Tuesday, 16 September 2014

PAADAL PETRA SHIVA STHALAM - SRI KALAHASTI, THONDAI NADU

17, September 2014
In general  13th  is not an auspicious day  for most of the people, but it was a good day for me to have the dharshan of Sri Kalahasteeswarar on 13th, September 2014.  Also it was a testing ground  to check the strength of my right leg by climbing the hills, after the injury.  Prepared for next day's visit to Sri Kalahasti on 12th night and set alarm in my old mobile to start from home before 05.00 hrs. My wife waked me at 05.30 Hrs and reminded me. Found that the the time in the mobile was not updated. This changed my entire plan. After bath and in house pooja, I was able to start from home by 06.00 Hrs. Reached Koyambedu and got a seat in a Thirupathi bus to Kalahasthi. Reached Kalahasti around 10.30 Hrs. I was not in a  hurry for dharshan since the temple is not not closed after uchi kala (midday) pooja.

Usually lot of rush will be there for dharshan during week ends. The devotees proceeding to Thirupathi through Kalahasti will also stop for dharshan. The front Raja gopuram was rebuilt after it collapsed few years before and painting was not completed. Since the mobile and Camera are not allowed inside the temple, I could not take photographs inside the temple. Had the dharshan of Sri Kalhastheewarar through Rs 50 ticket and half the way the Q was diverted to the break dharshan / VIP dharshan. Really it was a wonderful dharshan and able to notice the sanctum  lamp flames waves with out wind. Could not notice the elephant’s tusk, spider and Snakes hood at the base of the avudayar due to ‘jarkandi’. But the Q passes twice around ‘HUNDI’ while going for dharshan and coming out after dharshan for the temples collection. We could not see the sannadhis in the prakaram, since we were not allowed to go through.

After moolavar and Ambal’s dharshan, had the dharshan of moolavar gopuram, Ambal gopuram and Kannappar hill through the ceiling opening from the places marked between moolavar and Ambal sannadhi, near Sandikeswarar. In the mean time a devotee  also joined with me  for Kannappar hill temple. The Lord Shiva and Ambal shrines are old ( Old Madras roof can be seen from the photograph) and Sri Kannappar shrine was constructed recently on the hill top. It was a panoramic view of the main temple with Swarnamuki river  from Sri Kannappar Hill temple. We also had the view of Sri Durgambigai temple on the north side  of Sri Kannappar Hill temple, which is equal in height. Decided to visit that Sri Durgambigai temple also.

At the base of the Sri Dugambigai Hill temple there are shrines for Sri Mallikeswarar  and  Bairavar. Sivachariyar pointed out this is very much similar to Srisailam Temple ( In both the places Ambal is in a higher place than Lord Shiva ), when we asked why Sri Durgambigai shrine is on the top of the hill.  Shared the tamarind rice, which I brought from home while climbing down. When we reached bus stand through a share auto, there was a TNSTC bus ready to depart to Chennai. Expected to reach home by 18.30 Hrs, but it was delayed by an hour due to bus break down at Kavarapettai. Out of 14.00 Hours  from start to finish, bus journey alone took around 10 Hours.

19. SRI KALAHASTI
This is the 19th Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam in Thondai Nadu. Sundarar, Thiruganasambandar  and Thirunavukkarasar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. They also sang on Kailash from here. This is one of the pancha bootha sthalam ( Vayu - Air).

Iraivan : Sri Kalahastheeswarar, Sri Kalathinathar, Sri Kudumi thevar
Iraivi    : Sri Gnanaprasunambika, Sri Gana poongothai.. 



