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Story Of Snake And Elephant On Srikalahasti Shivling

Story of Snake and Elephant engraved on Srikalahasti Shivling states the importance of innocent and unwavering devotion. Srikalahasti Temple, located at Srikalahasti near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, is a famous shrine dedicated to Shiva. The Shivling worshipped in the temple is famous for the three signs on it – the three signs are of spider, snake and elephant.

Once a snake, wandering through the forest, stumbled upon a Shivling. It immediately recognized the greatness of the Shivling and started worshipping it with precious gems. The snake would daily bring precious gems and offer it near the Shivling.

During the same period, an elephant too discovered the Shivling hidden in the forest. It started offering flowers to the Shivling.

The snake would come and remove the flowers and offer precious gems.

The elephant would then come and remove the precious gems and offer flowers.

The snake and elephant never met but both became aware that someone else also was visiting the Shivling.

Without seeing each other, they both started hating each other. The elephant was angry as his flowers were daily pushed away by someone. The snake was angry because his gems were thrown away daily.

One day the snake did not make an offering but hid among the flowers offered by elephant to find out who the intruder was.

When the elephant arrived next day he was happy to see that his flowers intact on the Shivling. The elephant then stretched his trunk to remove the flowers. The snake coiled up among the flowers, entered the trunk of the elephant and crawled into his brain and coiled up and sat there.

The poor elephant could not bear the pain and called out to Shiva. Unable to bear the pain, the elephant started hitting his head on the Shivling. The repeated banging of the head against the Shivling crushed the head of the elephant and both the snake and the elephant got killed.

The pure devotion of the snake and elephant pleased Shiva and he gave moksha to them.

As the place is where a spider, snake and elephant got moksha, the Shivling here got the name Srikalahasti. Sri means spider; Kala means Snake and Hasti means elephant.