Sri Kalahastheeswara Swami Vari Temple is one of the most ancient and historical Saivet temple in India. Vayu is incarnated as Lord Siva and worshipped as Kalahastheeswara.
Goddess Parvathi Devi is worshiped here as Gnanaprasunambika. The temple is located at Sri kalahasti, Chittoor District Andhra Pradesh. The vast west facing Kalahastheeswara temple is built adjoining a hill, and on the banks of the river Swarnamukhi. At some points, the hill serves as the wall of the temple. The temple prakarams follow the contour of the adjoining hill and hence the temple plan is rather irregular. North of the temple is the Durgambika hill, south is the Kannappar hill and east is the Kumaraswamy hill.
Rahu-ketu Pooja is very much famous in Sri kalahasti. Rahu ketu Pooja will be performed during Rahu kalam timings. Devotees should be plan accordingly, so that they will available during Rahu kalam time at the temple. Sri Kalahasti Temple is always crowded with Rahu ketu Pooja, with Devotees coming from different parts of the Country.
According to ancient Tamil sources Sri Kalahasti has been known as the ‘Kailas of the South’ for slightly more than two thousand years and the small river on whose banks it sits, the ‘Ganges of the South.’ Kailas is perhaps India’s most revered spiritual symbol. It is the abode of Shiva, from whose head, according to legend, the Ganges is said to flow. Shiva, ‘that which is auspicious at all places, times and in all circumstances’ is a symbol of the Self and the Ganges flowing from his head represents the spiritualized or awakened mind. A mind sourced in Spirit is a river of immeasurable power and life-giving goodness. The claim that Kalahasti is the ‘Kailas of the South’ simply means that the small hill near the temple is to be taken as the spiritual equivalent of the Himalayan Kailas.
The Vedas posit four ends for which human beings strive in their search for happiness: pleasure (kama), security or wealth (artha), duty (dharma) and freedom (moksha). In the temple at Kalahasti these four universal motivations, which may take any worldly form, are, according to temple literature, converted into spiritual impulses. They are represented by four deities facing in the four cardinal directions. Shiva in the form of Dakshinamoorthy represents desire, in this case the desire for liberation, although he more commonly is said to represent the feeling of wealth (dakshina) that comes when you know who you really are. At Kalahasti the Goddess Gnanaprasoonamba (the giver of knowledge or the mother of all knowledge) represents the ‘wealth’ i.e. freedom from limitation conferred by Self-knowledge.
The deity Kalahastheeswara (the lord of Kalahasti) faces west and symbolizes liberation. Liberation, the death of ego upon the rediscovery of the Self, is the final stage of life just as setting is the sun’s last act before it disappears over the horizon. The Tamil Cholas and the Vijayanagara Rulers have made several endowments to this temple. Adi Sankara is said to have visited this temple and offered worship here. There are Chola inscriptions in this temple which date back to the 10th century CE. The Telugu poem ‘Sri Kalahasti Satakam’ explains the traditions associated with this temple. Muthuswamy Deekshitar, one of the foremost composers in the Karnatic Music Tradition has sung the glory of this temple in his kriti ‘Sree Kaalahastheesa’.
Krishnadevaraya built a huge gopuram in 1516, a few feet away from the entrance to the temple. The entrance to the temple is crowned with a smaller tower. There is an underground Ganapati shrine in the outer prakaram, while in the innermost prakaram are the shrines of Shiva and Parvathi. This ancient gopuram over the main gate, which is 36.5 meters (120 feet) high and the entire temple is carved
During the early days of creation, Lord Vayu performed penance for thousands of years to “Karpoora lingam” (Karpooram means camphor). Pleased with his penance, Lord Shiva manifested before him and said, ” O Vayu Deva! Though you are dynamic in nature, you stayed here without movement and did penance for me. I’m pleased with your devotion. I shall grant you three boons”. Lord Vayu said, “Swami! I want to be present everywhere in this world. I want to be an integral part of every Jiva who is none other than the manifestation of Paramathma. I want to name this Karpoora Linga, which represents you, after me. Samba Siva said,” You are qualified for these three boons. As per your wish, you will be spread throughout this world. Without you there will be no life. This linga of mine will forever be known all over through your name, and all Suras, Asuras, Garuda, Gaandharvas, Kinneras, kimpurushas, Siddhas, Saadhvis, humans and others will worship this Lingam”. Lord Shiva disappeared after granting these boons. Thereafter, this Karpoora Vayu Lingam is worshipped by all Lokas (worlds).
There are several other legends connected to the glory of the temple. Prominent among them is of Parvathi who was cursed by Lord Shiva to discard her heavenly body and assume the human form. To get rid of the above curse Parvati did a long penance here. Pleased with her deep devotion Lord Shiva again recreated her body – a hundred times better than her previous heavenly body and initiated various mantras including the Panchakshari. Consequent to this, Parvati gained fame and came to be known as Shiva-Gnanam Gnana Prasunamba or Gnana Prasunambika Devi.Cursed to become a ghost, Ghanakala prayed at Srikalahasti for 15 years and after chanting the Bhairava Mantra many times Lord Shiva restored her original form. Mayura, Chandra and Devendra were also freed from their curses after taking bath in the river Swarnamukhi and praying at Srikalahasti. To Bhakta Markandeya, Lord Shiva appeared in Srikalahasti and preached that a Guru alone could make esoteric teachings and, therefore he is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.