Some of the salient features of this temple are.......
  1. Sri Kalahasti is the name derived from  SRI = Spider, KALA = Serpant ( Snake) and Hasti = Elephant. It was believed that all the three worshipped Lord Shiva of this temple and attained mukthi. The story goes like this.. The Spider weaved a shade to avoid leaves falling on Lord Shiva. This was destroyed by wind with fire and Lord shiva gave mukthi to Spider. The snake used to worship Lord Shiva by offering precious gems which it brought from its naga land. This was cleaned and worshiped by the elephant through water which it brought  from the river. On seeing this, the snake got angry and went inside the trunk and killed the elephant  through bite and injected it’s poison. The elephant hits it’s head on the rock to kill the snake and died. Iraivan gave mukthi to both snake and elephant for their bakthi.
  2. The second story is of Sri Kannappar ( Original name was Thinnan ),  one of the 63 nayanmar. Iraivan wants to show Sri Kannappar’s bakthi,  tested him through flowing of blood from his eyes. About to remove his second eye also after removed and placed the first eye on the Shiva lingam, Iraivan appeared  before Sri Kannappar and blessed him.
  3. The temple is  facing west  and the main entrance is from south. This also called as Dhakshin kailash. The temple was built on the banks of river Swarnamuki, which flows towards north at this place.
  4. The original main entrance gopuram ( Galigopuram ) with 7 tiers was built during 1516 by Krishna devaraya, the Vijayanagara King.
  5. The next 2nd level gopuram is Pikshala gopuram was also built during 12th century.
  6. After 2 Rajagopuram on the left sannadhi for Sri Balaganambal, Pathala Ganapathy, Panchamukeswarar,  with old Ambal.
  7. Pathalaganapathy is about 35 feet below the ground level with 20 narrow steps. At a time only 10 people are allowed to enter. 
  8. Next on the right 2 pillar mandapam.
  9. The path turns to left and we can see the maha nandhi on the left and thirumanjana rajagopuram on the right. This gopura passage leads to river Swarnamuki.
  10. On the east side 4 pillar mandapam, and sannadhi for Asthoralingam, Panchasanthi vinayagar and 100 pillar mandapam.  There were built during 1516 by Sri Krishna Devarayar.
  11. On the east side before dwajasthambam statues of Sri Krishna Devarayar and  Devakottai. Me. Aru. Tha. Ramanathan Chettiiyar are enclosed. Ramanathan chettiyar had done  thiruppani and kumbhabhishekam,   during 1912 with his own money of Rs 9 lakhs.
  12. There are two dwajasthambam of which one is made of single stone  to a height of 60 feet. A small nandhi is placed on the top.Next is the 11th century Dhakshina Rajagopuram. It was built by Kulothunga Chozhan.
  13. In the inner parakaram Sannadhi for, Dhakshinamoorthy,  Sangarpa Ganapathy,  Naalvar,  Senkalvarayan ( Arumugam) with valli devasena. On the east side corridor urchava moorthangal of Kalatheeswarar, Ganapoongothai, Kannappar, Arumugar, Valli, Devasena, Bharatvaja maharishi, Pitchadanar, Asthiradevar, Vinayagar, Thondaman King, Spider, Elephant and Serpant.
  14. At the entrance of main shrine there is a dwajasthambam with a palipeedam. 
  15. Moolavar is of suyambu, tall theenda thirumeni and abhishekam is done for square avudayar only. A brass nandhi and a white stone nandhi are at the front. The white stone nandhi is about 2 feet below the level of brass nandhi. There is a maha nandhi at the entrance from river Swarnamuki and nandhi is facing moolavar through stone window. In moolavar sannadhi koshrtam Vinayagar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma and Durgai.
  16. Moolavar is always covered with golden plate, kavasam signifies 27 nakshathiras. At the base of avudayar relief of spider, elephant tusk and snake can be seen.
  17. The lamps in side the sanctum waves with out wind/ air signifies the presence of vayu ( AIR ) in the sanctum. Hence this stahlam is called as vayu sthalam, one of the pancha bootha stahalam.
  18. When we came out of moolavar sannadhi, in the same inner prakaramsannadhi for  Sahasralingam,  Sri subramaniyar with valli devasena,  many lingangal installed by various kings and saints, Kannappar, Spadika lingam, etc.
  19. The temple was built during 6th to 10th century by Tamil Chozhas and Vijaya Nagara Kings. Sri Adhi Sankarar’s contribution also there to this temple.
  20. Old Tamil inscription are found on the wall in many places.  
HOW TO REACH:
  1. This temple is located in Chittoor district of Andhra pradesh.
  2. Sri Kalahasthi temple is situated 36kms away from Tirupathi.
  3. 110 KM from Chennai via, Koyambedu, red hills and Tada. Both TNSTC and APSTC buses are available from Koyambedu mofusal bus terminus. 3 to 31/2 hours journey from Koyambedu bus terminus.
  4. Bus facilities are also available from Thirupathi, Chennai etc.
TEMPLE TIMINGS:
  1. The temple is kept open between 05.00 Hrs to 21.00 Hrs with out break.
  2. The temple is open even on Lunar and solar eclipse days with additional poojas.
CONTACT DETAILS:
Additional details may be obtained through temples web site. The link is as given below.
Sri Kalahasteeswara Swamy Vari Devasthanams,
Sri Kalahasti,
Chittor District,
Andhra Pradesh-517644
e-mail: eo_srikalahasthi@yahoo.co.in
Contact Telephone Numbers: 08578-222240,221336, 9885974050
Contact the temple authorities during the Temple Timings 6:00am to 9:00pm only. 

