The Sri Kalahasti temple houses the Vayu Ligam and hence attributed to as the air element place out of the 5 elements. It is about 40 kms from Tirupati. Had been here about 5 years back. This time spent almost a day here. A powerful space.
The unique Shiva Linga here is located in picturesque soundings with the Dakshina Kailasa mountain at the back and the north flowing river Swarnamukhi in front.
Srikalahasti derives its name from His ardent devotees :-
1 . Spider called Sri
2 . Serpent called Kala &
3 . Elephant called Hasti
From time immemorial countless gods, sages, saints, sinners and other devotees worshiped here and attained salvation. This holy place continues to draw thousands of devotees seeking fulfillment of their desires.
Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kalahasteeswara. A lamp burns inside the inner sanctum that constantly flickers despite the lack of air movement inside.
One can see the Vayu-Linga inspite of the doors being closed. The sanctum also has no windows, the lamp flames keep moving despite no air movement. The color of the linga is white and is considered Swayambhu – self manifested. Lord Siva, the destroyer among the Trimurties. The remaining two among the three Murtis (also known as Trimurties) are Brahma and Vishnu.
The linga, here, is one of the Panchabhuta lingas (made up of the five elements) – wind, water, fire, earth and ether. The linga at Srikalahasti is Vayulinga or one made of wind.
There is a lamp burning inside the inner sanctum that constantly flickers despite the lack of air movement inside. The vayu-linga can be seen moving despite the doors being closed. The sanctum has no windows, the lamp flames keep moving despite no air movement. The linga is white and is considered Swayambhu – self-manifested.
Sri Kalahasthi is named after the three devotees who sacrificed themselves– the Spider (Sri), the serpent (Kala) and the Elephant (Hasthi). Story is Hasthi used to clean the shiva Linga everyday with water and prays lord with Bilva leaves. Kala unknowingly cleans the linga by removing the leaves and places its precious gems to pray the Lord.
This raises a dispute between them on one day when they came to know who is removing their offerings. Snake enters the trunk of elephant to punish it. Elephant runs amok and hits the head and trunk against the Linga and dies. Snake also dies due to the hit. There was one more devotee Sri- Spider which weaves the web around the deity to protect from rain, sun, dust etc., One day lord decides to test the spider for its promotion and hence raises fire on web. Spider doesn’t wish to leave the web and Linga with fear to death and dies protecting the Linga. Lord appears and grants Moksha for all the three.
The legends mention that Bhaktha Kanappa was a hunter who was called Tinnappa before he became a saint, and he lived in the forest hunting animals. One day he goes for a hunt on the favourite day(shivaratri) of lord shiva. He finds nothing to eat and getting exhausted he reaches the downhill where he finds the Shiva Linga. He remains without food on entire day and makes a vow that he will share his food with him when he finds food to eat. He understands the power of lord and starts praying him. As vowed he places the flesh and cleans the Linga with water filling in his mouth. Lord gets delighted of his sincere prayer.
One day to test his devotee lord drops blood from one of his eye, Thinappa thinking someone has harmed his lord without any hesitation removes his eye and places as a substitue to lords eye. Immediately oozing of blood from that eye stops and it starts from the other eye, Thinappa feels sad for his lord and starts to think how he can place his second eye when he becomes blind. So he with his foot, marks the place of lord’s eye and replaces his eye. At that time the Lord, pleased with the strength of his devotion, gave him Darsan and restored his eyesight and also gave him the name “Kannappa,” that is, one who gave his eyes to the Lord. Pleased with his devotion the Lord also ordained that be should be near the Lingam permanently. The hill you see opposite to the temple is where he lived.