I recently performed the Rahu dosha nivarana puja, on a Sunday at 11 AM to 12:15 in Sri Kalahasti, near Tirupathi. I give some details for the interested readers who may need to perform this. This posting is only for those who have the required faith. I am not discussing the effectiveness or need for such pariharas.
The Rahu-Ketu nivarana Puja: This puja is advised by astrologers/josiers for those who may/are facing problems in their/their children's life in job, marriage, health etc and if the Rahu is afflicted in their horoscopes. Other type of pariharas are visit to important temples/navagraha temples, doing navagraha homa etc.

Srikalahasti: There is a railway station in Srikalahasti and frequent buses from Chennai/Bangalore and many other cities. There is a good road connectivity to Srikalahasti, from all directions. There is a large car park near the temple- now very dusty and unpaved. They charge Rs.40 for parking. There are very few good hotels in Srikalahasti but many good lodging in Tirupathi about 30Km away.
The temple is very crowded on Saturdays, Sundays and all Rahu kalas. The rahu puja can be performed on all days and all temple working hours which is most of the day. So be aware and choose your convenient time for this visit. There are many water taps inside the temple where you can wash your hands and legs before proceeding to the puja. Good drinking water is also available there. There is a prasadam stall where many eatables are sold. After the puja, I would advise you to buy some pulihodara and curd rice and eat them rather than eating outside with a lot of onion and garlic. There are no good Brahmin hotels around.

Puja charges: 3 types of Pujas are there. Rs.300, 750 and 1500. Same puja in all categories. The difference being in Rs.300, the priest or puja conductor is common for about 100 to 150 people. In Rs.750, the puja is common to 20 to 50 people. In Rs.1500 the puja is done inside the temple with fewer people. The Rs.300 and Rs.750 pujas are done in mantapas in outer prahara. All 3 places are supposed to give equal results!

Puja material: Main material is given along with and included in puja ticket charge. It consists of a black piece of cloth, a red piece, 3 coconuts, rose flowers, a packet of kumkum and a packet of manjal podi (turmeric), a packet of green gram and a packet of black gram, two silver snake models to which puja is performed. An assorted variety of flowers- rose, tumbai, lotus, vilvam- has to be purchased from near the counter at extra Rs.60. Optionally ghee lamps can be purchased for Rs.40 or 60.

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Puja procedure: Puja is conducted in batches, each lasting about one hour. All instructions are given over a clear public address system in both Telugu and Tamil. There are also 2 or 3 assistants to the main pujari who correct any errors made by performers. The instructions are very clear and easily followed by all people. The mantras are in pure sanscrit with swara for veda portions. As this puja is common to all castes, the veda mantras are said only by the priest while the astotra nama etc are repeated by all people.The puja is done to Rahu and Ketu as represented by the two snake replicas,and then to Shiva and then to Ambal using the flowers, vilvam and Kumkum/turmeric powder. One coconut is broken there by each. We have to take the other two coconuts and break in in another place inside the temple after the puja. After the puja an arati is lighted and passed to all to show to their respective idols. After the puja is over, the pujari announced that dhana of vastra, panchpatra etc has to be done as part of parihara but as people have not brought these items, they can give Rs.60 as dakshina to the priest. Every one willingly gave it as the puja was performed very satisfactorily. The snake replicas has to put in hundi by the puja performers after the darshan of Shiva.

After Puja- Darshan: After the puja we had to take the 2 remaining coconuts and go for dharshan. The people with Rs.750 and above tickets are eligible for free special darshan. It is written on the ticket that two people are allowed but they allow free 4 or a family without any objection. Paid special darshan costs Rs.50 each. Please keep the puja ticket carefully as it is needed till you exit the temple.Visit the patala (underground) Ganapathy temple inside.

Go slow: Please do not be in a hurry to finish everything fast. Our astrologer says that spending 2 or three hours is very good and inside the temple and that itself is part of the parihara. Have faith and do not look for results immediately. Take all happenings as God's prasada.

regards and best wishes,
V.Muralidharan.