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Introducing Srikalahasti

Best time to visit : September to March
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Srikalahasti is a small town located in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. This town is famous for a huge temple of Lord Shiva called Kalahastishwara Temple. Srikalahasti sees hundreds of tourists every day offering prayers at the legendary Shiva temple. The rich tradition and mysticism associated with the town has made it one of the sought-after tourist places. There are also some nearby spots where you can observe nature’s artistry at its best. Whispering winds and gushing waterfalls create an atmosphere which is like a heavenly retreat for the tourists. The town is also famous for its unique art of Kalamkari. Summers in the region can be extremely hot.

Facts

Srikalahasti is a holy town and also municipality in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh at an elevation of 160 m. above sea level. Historians have testified that the construction of Srikalahasti temple started in 10th century during the reign of the Chola Dynasty. Further additions and embellishments were made by the descendents of the Cholas and rulers of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. It is said that the Chola and Vijayanagara kings made huge offerings of wealth and riches to the temple. According to historic tourist information, Srikalahasti attained its name from three animals, a spider (Sri), a snake (Kala) and an elephant (Hasti), who prayed to Lord Shiva for his blessings. Another story about Srikalahasti says that when Lord Brahma was building an abode for Lord Shiva at the Kailasa Mountain of The Himalayas, a piece fell off here. Therefore, Srikalahasti is also known as Dakshin Kailasa.

Rice is the staple food and delicious native cuisine like tamarind rice, pesarattu, idli, sada dosa, masala dosa are regular items. The food is often generously seasoned with black pepper and cinnamon. Food is served in banana leaves and you can enjoy your meal in typical Andhra style. You can ask for a ‘thali’ which is an assortment of rice, spicy vegetable curries, rasam, pickles and chutney made of coconut. Desserts are usually prepared with milk. Filter coffee is one of the favourites here. Our tourist guide suggests Hotel MGM Grand which provides both food and lodging for the visitors. There are also government and private guest houses which offer budget accommodation along with meals.

You can buy the famous Kalamkari paintings from Srikalahasti. Painted with vegetable dyes, most of these paintings depict characters or events from the Hindu mythology. There are also wood-crafted items painted in pleasing colours. The indigenous handloom saris like Pochampalli, Gadwal and Venkatagiri are also very popular items sold at local shops.

Nearby Places:
·  Tirupati (about 40 km.): Another important pilgrimage is located at Tirupati near Srikalahasti. Tirumala Devasthanams are among the richest and revered temples situated atop Tirumala hills at Tirupati.
·  Chennai (about 120 km.): This coastal city is the capital of neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu and is known for colonial heritage, temples and beautiful beaches.


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