|Location of the temple||Tiruvannamalai|
|Lord Shiva known as||Arunachaleswarar, Annamalayar|
|Female deity known as||Unnamalai Amman|
|How to reach||Tiruvannamalai is well connected from Chennai and frequent bus services are available, one through Chengleput, Madurantakam, Tindivanam and Gingee, and the other through Sri Perumbudur, Kancheepuram, Vellore and Polur. The town is about 90 kms from Vellore, 60 kms from Tindivanam, 60 kms from Villupuram and 100 kms from Krishnagiri. It is well connected by train and road from Chennai, and also from other parts of the state. Tiruvannamalai railway station is situated on the Villupuram - Katpadi Section of the Southern Railway.|
|Temple address||Arulmighu Arunachaleswarar Temple|
Tiruvannamalai Temple towers and hill
Tiruvannamalai is the home of a big temple for Lord Shiva built around 700 A.D, rich in history, tradition and architectural splendor. Tiruvannamalai is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalangal of Lord Shiva (one of the five grand temples associated with the five basic elements) associated with the element Fire, the other four being Tiruvanaikkaval (Water), Chidambaram (Space), Kanchipuram (Earth) and Sri Kalahasti (Wind) respectively. Shiva is said to have manifested himself in the form of a massive column of fire, whose crown and feet, Bramma and Vishnu attempted in vain to reach. It is dedicated to Arunachaleswarar (God Shiva, venerated as Agni Lingam (Lingam of Fire) and his divine consort is Unnamalai Amman. This is the birth place of Saint Arunagirinathar who composed the Tirupugazh hymns. Tiruvannamalai is also the chosen place of Ashram built by Saint Philosopher Ramana Maharishi.
According to the Legend, Lord once Shiva manifested himself in the form of a massive column of fire, whose crown and feet, Bhramma and Vishnu attempted to reach but failed. A celebration of this manifestation is seen today in the age old traditions observed in the Shivaratri and the Kartikai Deepam Festival held here. The temple's annual Karthigai Deepam Festival in November-December involves the lighting of a huge sacred fire atop the Annamalai Hill. The l ight from the fire can be seen even 40 Kms away.
Aerial view of the temple
In most of the holy places the Deity is found atop the hill. But here the Holy hill itself is the Deity (Lord Annamalaiyar) and is worshipped. The Holy hill referred as Arunachalam is 2668 fi. high. Tiruvannamalai is also known as Mukthipuri, Arunachalam, Arunagiri, Sonagiri etc. This sthalam is regarded as a Mukthi Sthalam and it is said that one would get mokshaa (salvation) just by thinking about this Sthalam and the main deity Arunachaleswarar. It is said that Lord Shiva has manifested himself in the form Arunachala Hill here. The sthala viruksham is Magizhamaram. By standing near this tree, one can view all the 9 gopurams of this temple.
Girivalam: Becuase God Shiva has manifested himself in the form of the Hill, it is considered very religious and auspicious to circle the Hill by walk. The circumambulation path is 14 Kms. This is to be undertaken on a full moon day. In the circular path one can find Indiralingam, Agrnilingam, Yamalingam, Niruthilingam, Varunalingam, Vayulingam, Kuberalingam, Eesaaniya Lingam. The Adi Annamalai Temple glorified in Thevaram is located on this path. By offering worship at all these Lingams, it is firmly believed that one will be freed from all his/her troubles.
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