The Annamalai temple, located in Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu, India, is one of the famous temples of Hindu religion and is dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva. The saivism sect of Hindu religion, specifically are involved in being the ardent followers of this temple. This temple is one of the temples which have been associated with Pancha Bhoota Stalas, the five elements and specifically with the Agni or fire. Lord Shiva here at Annamalai temple is worshipped with the name Arunachaleswara or Annamalaiyar and Goddess Parvati is celebrated as Unnamulai Amman. Lord Shiva is worshipped in his Lingam form which is called as Agni Lingam.
For the followers of Shaivite, the temple is believed to be a biggest place to visit for it, represents one of the sacred five elements of the Universe, the fire. In the past, many ardent saints have been considered to have lived here in and around the temple. Some of those saints who lived here were Shri Ramana Maharishi, Sheshathri Maharishi and Yogoi Ram Surathkumar. One of the well known traditions, here at the temple is “Giri Valam”. As per the tradition, one has to worship Lord by making rounds of mountain and the temple. A gigantic lamp is lit on the top of the mountain and the temple to observe the festival of Karthigai and devotees from across the country come here to dive into the celebration of the festival. Eight Lingas, one for each of the eight directions has been incarnated in the path of the Girivalam.
Various Tamil and Sanskrit scriptures have explicitly described the incarnation of Lord Shiva and the temple. It is said that, once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma got into tussle on, who is great among the two of them is. As a result, they wanted to have a competition and asked Lord Shiva to be the judge of the competition. Upon which, Lord Shiva agreed and Shiva told them that the one who can reach the feet and the crown of the Shiva Lingam will be judged as the most powerful. And, consequently Lord Shiva got himself transformed into Jyothi Lingam and Agni Lingam.
Lord Vishnu in order to prove his worth transformed himself into a Boar wild enough to dig into the earth and reach the feet of the Shiva but he could not reach the feet of the Shiva Lingam. And finally, Lord Vishnu, accepted defeat his effort got futile. Lord Brahma, at the same time also took the form of a swan so that he can fly and touch Lord Shiva’s crown. But even after flying for long years he could not reach to the crown and he found the Lotus flower which was falling down and thus Lord Brahma asked the flower that how much time he will need to reach the feet of Shiva Lingam. Upon which the flower replied that, it has been falling down for last forty thousand years but then it has not yet been able to reach the foot of the Lord Shiva. Taking considerations of the fact that, it is not really possible to reach the crown of Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma took the flower into confidence to be a witness of the fact that he had been successful in reaching the crown of the Lord Shiva and that he took the flower from there. Flower got convinced with the fact and went to Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma, understood the conspiracy they had done together and out of rage cursed Lord Brahma that he will never be worshipped anywhere on Earth by human being, and the Lotus flower will never be used for worshipping any God.
Finally both of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu requested Lord Shiva to placate and transform to his Lingam form from the Agni form. It’s believed that, at the time of Kritayugam the mountain was in the fire form and in the form of Emerald form in Tretayugam, while it was in the form of Gold in Dwaparyugam and during Kaliyugam in the form of rock.
It is said that, once out of love, Goddess Parvati, closed the eyes of Lord Shiva, her husband while they were sitting at Mount Kialash. For that moment, when his eyes were closed, the earth got submerged in darkness and the Universe got deprived of light. Consequently Goddess Parvati had to perform penance for what she did inadvertently. As a result, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of fire on the Annamalai hills which returned light in Universe. And then he got amalgamated with the body of Parvati to create a form of Ardhanarishwara which is the body of half male and half female shape of Lord Shiva. Just behind the Annamalaiyar temple is the red mountain or the Annamalai and the hill is considered as the representation of lord Shiva.
Nearest Town - ThiruvannamalaiHOW TO REACH
The temple can conveniently be reached by all three modes of transportation form air to rail to road.
Nearest Road - It takes, for the travellers, around 3.5 hours to reach the temple by road. It’s quite comfortable to travel by car or by any mode of public transportation. Plethoras of bus services are also available from Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Tirupathi and other important cities of Tamil Nadu.
Nearest Railway Station – The Thriuvannamalai is located, on the railway route of katpadi and Villupuram.
By Air – Chennai is the most convenient route when it is considered as the mode of travel. The nearest airport is, Chennai which is 185 km away from the temple by road. Those who are planning to come from the major metro cities can take the route through Chennai.TEMPLE TIMING
Morning: 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM Evening 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM Puja here at the temple is done six times every dayFESTIVALS CELEBRATED AT THE TEMPLE
Chithirai : It lasts for 10 days.
Aani Brahmorchavam : It lasts for 1 day
Vaigasi – Vishagam: It lasts for 10 days
Annabishegham : It lasts for 1 day
Navarathiri, Dussera: It lasts for 9 days
Avani Moola Urchavam: It lasts for 1 day
Pournami (Full Moon) Day and karthigai deepam which is celebrated once in a year.ADDRESS
Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple, Thiruvannamalai – 606601