Ancient ashrams, 1200 years old temples rife with mythical stories, meandering rocky pathways that lead to a hill believed to be the earthly abode of Lord Shiva, a place of pure peace and tranquility- that’s Tiruvannamalai for you.

Tiruvannamalai is a melting pot of everything that is scenic, historic, complex and beautiful, making it much more than just a spiritual destination. Just about 4-hour drive from Chennai or Bengaluru, this cultural and spiritual hotspot can be your ideal weekend getaway destination.

The enigmatic deity, Arunachala, is believed to be the earthly form of Lord Shiva. Viewing the Arunachal hill from Samudram Eri against the moonlit night is sure to evoke devotional feelings.

Seeking inner peace? Or fleeting moments of peace, at least? Take a walk to Ramana’s cave, the resting place of Ramana Maharshi, the self-liberated sage. In the evening, the low humming of Ramana’s verses reverberating across the hall and the surrounding pictures of the sage himself transfer you to a parallel universe of peace and tranquility.

The Arunachaleswarar Temple, or the Annamalaiyar Temple, is the real deal in Tiruvannamalai. Legend says that once Goddess Parvati’s prank went wrong and made Lord Shiva close his eyes. This plunged the entire world into darkness. To reverse the situation, Goddess Parvati meditated along with other sages. It coaxed Lord Shiva to reappear on the Arunachala hill and lighten the world. This was how this 1200 year-old shrine became one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, representing the fire element.

The 66-metre long eastern tower, termed gopuram, is reportedly the tallest temple tower in India. The architecture of the thousand-pillared hall adds to the intricate beauty of the Annamalaiyar Temple.

Don’t miss the Skandashram, which is just 1 mile away from the Annamalaiyar Temple. A walk on the stone-laden path uphill, lined with thick green bushes and dense vegetation gives you a respite from the regular city humdrum.

Then head to the Virupaksha cave. Take a hike to this 13th-century, “Om” shaped cave that is claimed to create a magical calming effect on its visitors. Slip into a deep state of meditation. It is a feeling that even the poshest and most expensive urban meditation centers cannot promise you.

Architecture lovers must not miss the Gingee fort built by Senjiyar Kan Kadavan of the Chola dynasty. The fort is located atop three hillocks. The building was so invulnerable that the British named the structure the “Troy of the East”.

Plan the perfect getaway to Jamunamarathur, the second-highest spot in Tiruvannamalai. The waterfalls and hillscape make it a great getaway from the daily city hustle.

Well-manicured gardens and the picturesque settings make the Sathanur dam a highly sought-after spot for film shoots. Get your munchkins excited about wildlife as they visit the fish grotto, crocodile farm, and dam zoo. Tantalize your taste buds with authentic Tamil fish recipes at Sathanur – Pickup dam.

Sterling has launched a new resort named Sterling Arunai Anantha Tiruvannamalai. The facility has 30 spacious and aesthetically designed rooms from where you get mesmerizing views of Arunachala hill. The architecture of this resort is sprinkled with various aesthetics that reflect the heritage and spirituality associated with Tiruvannamalai.

Not in the mood to venture out of your comfortable stay? Planning a picnic with your family within the resort premises will be an exciting option for you as this resort is among the few places with a swimming pool. 

Looking for a different but all-inclusive destination for a wedding or corporate event? Look no further because the newly launched resort by Sterling Holidays in Tiruvannamalai is fitted with all amenities and services that make events of any scale grand. The resort will perhaps be the only venue in the entire Tiruvannamalai with a touchscreen display in the conference room – one where you can write on the screen and print it out. A fantastic feature to wow your clients or employees during a corporate event.

The dining menu is an ode to the local gastronomy, where you can explore specialities like Milagu Perattal, Onion Pakoda and many more. 

So wait no more. It’s the right time to find out what keeps Tiruvannamalai abuzz.