Visit Srikalahasti Temple: The Kailash of South in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh- 517644 (2021)
Situated in the Chittoor district of the Rayalaseema region of the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, Srikalahasti is a divine temple that is immensely popularly among devotees. A lot of pilgrims visiting the highly revered Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh, often visit Srikalahasti temple which lies along the way as it is located at a distance of just about 36 km from Tirupati. Dedicated to Lord Shiva (Srikalahasteeswara), who is a god of immense religious significance according to Hindu mythology, Srikalahasti temple was constructed by Krishnadevraya who was a king of the famous Vijayanagara empire in the year 1516. The impressive part of the Srikalahasti temple is its elaborate structure. The huge temple complex sporting a breath – taking design, offers a breath – taking view right from the entrance. You will also be pleased to know that the elaborate structure of the Srikalahasti temple has intricate carvings of a number of mythological illustrations and stories that one can explore in the divine surroundings.
Owing to its immense beauty and peaceful aura, the magnificent Srikalahasti temple is often referred as the Kailash and Kashi of South by people. Another interesting fact about the Srikalahasti temple is that it is believed to represent one of the five elements – Air or Vayu. No matter whether you are not much of a religious person but the abundant charm, vibrant energy and divine aura of the place has enough potential to draw your attention. Spending time exploring its ornate shrines and mesmerising beauty, is every devotee’s paradise. South Indian temples are pretty famous for sporting a mesmerising architecture and Srikalahasti temple is no exception. In fact, with its highly ornamented gopurams boasting of intricately carved interiors, the Srikalahasti temple is nothing short of an architectural marvel.
History of Srikalahasti Temple
The mesmerising Srikalahasti temple derived its name from a popular mythological legend. This legend states that once a spider (Sri), a snake (Kala) and an elephant (Hasti) used to worship Lord Shiva in the town in order to attain moksha. The core of this mythological legend was considered to be a sign by a number of religious believers and hence, during the Pallava period in the 5th century, the Srikalahasti temple was built by the king of Vijayanagara empire Krishnadevraya. Other than that, after the construction, a number of changes were brought about in the infrastructure of the Srikalahasti temple around the 11th century during the Chola Kingdom. The temple was further developed by expanding the temple complex, doing renovations, adding some of the new beautiful structures and a lot more. Most of these changes happened during the reign of Chola Kingdom as well as the Vijayanagara Dynasty in about the 16th century.
The Srikalahasti temple has also found to be mentioned several times in the works of Nakkeerar who was a popular Tamil poet and hence, it is not hard to deduce that the temple existed during the Tamil Sangam Dynasty. Other than Nakkeerar, Dhoorjati was another famous Telugu poet who has written a plenty of stanzas about the glory of Srikalahasti temple and praised its divine beauty.
Major Attractions at Srikalahasti Temple
- Stunning Architecture: Sporting a beautiful illustration of the Dravidian style of architecture, Srikalahasti temple built during the Pallava period in the 5th century is a true architectural genius. The grand temple complex is located at the base of a hill and has its entrance facing the south direction, while the main shrine faces the west direction. Some people even believe that it is actually a monolithic structure.
- Beautiful Interior: Other than having a beautiful appearance, the interior of the Srikalahasti temple is also worth exploring. There is a white stone Shiva Lingam inside the shrine that somehow resembles the shape of an elephant’s trunk. Boasting of the fact that the main gopuram of the temple has a height of about 120 feet, even the mandap of the Srikalahasti temple complex is stunning with its 100 intricately carved pillars which were built during the reign of a Vijayanagara king, Krishnadevraya in the year 1516. There is also a shrine of Lord Ganesh in the temple complex which is a 9 feet tall rock – cut shrine.
- Numerous Shrines and Mandaps: The Srikalahasti temple complex is known to be a house a number of shrines for Jnanaprasanammba, Suryanarayan, Annapurna, Sadyoganapathi, Kasi Viswanatha and Subramanya which are adorned with plenty of beautiful images of Ganpati, Vallabha Ganpatu, Sahasra Lingeswara and Mahalakshmi Ganapathi. The temple area also has two more mandaps and two stunning water bodies – Chandra Pushkarani and Surya Pushkarini.
