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Arunachaleshwar Temple
About Shiva  -  Shiva Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 5 Days
Location : Thiruvannamalai.
Main Deity : Annamalayar and Unnamulai Amman.
Other Deities : Kala Bairavar, Kambathu Ilayanar, Navagrahas, Paadala Lingesvarar, Sarva Siddi Vinayagar.
Nearest Town : Thiruvannamalai District : Thiruvannamalai State : Tamil Nadu
The very thought of Thiruvannamali will bring salvation. The Sthalapuranam says that one can attain salvation by being born in Tiruvarur, by meeting with death in Kasi, by worshipping at Chidambaram and by mere thinking of Thiruvannamalai.

The five elements of the universe are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether(Sky) and our sastras call them Pancha Boothams or Pancha Bootha Sthalams of which Thiruvannamalai is Theyu (Fire) Sthalam.

Arunachala hill has a high status in our sacred tradition and Tamil legends hold that it is far more ancient than the Himalayas which are comparatively known to be of later origin. The temple occupies an extent of about 25 acres of land and is one of the biggest in South India. It is also one of the Saivite shrines sung by the great saints Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavachagar. Three important factors constitute the greatness of this place, namely
  • The dispute between Brahma and Vishnu which resulted in the origin of Thiruvannamalai and celebration of Karthigai Deepam festival

  • Goddess Parvathi, performed penance and got the left half of Lord Siva's body (Vamabagha) and

  • The association of saintly personages like Arunagirinathar, Guhai Namasivayar, Guru Namasivayar, Isanya Gnana Desikar, Deivasikamani Desikar, Seshadri Swamigal and Ramana Swamigal.

  • The place is also noted for the existence of holy waters(Theerthams) the bathing in which will purge one's sins and purify the soul. It is said that there are as many as 360 Theerthams and 400 Lingams in the eight mile circuit of the hill. Sivaganga and Brahma Theerthams are inside the temple.
    Apart from the Theerthams round the hill in course of the circuit round it, there are the Seshadri Swamigal Sannadhi, Ramanasramam, Duruvasaraman, Gouthamasramam, Adi Annamalai temple (popularly called as Adhi Annamalai), Manikkavachagar temple, Esanya Gnandesigar Mutt, Durga temple and Coral hill (Pavala Knuru). In the mid-portion up the hill, there are the Kanthasraman, Virupaksha cave, Sadaisami cave, and Mamarathu cave.

    Karthigai Deepam Festival :
    Brahma and Vishnu were both quarrelling about their relative superiority. To give a decision on it and to erase their ego Lord Siva stood before them in the form of a blazing mountain. Having failed in their attempt to find out its top and bottom the two prayed to Lord Siva for His grace. He blessed them saying that he would appear in the form of Jothi on the top of the hill every year on the day of Karthigai in the month of Karthigai. To commemorate this event the Deepam festivals is being conducted at Thiruvannamalai every year.
    The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai (November December). It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on the nine days. In the early hours of the tenth day Bharani Deepam in five agantams will be lit in Arunachaleswarars Sannithi. In the evening, the Pancha Murthis will be brought to the Katchi Mandapam. At dusk (Pradosha) the Karthigai day synchronizing with the full moon day, the deity, Ardhanareeswarar is taken out to this place with the five deepams, which are put in a big receptacle near the flug-stuff. At the same time the beacon light on the hill is lit. The huge concourse of devotees from all parts of our country in a million voice raise a cry simultaneously Harohara to Annamalai which will rend the air. It is a sight for the Gods to see. In the hill top there is big copper turn in which large quantities of camphor, ghee and wicks (of cloth) are poured and when these are lighted it will be seen from miles around for somedays after the Deepam festival day. We do not have such a huge light in any other place of our country. On the same night the eleven storeyed Gopuram is also lit with Ahals (earthen oil lamps) set in rows in all the storeys. Though this festival is special to Thiruvannamalai, it is common throughout the Tamil Country. Lighting festival is celebrated in all the temples of South India including Vishnu temples. All the houses will also be illuminated with number of lamps being arranged in rows to give beautiful appearance.