Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu

Thevaara Paadal Petra Shivasthalangal

Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Information Board
Location of the templeTiruvannamalai
Deity known asArunachaleswarar, Annamalayar
Female deity known asUnnamalai Amman
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sambandar
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 addressArulmighu Arunachaleswarar Temple
Tiruvannamalai District
PIN 606601

Aerial view of the templeAerial view of the temple

Daarsanath Abra sadasi, Jananath Kamalalaye,
Kasyanthu maranath mukthi , Smaranath arunachale ||

Seeing Chidambaram, Being born in Thirivarur, Dying in kashi and just thinking of Thiruvannamalai would lead to salvation. Thiruvannamalai holds great significance in attaining salvation which can be achieved by simply thinking of it, even if it may not be possible for everyone to visit Chidambaram, be born in Tiruvarur, or die in Kashi. The holy hill has transformed into different forms throughout the ages - A fire hill in Krita Yuga, a Ruby hill in Thretha Yuga, Golden hill in Dwapara Yuga, and Stone Hill in Kali Yuga. 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.

Temple Legend - Once there was an argument between Brahma, the deity responsible for creation, and Mahavishnu, the deity responsible for preservation, regarding their superiority. To enlighten them, Shiva, the god of destruction, appeared before them in the form of a towering flame. Vishnu then assumed the form of Varaha, a wild boar, and attempted to reach the base of the flame, while Brahma transformed into a swan and flew upwards in an attempt to see its peak. However, neither of them could perceive the beginning or end of the flame. Realizing that Shiva was the ultimate supreme being, both deities worshipped him. Shiva then materialized as a mountain before them. In the Tamil language, "Arunam" signifies red or fire, and "Asalam" denotes a hill. As Shiva had manifested as fire in this location, the name "Arunachalam" became associated with the Annamalai hill and the city. To facilitate and encourage worship from all, Shiva also took the form of Lingothbhava. A celebration of this manifestation is seen today in the age old tradition observed on Shivaratri and 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 light from the fire can be seen even 40 Kms away

Temple Layout - Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar Temple is one of the largest temples in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the five grand temples associated with the five basic elements called 'Pancha Bhoota Sthalangal'. Tirvannamalai is associated with the element Fire, the other four being Tiruvanaikkaval (Water), Chidambaram (Space), Kanchipuram (Earth) and Sri Kalahasti (Wind). The temple is characterized by its six praharas, nine gopurams, numerous mandapas, and multiple shrines, making it a primary destination for all pilgrims. Devotees are blessed by Lord Arunachaleswarar, who manifests as a Swayambu Linga adorned with a serpent crown and dressed in pristine white garments. Lingodhbava is positioned behind Arunachaleswara within the sacred space of the temple. Unique to this temple, Shiva takes on a distinctive appearance as Lingodhbavaar, as this temple marks the first instance of His manifestation in this form. Unnamalai ammai graces us in a separate temple positioned adjacent to the sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity

The primary towers of the temple are the 4 gopurams located on the outerwall, each facing a different direction. In addition to these, there are 4 more towers in each direction to allow entry from the 5th prahara to the 4th prahara. There is also a tower called 'Kili gopuram' in the eastern direction, which facilitates entrance from the 4th prahara to the 3rd prahara. In total, there are 9 towers. The rajagopuram in the eastern direction is the second largest tower in Tamil Nadu, standing at a height of 217 feet with 11 levels. The other towers are known as 'Tirumanjana' Gopuram in the south, 'Pei' Gopuram in the west, and 'Ammani Ammal' Gopuram in the north.

The Deity in most holy places is usually found atop a hill, but in this particular place, the hill itself is considered the Deity and is worshipped. This holy hill, known as Arunachalam, stands at a height of 2668 feet. Tiruvannamalai is also referred to by other names such as Mukthipuri, Arunagiri, Sonagiri, and so on. The path that surrounds this hill has a circumference of 14 kilometers. It is believed that even today, this hill is home to many siddhas, and therefore, walking around the hill path, especially on a full moon day, is considered to be a special and auspicious practice. It is believed that on full moon days, numerous siddhas visit this place, and the gentle breeze carries the positive effects of the herbal shrubs and trees on the hill, bringing peace to the mind and benefiting one's health. Even today, hundreds of thousands of devotees take a walk around the hill on full moon days to worship Annamalai and receive all the associated benefits. As one goes around the hill, Ashta Lingas can be seen in all eight directions. These Ashta Lingas include Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Linga, and Esanya Lingam. The Aadhi Annamalai temple, which is praised in Thevaram, is located on the right-side path of the hill.

There are six energy centers, known as chakras, within the human body. The 'Manipura' chakra, located in the stomach area, is associated with Tiruvannamalai. All living beings in the world strive to fulfill their hunger, and it is believed that the movement of the entire world is encompassed within the stomach of Annamalayar.

To know more visit the official website of this temple

Tiruvannamalai Temple Photos

Sivagangai tank, gopuram and annamalai hill
Temple towers and annamalai hill
Front view of the temple
Temple entrance
Murugar shrine
Inside view the temple
Inside view the temple
Kalatheeswarar sannidhi