Srikalahasteeswara Temple (also known as Srikalahasti Temple) is one of South India’s most well-known Shiva temples. Kannappa, a famous Shiva devotee, was about to donate both of his eyeballs to cover the blood gushing from the Siva linga when Lord Siva stopped him and granted mukti. The temple is also regarded as Rahu-Ketu kshetra and Dakshina Kailasam.
The three ancient epics, the Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana, and Linga Purana, all mention the ancient Shiva temple of Sri Kalahasti. Arjuna came to this location to worship Kalahastheeswara (Lord Shiva) and met Rishi Bharadwaja on the crest of a hill, according to the Skanda Purana.
The main gate of this temple is guarded by a 120-foot-high huge and old gopura. The temple is carved entirely out of the side of a massive stone hill. The Pallava dynasty built the original construction of this temple in the 5th century. In the 10th century, Chola monarchs rebuilt the temple and built the main building. The outer walls and four gopuras were constructed during the reign of Vijayanagara King Sri Veera Narasimharaya. Krishna Devaraya, the renowned Vijayanagara ruler, built the main gopura and the 100-pillared mandapa in 1516. The Srikalahasti Temple’s main entrance is to the south, while the major shrine is to the west. Inside the temple, the Shiva Lingam is made of white stone and is shaped like an elephant’s trunk. The Sadyogi Mandap and the Jalkoti Mandap are two more mandaps in the temple complex. It also has two water bodies – Chandra Pushkarani and Surya Pushkarani.
Srikalahasti is considered one of Lord Shiva’s Pancha Bhoota Sthalas, along with Tiruvannamalai, Thiruvanaikaval, Chidambaram, and Kanchipuram. This location represents Vayu, the Air Element. Kalahasteeswara is the name given to Shiva in his Vayu form. Rahu and Ketu, two of the nine celestial bodies in Indian astrology, are also affiliated with this shrine. A visit to this temple is thought to bring solace to those who have the planet Rahu in an unfavorable position in their horoscopes.
Despite the lack of air movement, there is a lamp inside the inner sanctuary that is constantly flickering. Several ghee lamps have flames that flicker as though blown by moving air. Swayambhu is associated with the white linga (self-manifested).
Lord Kasi Viswanatha, Lord Suryanarayan, Lord Subramanya, Goddess Annapurna, and Lord Sadyoganapathi are some of the other deities worshipped at this shrine.
During solar and lunar eclipses, this is the only temple in India that remains open, while all other temples are closed. The priests of Sri Kalahasti perform the holy Abhishekam (pouring of holy water on the idol) to Srikalahasteeswara Swamy on the day of the eclipse (Lord Shiva). According to Hindu tradition, if a person worships Lord Siva and Goddess Gnana Prasunamba Ammavaru at the temple on the day of the solar eclipse, they will be able to remove the doshas from their ‘Jataka’ (horoscope). According to the Puranas, the Lord Shiva idol at Sri Kalahasti has all 27 Nakshatras (stars) and nine Rashis and hence is thought to regulate the entire solar system.
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