Located at the base of Arunachala hill of Thiruvannamalai town in Tamil Nadu, Annamalaiyar Temple (also called Arunachaleswarar Temple) is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This Temple represents fourth element Fire or Agni from the ‘Pancha Bhootha Sthalams’ – dedicated to five elements of universe – earth, air, water, fire and space. For worship Lord Shiva is represented by Agni Lingam in this temple. His consort Goddess Parvati is represented as Unnamalai Amman here.
Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu have entered a controversy about their superiority. As a judge Lord Shiva told them that whoever was able to see his crown as well as his feet would be termed as the greatest. The scene is called lingothbava. Then Lord Shiva transformed himself as a Jothi or flame and challenged them to find his source. Vishnu took the Varaha avatar and dug deep into the earth to find Siva’s feet. Brahma took the form of Swan and flew to see the crown of Siva. Neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find the source, and while Vishnu conceded his defeat, Brahma lied and said he had found the pinnacle. In punishment, Shiva ordained that Brahma would never have temples on earth in his worship. On the request of Vishnu and Bramha by their spiritual prayer, Siva who was in the form of a fire column took the form of a Sivalingam at the foot of the hill where the Arulmigu Annamalaiyar Temple is located.
The present temple structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century. Further additions were made to the temple by the Vijayanagara kings during 15th century. The temple compound spreads across an 10 hectares, and is one of the largest in India. It has four gopurams or gateway towers. The height of the eastern gopurams is 217 ft with 11 stories – making it one of the tallest temple towers in India built by Nayakar dynasty. Inside the temple compound, 6 concentric enclosures can be found with each enclosure housing shrines of various deities. The innermost enclosure has the sanctum that enshrines the Agni Lingam, the presiding deity of the temple.
The temple celebrates dozens of festivals throughout the year.
|Sl.No||Tamil Month||Festival Details|
|1||Chithirai (April – May)||Chitirai vasantha urchavam 10 days.|
|2||Vaikasi (May – June)||Vaikasi Urchavam 1 day.|
|3||Ani (June – July)||Ani Bramorchavam 10 days. Ani Thirumanjanam (Lord Nataraja Urchavam 1 day).|
|4||Adi (July – August)||Adi Pooram Bramorchavam 10 days.|
|5||Avani (August – Sept.)||Avani Moolam Urchavam 1 day.|
|6||Puratasi (Sept. – Oct.)||Navarathri Urchavam 9 days.|
|7||Aippasi (Oct. – Nov.)||Annabisheka Urchavam 1 day. Kanda Sashti urchavam 6 days.|
|8||Karthigai (Nov. – Dec.)||Karthigai Deepa Bramorchavam 17 days.|
|9||Margazhi (Dec. – Jan.)||Vaikunda Ekadasi Urchavam 1 day. Arudra Darisanam (Lord Nataraja Urchavam) 1 day.|
|10||Thai (Jan. – Feb.)||Uthrayana Punyakala Bramorchavam 10 days. Thiruvoodal Urchavam 1 day. Manalurpettai Theerthavari Urchavam 1 day. Kalasapakkam (Rathasapthami). Theerthavari Urchavam 1 day.|
|11||Masi (Feb. – March)||Maha Sivarathri Urchavam. Masi Makam Pallikondpattu Theerthavari Urchavam.|
|12||Panguni (March – April)||Panguni Uthiram Thirukalyana Urchavam 6 days.|
The temple performs the pooja or ritual six times a day;
|Kala santhi||08:00 A.M|
|Irandam Kala||07:30 P.M|
How to Reach
The nearest airport is the Vellore Airport, 91 Kms away from Thiruvannamalai .
The temple is at 2 Kms distance from the Tiruvannamalai railway Station.
Tiruvannamalai Bus Stand at 1.5 Kms far from the temple.