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Sri Kalahasti (36 km from Tirupati): This ancient pilgrim centre, on the banks of Swarnamukhi river, is revered as one of the Pancha Bhutha Sthalams, dedicated to Vayu (Wind God). Signifying this, a Deepam keeps flickering in the sanctum. Sri Kalahasti is also considered a Navagraha Sthalam dedicated to Rahu and Kethu.

The hills on either side of the temple are revered as Dakshina Kailasam or Kailasagiri. There are shrines for Lord Kannappeswara and Durgamba.

The Puranic version of the origin of the temple is that a spider (Sri), a snake (Kala) and an elephant (Hasti) worshipped the Lord here and attained mukti. Hence the name of the Lingam Sri Kalahastiswara. His consort is Gnana Prasannambika.

Another incident that took place on the hills is immortalised in legends and literature. A tribal hunter by name Thinna saw a priest doing Siva puja. The hunter became so devoted that he started worshipping the Lord in his own way by offering meat. One day when Thinna saw the eyes of the Lord bleeding, he offered his own eyes. Lord Siva blessed him by calling his devotee Kannappa. In the temple, an image of Kannappa is enshrined next to Sri Kalahastiswara.

The temple is known for its sculptural wealth. The deities of Balaganapathy, Annapoorni and Viswanatha are enshrined here. Pathalaganapathy is in an underground cell.

Adi Sankara had worshipped the Lord here and sung in praise of Him in his Sivananda Lahari.

Ahobilam (360 km from Hyderabad & 34 km from Allagadda): It is an important pilgrim centre on the Nallamalai Hill range, dedicated to Lord Narasimha. It is considered sacred because Lord Vishnu appeared as Narasimha at this spot to kill Hiranya Kashipu A unique feature is that all the nine aspects of Lord Narasimha are enshrined on the hills.

Lord Prahlada Narasimha's shrine is located at the foot of the hill. It is known as Lower Ahobilam. A nine-km trek through the picturesque mountain leads one to Upper Ahobilam at an altitude of about 860 metres. This is followed by shrines of Chatravatha Narasimha, Karanda Narasimha and Yogananda Narasimha at different altitudes.

Ugra Narasimha is enshrined in a magnificent temple with a huge gopuram and other mandapams. The shrines of Guha Narasimha, Krodha Narasimha and Malola Narasimha (the Lord in a sublime mood with His consort Lakshmi) are on the other side of the slopes. Situated higher up the hill is the shrine of Jwala Narasimha, the Lord at the height of His fury. River Bavanasini originates on the peak called Vedagiri and settles in the sacred Theertham Rakta Kundam. The water is red in colour. The Lord is said to have washed, His hands here after killing Hiranya Kashipu.

Rama Theertham, 8 km from Lower Ahobilam, is a tank where Goddess Puttalamma (formed in an ant-hill). is worshipped.

Mahanandi (16 km from Nandyal): The Nallamalai hill enshrines Lord Siva as Nandeeswara.Nandi did penance here and became the Lord's mount. Nine aspects of Nandi are enshrined in the nine temples situated within a radius of about 16 km. These include Padma Nandi, Naga Nandi, Vinayaka Nandi, Garuda Nandi, Soma Nandi and Siva Nandi. Five natural springs situated around the temple are held sacred. Sri Adi Sankara had worshipped Lord Siva here.


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