I went to Tamil Nadu, India back in 2010, which was a different experience. I’ve visited Sri Lanka, and I actually thought Tamil Nadu was similar, but it wasn’t really. Tamil Nadu (mainly the places we went to) is much more crowded than Sri Lanka, while I’d say Sri Lanka seems more peaceful and more beautiful.
During our stay in Tamil Nadu, we mostly stayed in Chennai, but went to lots of hindu temples all over the state. This was including the Pancha Bootha Stalas, where one of the 5 temples is located in Andhra Pradesh, and Aarupadai Veedu and then we went to Thirupathi, that is located in Andhra Pradesh too.
The first temples I visited in India was Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore (Chennai), and then Palamudhircholai Murugan Temple, followed by Kalahasthi Temple. Kalahasthi was therefore the first of the 5 Pancha Bootha Stalas we visited. According to Hindu Sastra it actually has to be the last temple to visit, once you decide to visit all 5 temples, but this didn’t happen so, as we had to plan our trip differently to make it possible, as we were going to visit the rest of the temples with another family from Denmark too. And Kalahasthi is “closer” to Thiruththani.
The word Panchabootha refers to the five elements, and there’s a Shiva temple dedicated to each element in South India, as following:
Water – Thiruvanaikkaval – Jambukeshwarar Temple – Appu Lingam
Air – Kalahasthi – Sri Kalahasthiswarar Temple – Vaayu Lingam
So, this should be the right order to visit the 5 Stalas. I did some research on why this has to be the right order, unfortunately I couldn’t.
Sri Kalahastiswarar Temple is located in Andhra Pradesh, that is the state north of Tamil Nadu, in the town Srikalahasti. It is, of course, one of the most important Shiva temples with a prominent legend, according to Saivism. The temple of Srikalahasti is meant to be the place, where Kannappar (one of the 63 Saivite saints) used to offer his prayers to lord Shiva, and was ready to offer his eyes to the God. The legend says that lord Shiva appeared in front of Kannappar, to stop him and instead granted him mukti – liberation from the life circle.
As mentioned above, the temple is also known for its Vaayu Lingam, as Rahu-Kethu Kshetram and as Dakshina Kailasam. The temple is also referred as the Kaasi of South. This is also the only temple in India that remains open during Solar and Lunar ecplises, as temple normally stay closed during these ecplises. Moreover, it’s believed that lord Brahma has worshipped this place during all four yugas, and the prince Arjuna too worshipped this place during Mahabharata Kshetra war.
The temple is also mentioned by the Thevaara Moovar – Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar – in some of their Thevara songs, and by Manickavasagar in his Thiruvasagam. Hereby, this temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Stalangal (Temples that got sung by the Thevaara Moovar).
How to get there:
We hired a car + driver. This is the easiest way to get to the temple, also you can combine your trip by visiting other temples nearby. Likewise, we went to Thiruththani temple before going to Kalahasti. From here, you can also go to Thiruppathi Thirumala Temple.
So yes.. This is a very important temple for saivites. I really hope to visit this temple again 😉