Bhakta Kannappa Temple is located on Kannappa Tippa a hill behind Sri Kalahasteeswara Swamy Temple in Sri Kalahasti. A Shrine that reminds one about the miracles of true faith and devotion, the small but beautiful temple of Bhakta Kannappa, boasts an odd custom. This distinct temple is on the eastern side of the main shrine and depicts the idol of Kannappa a tribal youth. Legend has it that Kannappa gave his eye to the lord and this true love and devotion fetched him the unparalleled position of being worshipped along with the lord.
Story of Bhakta Kannappa Nayanar:
Thinna is a devotee, who attained salvation through his unstinted devotion. He is none other than Arjuna of Mahabharata fame, who asks Lord Shiva for Moksha (salvation) and was born as Thinna, a hunter, to attain the same.
He was a rustic tribal lad. Lord Siva appeared to him in a dream and inspired him to worship him. One day he strayed into a forest while hunting, and came across a Siva Lingam, covered with leaves. Taking pity on the lonely God, he tried to lift it and take it to his village but failed in shaking the Lingam.
Failing in his efforts, Thinna cleared the Lingam and the surrounding place of all the leaves and went in search of food to offer to God. He killed a wild boar and brought its roasted meat as an offering to Siva. He brought water from the nearby river to sprinkle on the Lingam. Since he had no vessel to carry water, he filled his mouth with water and brought it.
The Priest’s Doubts:
A priest used to go there once a week, clean up the place, light a lamp and cook food and offer it to Lord Shiva. After Thinna’s worship, when the priest came on his weekly visit he found to his shock, the whole place desecrated, with meat strewn around. He cleaned the place and did his routine rituals. But the next time he came to the place was full of meat as Thinna performed his way of Pooja with meat regularly.
The priest prayed to Lord Shiva and complained about the mess. Lord Shiva explained to him about the Thinna and offered to prove that Thinna’s devotion was superior. The priest hid behind a tree and waited to see Thinna’s Pooja. Thinna came with meat and water in his mouth and performed his Pooja.
Kannapar’s Devotion and Sacrifice:
To test Thinna’s devotion Lord Siva shed blood from one of His eyes. On seeing the blood tried to stop it in several ways but in vein. Finally Thinna without hesitation, Thinna scooped his own eye out with his arrow and fixed it on Lord Shiva and the blood stopped bleeding immediately.
Then the other eye of Lord Shiva started bleeding blood. Thinna was ready to repeat the same, to scoop out the other eye from his own and fix it on the Shiva Lingam. To fix the eye properly as he might become blind, he put one leg over the Shiva Lingam and started scooping his other eye.
Lord Shiva stopped him from doing the act. Pleased with his unstinting devotion, Lord Siva offered him a boon. Thinna asked for salvation. Since Thinna offered his eyes to God he is popularly called Kannappa Nayanar – ‘kannu’ being the Telugu and Tamil word for eye.
Other Nearest Temple:
Sri Kalahasteeswara Swami Temple
Bhakta Kannappa Temple
Sahasra Linga Temple
Sri Bhaktha Kanteswara Swamy Temple
Prasanna Varadaraja Swamy Temple
Sri Neelakanteswara Swamy Temple
Veyilingala Kona Waterfall
Sri Parasu Rameswara Swamy Temple Gudimallam