- Religious Significance: The Srikalahasti temple is believed to be one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalam where the presiding deity is worshipped as Air or Vaayu Lingam. Another interesting fact about the Srikalahasti temple is that unlike all the other temples which close down during the time of the solar or lunar eclipse, this one temple is an exception and remains open even on those days. In fact, Srikalahasti is the only temple to remain open on even eclipse in entire country. The Srikalahasti temple is pretty famous for the Rahu – Kethu pooja that is performed here. It is a significant pooja that is believed to protect the person performing from the astrological effects of Rahu and Kethu.
How to Reach Srikalahasti Temple?
Srikalahasti temple is one popular tourist attraction of immense religious significance in Andhra Pradesh in South India and hence is frequented by a number of devotees throughout the year. To provide a convenient experience to the visitors, the Srikalahasti temple is well connected and can be accessed by different means of transport. Have a look!
Address: Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh 517644
- By Road: There are plenty of state transport buses such as APSRTV and KSRTC that take you to the temple. Since they operate all the time, during the day as well as at night, it is pretty easy to catch them. In fact, the APSRTC buses are believed to run after every 30 mins to Tirupati.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to the temple is located at Srikalahasti itself. This railway station is well connected to most of the major cities in the Southern region of India directly. You can easily get trains from major cities such as Kolkata, Vijayawada and Hyderabad.
- By Air: The nearest airport to the Srikalahasti temple is the Tirupati Airport. It is located at a distance of just 25 km from the place. From here, you can get a number of daily flights to Tirupati from major cities of the country such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Other than that, the closest major airport is the Chennai airport which is at a distance of about 99 km from Srikalahasti temple.
Major Hotels To Stay Near Srikalahasti Temple
Taj Tirupati: This 5 – star hotel offers a comfortable accommodation along with a plethora of conveniences. Visitors staying here get the privileges of a restaurant, fitness centre, a bar, free Wifi, free private parking and air conditioning.
Distance from city centre: approximately 3.1 km away
Fortune Select Grand Ridge Hotel: Nestled amidst quiet setting in Tirupati with greenery all around, this is one excellent hotel. Some of the advantages of staying here include an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, a restaurant, a spa, free WiFi and free parking.
Distance from city centre: approximately 2.9 km away
Marasa Sarovar Premiere: Offering its visitors an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a restaurant, this hotel located in Tirupati is an excellent choice. Visitors even get 2 dining options. The rooms here come with a comfortable seating area and a mini bar too.
Distance from city centre: approximately 3.6 km away
Other Popular Places To Visit Nearby Srikalahasti Temple
- Tada Falls: Also known popularly among the local people by the name of Ubbalamudugu falls, this is one beautiful waterfall located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Cascading down from a towering height of about 100 m, the sight is a visual delight. Surrounded by the dense Siddulaiah Kona forest, the place is perfect for the travellers who want to indulge in some adventurous activities like trekking and hiking.
- Tirumala Venkateswara Temple: If you are going on a trip to Chittoor, then you must visit Tirumala Venkateswara temple. Located on Venkatachala- the seventh peak of the Tirupati hill, the temple houses a beautiful idol of Lord Venkateswara. Soaked in sanctity, religion, rich history, tradition and culture, it is a true spiritual paradise. Devotees from far and wide come to pay their offerings and seek blessings here.
- Sri Venkateswara National Park: Located on the mighty Eastern Ghats, Venkateswara National Park is an ideal place for all the nature and wildlife lovers. The place is known to be a house to a vast variety of endemic plant species, interesting fauna variety and a huge variety of bird species. This national park is one amazing place to explore and relax!
If you are someone who loves exploring and studying South Indian temples as well as their stunning architecture, then Srikalahasti temple will just be like a treasure to you.