Arunachalam Temple also known as Arunachalesvara Temple or Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple is an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, this temple belongs to the five Shiva temples dedicated to the five elements of nature. The presiding deity is in the form of Agni Lingam (fire element).
It is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni.
The Tiruvannamalai Arunachalam Temple construction dates back to several thousand years. Chola Kings built the temple in the 9th century according to the inscriptions in the Lingothbhava and Tiruvannamalai Arunachalam Temple murals.
The Creator Lord Bramha and Protector Lord Vishnu entered into a controversy among themselves so as to ascertain who was the greatest. Lord Shiva was asked to be the judge. Lord Shiva told them that whoever was able to see his crown as well as his feet would be termed as the greatest.
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Then Lord Shiva transformed himself into a Jothi (a column of fire) touching the heaven and earth. Vishnu took the avatar of varaha (wild boar) and dug deep into the earth to find Shiva’s feet but at last accepted defeat.
Bramha took the form of a swan and flew to see the crown of Shiva. Unable to see the crown, Bramha saw a thazhambu flower which had decked Shiva’s crown falling down. He asked the flower as to the distance of Shiva’s crown whereby the flower replied that he had been falling for forty thousand years. Bramha, realizing that he would not be able to reach the crown asked the flower to act as a false witness.
The thazhambu flower acting as a false witness declared that Brahma had seen the crown. Shiva became angry at the deception and cursed that Bramha should have no temple on earth and that the thazhambu flower should not be used while praying to Lord Siva. The place where Lord Siva stood as a column of fire to eliminate the ego is Thiruvannamalai.
The Annamalai Hill was Agni (fire) during Krithayugam, was Manikkam (Emerald) during Threthayugam, was pon (Gold) during Dwaprayugam and rock during Kaliyugam as per the ancient legends. On the request of Thirumal and Bramha by their devout prayer, Siva who was in the form of a fire column took the form of a Sivalingam at the foot of the hill hwere the Arulmigu Annamalaiyar Temple is located.
Devotees believe that Lord Shiva established himself as Jyotirlinga in the sacred hill behind the Tiruvannamalai temple. So they do Giri Pradkshina around the hill and pray to the god. Devotees cover a distance of nearly 14 km on barefoot and worship at the numerous temples, lingams and shrines that are present along the path.
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You can do the Giri Pradakshina at any time on any day. The best time is to start around midnight and complete it by morning 4 am. At 4:30 am there is a special darshan in the temple where they let sacred cow through the temple doors. A lot of devotees also prefer to do giri pradakshina on Pournami (full moon day).
The temple complex covers 10 hectares, and is one of the largest in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 66 metres (217 ft), making it one of the tallest temple towers in India built by sevappa nayakkar (Nayakar dynasty).
The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Arunachalesvara and Unnamalai Amman being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the thousand-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT ARUNACHALAM TEMPLE
- Address: Pavazhakundur, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 606601
Deity: Arunachalesvara (Shiva) Unnamalai Amman (Apitakuchambaal – Parvati)
District: Tiruvannamalai district
Festivals: Karthigai Deepam
- Creator: Cholas
- Entry Fee: NIL
- Dress Code: NIL
- Mobile Phones/Photography: Not Allowed
POOJA TIMINGS ARUNACHALAM TEMPLE
|Gomatha Pooja||5:30 AM||6 AM|
|Ushakala Pooja||6 AM||6:30 AM|
|Early Sathi Pooja||8:30 AM||9 AM|
|Noon Pooja||11 AM||11:30 AM|
|Sayaratchai Pooja||6 PM||6:30 PM|
|2nd Kalam Pooja||7:30 PM||8:00 PM|
|Arthajama Pooja||9 PM||9:30 PM|
Astonishing Facts About ARUNACHALAM TEMPLE
- One of the Pancha Bootha Sthalas, representing Agni, the temple was built by several kings, belonging to various dynasties.
- In the whole of India, the Hindu festival of Karthgai Deepam is celebrated on a grand scale here where it is a 10 day colorful festival celebrated with devotion and commitment. During the festival period about 20 million people visit this temple town.
- During the 10 day festival, each day the bejeweled gods and goddesses are taken out in a procession on the Vahana or chariot mostly after evening; some of them are silver plated or gold plated.
- In the Tiruvannamalai temple, Shiva is present in the form of fire; therefore, throughout the year, whatever may be the weather outside, the area around the sanctum sanctorum remained hot.
- The temple is situated at the bottom of the Arunachala hills, and faces east, lying over 25 acres. The walls on the east and west measure 700 ft (210 m), the south 1,479 ft (451 m), and the north 1,590 ft (480 m).
How To Reach Arunachalam Temple?
Nearest airport is Chennai (185 km), which offers good domestic and international connections. From here hire a Taxi to Thiruvannamalai.
Nearest railheads are Villupuram (76 km) and Katpadi (65 km), both of which are well connected with the rest of the state and the country.
Thiruvannamalai is well connected by road. From Chennai, take the bus or train to Tindivanam (122km) or Villapuram (159kms). From here take bus or hire a taxi to Tiruvannamalai (70kms). From Bangalore and Madurai one can get direct bus to Tiruvannamalai.
Where To Stay
Tiruvannamali has several hotels and ashrams and it attracts visitors from all over the world Ramanashramam and Seshadri Swami ashram being examples. Each occurrence of a full moon attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
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