , Tuesday to Friday - 6.00 AM to 9.00 PM

Abhishekam is performed in the Morning: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, 10: 30am; Evening: 5:30 pm everyday. On Fridays, Abhishekam in the evening is from 4:30 pm onwards

Places of Interest
  • Gudimallam Temple - is a historical temple in the Srikalahasti Mandal which lies close to the Renigunta Railway Station. A Shiva Linga, discovered between the 1st century and 2nd    century BC, is installed in the garbhagriha of the Parasurameswara Temple. The main temple sanctum is situated at a lower level as compared to the main floor level of the Mukhamantapa and Antarala. Legends believe that the Shiva Linga in the temple is a manifestation of Trimurti, with Shiva on the top, Vishnu in the middle and Brahma at the bottom.
  • Bhakta Kannappa Temple - is one of the distinctive temples situated east of Srikalahasti temple. It has an idol of the tribal youth Bhakta Kannappa, who offered his eyes to the bleeding Lord Shiva idol in the temple. His love and devotion for the God helped him gain unparalleled position of being worshipped alongside the Lord Shiva. The offerings in the temple are first made to Bhakta Kannappa and then to the Shiva Linga.
  • Thondamanadu Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple - was constructed by Thondaman Chakravarthy, brother of Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru. This temple is located 10 km away from the main Srikalahasti temple and is the sole temple in the region which has Lord Venkateshwara along with His consorts, Sri Lakshmi Devi and Padmavathi Ammavaru.
  • Durgambika Temple - Dedicated to Goddess Durgambika, is one of the ancient temples in Srikalahasti. There are broad steps in the hillock that lead to the shrine of Goddess Durgambika.
  • Bharadwaja Tirtham - is situated east of the Srikalahasti temple, amidst three hills. There is a sannidhi of Panchamukheswara on the hill top, along with some ancient sculptures. It is believed that during the Krita Yuga, Maharishi Bharadwaja meditated at this site. There is also a small statue of Lord Vinayaka at this theertham.
  • Chaturmukeshvara Temple - in Srikalahasti is a small temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Brahma. The temple is a must visit because of the fantastic legend attached to the place that has associations with Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma did penance at the site of the temple to get rid of some sins that he had acquired, which resulted in him losing his ability to create. Brahma prayed to Lord Shiva and after being blessed by Shiva, was able to resume the task of creation of the universe.The unique aspect of the temple is that the Linga or Shiva has four faces, facing different directions. The term ‘Chaturmukh’ means 'Four faces'. Many Shaivites come to the temple each year to glorify the powers of Lord Shiva and to seek his divine blessings. On the walls of the temple are engraved the many myths and legends associated with Lord Shiva.
  • Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple - East of the temple is the Subrahmanya Swami Temple. This is situated on a hill which is in walkable distance from Srikalahasti Temple.
  • Sri Kalika mata Temple - The main deity of this temple is named as Kalika mata . The temple is located at a beautiful place surrounded with nature all over. It is located at Vedam Village about 5 Kms south from Srikalahasti Temple.
  • Sahasra Linga Temple - the word Sahasra stands for thousand and the temple makes the term more meaningful with the same number of Shivalingas. This temple holds much mythological relevance and the popular belief is that a darshan here would absolve one from all the boons. The Shivalinga in the temple houses 1000 other lingas on it and it is joyful sight to have glimpse of this on a single shrine. All the lingas are carved out of the same idol. Sahasra linga temple is located in the midst of a forest and its pretty position on the backdrop of a hill makes more serene. A visit to this shrine would be a worthy affair.
  • Sri Pancha Mukeswara TempleAdjacent to Main Srikalahandi Temple , is Sri Pancha Mukeswara Temple.
  • Veyilingala Kona Waterfall - Veyilingala Kona Waterfall is located on the Sri Veyi Lingala Kona Hills and 8 km away from Srikalahasti. The word Veyilingala Kona in Telugu means 'the valley of the thousand lingas'. The monsoon season is the best time for visiting this Veyilingala Kona Waterfall.


The following Tirthas within the Kailasagiri hills are famous and sacred

1. Harahar Tirtham, which is three miles from Kalahasti
2. Kalinga Tirtham, which is five miles from Kalahasti towards the east
3. Sahasra Linga Tirtham which is five miles southwest of Kalahasti
4. Markandeya Tirtham, six and a half miles from Sahasra Linga Tirtham
5. Mayura Tirtharn, named after Mayura Maharshi
6. Bharadwaja Tirtham, which is three and a half miles from the main temple
7. Narada Tirtham in the entree of the town
8. Saraswati Tirtham, which is said to have the property of making the dumb people speak if they take the water of this as Prasada for forty days
9. Suka Tirtharn after Suka Maharshi
10. Brahma Tirtham
11. Manikarnika Tirtharn

Getting there and around
  • By Air - Nearest airport is located at Tirupati, which is about 60 km from Sri Kalahasti. Tirupathi is connected to Madurai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Chennai International Airport is the nearest international airport to Sri Kalahasti.
  • By Rail - SriKalahasti is on Tirupati-Vijayawada broad gauge rail route. Narayanadri Express, Krishna Express, Tirumala Express, Seshadri Express, Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad Sabari Express and Padmavati Express are some of the important trains that run through the station. Renigunta Junction Railway Station is another nearest railway station to reach Srikalahasti.
  • By Road - Frequent buses ply to SriKalahasti from Vijayawada, Tirupati, Bangalore, Chennai, Nayudupet and Nellore.


There are number of Private and Government guest houses. Being a small town, all these accommodations have limited amenities. Finding accommodation is not a problem in Sri Kalahasthi as the area is populated by hotels and accommodation facilities of all kinds.Tourists and visitors can find innumerable stay options near Sri Kalahasthi Temple. The whole of immediate temple premises are lined up with hotels, choultry and lodges to accommodate its guests. The hotels near Sri Kalahasthi, ranging from budget to star to class (near Tirupathi), are supplied with all kinds of basic facilities and offer Pooja arrangement facilities on demand. Sri Kalahasteesvara Temple Devsthanam also has moderate type arrangement of 60 suites available for the guests. Booking the guest suites at SriKalahasthi a month in advance is better because of the thin availability chances.One of the very good accommodations is at Pushpagiri Matham, which is adjoining the temple.


Sri Kalahastiswaraswamy vari Devastanam
Chittoor District. Andhra Pradhesh
PIN: 517644 , Telephone: 08578-221655, 222787
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