Srikalahasti Temple: The Only Hindu Temple That Remains Open On Solar Eclipse

This temple in Andhra Pradesh remains open during Solar Eclipse and devotees throng the temple to witness the special Abhishekam.
Sri

Srikalahasti Temple. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Total Solar Eclipse 2024: People around the world are gearing up to witness the total Solar Eclipse (Surya Grahan) on April 8, 2024. The upcoming Solar Eclipse will not be visible in India, but Sutak (inauspicious time taking place 12 hours before the Solar Eclipse) will be applicable on that day. Since Solar Eclipse isn't considered auspicious, doors of several Hindu temples and shrines will remain closed. These temples are reopened after a traditional purification ritual.
However, the Srikalahasti Temple in Srikalahasti town, Andhra Pradesh is the only Hindu temple that remains open on Solar Eclipse. It's believed that it is the site where Kannappa was ready to offer both his eyes to cover blood flowing from the linga before Shiva stopped him and granted him moksha.
In fact, a special Abhishekam is performed during the time of the eclipse to the deity of Lord Vayu Lingeshwara. The pujas for Rahu and Ketu for devotees is performed as well. The temple witnesses a massive rush during Solar Eclipse to visit Lord Shiva and Goddess Ammavaru. It's believed that people who have dosha on their kundali will benefit.

History Of The Temple

According to ancient Tamil sources Sri Kalahasti has been known as the ‘Kailas of the South’ for slightly more than two thousand years and the small river on whose banks it sits, the ‘Ganges of the South.’ According to the website of Srikalahasti, " The Vedas posit four ends for which human beings strive in their search for happiness: pleasure (kama), security or wealth (artha), duty (dharma) and freedom (moksha). In the temple at Kalahasti these four universal motivations, which may take any worldly form, are, according to temple literature, converted into spiritual impulses.
They are represented by four deities facing in the four cardinal directions. Shiva in the form of Dakshinamoorthy represents desire, in this case the desire for liberation, although he more commonly is said to represent the feeling of wealth (dakshina) that comes when you know who you really are. At Kalahasti the Goddess Gnanaprasoonamba (the giver of knowledge or the mother of all knowledge) represents the ‘wealth’ i.e. freedom from limitation conferred by Self knowledge. The deity Kalahastishwara (the lord of Kalahasti) faces west and symbolizes liberation. Liberation, the death of ego upon the rediscovery of the Self, is the final stage of life just as setting is the sun’s last act before it disappears over the horizon."
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