KALAHASTI is a town in the Chittoor District of Andhra, and it is a Railway Station on the Renigunta-Gudur section. It has a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, and is famous throughout Andhra as a sacred place and a place of pilgrimage. This religious centre, which is situated between two steep hills, called Sripuram and Mummidicholapuram, is said to have formed part of Seshasaila or Mount Meru, in the ancient days. Kalahasti is situated near the pilgrimage town of Tirupati and is visited by thousands of pilgrims. Kalahasti temple is also associated with Rahu and Ketu, (of the nine grahams or celestial bodies in the Indian astrological scheme). Architecture: The huge west facing Kalahastiswara 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 go after 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. Krishnadevaraya built a huge gopuram, 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 Parvati. The present structure of the temple is a foundation of the Cholas of the 10th century, as testified by inscriptions; improvements and additions were made during the subsequent years of the Chola rulers of Tamilnadu and the Vijayanagar emperors.
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