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Arunachalesvara Temple

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The Arunachalesvara Temple is a Pancha Bhoota Stalam represented by Agni Lingam dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Unnamalai Amman. Arunachalesvara Temple also called Annamalaiyar Temple) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located at the base of Arunachala hill in the town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, India.

The presiding deity is revered in the Tevaram, a Tamil Saiva canonical work written by Tamil saint poets known as Nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam in the 7th century. Manikkavasagar, a 9th-century Saiva saint poet, wrote the Tiruvempaavai here.

Story Behind Arunachalesvara Temple

The legend surrounding this temple describes Lord Shiva appearing as a column of light or fire to destroy humanity’s ego. The story begins with two of the most revered Hindu deities and members of the Trimurthis. Lord Vishnu, the preserver, and Lord Brahma, the creator, compete with one another to force the incomparability of oneself over the other.

According to Lord Brahma, he said that he is the highest of the Trimurthis and was born first. According to Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma only emerged from his navel. Lord Shiva comes to the rescue while the two are fighting. He appeared between the two Lords in the form of a fire column and instructed them to locate its end. He said that the Trimurthis’ most powerful person is the one who finds the end.

Arunachalesvara Temple

As a result, Lord Brahma in the form of a swan and Lord Vishnu in the form of Varaha (Boar) began moving separately toward each side. On the way, Lord Brahma found a Thazhambu flower and asked her to lie to him. When Lord Brahma got back, he asked the flower to let Lord Shiva know that he had found the end.

Lord Shiva was so enraged by the flower’s words that he cursed Brahma, threatening that there would be no temple dedicated to him on Earth, and the flower, threatening that it would not be used in any pooja kriyas. When Lord Vishnu realizes that the fire column has no end, he accepts defeat and bows to Shiva. The Arunachala Hills, which are situated next to the Arunachaleswarar Temple, are said to represent this fire column. The lingam, which is the source of all creation and has no beginning or end, is considered to have its origins in this fire column. It can be found everywhere in the universe, from galaxies to the infinite ocean of space.

History of Arunachalesvara Temple

According to the inscriptions that were discovered within the premises, the building that stands today was constructed by the Chola kings and dates back to the ninth century. The rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Saluva Dynasty, and the Tuluva Dynasty followed with renovations and expansions.

arunachalesvara temple 4

Thiruvannamalai was also ruled by the Pallavas before the 9th century, according to some inscriptions. In the temple, it is also believed that Annamalaiyar was worshipped by the ancient Tamil saints Appar and Sambandar. The temple was frequented by the Chola kings, who ruled the area for more than four centuries. The Nawab of the Carnatic took control of the temple and the town of Thiruvannamalai in the middle of the 17th century. After that, various Hindu and Muslim rulers ruled the region until the colonial powers took control.

Architecture of Arunachalesvara Temple

The Arunachalesvara Temple is located on the lower slopes of Arunachala and faces east, on more than 25 sections of land. The east and west walls are 700 feet long, the south wall is 1,479 feet long, and the north wall is 1,590 feet long. According to an inscription in the structure, Tiruvannamalai was ruled by Chola kings in the 9th century CE.

According to additional inscriptions, Tiruvannamalai was ruled by Pallava kings prior to the 9th century. On each of its four sides, there are four gateway towers known as gopurams. The eastern tower, the Rajagopuram, is the temple’s tallest structure. The Rajagopuram’s foundation is made of stone and measures 135 feet by 98 feet.

Arunachalesvara Temple

It was started by King Krishnadevaraya (1509-29 CE) of the Vijayanagara tradition, and finished by Sevappa Nayaka (1532-80 CE). The engravings show that the pinnacle was built in 1572 CE under the command of Sivanesa and his brother Lokanatha. Thirumanjangopuram is the name of the south pinnacle, and Pe Gopuram is the name of the west pinnacle. The Ammani Gourami is located in the north.

Raghunathabhyudayam and Sangitha Sudha, two Nayak scriptures, also mention the towers. According to the Tanjavuri Andhra Raja Charitamu, Krishnadevaraya constructed the tower and the temple’s outer precincts. The temple is divided into five precincts, each of which houses a massive Nandi, Shiva’s sacred bull. Two towers are Vallala Maharaja Gopuram and Kili Gopuram, also known as the Parrot Tower.

Facts about Arunachalesvara Temple

  • The presiding deity here is Arunachalesvara or Lord Shiva, worshipped as the Fire (Agni) Lingam
  • Devotees acknowledge that Lord Shiva established a solid foundation for himself as Jyotirlinga on the sacred slope behind Tiruvannamalai. As a result, they practise Giri Pradkshina and pray to God on the hill.
  • Devotees walk nearly 14 kilometres in bare feet to worship at the numerous temples, lingams, and shrines that line the path.
  • The Giri Pradakshina can be performed at any time, on any day. Start at around midnight and finish by 4 in the morning is ideal. The sacred cow is permitted to enter the temple at a special darshan at 4:30 in the morning.
  • A lot of devotees also prefer to do giri pradakshina on Pournami or Purnima (full moon day).
  • The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar.
  • The Karthigai Deepam festival is held on the full moon day between November and December. A massive beacon is lit on top of the hill. It can be seen for miles and represents the Shiva lingam of fire joining the sky.
  • The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century,
  • There is a sixteen-pillared Deepa Darshana Mandapam, or hall of light, in the third precinct.
  • A thousand-pillared hall built during the late Vijayanagara period can be found inside the doorway of the first tower and the fifth precinct.

Famous Festivals In Arunachalesvara Temple

Millions of people visit the Arunachaleswarar Temple every year to celebrate all of the festivals that are held here.

  • The primary celebration at Arunachaleswarar Temple is the Karthigai Deepam festival, also known as Karthigai Brahmotsavam, which is held in the Karthik month of the Hindu calendar (November-December).
  • The maha deepam lit on Mount Arunachala on the 10th day of the festival is the most auspicious event every year driving millions into the temple.

How To reach Arunachalesvara Temple

The famous Arunachalesvara temple in Thiruvanamalai is accessible by various modes of transport.

By Air: The nearest Airport is in Pondicherry, about 108 km away. Chennai International Airport is 185 km away.

By Rail: The nearest railway stations are Villupuram (76 km) and Katpadi (65 km).

By Road: Tiruvannamalai is well connected by road to all the major cities in South India. You can easily connect to Tiruvannamalai by bus or car.

Also Read – Jambukeshwarar Temple – Thiruvanaikaval

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are other festivals celebrated here
  1. Amavasya (new moon day)
  2. Kiruthigai 
  3. Pournami or Purnima (full moon day): Performing Girivalam on Pournami day is highly beneficial. Thousands of devotees perform Girivalam right from early morning to midnight. 
  4. Sathurthi

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Open Now

Saturday 5 AM - 9 PM
Sunday 5 AM - 9 PM
Monday 5 AM - 9 PM
Tuesday 5 AM - 9 PM
Wednesday 5 AM - 9 PM
Thursday 5 AM - 9 PM
Friday 5 AM - 9 PM
Address: Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple, Pavazhakundur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +914175252438Call Now
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Open Now

Saturday 5 AM - 9 PM
Sunday 5 AM - 9 PM
Monday 5 AM - 9 PM
Tuesday 5 AM - 9 PM
Wednesday 5 AM - 9 PM
Thursday 5 AM - 9 PM
Friday 5 AM - 9 PM
Address: Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple, Pavazhakundur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +914175252438Call Now