Srikalahasteeswara Temple

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Srikalahasti Temple
Kalahasti temple1.jpg
Proper name Srikalahasti Temple
Coordinates 13°44′58″N 79°41′54″E / 13.74944°N 79.69833°E / 13.74944; 79.69833Coordinates: 13°44′58″N 79°41′54″E / 13.74944°N 79.69833°E / 13.74944; 79.69833
Country India
State/province Andhra Pradesh
District Chittoor
Locale Srikalahasti
Primary deity Shiva,
Gnana Prasunambika Devi,[1](Parvati)
Architectural styles Dravidian
History and governance

Srikalahasti Temple is located in the town of Srikalahasti, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the most famous Shiva temples in South India, and is said to be the site where Kannappa 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.[2]

Srikalahasti temple, situated 36 km away from Tirupati is famous for its Vayu linga, one of the Panchabhoota Sthalams, representing wind. The temple is also regarded as Rahu-Ketu kshetra and Dakshina Kasi. The inner temple was constructed around 5th century and the outer temple was constructed in the 12th century by the Chola kings and the Vijayanagara kings. Lord Shiva in his aspect as Vayu is worshiped as Kalahasteeswara.


Origin of Vayu Lingam[edit]

During early days of creation of world, Lord Vayu performed penance for thousands of years to "Karpoora lingam" (Karpooram means camphor). Due to his penance, Parameswara manifested before him and said, " O Vayu Deva! Though you are dynamic in nature, you stayed here without movement and did penance for me. I'm pleased with your penance. Ask boons you wish". Lord Vayu asked, "Swami! I want to be present everywhere in this world. I want to be an integral part of every Jiva who is none other than manifestation of Paramatma. I want to name this Karpoora Linga, which represents you, after me.

Samba Siva said," Your are qualified for these three boons. As per your wish, you will be spread throughout this world. Without you there will be no life. This linga of mine will be famous by your name and all Suras, Asuras, Garuda, Gaandharvas, Kinneras, kimpurushas, Siddhas, Saadhvis, humans and others worship this Lingam". Lord Shiva disappeared after granting these boons". Thereafter, this Karpoora Vayu Lingam is worshiped by all Lokas.Official Wesbsite of Srikalahasti Temple

Goddess Parvati's curse[edit]

There are several other legends connected to the glory of the temple. Prominent among them is of Parvati who was cursed by Lord Shiva to discard her heavenly body and assume the human form. To get rid off the above curse Parvati did a long penance here. Pleased with her deep devotion Lord Shiva again recreated her body – a hundred times better than her previous heavenly body and initiated various mantras including the Panchakshari. Consequent of this, Parvati gained and came to be known as Shiva-Gnanam Gnana Prasunamba or Gnana Prasunambika Devi.


Cursed to become a ghost, Ghanakala prayed at Srikalahasti for 15 years and after chanting Bhairava Mantra many times Lord Shiva restored her original form.

The Devas[edit]

Mayura, Chandra and Devendra were also freed from their curses after taking bath in the river Swarnamukhi and prayed at Srikalahasti.


To Bhakta Markandeya, Lord Shiva appeared in Srikalahasti and preached that a Guru alone could make esoteric teachings and, therefore he is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.


This temple is one of the most impressive Shiva temples in India. 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 in the 5th century. The Chola kings such as Rajaditya (regnal years 947-949 CE), Raja Raja Chola (regnal years 985-1014 CE), his son Rajendra Chola (1012-1044 CE), his son Rajadhiraja (1018-1054 CE), Kulottunga I (1070-1120 CE) and Kulotunga III (1178-1218 CE) and the Vijayanagara kings also gave great help for the temple development. Like other great temples, the construction period of Srikalahasthi temple lasted centuries. Around the 10th century, the Chola kings renovated the temple and constructed the main structure.[3]

The 120 feet (37 m) high main gopuram and the 100 pillar mandapam were constructed by Krishnadevaraya, the Vijayanagara king in 1516[citation needed].

Deities in the Temple[edit]

There are two major shrines within the temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati. Lord Siva exists in the form of Linga facing West . The Linga also bears the name Srikalahasteeswara. Parvati is in the standing posture facing East and is called by the name Gnana Prasunamba. There is a small shrine dedicated to Dakshinamurthy at the entrance of the temple who is regarded as one of the forms of Lord Shiva. Other than these there are many deities and idols dedicated to [Venkateswara, Vinayaka, Nataraja, Subramanya, Surya Narayana and also replica of Lingas of other famous Shiva temples all over India

Festivals and sevas[edit]

Maha Shivaratri is the most important festival when lakhs of devotees offer prayers to seek the blessings of the Lord. Mahasivaratri Brahmotsavams are celebrated in par with Maha Shivaratri for 13 days during which the Utsava murtis of Siva and Parvati will be taken on Vahanams in a procession around the temple streets.[4] Nithya Kalyana Seva,a paid service, is conducted to Sri Siva – Parvathi daily along with abhisheka aradhana.

Religious importance[edit]

This temple is considered as the Kailash of the South or Dakshin Kailash[citation needed] and also as Dakshina Kasi.[5] Saivaite saints of the first century sang about this temple.

Rahu Kethu Kshetra[edit]

Thousands of Devotees from the country perform Rahu – Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja.

Nithya Annadanam[edit]

Sri Gnana Prasunambika Devi Nithya Annadana scheme was set up to provide free food to the devotees visiting the sacred temple of Srikalahasthi, no fewer than 2000 devotees are provided with food daily under this scheme. Annadanam is completely based on Donations from donors.

Temple tower collapse[edit]

The RajaGopuram of Srikalahasti Temple collapsed on 26 May 2010. According to sources, vibrations from bore-well digging in the vicinity directly contributed to the collapse.[6][7] Archaeologists and experts, looking into the reasons of the imposing structure crashing down, found that it stood on a foundation that had a depth of only one-and-a-half feet.[8]

According to Dr. Nagaswamy,former Director of Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, the temple tower had a thin crack 25 years ago which is well documented which expanded as years passed by and questioned what action was taken to avert this by the temple officials. [9]


External links[edit]