Saturday, June 15, 2024

Tourism      Pilgrim Centers      Hindu Pilgrimages      Andhra Pradesh     Chittoor     


Place : Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh
Significance : Famous for its 'Kalahasthisvara Temple' and the production of 'Kalamkari' paintings.
Best time to Visit : Throughout the year
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Srikalahasti is a scenic hamlet situated near Tirupati district of Andhra Pradesh State. Popularly known as Dakshina Kaashi, it is also a celebrated pilgrim shrine just like Tirupati which situated 30 km away. It is located on the banks of the Svarnamukhi River at the foot of the extreme southern end of Vellikonda Ranges (known locally as the Kailasa Hills) where the valley opens up into the plain.

This 16th century town is famous for its 'Kalahasthisvara Temple', one of the most sacred Shiva shrine and the production of 'Kalamkari' ( 'Kalamkaris' are brightly coloured hand painted textiles produced by a mixture of printed and dyeing techniques that used as Temple decoration and wall hangings ) paintings.

The name Srikalahasti is derived from 'Sri' (spider), 'Kala' (snake) and 'Hasti' (elephant). The bathing ghats of the Swanamukhi river and the temple attract a steady flow of devotees.

The temple 'Kalahasthisvara Temple', constructed in the 12th century by the Chola king, Rajendra Chola is the main attraction of Srikalahasti. Particularly revered for the 'Siva lingam' in white stone, it is one of the 'pancha bhoota sthalams' (five elements), representing the element air. Previously, the town SriKalahasti was dominated by an impressive Rajagopuram' or main gate that stands freely at the end of the main street of the town. Recently, this 500-year-old Srikalahasti Temple collapsed. This was built by the Vijayanagar Emperor Krishnadevaraya in 1516.

One of the famous Shivite shrines in South India, it is look like the famous Sri Venkatesvara temple of Tirumalai. The temple is also associated with two of the 'navagrahas' - 'rahu' and 'ketu' (celestial bodies in Indian astrology). It is said that the entire temple is carved out of the side of a huge stone hill.

It's initial structure was constructed by the Pallava dynasty, but it's Chola kings who renovated the temple and constructed its main structure.The temple stands within four high walls with a single towered entrance in the South wall. A sequence of two gateways one with a portico, leads to Kalahasthisvara Temple. This wraps around the main temple on three sides. Columned halls, pavilions and altars crowd the enclosure.

The four shrines inside all date from the Vijayanagar period. The most important is that opening to the west, which houses a curiously linga protected by a brass cobra hood. There is a huge hundred pillared mantapam inside the shrine.

A brass covered lamp column stands in front. Other shrines, dedicated to Jnana prasumbha, Dakshinamurti and Ganesh open off a a colonnade laid out as a vast quadrangle. Attached to this temple is Prasanna Varadarajaswamy temple, a sub-temple of Srikalahasteeswara Swamy temple.

Sri Kalahastiswaraswamy vari Devastanam
Srikalahasti, Chittoor District- 517644, Andhra Pradhesh
Ph: 08578-221655, 222787

Besides Kalahasthisvara Temple, there are temples of Agastheswara in Thondavada, Parasareswara in Yogimallavaram, Parasurameswara in Gudimallam and Moolasthaneswara in Gajulamandyam,Sri Kannappa Temple, Sri Neelakanteswara swami Temple Urandur, Sri Pancha Mukeswara Temple, Sri Durga Temple etc.

A short distance south the Kalahasthisvara Temple is Manikandeswara Temple dates from the 12 Century Chola era. It stands in a square compound built up to the base of the hill. Its east facing sanctuary and hall have finely detailed basement mouldings, pilastered walls and niches, the last filled with icons of Shiva. A towered gateway is capped with an enlarged vaulted roof, much renovated in later times.