Srikalahasti TourismSrikalahasti is one of the many popular tourist attractions of South India. It is a small city in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and home to the popular Srikalahasti temple. A popular pilgrimage destination, the temple attracts devotees from all over India and even abroad. Tourism is one of the main sources of revenue for the locals of Srikalahasti. Apart from the temple there are many other tourist attractions in the region as well. It is also the place of origin of Kalamkari, a traditional art form of the region.
Tourist Attractions in Srikalahasti
Srikalahasti TempleIt is one of the most important tourist attractions of the region. The temple is believed to be one of the most ancient Lord Shiva in south India. Situated just 36km from the famous Tirupati shrine, the temple attracts large number of devotees each year. It is a standing example of the rich culture of the region.
The intricate carving and fine architecture are the main highlights of the temple. The temple is strategically located between beautiful mountains Sripuram and Mummidicholapuram.
Significance of Srikalahasti Temple
The temple is strongly associated with Rahu and Kethu (two of the nine grahams or celestial bodies in the Indian astrological scheme). Experts believe that the Shiv Lingam placed between the two hills represents the element of Vayu (air). Srikalahasti temple is one of the five Panchabhootha stalams – temples that represent Lord Shiva as embodiment of the five primary elements.
Legend of Srikalahasti Temple
The name Srikalahasti is derived from Sri – Spider, Kala – Serpent and Hasti – Elephant. Legend says that according to Hindu mythology the elephant or Hasti used to clean the Shiva deity by watering the idol with the help of river-water carried in his trunks and offering Bel leaves. The spider’s aim was to safeguard the deity from any sort of external damage by weaving a strong web for Lord Shiva’s protection. The snake placed his special gem on the lingam in lord’s honor. All three used to worship the deity separately without knowing the existence of the other.
One day, the spider had built a very big and thick web around the deity to protect it from dust and weather while the snake places its gem. The elephant was unaware of this and poured water on the lingam. This action caused a huge row between the three. The snake punished the elephant by entering its trunk and in the process killed itself while the elephant ran amok and hit its trunk and head against the Shiva Lingam. The spider is squashed against the lingam in the struggle and eventually dies.
It is said that on seeing the true devotion and unmatched dedication of the three devotees Lord Shiva appeared and gave salvation or moksha to each of them. The spider took a rebirth as the king of the region and both the serpent and the elephant went to heaven for their good deeds. The king continued his good work all through his life. It is interesting to see in all Lord Shiva temples the deity is kept in such a way that is beyond the access of the elephant.
At this temple the access to the deity is through a narrow passage which prevents the elephant from extending its trunk over the lord from any side.
History of Srikalahasti Temple
The magnificent Srikalahasti temple is one of the most impressive Shiva temples. It is known for its architecture and the vivid history. The temple was built in 5th century by the Pallava rulers. Later the Vijaynagar kings and even the Chola dynasty emperors helped in the development of the temple. It is said that during the 10th century the Chola kings renovated the temple. The 120 feet (37 m) high main gopuram and the 100 pillar mandapam were constructed in 1516 by Krishnadeavrya, a Vijaynagar king.
There is a lamp in the inner sanctum of the temple that constantly flickers despite the lack of air movement. It is said that the main lingam in the temple is untouched by human hands. Even the temple priests don’t touch the lingam. Abhishek is done by pouring panchamrita – a mixture of milk, water, gangajal, rose water and camphor. Fresh flowers, sandalwood paste and sacred thread are offered to utsava-murti, not the main lingam.
Rahu Kethu Puja
Since the main significance of the temple revolves around Rahu andKethu, the temple is famous for its Rahu-Kethu puja. It is said that people who have Rahu Sarpa Dosha and Kehu Sarpa Dosha should perform puja at this temple and seek blessings of Lord Shiva.
Rahu – Kethu Sarpa Dosha Nivarana Puja can be done daily between 6:30 am and 9:00 pm. There are three rates of the puja – 300/-, 750/- and 1500/-. The pujas costing 300/- and 750/- are performed in the outer courtyard of the temple and the puja costing 1500/- is performed within the temple premises. It is said that Sundays and Tuesdays are the best days to perform these pujas.
