SHRI KSHETRA SRIKALAHASTI Other places of Interest

1. Bharadwajasa Tirtham: It is situated to the east of Sri Kalahasthi temple. It is amidst three hills. It is a pilgrim centre. To the south of the temple, atop a hill there is the sannidhi of Panchamukheswara. Some sculptures can be seen there. Maharishi Bharadwaja is said to have meditated here in the Krtha Yuga.
2. The neighbhourhood of Sri Kalahasthi Temple: Suka Brahmaashrama, Bhakta Kannappa hospital, and westward from the temple, Kumaraswami temple. Varadarajasami temple in the centre of the town and Chakreshwara temple, are some of the important places.
3. The hill with thousand lingas: Here there is a big linga on which thousand lingas can be seen. It is located about 7 km south of Sri Kalahasthi.
4. There are five lamps signifying the sacred five- lettered word Namasivaya in the temple for the main deity in Sri Kalahasthi.
5. Sivaratri Utsavas: In the month of Maagha, Sivaratri (ratri: night) utsavas are celebrated grandly on nine nights at Sri Kalahastheeswara temple. Each night of the nine nights has a name associated with it. Sivaratri occurs on the fifth night. The first night is known as Devaratri, the second is Bhuta ratri, the third is Gandharva ratri, and the fourth is Naga ratri. On Siva ratri, a special pooja takes place at midnight to commemorate lingodhbhava (Siva emanating from the linga). The .sixth night is known as Brahma ratri and a chariot is taken out in procession on this night. The seventh night is known as Sakanda ratri. On this night, the Kalyanam (marraige) of Parvati and Parameshwara is celebrated. The eighth night is known as Ananda ratri – the night on which the celestial beings (devas) worship Lord Siva and celebrate. The ninth night is known as Rishi ratri. On that night, the idols of Parvati and Parameshwara are taken out in procession.
Significance of the golden coloured silk saree adorning Goddess Jnana Prasunamba
There are two legends associated with this, one of which has a puranic basis. When the devas and asuras were fighting each other, the asuras were having the upper hand often. Once, when the devas won and wanted to celebrate their victory, there appeared a huge creature. Lord Indra sent Agni to find out about the creature. The creature challenged Agni to burn up a blade of grass. Agni failed. Thereupon, Vaayu (wind god) was sent. He too failed. Finally, Lord Indra himself came. But, the creature disappeared. After a while, Goddess Umadevi appeared before Lord Indra, draped in a golden coloured silk saree. The Goddess revealed to Indra that the creature was none other than Lord Siva. The legend has it that the Goddess taught Indra the panchaakshara mantra at Dakshin kailash. To reflect this episode, it has been the practice to drape the goddess at Sri kalahasthi with a golden coloured silk saree ever since. It is said that there exists an Indra cave and a Yaksha cave in the nearby hills of Sri Kalahasthi.
There is another legend drawn from local sources. There was a time when kings ruling the region, where Sri Kalahasthi exists, had to wage battles with the Turks. Once during such a battle a king had a dream that the goddess had saved his kingdom in the battle and that the saree had been torn and tattered in the process. The goddess appeared before him in the dream and asked the king to replace it. The next morning, the king ordered for the saree to be brought before him. And he found it torn and tattered! Immediately, he ordered for a new golden coloured silk saree to be readied. It is said that since then, every Friday, the goddess is draped with the golden coloured silk saree.
Aspects related to Goddess Jnana Prasunambika
Of the 108 sacred spots devoted to Sakti (feminine aspect of the godhead), the sacred spot of Goddess Jnana Prasunambika signifies Jalandhara. It is said that she also represents an aspect of Santanalakshmi. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu had created 108 sacred spots devoted to Sakti with the Sudarshana chakra. When Satidevi gave up her body in the fire during Daksha’s Yajna and Lord Siva was carrying her body on his shoulder, Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshana chakra divided the body into 108 parts and the places where these fell have, it is believed, transformed into these 108 sacred spots. It is said that the skull portion was brought by Vishnu to Sri Kalahasthi in Dakshin kailash on the earth as Jalandhara.
Of recent origin is the worship being conducted at Sri Kalahasthi temple for people seeking protection against Sarpadosha (death/harm due to a serpent) and for people for whom there is delay in getting married.
Worship of Raahu and Ketu is also being conducted at Sri Kalahasthi temple. On Sunday and Tuesday, community worship is conducted. For the childless, there is the ‘Uyala Seva’ being conducted for the goddess.
Many such special poojas are organised by the temple trust for the devotees. The trust is also engaged in the free distribution of food. Some educational institutions and engineering colleges have been built through financial support from the Sri Kalahasthi temple trust. The temple trust has adopted some Siva temples to carry out renovation and repair work. Sri Talakona Siddheswara temple is one such. This temple is in the remote part of the jungles of Chittoor district. This temple forms the end of the following chain of shrines: Sri Kalahasthi, Tirupathi, ‘ Srinivasa Mangapuram, Aarepalliringam peta, Bhakara peta and can be visited in that sequence. It is about 100 km from Sri Kalahasthi.
Sarve ]ana Sukhino Bhavanthu
Samastha Sanmangalaanibhavanthu

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