About Srikalahasti Temple
Said to be the “Kailash of the South,” Srikalahasti Temple is 36 kilometers from the well-known Tirupathi Temple. It is in Srikalahasti Town, Tirupati District, Andhra Pradesh. Srikalahasti is one of South India’s most famous Shiva temples, and here’s what you need to know about it.
(Image Credit: Srikalahasthi)
History of Srikalahasti Temple
The inner temple was built somewhere in the 5th Century, during the reign of King Krishnadevaraya of the Pallava Dynasty. By the 10th Century, the Tamil Chola Kings undertook the temple’s work. In the 11th Century, Rajendra Chola I, later Chola Kings, and the Vijayanagara Kings built the outer temple or the main structure. Additionally, they renovated the temple with assistance from successive dynasties in power. The construction of the main Gopuram, about 120 feet (37 meters) tall, and the Hundred Pillared Hall with Intricate Carvings in 1516 AD under Vijayanagara Krishnadevaraya.
The shrine faces West, and the temple faces South. There is a theory that the temple is out of a monolithic hill. However, it is really on the foothills. Surya Pushkarani and Chandra Pushkarani are two water bodies connected with the temple. The White Stone is carved into the shape of an elephant’s trunk to create the image of Shiva, known as a Linga. A Vinayaka shrine carved out of rock is located 9 feet (2.7 meters) below the surface. Some of the unique images in the temple include Sahasra Lingeshwara, Mahalakshmi-Ganpathi, and Vallaba Ganapathi. Jnana Prasanna Mamba has a significant shrine. Kasi Viswanatha, Annapurna, Sadyoganapathi, Suryanarayana, and Subramanya all have smaller shrines in the temple. The Sadyogi Mandapa and the Jalkoti Mandapa are two large halls.
Srikalahasti Temple Legends
Vayu, or Air Lingam, is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalam (made up of wind, water, fire, earth, and ether) (Swayambhu). Another source claims that the Kalahasti temple is after an elephant (Hasti), a snake (Kala), and a spider (Sri), all of whom worshipped Lord Shiva to achieve liberation or moksha. Also, a small hill close to the temple is to the Himalayan Kailas. Thus, the Kalahasti temple is also known as Dakshina Kailasam or “Kashi of the South.”
1. Vayu Lingam
For many years, the wind god Vayu offered penance to Shiva’s Karpoora or Camphor lingam. Shiva appeared before Vayu and gave him three blessings since he was satisfied with his penance. Vayu has the blessing of existing everywhere in the world. It is a vital component of every being in the form of Air. Additionally, the linga Vayu worshipped was named Vayu lingam.
2. Rahu-Kethu Pooja
People are said to be from astrological influences of Rahu-Kethu by doing Rahu-Kethu pooja. Saivite saints sang of this temple in the 1st Century. While all other temples in India are closed during solar and lunar eclipses, this temple is the only one open.
3. Bhakta Kanappa
The temple is to the myth of Saint Kannappa, a hunter who became an enthusiastic devotee of Shiva. He wanted to donate his eyes to contain the blood flowing from Lord Shiva’s lingam. Lord Shiva halted him, granting him moksha.
4. Gnana Prasunambika
Another story states that Shiva cursed Parvati, his consort, to shed her divine nature and take on human form. Parvati made atonement at Srikalahasti and delighted Shiva. She received a heavenly body from Shiva, one hundred times superior to her past appearance. In the temple, Parvati is as Gnana Prasunambika Devi or Shiva-Gnanam Gnana Prasunamba.
Other Notable Incidents from Mythology
Adi Sankara is also said to have visited and worshipped in this temple. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma worshipped Kalahasteeshwara here during each of the four Yugas. It is that the Pandava prince Arjuna offered adoration to the ruling deity during the events of the Mahabharata. After 15 years of prayer at Srikalahasti for Ghanakala, who got cursed to become a ghost, Shiva finally returned her to her original form after she chanted the Bhairava Mantra.
According to a different myth, Shesha and Vayu fought to determine who was superior. To demonstrate her superiority, Shesha ringed Shiva’s residence, Mount Kailash. Vayu attempted to break Shesha’s encirclement by causing a twister. In 8 locations, eight pieces of the mountain collapsed after the twister, one falling at Kalahasti.
The Vayu Lingam at the Kalahasti temple is said to be composed of wind. Tourists and priests are from touching the lingam. The temple has no windows either. It is thought-provoking that the Vayu lingam moves even after locking temple doors. Even though the airflow is constrained, the lamp inside the temple also flashes. Shiva represents the Self. The Ganges flowing from his head is a metaphor for the awakened mind. It is the underlined symbolism. There are many symbols in temple literature turned into spiritual stimulants. Undoubtedly, Srikalahasti is a place for peace of mind.