A longstanding wish to see Sri kalahasthi , a famous panchabhootha sthalam of Lord Shiva was realized yesterday.
My son Chinmay and I left with a Driver at 5 am from home in our car. It is a 130 km trip from Chennai to the town in Chittoor distt AP
This was a very cool misty day and we made good speed in the early hours of Saturday to reach the Tirupathi Highway via Koyambedu-Annanagar-Red hills route. The road traffic was sparse too
We moved through misty paddy fields after Tada border town and it was a pleasant welcome experience.
The road is very good too.
We reached the already bustling temple town of Sri Kalahasthi by 7.50 am, with no break( 2hrs, 50 mins).
As we were quite hungry and had not seen any worthy restaurant on the way, we had idli vada breakfast in Saravana Bhavan near temple. It is quite clear from the ambience and taste that the brand name of Hotel saravana bhavan ( HSB) is being misused by many fakes and this is just one of them. Later I came to know that there are seven fakes of this name in this town, but no original!
The car parking guys forced us to keep mobiles in the car itself saying camera phones are not allowed!
The touts catch you in Car park( 60 bucks for parking!) and I was sold two oil vilakku lamps, and bilva leaves mala etc there in the car park itself for appeasing the Rahu-Kethu moorthys outside the temple. We bought a packet of milk along with it too and stood in queue and we saw there are rats which feed on all these among these statuettes boldly. (There are various detailed poojas to rahu kethu dosha nivarana worth 300/- to 1500/- here for those interested)
TYPE OF RAHU KETHU POOJA
FACILITIES FOR TICKET
|ORDINARY POOJA||300/-||DHARMA DARSHANAM||FOR SPECIAL DARSHAN EACH PERSON TAKE 50/- TICKET|
|SPECIAL POOJA @ Nagari Kumara Mandapam||750/-||SPECIAL DARSHAN FOR Two(2) persons||THIS POOJA WILL PERFORM AT SPECIAL MANDPAM|
|SPECIAL V.I.P. POOJA (Inside the Temple)||1500/-||SPECIAL DARSHAN FOR TWO PERSONS & SESHAVASTRAMS & PRASADAMS||THIS POOJA WILL PERFORM INSIDE the TEMPLE|
After offering the milk and mala and kumkum to Rahu -Kethu, we had darshan of Ganapathi in a small basement on the road outside and were given some avalakki prasadam there.
After climbing a few steep steps we reach the abode of Main temple.
To avoid rush as it was nearing rahu kalam in the 'dharma darshan', we bought 50 bucks each worth special tickets and went in through various corridors smoothly. En route we prayed to Subramanya ( our kuladevathe) and went in.
The moola shivalingam is Vayu lingeshwara in the panchabhootas.
As we missed the exit then, we had a second round of darshan in special line once more!
then we pass through many small 'templets' of Narayana, Dakshina moorthy etc on the way to Gnana prasunnambika abode, the consort of Lord Shiva here.Very nicely decked up Devi statue blesses us.
After completing this Darshan we came out and purchased prasadam like Laddu and vada ( Big tasty laddus like Tirupathi available here too!).
There is a small hillock next to the temple, where the famous Bedara Kannappa legend seems to have played out as per mythology, the devoted hunter who offered his own eyes to the lord. It was already quite a walk in the main temple by now and I was a little tired.. My son Chinmay went up the hillock climbing the 200 odd steps and returned after the visit, while I waited at the bottom! He described what he saw there as having seen a small temple and some very nice views from atop.
By now we were hungry again (10:15am) as the morning breakfast was all but digested. We had a Masala dosa in a Ganesh Bhavan which is a much better restaurant than Saravana bhavan , the earlier one.
Snaps on the street outside the temple:
Well, the next phase of our misadventure is something I would like to forget in a hurry!
We had decided to see Tada falls sometime back and took a turn in from the main road..
OHHHH...It is a very long road, ceases to be road as we near the deeper forest and becomes a muddy, rocky surface and we bucked and rocked the way to AP forest gate who charged 60 bucks to go inside..What they did not say was INSIDE is some 5 km of trekking route and full of hard rock and sharp stones strewn on the hilly path.
See pics below:
Well, it is a Trekker's path and you need to geared up for it!
As we returned homewards, the Saturday High way traffic caught up with us and we had to go to Lunch in Anna nagar by 3.15 pm at HOT CHIPS restaurant and actually returned home by 4:30 pm.
If we had avoided the Tada loop, we could have been home by 2 pm and that is the correct duration for just going to Sri Kalahasthi and back!