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hotstuff 13th August 2009 22:02

'Xing'ing around ! - Weekend drive to Srikalahasti.
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Looks like this is a season of weekend drives for me! Some pre-planned, some unexpected...

On 8th & 9th Aug 09, we did a weekend trip to Srikalahasti near Tirupati. My in-laws had a pooja vow to complete there and had planned to go by train. But tickets were on the 3 digit WL even till end of the day on Friday and I offered to drive them to Srikalahasti over the weekend.

My original plan was a one day trip, leave early morning - reach by around lunch time - complete the pooja - drive back to Bangalore, preferably before midnight. However my in-laws were feeling quite tired by evening, so we halted for the night in Chittoor and reached Bangalore post lunch time the next day.

Some details about Srikalahasti...

Srikalahasti is a small town near Tirupati. It is located on the banks of the river Swarnamukhi, a tributary of the river Pennar. It is also informally referred to as Kalahasti.

It is one of the important ancient Shiva Kshetras of South India. The temple occupies the area between the river bank and the foot of the hills and is popularly known as Dakshina Kailasam.

The three lofty Gopurams of the temple are remarkable for their architecture. This temple was built during the period of King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar. A huge hundred pillared mantapam is another important feature of this shrine.

The name of the place comes from three animals, Sri (spider), Kala (snake) and Hasti (elephant) who worshipped Shiva and gained salvation here. A statue that shows all three animals is situated in the main shrine.

Source: Srikalahasti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Total distance covered : 626kms.
Route was via Old-Madras road.

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Map Courtesy: Online maps, GPS Navigation, Driving Directions, Local Search

First stop. Breakfast at Woody's @ Kolar.

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With 4 laning underway in this stretch, the roads till after Mulbagal are quite messy...

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The Bangalore - Tirupati route via the OMR has always been one of the nastiest stretches of road I have seen. You'll invariably encounter all sorts of morons; such as buses, cabs and private vehicles trying to overtake in blind curves or uphill sections of the road where oncoming traffic is hidden. Or a truck going at 10.50kmph overtaking another truck going at 10.49kmph...

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Pottery and terra cotta for sale by the roadside...

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Looks like the Nutrine-Nagar township never actually took off. It is still a stretch of vacant plots and overgrown mud roads. The Nutrine group was taken over by Godrej in 2005-06.

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Though most Reliance bunks are now defunct, a few, like this one which stocks auto-gas, are still open and offer a clean loo when you have ladies or elderly folks in your group...

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Some Lassi @ the Heritage Milk Products factory near Pakala...

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Lunch stop was at the APTDC restaurant close to Srikalahasti...

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Reached Srikalahasti, bought the pooja tickets and we had a 45 minutes wait ahead of us. I went around to get a quick look at the place and take a few pics. This one is from midway on the hillock next to the temple..

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This hillock has a shrine called the Shri Kannappa Temple, after the devotee who offered his eyes to Shiva...

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Since I had walked up the hill from the rear gate of the temple, I was still barefoot; which was ok while climbing the steps. But when I wanted to go towards the edge of the hillock to take pics of the temple below, I found that there were quite a few thorny shrubs along the hillside. I was wondering if I should go down and return later with my footwear when I spotted this boy sitting under a tree practicing the Nadaswaram. I borrowed his slippers, went around, took some pics and returned the slippers to him. He was from another town nearby and was in Srikalahasti to get trained in playing the Nadaswaram...

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There were quite a few people selling Butter-milk alongside the steps on the way up...

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I was very close to the top when Sangeetha called and asked me to rush down since the Pooja was about to start. I hurried back down into the temple...

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The 'Rahu-Ketu' pooja was a 30 minute ritual, with instructions in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi & English!

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A tree in the temple compound, weighed down by wishes and requests...

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Looks like the Kalikadevi temple is not frequented by many visitors; the temple has been partially turned into a store-room...

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It was getting quite late into the evening and we decided to head back towards Bangalore...

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The main entrance of the Srikalahasti temple...

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The town itself is quite small and is concentrated mainly around the temple complex...

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On the way back, we drove through the Tirupati bypass road, you can see the lights of the Tirumala foot-path from here...

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Since my in-laws were quite tired by the time we reached Chittoor, we decided to stay there overnight and head back the next day. Had dinner, found a decent lodge and logged off for the night. Started a little late on Sunday and hit the highway after a leisurely breakfast.

On the way we stopped at a place called 'Mogili', a little before Palamner. There is a 'Mogileshwara' temple here, which is right alongside the highway.

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Since the temple is well below the road level, you'll see the temple gopurams almost at eye level. This is a very old temple with a 'Swayambhu' shivaling.

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We spent some time walking around in the temple...

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snaronikar 13th August 2009 22:10

So the xinging around has started once again. Nice pics again. Whatz next in store??

hotstuff 13th August 2009 22:11

Srikalahasti & Mogili...
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Durga's vahanam; a lion...