Nithya Kalyana Seva is conducted for Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati at the temple. It is done each day in the name of the donors along with abhisheka aradhana payment of Rs. 550/-. The devotees who contribute a permanent endowment of Rs. 5500/- for Nithya Kalyanotsavam can perform the seva on any day they choose (except the 12 days of Maha Shvratri festival celebrations). The devotees who perform this puja and seva receive swamivari prasadam, lamination photo and special Asirvachanam.
Bhakta Kannappa TempleA unique temple situated on the east of the Srikalahasti temple. The temple houses an idol of the tribal youth Bhakta Kannappa, who offered his eyes to the bleeding Lord Shiva idol in the temple. Bhakta Kannappa’s unconditional love and devotion towards Lord Shiva earned him a special place in the heart of people and lord himself.
People are surprised to see that in this temple the offerings and prasadam is offered to Bhakta Kannappa first and then to Lord Shiva.
Talakona WaterfallsTalakona waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The 270 feet tall waterfall is a must see when visiting the region. The natural beauty and pristine backdrop of the waterfalls are totally delightful.
Talakona waterfalls are situated in Sri Venkateswara National Park in Chittoor. The area surrounding the falls is covered with Sandalwood forests and many medicinal plants can also be found in the region. One can enjoy boating and canopy ropewalk at a height of about 40 feet stretching for 240 meter length.
Ubbalamadugu WaterfallsUbbalamadugu are popularly known as Tada Falls and Kambakam Falls. They are located at a distance of about 35 km from Srikalahasti and are a popular weekend getaway. Situated amidst the dense Kambakam forest it is a great place for adventure lovers. Travelers love to trek along the waterfall and reach the top. The view of the neighboring jungle from the top is mesmerizing. The lush expansive greens are a great way to escape from the chaos of the cities and the concrete world.
Sahasra Linga TempleOne more name to the list of religious tourist attractions is the famous Sahasra Linga temple. The word Sahasra means thousand. The temple is named Sahasra Linga temple because a thousand lingas are established at this temple. Amidst the thick jungle, this unique temple is certainly one of its kind. It is believed that the temple has the power to wash off all your sins. Certainly a must visit when in this region.
Bharadwaja TirthamBharadwaja Tirtham is another popular religious tourist attraction in Srikalahasti. It is situated amidst three hills to the east of the famous Srikalahasti temple. The shrine derives its name from Bharadwaja Maharishi who is said to have meditated at this site. Surrounded by stream of water and nature’s bounty, it is a great place to be.
Veylilinga Kona WaterfallsVeylilinga waterfalls get their name from a Tamil word which literally translates to ‘The Valley of Thousand Lingas’. The falls are located just 8km from Srikalahasti and are a delight for photographers. The serenity and calming ambiance is the highlight of the waterfalls. Legends believe that the water has healing properties and can cure various skin diseases. Visit the falls during pre-monsoon and monsoon to witness the grandeur of the falls.
Travel Agents in SrikalahastiSrikalahasti is a popular religious destination. Whether you are travelling from Srikalahasti to other parts of the country or sightseeing within the city, the travel agents will be of great help. These travel agents and agencies will look into all your travel related needs – air tickets, hotel reservations, visa assistance, tour packages etc.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Office
Tirupati High Way, Srikalahasti
Phone: (08578) 231100
Sai Venka Tours
7/1/11-001, Door No-9-27, Gopalavanam, Srikalahasti
SBR Tours & Travels
Big C Building, Nehru Nagar, Pendli Mandapam, Srikalahasti
Phone: (08578) 223336
Beside Mee Seva Vegetable Market, Big Mosque street, Srikalahasti
Phone: (08578) 223022
Sri Lalitha Tours
Sada siva complex, Sai ram street, Srikalahasti
CMS Tours & Travels
Bazaar street, Srikalahasti