SriKalahasti temple is located 36 km away from Tirupathi in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradhesh, India. The inner temple is constructed around 5th century and the outer temple was constructed in the 12th Century.
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.’ Kailas is perhaps India’s most revered spiritual symbol. It is the abode of Shiva, from whose head, according to legend, the Ganges is said to flow. Shiva, ‘that which is auspicious at all places, times and in all circumstances’ is a symbol of the Self and the Ganges flowing from his head represents the spiritualized or awakened mind. A mind sourced in Spirit is a river of immeasurable power and life-giving goodness. The claim that Kalahasti is the ‘Kailas of the South’ simply means that the small hill near the temple is to be taken as the spiritual equivalent of the Himalayan Kailas. Likewise, the small river flowing in a northerly direction beside the temple is to be taken as the mighty Ganges.
Even the cardinal directions have assumed symbolic significance in Pauranic culture. Obviously context should be taken into account when divining the meaning of a symbol, but north, for example, is said to be the abode of the Self because from the immortal ‘northern’ position the Self looks out on the ‘southern’ world of time and death. The idiom to “head south’ means to go downhill, to decay. The God Dakshinamurthy whose name means ‘the one facing south’ and whose idol (murthy) is installed in the Kalahasti Temple, sits in the North and faces south. East often represents the dawning of wisdom, the sun being another common Self symbol. The symbolic use of direction culminates in the idea of building temples at the point on a river where its meandering points it back to its source. The holiest city in India, Benaras, is built on a stretch of the Ganges that flows northward, the idea being that when the mind turns back toward its source, the God/Self, it realizes its innate divinity. So, the small river on whose banks the Kalahasthi temple is situated is meant to remind us of the Ganges and the wealth of spiritual associations it conjures.