Srikalahasti Temple situated in the town of Srikalahasti, 36 kms from Tirupati, Chittur dist in the Andhra Pradesh, India. It 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 Siva linga before the Lord Siva stopped him and granted him mukti .
Srikalahasti is a Pancha Bootha Sthalam famous for its Vayu linga, one of the Panchabhoota Sthalams, representing wind. Constructed in the 12th century by the Chola king, Rajendra Chola, Vayu is incarnated as Lord Shiva and worshipped as Kalahasteeswara.
The five elements are,
Earth–Telugu: (bhoomi),Tamil: (Nilam) Kanchipuram – Ekambareswarar Temple
Water- Telugu: (Jalamu),Tamil: (Neer) -Thiruvanaikaval – Jambukeswara Temple
Fire – Telugu: (Agni),Tamil: (Nerupu) – Tiruvannamalai – Annamalaiyar Temple
Wind – Telugu: (Vaayuvu),Tamil: (Kaatru) – Srikalahasti
Sky – Telugu: Akaasam), Tamil: (Vaan) – Chidambaram – Chidambaram Temple
This temple is considered as the Kailash of the South or Dakshin Kailash. Saivaite saints of the first century sang about this temple.
This temple from the most impressive Siva temples in India. Vishwakarma Brahmin Sthapthis who sculpted this temple need to be eulogized for their excellent architectural cognizance. This temple features an enormous, ancient gopuram (entrance tower) over the main gate. The tower is 36.5 m (120 ft) high. The entire temple is carved out of the side of a huge stone hill.
The initial structure of this temple was constructed by the Pallava dynasty. The Chola kings and the Vijayanagara kings also gave great help to develope the temple. Like other great temples, the construction period of Sri Kalahasthi temple lasted centuries. Around the tenth century, the Chola kings renovated the temple and constructed the main structure.
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 taken place with the utsava-murti, not on the main linga.
Sri Kalahasti is named after the staunch devotees of Lord Shiva. They were the Spider (Sri), the Serpent (Kala) and the Elephant (Hasti). Appeased with their unflinching devotion, Lord Shiva gave them a boon that their names be merged with the Vayulinga and called as Sri Kalahasteeswara.
According to Hindu mythology, the elephant or Hasti used to clean the Shiva deity by watering the idol with the help of river-water carried in his trunks and pray for him by placing Vilva leaves. The spider or Sri tried to protect the deity from external damage by weaving his web and to provide shelter for the Shiva lingam. The snake or Kala used to place its precious gem on the linga to adorn the lord. In this way, they all worshipped the Vayu linga separately without knowing each other.
One day, the spider had built a very big and thick web around the lingas, to protect it from dust and weather while the snake places its gem. The elephant not knowing this and assuming that this form of puja by Sri and Kala is a desecration by the seeming miscreants, pours water on it and cleans it up. This causes a war between the three. The snake punishes the elephant by entering its trunk and in the process killed himself while the elephant runs amok and hits its trunk and head against the shiva linga. During this struggle, the spider is squashed against the linga by the elephant’s trunk ,elephant dies due to the snake’s poison. Lord Shiva then appeared and gave moksha to all three of them for their selfless devotion. The spider takes rebirth as a great king while the elephant and the snake reaches heaven for satisfying all its karma.
This king continues his good work from his previous birth and builds a variety of temples that seeks to protect the underlying deity with tons of stones. It is interesting to note that all his temples, keep the deity beyond the access of an elephant. In this temple, access to the deity is through a narrow passage in the side of the building that prevents an elephant from extending its trunk over the lord from any side.
At Sri Kalahasti, Lord Shiva tested the unshakable devotion of Thinnadu (Later became Bhaktha Kannappa) before the sages gathered at SriKalahasti. With his divine power, Lord Shiva created a tremor and the roof tops of the temple began to fall. All the sages ran away from the scene except Kannappa who covered the linga with his body to prevent it from any damage.
In another incident, Kannappa plucked out one of his eyes and placed in the eye of Linga which was oozing with blood and tears. When the tears and the blood were still trickling from another eye, Kannappa decided to remove his second eye and placed one of his feet on the spot of the right eye of the Shiva Linga. Before he could pull out his second eye with the arrow, Lord Shiva appeared and restored his eye while granting him a boon to occupy a place close to him.According to Swami Sivananda’s book, Sixty-Three Nayanar Saints, pg. 44, some Saivite traditions believe that Kannappa was the reincarnation of Arjuna. Arjuna, worshipped Siva for seeking the Pasupatha Astra and failed to recognize Him in the form of a hunter. Thus, according to this tradition, Arjuna had to be born as a hunter and adore the Lord before attaining final liberation.
Rahu – Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja
In Srikalahasteeswara Swamy Temple the Rahu Kethu pooja is performed .People those having Rahu Kethu Doshas and Sarpa Doshas,those who are facing various problems for long period do perform the most effective Rahu – Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja in this Temple, all the Doshas get removed and desired results will occur. Thousands of Devotees from the country and abroad perform this pooja and fulfill their desires,again and again after receiving good results.
Rahu – Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja is performed daily between 6:30 A.M and 9:00 P.M. This is a popular puja undertaken by devotees at this temple. You can perform this pooja at any time, performing pooja during rahu kalam is considered to be auspicious. Sunday and Tuesday are the best days to perform pooja . Sunday and Tuesday are the days considered to be for Rahu and Kethu.(The Devastanam will arrange all Puja Materials)