Arunachaleshwar Temple Quick Facts
|Tiruvannamalai City, Tamil Nadu State (India)
|Historical Hindu Temple
|Arunachaleshwara (Shiva) and Annamalai Amman (Parvati)
Arunachaleshwar Temple Overview
A unique temple of Shiva is located in the Thiruvannamalai district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which is addressed as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswara Shiva temple. The temple is located in the Terai region of the Annamalai Mountains in the Tiruvannamalai district, which gives it a unique geographical structure. This temple attracts a huge crowd of devotees every full moon day and a huge fair is organized especially on Kartik Purnima. The devotee has to circumambulate the Annamalai mountain for a length of 14 km before reaching here.
Arunachaleshwar Temple History
According to an inscription found in the temple, the present structure and towers of the Arunachaleswara temple were built by the kings of the Chola dynasty. It has also been proved by other inscriptions found in the temple, that this area was under the Pallava kings before the 9th century, whose empire extended up to Kanchipuram.
According to historians, the Chola kings ruled the city of Tiruvannamalai from AD 850 to 1280 and acted as the custodians of the Temple. In 1328 AD, King Veera Ballala III of the Hoysala dynasty made the city of Tiruvannamalai the capital.
After which the Vijayanagara rulers of the Sangama dynasty from 1336 AD to 1485 AD and the Saluva dynasty and Tuluva dynasty from 1491 AD to 1515 AD expanded and maintained the temple.
Arunachaleshwar Temple Interesting Facts
- The Arunachaleswara temple complex is covered over 10 acres of land and is considered to be one of the largest temples in India at present.
- There are Five Shiva temples on the premises of the Arunachaleswara temple which include land, water, air, sky and fire, each representing an expression of a natural element.
- His idol is called Agni Lingam by the lingam, which depicts his consort Parvati as Annamalai Amman.
- The presiding deity of the temple is revered in 7th-century Tamil Saiva canonical works and the poet Manikkavasakar, known as the Nayanar of Tamil saint poets, composed a Tamil treatise called Saivit Tirumurai here in the 9th century.
- Inside the Temple, there are four gateway towers known as gopurams. The highest gateway tower of the temple is the Eastern Rajagopuram with a height of 66 meters. For this reason, this temple is included of the tallest temples in India and it was built in 1572 AD at the behest of Shivanesa and his brother Loknath.
- The Tower on the west side of the temple is called Pei Gopuram, the southern tower is called Thirumanjangopuram and the tower on the northern side is called Ammani Amma Gourami.
- The Temple complex consists of several halls built by the Sangam dynasty, including a huge hall with eleven thousand pillars.
- There are six rituals in the temple daily from 5.30 am to 10.00 pm and Twelve annual festivals as per the Indian calendar. Here the Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated on the full moon day between November and December.
- A day before each full moon in the temple, pilgrims circumambulate the base of the temple and the Arunachala hills in a puja called Girivalam, which is performed annually by one lakh pilgrims.
- On the Eastern side of the main temple of Arunachaleswarar are the statues of Nandi and Surya, which is the oldest structure of the temple.
- Behind the walls of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, there is an image of "Venugopalaswamy", an incarnation of Vishnu, with images of Somaskandar, Durga, Chandesvara, Gajalakshmi, Arumugaswami, Dakshinamurthy, Swarnabairvara, Nataraja, and Lingodbhavar around the sanctum.
- There are four sanctums called Palliarai on all four sides of the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple, and to the south of the thousand-pillared hall, there is a smaller shrine for Subramaya and a large tank.
- The Underground lingam inside the temple is the place where Ramana Maharishi performed his penance between 1879 AD and 1950 AD.
- In the Third precinct of the temple is the sixteen pillared Deepa Darshan Mandapam or Hall of Light. The Magija namepad located in the temple is considered sacred and medicinal.
- The wedding mandapam inside the temple, the Kalyana Mandapam, to the west of the southeast, is built in the Vijayanagara style.
- The Vasantha Mandapam, also known as the Hall of Spring, is located in the third courtyard of the temple, and this courtyard contains the Temple office and the Kalahateeswara Temple.
- The fourth courtyard of the temple has a Nandi, Brahma shrine, temple tank, a Vinayaga temple called Yanai Thirai Konda and a hall with a six feet high statue of Nandi, which was built by Valla Maharaja.
How to reach Arunachaleshwar Temple
- Tiruvannamalai is well connected by road. Tindivanam Railway Station is at a distance of 69 km from the temple and Viluppuram Junction at a distance of 63.2 km is easily accessible to the temple by bus and taxi.
- Apart from this, the Nearest Airport to the temple by air is Puducherry Airport. It is located at a distance of 106 km from the temple and is easily accessible by bus and taxi to the temple.