LOCATION OF THE TEMPLE :CLICK HERE
  
North side entrance Rajagopuram - recently built after the original gopuram of 7 tiers was collapsed
Dwarabalakar in front of a Shiva sannadhi after 2nd Rajagopuram
Pathala Ganapathi sannadhi
2 pillar mandapam with vinayagar
MahaNandhi in the outer prakaram on the west side facing moolavar 
West side Rajagopuram - leading to Swarnamuki river
Statue might be Sri Kannappar on the pillar of the west side Rajagopuram
South side of the temple asbestos mandapam with sthala viruksham
South side entrance arch
South side Rajagopuram also called as Dhakshina Gopuram, after dwajasthambam. This was built during 11th century  by King Kulothunga Chozhan under a direct supervision of a team form by the king. 
Temple complex view from Sri Kannappar hill
The Madras type roof of the Kannappar Hill Shiva Temple
Ambal Sannadhi at Sri Kannappar Hill 
Shiva Sannadhi at Sri Kannappar Hill
Sri Kannappar Sannadhi
Sri Durgambigai temple Hill view from Sri Kannappar Hill
Bairavar sannadhi at the base of Sri Durgambigai Hill
Sri Mallikeswarar Temple at the base of Sri Durgambigai Hill
Sri Durgambigai temple 
SOME OF THE IMPORTANT TIPS FOR DEVOTEES.
  1. Naga, Raghu and Kethu thosams are performed in this temple with a tariff of Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 750 and Rs1500. No other materials are required.
  2. Buying coconut from the out side shops is waste since you cannot offer at the sanctum. The coconuts are broken at the entrance by an auction-er at a cost of Rs 10, makes the feeling of cheating.
  3. Between Moolavar and Ambal sanctum there are markings with name boards. Standing from there you can worship moolavar, Ambal sanctum vimanams and Sri Kannappar temple. To show this there are some people acts as guides and asks for money.
  4. Mobile and camera are not allowed to take inside. This may be deposited at Gate no 2 near the river.
  5. Free Devasthana cheppal stand is available before 2nd Rajagopuram with camera and mobile phone deposit centre.
  6. Pathala Ganapathi shrine is about 20  feet below the ground with a narrow steps and at a time only 10 devotees are allowed. Others has to wait till they return.9 Hence there will be always a Q )
  7. Boarding and lodging facilities are available at Sri Kalahasti.
---- OM SHIVAYA NAMA: ----