Sri Kalahastiswara Swamy Devasthanam – Dakshin Kailash or Kailash of the South

Sri Kalahastiswara Swamy Devasthanam, in short known as Sri Kalahasti Temple, is in Andra Pradesh and is very near to Tiripathy Temple, only 36 kms away, situated in the Chittor district. It is one among the most popular temple for Lord Siva, also known as Dakshin Kailash or Kailash of the South. It is believed that Kannappa, the staunch devotee of Lord Siva, submitted his both eyes in exchange of the blood oozing eyes of Shiva linga, at the very same place. Here the prime deity is in the form of Vayu Linga symbolizes wind. Lord Siva is widely worshipped in the form of Shiva Linga and in five different forms symbolizing panchabhoota, i.e. air (wind), water, fire, earth, and space. In kalahasti temple Lord Siva is worshipped in the symbolic form of Vayu Linga or wind

The temple complex is in between two sacred hills – Sreepuram and Mummundi cholapuram and the river Suvarnamukhi flows through the northern side of temple. The Durgamma Temple is on the north hill and kannabeswara temple is on the south hill. Another temple for Subrahmanya is on the surrounding hill.

During 5th century AD the temple inside was built by the Pallava kings, the Chola kings and Vijayanagara kings interested of temples granted help for developing its structure and built the outer temple. Later by 12th C they reconstructed the main structure. Sree Krishna Deva Raya, the Vijayanagara king built the huge entrance tower and hundred pillar mandapam in 1516. R. Nagaswamy from Archaeology Department, Tamil Nadu, asserts that the temple has a history of 1600 years. The Chola kings were very much attracted to this temple and gifted many precious things and enlarged the temple complex to its huge present size. We can find the reign of Chola kings and Pandya kings in tamil and Vijayanagara dynasty in telugu, inscribed on the stone walls. These rock inscriptions give profound knowledge about these rulers reigning period and their donations

One of the most important in these rock inscriptions is the story of Kannappa, a staunch devotee of Lord Siva, who replaced the Lord’s blood oozing eyes with his own, on a Siva Linga. Lord Siva appeared himself and granted Moksha to Kannappa, and he is considered as one of the 63 greatest Siva Saints (Nayanmars). Another inscription which proves that the main tower was built by Sri Krishna Deva Raya and it is on the second corridor of west wall dated 1438 saka year (1516 CE). Various incarnations of lord Siva was inscribed on one of the rock surface near the temple.

Sri Kala Hasti temple is the famous worship place of Lord Siva as it is one of the panchabhoota Linga (vayu) as its prime deity. Four others are at Thiruvanaikaval (water), Annamalaiyar Temple (fire), Eambareswarar temple (earth) and Chidambaram (space). The well known carnatic singer and composer Muthu Swami Dhishitar, with his panchabhoota kritis sang of its glory and grace. The white colored swayambhu linga is the main deity. The lamps in the inner temple flicker continuously without the presence of air. No one even the main priest can’t touch the main linga. Milk, camphor, water, panchamritam are used for abhishekam and sandal paste, flowers, sacred ash are offered to utsava deity only.

Sri Kalahasti is named so, after the three great devotees – the Spider (sri), the Serpent(kala) and the Elephant (hasti). Elephant carried water in his trunk and cleansed the Linga and offered bilva leaves to Siva Linga. Spider weaved web over it to protect from outer disturbances. The Serpent adorned the Linga by placing the gem on its head on Linga. The three fought each other and killed in the fight concerning their devotion. Pleased by their devotion, Siva appeared himself and granted them a boon of associating their names with his own and hence the name Sri Kalahasti Temple.

The most famous occasion is the Mahasivarathri, when millions of pilgrims come here to gain the blessings of Lord Siva. This temple is well known for its Rahu – Ketu – Sarpa Dosa Nivarana pooja. Thousands of pilgrims from various parts of country are doing this pooja because of gaining the desired effect. It is done daily in the temple from 6.30 am to 9.30 pm. Many followers believe that it is better to do these poojas on Tuesday and Sunday during raahu kaalam.

Another important pooja performed is the Nithya Kalyana Seva to both Lord Siva and Parvathy. It can be done daily on a rate of Rs 550/ in the name of devotee. Pilgrims can avail free food arranged by Nithya Annadana Scheme. We can also donate for annadanam, an amount not less than Rs – 1116/ – as Annadanam is considered as Mahaadanam.