Regarded as one of the most venerated places not only in Tamil Nadu, but in India, Tiruvannamalai is famous both spiritually and historically. Known best for the shrine of Lord Arunachaleswara and its numerous ashrams, Tiruvannamalai has long been the destination of those seeking peace and tranquility and on the path of spiritual knowledge. Here are all the must see places when visiting Tiruvannamalai
Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple
The Arunachaleswarar Temple, also known as the Annamalaiyar Temple one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni. The temple complex is one of the largest in India and houses one of the tallest temple towers – or gopurams as they are known – in India. The temple complex has great architectural value, with many uniquely built shrines and halls. The hall of a thousand pillars, is another must-see feature of this place. Of all the Tiruvannamalai hotels, the best place to stay to explore the town is Arunai Anantha. Just 4km from the Arunachaleswarar temple, is this splendid and peaceful resort where you can rejuvenate your soul.
The temple celebrates a large number of festivals throughout the year, but the most important of them all is the celebration of the Karthigai Deepam where a huge cauldron containing three tons of ghee is lit at the very top of the Arunachala Hill and the festival image of Shiva is taken on a wooden chariot around the hill in procession with devotees. Karthigai Deepam is the most significant festival that is celebrated with pomp and gaiety at Arunachaleswarar temple. Celebrated over 10 days, there are multiple processions leading up to the Maha Deepam. It is widely known as Karthigai Brahmotsavam festival.
Sri Ramana Ashramam
This is the ashram which was the home to the modern sage Sri Ramana Maharishi, who was popularly regarded as an avatar and enlightened being by many devotees. His teachings have spread across the world, and to this day, devotees from around the world flock to the ashram seeking knowledge and tranquility. The ashram is where Ramana Maharishi lived for 55 years, and is located at the base of the Arunachala Hill.
Sathanur Dam is one of Tamil Nadu’s most important dams. An engineering marvel, it has been built over the River Thenpennai, 30km from the town of Tiruvannamalai. The dam is breathtaking, and a popular tourist spot. The dam also has beautifully maintained gardens that have been used as a shooting location for many movies! Animal lovers can visit the crocodile farm, fish grotto or the Children’s park and zoo maintained here too.
Around 4500 ft above sea level, Paravathamalai Hill is supposed to be one of the most sacred sites in India. Legend has it that this hill was a part of the Sanjeevani Mountain that fell off when Hanuman was carrying it to Sri Lanka. Said to be home to many “siddhars” or holy men meditating, this mountain is also known to be a spot where many believe miracles happen. The trek to the top is around 5.5 km and a fun and exciting challenge.
An extension of the Eastern Ghats, the Jawadhu Hills are a beautiful range of bluish gray granite that have peaks averaging 3800 feet in height. The hills are known for their breathtaking verdant beauty. The hills are home to many interesting sights like the Beema Falls, Komutteri Lake, Kavalur Observatory, Melpattu Village and Amirthi Forest. You can also go on numerous treks here.
This is a most unique cave ashram in Tiruvannamalai. Shaped like the hindu symbol “om”, the cave is situated atop a small peak in the Arunachala Hill, nearly 200 feet below the Skandasram cave. Virupaksha cave is one of the ancient caves in India with its history dating back to the 13th century.
40km from Tiruvannamalai, Gingee Fort is also known as the “Troy of the East”. One of the surviving forts in Tamil Nadu, it was ranked as the “most impregnable fortress in India” by Chhatrapati Sivaji. The Gingee Fort complex is on three hillocks. The complex has a seven-storeyed Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, prison cells, and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman. It was declared a National Monument in 1921.
One of the 5 main Shaivite holy places in South India, the Arunachala Hill in Tiruvannamalai is the most popular tourist site in the area. The sacred hill, is located in the temple town of Tiruvannamalai, and geologists claim that it is one of the oldest mountains in the world. Certain festivals draw large crowds of pilgrims to Tiruvannamalai from all over South India.
Girivalam is an ancient tradition performed by devotees, that involves circumambulating the holy Arunachala Hill in Tiruvannamalai. The Girivalam Road is a 14 km long route, with 9 different lingams en route. Girivalam is usually done every Full Moon day, and lakhs of devotees partake in this spiritual walk. Looking for hotels in Tiruvannamalai? Look no further than Arunai Anantha. Just 4km from the Arunachala mountain, it is a perfect base to stay at when doing the Girivalam.
Tirumalai Jain Temple
A Jain site with over 2000 years of history, Tirumalai is situated 48km from Tiruvannamalai. The complex includes 3 Jain caves, and 2 Jain temples . There is also a 16.25-foot-high (4.95 m) sculpture of Tirthankara Neminatha thought to date from the 12th century. Reportedly it is the tallest Jain image in Tamil Nadu.
Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple – Vellore
This incredible star-shaped temple dedicated to the Goddess Maha Lakshmi. It was constructed by the Vellore based charitable trust – Sri Narayani Peedam. Over 1500kg of gold has been used in the intricate work done by the artisans on this temple. Every single detail in the temple art has significance from the Vedas. The complex’s design features a star-shaped path (Sri chakra), positioned in the middle of the lush green landscape, with a length of over 1.8 km. As one walks along this ‘starpath’ to reach the temple in the middle, one can also read various spiritual messages — such as the gift of the human birth itself, and the value of spirituality — along the way.
Wondering where to stay while you explore this amazing town of Tiruvannamalai? Look no further than one of the best resorts in Tiruvannamalai – Arunai Anantha. Book now and plan a trip to Tiruvannmalai now!