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There is a small Kalyani behind the temple...

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A dragonfly stopping by for a quick drink...

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Doggy cool...

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Probably the original benefactors of this temple...

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Fruits on a Bilvapatra tree in the temple compound...

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From Mogili, it was a non-stop drive till we reached close to Kolar, where we stopped at the CCD for a break...

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Saw this dilapidated gopuram a little into the town after the CCD; walked up for a quick look hoping to see an old temple. Turned out that there is just this ancient relic left standing among the houses...

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Reached Bangalore by around 4'ish, dropped my in-laws and headed home to relax and prepare for the week ahead.

hotstuff 13th August 2009 22:25


Originally Posted by snaronikar (Post 1431024)
Nice pics again.

- Thank you Sir!


Originally Posted by snaronikar (Post 1431024)
Whatz next in store??

- Wedding season is here again. There is one that we need to attend over this weekend, in a place called 'Bramhamgarimatam' in AP. (Have been there once in the past, but did not see much around the place, hoping to see the place a little better this time.)

Also planning to stop over at Kadapa on the way back...

anekho 13th August 2009 23:07

nice and detailed travelogue! Great inspiration for the rest of us.

Where did you spend the night?


akroy 14th August 2009 01:23

Hotstuff, another wonderful xinging pictorial. Although I have been to Tirupati and couple of times and passed Srikalahasti once, I didnt realize that the temple was so large. It is definitely worth one visit.

Looks like the 4 laning work on NH4 between Hoskote - Kolar and onto Palamner is in full swing. The road infront of Woody's is fully gone (including half of its sign board as well).

Keep them coming !!

mjothi 14th August 2009 08:13

Your trend of putting the route in google map is still continuing. Great. Nice pics too. I liked the evening shot.

Happy Xing-ing..

muralisk 14th August 2009 08:45

Great stuff there. Nice pictures and great narration to support the pictures. Awesome hotstuff.

pypkmsrikanth 14th August 2009 09:31

Lovely travelogue, you could have possibly stayed back at Tirupathi may be try your luck with the Tirupathi temple on Sunday and come back on Sunday evening.

The Mulbagal Anjeneya temple is an old one as well but you need to get into the town for that.

Keep them coming

rkg 14th August 2009 11:03

The temple was built much earlier than krishnadevaraya around 10-12th century.
Srikalahasti temple - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

only the rajagopuram out side the temple comples was built by krishnadevarya. the main entarnce is next to rajagopuram.

Srikalahasti temple is much bigger and beautiful than tirumala temple ( architecture wise)

It resembles the shiva temple of Srirangam with huge corridors.

NIP 14th August 2009 12:00

Nice pics and write up. I went to this temple couple of years ago...beautiful architecture and HUGE ! Thanks for sharing.

raju2512 14th August 2009 13:35


Originally Posted by rkg (Post 1431552)

It resembles the shiva temple of Srirangam with huge corridors.


The temple in Srirangam is a Vaishnavite (Sri Ranganathar) temple.

Sri Kalahasti is one of the Panchabootha kshetras (temples representing the 5 elements). This temple represents Vayu (wind) . There is a lamp inside the garbhagraha whose flame keeps fluttering while many other lamps around it are still) .

The other 4 temples are 1. Tiruvannamalai (agni/fire), 2. Chidambaram (sky / space), 3. Kanchipuram (prtihvi/earth), 4. Tiruvanaikoil (Trichy) (water).

akbaree 14th August 2009 13:36

I had planned a trip to Srikalahasti almost an year back and still not materialized. Thanks for sharing the pictures and they have again rekindled the desire to visit Srikalahasti. It is one of the Pancha Bhoot temples and Shiva is considered to be present in the form of air at Srikalahasti.

rageshgr 14th August 2009 14:11

Great dude! Great story. You must have enjoyed the weekend! And nice pictures.

I myself was planning a family (of 4) drive in my Santro Xing from Kalpakkam ( Near Mahabalipuram ) to Elagiri hills. But once we drove from Kalpakkam to Ernakulam (650 km) and we really had to work the car in the highways to eat the miles, esp with 5 passengers and luggage. The journey was not very comfortable and we had to change the brakes after the return trip . But well that was a long trip. You have inspired to take up the Elagiri drive.

ASHISHPALLOD 14th August 2009 14:17

hey hotstuff,
Nce pics with narration.
Did you notice temple elephants?
Shrikalahasti is the place where i enjoyed first time full plate of rice with rassam and my journey of authentic south Indian food started.
Temple complex is much more complicated.
Those rahu ketu and narayan nagbali puja are performed only at kalahasti and trimbyakeshwar near nasik.
Rose flower garlands are so cheap there.
I had noticed couple of small cement factories on kalahasti renigunta road.

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