Kalamkari as an art form on fabrics took its birth in the temple town of Srikalahasti. It is the epitome of India’s cultural heritage. Many a legend is associated with it, and the religious significance is unsurpassable.
Srikalahasthi takes its name from a legend - the devotion of a Sri (spider), Kala (snake) and Hasti (elephant). The spider lived in the inner sanctum and weaved elaborate images of God Shiva. One day a heavy breeze caused the altar fire to destroy the spider’s intricate image offerings. Angered, the spider was about to gulp the flame. Moved by the spider’s devotion, Lord Shiva appeared and granted him Moksha. Kala and Hasti also have interesting tales of devotion towards Lord Shiva, who gave them liberation and took them into his own body. The marks that correlate this interesting legend are still visible on the Lingam. The main lingam is shaped like an elephant trunk, with tusks on each side and a figure of the spider at the bottom.
Another interesting feature is the hanging lamp in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple that always keeps swinging with a flickering flame though there is no visible inlet for wind. It is a mystery where the wind comes from and people ascribe it to the presence of Vavu Devata.
The presiding deity is worshipped as Vayu Linga (air). The temple, also considered as "Kashi of the South", is the only temple in India which remains open during Solar and Lunar eclipses, while, all other temples were closed.
One of the Ashtadiggajas (literally eight poets) in Sri Krishnadevaraya’s court was the very famous Dhoorjati, a Telugu poet native of Kalahasthi, who composed a hundred stanzas on Sri Kalahasteeswara.
This temple town boasts cultural lineages, the scope of which is beyond words. Kalamkari being one of these, is a matter of pride to not only the artisans but also to the millions of people who support this timeless craft.
We at MasterWeavers are proud to be part of this cultural lineage. Our team works closely with artisans from Sri Kalahasti to keep the art vibrant and contemporary.