Have you ever heard about worshiping Lord Vayu (The Air God)? No! right, but it’s true. In a nation having diverse cultures and traditions, we also worship Lord Vayu in the form of Lord Shiva in Srikalahasti Temple. The temple is located in Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh. Further, the temple is established on the river Swarnamukhi and surrounded by a hill (which sometimes works as a wall for the temple). In the Srikalahasti Temple, Lord Shiva is worshiped as Srikalahasteeswara and Goddess Parvathi as Gnana Prasunambika Devi. Moreover, it is one of the most popular Shiva temples in South India. Let’s explore more about this ancient temple.
History of Srikalahasti Temple
The history of the Srikalahasti temple surrounds three legendary beliefs, and each one of them equally contributes to the popularity and devotion to the temple. Here are some ancient stories which commemorate the glory of the temple.
The Story of Vayu
According to history, the Srikalahasti temple was first constructed in the 11th century by the Chola King Rajendra Chola I and simultaneously received contributions from other dynasties such as Vijayanagar Empire.
It is believed that, in ancient times, Lord Vayu worshiped “Karpoora Lingam” for thousands of years, and after seeing his devotion towards him, Lord Shiva granted him three boons. The boons that Lord Vayu asked were –
First, he wanted to be present everywhere in the universe.
Second, he wanted to be worshiped in the temple, but Karpoor Lingam will be represented as Lord Shiva after him.
And thirdly, he wanted to be an integral part of the entire mankind.
Lord Shiva was very impressed by his devotion and blessed him with all three boons. Hence, this lingam gained immense importance and is worshiped in all the Lokas (world).
The curse of Goddess Parvathi
As per the historical accounts, it is believed that Goddess Parvathi was cursed, and because of this, she had to abandon her heavenly avatar and incarnate as a normal human being. However, she was still offering her prayers to Lord Shiva for 15 years. After seeing her untiring and true devotion, the mighty lord blessed and gave her the heavenly body again. Consequently, it is believed that Goddess Parvathi is also residing here as Goddess Gnana Prasunambika Devi.
The Legend of Kannappa
Kannappa, one of the 63 Saivite Saints, who devoted all his life to the services of Lord Shiva, was once willing to donate his eyes to stop the blood being flown through Shiva’s lingam. When the almighty God came to know about the situation, he stopped Kannappa and blessed him with immortality.
The Srikalahasti temple demonstrates and glorifies the Dravidian Style of architecture. In addition, the temple complex faces the south while the main altar faces the west. Further, the main gopuram (entrance) is 120 feet high. Moreover, the temple has 100 intricately carved pillars built during the ruling of Vijayanagara King Krishnadevaraya in 1516.
The architect of the Srikalahasti temple demonstrates the craftsmanship of South Indian artisans besides adding a positive and vibrant aura to the surrounding.
The monthly festivals celebrated in the Srikalahasti Temple are:
Maha Shivratri is the major festival that is celebrated in this temple. During the 13 days festival, lakh devotees visit and offer their prayers to the mighty lord. During the celebration, the statues of the presiding deities are taken out on the street for the procession and concluded with the wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi.
The Sharavan Maas is a holy month where Lord Shiva is worshiped with utmost zeal and happiness. It’s believed that this is the most pious time to worship Lord Shiva. If you pray to the Almighty wholeheartedly, he will certainly accept all your prayers and offerings during this period.
These are the majorly celebrated festivals in this temple, making the temple a great holy place.
Srikalahasti temple is an ideal place to wipe out all your doshas. The presence of positive energies that exist within this temple’s premises will help you eliminate all your negative vibes. In the fact of Lord Shiva, you can get the solution to all your problems. The Rahu-Ketu Pooja is the most famous pooja performed in the Srikalahasti temple. Here, they perform Rahu-Ketu pooja daily from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm.
The pooja is performed on different temple premises (inside and outside), basically depending on the ticket. Hence, the devotee can perform the pooja anytime, but it is considered auspicious when it is done during the Rahu Kalam. The darshan is only allowed when the devotees perform the respective pooja. The Rahu-Ketu pooja is performed along with Sarpa Dosha Pooja to minimize the evil impact. Every day, many people attend the pooja to remove the negative impact and discover the better outcome in their lives.
How to Reach Srikalahasti Temple?
The devotees can visit the temple easily through airways, railways, and roadways. Following are the details to reach out to the temple.
Buses are easily available and operate day and night. It takes 5 hours from Bengaluru to reach Tirupati and 3 hours from Chennai. APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transportation Corporation) services are also available, and buses are frequently accessible every 1 ½ hour. Special services called Yathra Darshini and Divyadarsini is also available for the ease and convenience of the visitors.
The Srikalahasti Temple is 29 km away from Tirupati Airport and 96 km away from Chennai Airport. The devotees can conveniently avail of the flight and pay their offerings to the temple. Further, the respective airport lines will make their journey more comfortable and obtainable.
It is interesting to know that all the trains passing the temple have to stop in the Srikalahasti Temple (one of the important railway stations). It’s a well-connected route to all the major cities of South India. If a devotee travels via railways, they have to board the Tirupati-Vijayawada rail gauge or any other express to visit the Srikalahasti temple. There are direct trains also available from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, and Kolkata. The nearest railway station for Srikalahasti temple is Renigunta, 25km away from the temple. All the trains operating between Chennai and Mumbai stop at Renigunta Junction, making travel easy and accessible.
The Srikalahasti Temple is open for darshan from 6.00 am to 9.00 pm. The devotees can visit anytime, and they have to pay the fee according to the Rahu-Ketu Pooja (either inner or outside pooja mandap they choose). So, the devotees can pray their respect to the deity without any hassle. And the best time to visit the temple is from October to March of the year. Before visiting the holy place, visitors must make an online booking from the official website of Srikalahasti Temple for their further convenience. The online service covers everything from traditional attire to pooja samagri and provides visitors with a good visiting experience.
The visitor can connect with the temple’s Executive Officer if they face any inconvenience or seek any support. Moreover, the officer is also available over the phone and by email. And below are the details.
Phone number – 08578222240
Email Address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Srikalahasti Temple is a magnificent example of devotion, craft, and unity, which depicts Indian culture and showcases the number of people rooted in their beliefs and traditions. A magical tour for every person who wants to imbibe the authenticity of culture and feel the presence of positive energies and grandeur of Lord Shiva. Come and calmly enjoy every second of your life and energize your soul.