Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple
The most famous temple in Tiruvannamalai is this shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, at the base of the holy Arunachala Hill, in the heart of Tiruvannamalai.
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.
The Arunachala Hill and the temple are steeped in legend. It is said that Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, once playfully closed his eyes. This engulfed the earth and the universe in darkness for years. To fix the situation Parvati and other devotees of Lord Shiva performed penance, and it is said that he appeared as a column on fire atop the Arunachala Hill, returning light to the world. The Arunachala hill which is red in colour, lies behind the temple, and is worshipped as a holy mountain.
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.
Good to Know :
Location: 4km from Arunai Anantha
Arunachala Hill3 hrs
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.
Sri Ramana Ashramam2 hrs
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 shrine attracts devotees from across the world.
Jawadhu Hills3 hrs - 2 days
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.
Gingee Fort3 hrs
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.
Tirumalai Jain Temple2 hrs
A Jain site with over 2000 years of history, Tirumalai – literally, “the holy mountain” - is situated 51km from Tiruvannamalai. Dating back to at least the 9th Century, Tirumalai has been an important Jain center since ancient times.
Around 4500 ft above sea level, Paravathamalai Hill is supposed to be one of the most sacred sites in India.
Sathanur Dam2 hrs
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.
Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple3 hrs
This incredible star-shaped temple dedicated to the Goddess Maha Lakshmi, 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.