This temple itself is a great architectural piece of art. Spend some time exploring the temple. You can see that the inside pillars are fresh as they were hundreds of years back because they were hidden from degradation by nature.
Please plan your trip in such a way that you can spend some time exploring the physical and spiritual beauty of the temple because the inner temple was constructed around 5th century and the outer temple was constructed in the 12th Century by the Chola kings and the Vijayanagara kings. Vayu is incarnated as Lord Shiva and worshiped as Kalahasteeswara.
In the outer temple, as soon as you enter the temple gates (after the shops)on your left you will see the old idol of SriGnanaprasunambika Devi (the original one) which was placed outside due to some reasons…..Still lot of people pray to it….
The main linga remains untouched by human hands, even the priests do not touch it. Abhishek (bathing) is done by pouring a mixture of water, milk, camphor and panchamrita. Sandal paste, flowers and the sacred thread are offered to the utsava-murti, and not the main linga. It has an enormous, ancient gopuram over the main gate, which is 36.5 meters (120 feet) high and the entire temple is carved.
By the way, do not forget to see the Pathala Ganapathi who is associated with the old Sivalingam beneath the temple. You cannot see the Old SivaLingam (related to the old Story of SriKalaHasti) beneath the temple but you can imagine it (and the real story) when you see the Lord Ganapathi.Patala Ganapati is a small underground temple located in the temple complex. Pilgrims should make it a point to visit this interesting place. One has to bow down carefully to worship this Ganapati 20 feet below on a very narrow staircase.
ANOTHER ONE IS KANAPPA:
At Sri Kalahasti, Lord Shiva tested the unshakable devotion of Kanna (Later became Bhaktha Kannappa) before the sages gathered at SriKalahasti. With his divine power, Lord Shiva created a tremor and the roof tops of the temple began to fall. All the sages ran away from the scene except Kannappa who covered the linga with his body to prevent it from any damage.
In another incident, Kannappa plucked out one of his eyes and placed in the eye of Linga which was oozing with blood and tears. When the tears and the blood were still trickling from another eye, Kannappa decided to remove his second eye and placed one of his feet on the spot of the right eye of the Shiva Linga. Before he could pull out his second eye with the arrow, Lord Shiva appeared and restored his eye while granting him a boon to occupy a place close to him.
According to Swami Sivananda’s book, Sixty-Three Nayanar Saints, some Saivite traditions believe that Kannappa was the reincarnation of Arjuna. Arjuna, worshipped Siva for seeking the Pasupatha Astra and failed to recognize Him in the form of a hunter. Thus, according to this tradition, Arjuna had to be born as a hunter and adore the Lord before attaining final liberation.
Maha Shivaratri which occurs in the Tamil month of Maasi (Feb 15 through March 15) is one of the greatest festival seasons here, and the celebrations are marked by processions of the deities. The fifth day of the festival in the month of Maasi coincides with the Maha Shivaratri.
The Sivarathri Brahmotsavam is a 12-day festival of great importance that attracts lakhs of people from various parts of our country. Mahasivarathri, Nandi Seva, Lingodbhavam, Rathotsavam, Teppotsavam & Sri Swami-Ammavarla Kalyanotsavam are the important aspects of this festival.
Sri Subrahmanya Swamy Temple:
Sri Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, devoted to Lord Murugan, is located in the center of the Srikalahasti town. The Aadi Krithika festival is the major festival celebrated in this temple. This festival is celebrated for 8 days, when Lord Subrahmanya Swamy and his consorts Sri Valli and Devasena are taken out for a procession on different vahanams.The Aadi Krithika festival concludes with Theppotsavam and Kalyanotsavam that are conducted on 7th and 8th day respectively.
Prasanna Varadaraja Swamy Temple:
In this temple Lord Venkateswara Swamy is worshipped as Prasanna Varadaraja Swamy. This temple is one of the prominent temples located near the Srikalahasti Temple and in the midst of the Srikalahasti town.
Bharadwaja Tirtham is situated east of the Srikalahasti temple, amidst three hills. There is a sannidhi of Panchamukheswara on the hill top, along with some ancient sculptures. It is believed that during the Krita Yuga, Maharishi Bharadwaja meditated at this site. There is also a small statue of Lord Vinayaka at this theertham.
Durgambika temple, dedicated to Goddess Durgambika, is one of the ancient temples in Srikalahasti. There are broad steps in the hillock that lead to the shrine of Goddess Durgambika. It is located near the Srikalahasti temple.
Sahasra Linga Temple:
Sahasra Linga temple has 1000 Shiva Lingas enshrined within a single shrine.It is located in the 8kms from Srikalahasti. It lies in the middle of a forest, with a hill in its backdrop. It is an interesting place and there is a water falls which is flowing from the top of the hills and the water flowing there has many medicinal values which can cure skin diseases.
Thondamanadu Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple:
Thondamanadu Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple was constructed by Thondaman Chakravarthy, brother of Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru. This temple is located 10 km away from the main Srikalahasti temple and is the sole temple in the region which has Lord Venkateshwara along with His consorts, Sri Lakshmi Devi and Padmavathi Ammavaru.
Gudimallam is a historical temple in the Srikalahasti Mandal which lies close to the Renigunta Railway Station. A Shiva Linga, discovered between the 1st century and 2nd century BC, is installed in the garbhagriha of the Parasurameswara Temple. The main temple sanctum is situated at a lower level as compared to the main floor level of the Mukhamantapa and Antarala.
Legends believe that the Shiva Linga in the temple is a manifestation of Trimurti, with Shiva on the top, Vishnu in the middle and Brahma at the bottom. It is located 28 kms from Srikalahasti
Chaturmukeshvara temple has an idol of Lord Shiva with four faces and has bas-relief carvings. At this temple, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva are both worshipped. According to a legend, this is the place where Lord Brahma regained His ability to create after He pleaded forgiveness from Lord Shiva for getting rid of His Sisihathya sins.