Arunachaleshwar Temple At Thiruvannamalai – Agni Lingam


The temple of Arunachaleshwar or Arulmigu is located within the holy city of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Additionally known as Arunachaleshwarar or Arunachalesvara, this temple performs an vital function among the many Shaivites. It’s believed to be one of many largest Shiva Temple on this planet. Located on the bottom of the Arunachala Hills, the temple is sort of a citadel with imposing constructions and marvelous structure.

It is without doubt one of the 5 Pancha Bhoota Sthalas i.e temple related to one of many components of life. There are 5 components of life – Earth, House, Water, Fireplace, and Air. Legend says that Shiva has himself manifested as a component of fireside on this temple.

Pancha Bhoota Sthalas – Temple related to components of life

There are 5 Shiva Temples related to these 5 components. They’re:

Arunachaleshwar Temple, Thiruvannamalai – Agni Lingam

The historical past of the temple dates again to thousand years. The glory of the temple can be talked about within the Puranas and in Tamil literary works like Thevaram and Thiruvasagam.

The Temple city, homes eight lingams in all referred to as Ashtalingam, positioned at completely different areas. These lingams are named as Indralingam, Agnilingam, Yamalingam, Niruthilingam, Varunalingam, Vayulingam, Kuberlingam and Esanyalingam. Every lingam signifies completely different instructions of the earth. It’s believed they bless the devotees who undertake Girivalam or Giriparikrama, a parikrama or circumambulation by many devotees across the Arunachal mountain.

Panorama view of Arunachaleshwar Temple and the Arunachaleshwar hill

Legend of Arunachaleshwar Temple

As soon as an argument ensued between Bramha – the creator, and Vishnu – the protector, to determine the best between them. They requested Shiva to be the decide. Shiva appeared within the type of a Jyoti, or a column of fireside touching heaven and earth. He instructed them that whoever would first discover his crown or his ft can be the best. Brahma took the type of a swan and flew excessive. Whereas Vishnu took the avatar of a Varaha and went digging into the earth. Varaha couldn’t discover the top of the lingam and accepted his defeat.

Brahma went up flying, he too couldn’t attain the highest of the lingam. He was drained and fearful however not in a temper to just accept defeat. When he noticed a pine or Ketaki flower flowing down and requested the flower how far the highest was. The flower stated that it has been flowing down for forty thousand years. As Brahma was too drained, he conspired with the flower to be his false witness. He stated that he has seen the highest of the lingam and produced the flower as proof. Shiva was enraged and minimize down one head of Brahma and forbade his worship in any temples internationally. He additionally cursed the pine flower, that it might by no means be used to worship Shiva. The place the place the lingam stood to let off their ego is alleged to be Thiruvannamalai.

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One other Legend

In response to one other legend, Parvati as soon as closed Shiva’s eyes for a second. Though it was a second however the complete universe was engulfed in darkness. Parvati realized her mistake and carried out penance together with many devotees close to the bottom of the Arunachal hills. Then, Shiva appeared as a column of fireside on the hilltop and merged with Parvati forming the Ardhanarishwar Swaroop. The hill is thus sacred and is taken into account as a lingam too.

Historical past

This temple city has come underneath the rule of assorted dynasties over completely different durations of time. The foremost rulers had been Cholas, Hoysalas, Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva, and Vijayanagara. Many of the rulers have endowed the temple with varied items like land, money, cows, and varied items. The temple inscriptions commemorate many victories by these dynasties.

Within the 17th century, the temple got here underneath the management of Nawab of Carnatic underneath the Mughal rule. For a short interval, it was underneath the rule of the Tipu Sultan. Later, it got here underneath French and after some years, it was managed by the British.

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The temple is unfold throughout an space of 25 acres. The vastness and the richness with which the temple stands as we speak is the results of development, extension, and alteration for a number of centuries. It’s constructed within the Dravidian model of structure with a backdrop of Arunachal Hill. There are numerous constructions within the temple that showcase the nice craftsmanship of our ancestors.

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Necessary options of Arunachaleshwar Temple for the guests

If you’re visiting the Arunachaleshwar Temple, do be aware the next options:


The temple faces east and has 4 gopurams within the 4 instructions. The gopuram within the east is the tallest one, also called Rajagopuram. It’s made from granite and is about 217 ft in peak. It has eleven tales. The gopurams are adorned with varied sculptures. Different gopurams are known as as Thirumanjanagopuram (south), Peigopuram (west) and Ammani Amman Gopuram (North).

Arunachaleshwar Temple Rajagopuram entrance on the east
Rajagopuram entrance on the east


A Prakaram is the outer space, both open or closed, across the temple for parikrama or circumambulation. On this temple, there are seven Prakaram. 5 Prakaram are contained in the temple premises. The road across the temple outdoors the gopuram is the sixth Prakaram. The trail surrounding the hill is taken into account the seventh Prakaram.

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Temple Tank

There are two tanks contained in the temple premises – Shivagangai Teertham close to the Rajagopuram and Brahma Teertham close to the south gopuram.

Thousand Pillar Mandapam

This mandapam was constructed in the course of the rule of Krishnadevaraya of the Vijaynagara Empire. The mandapam has a thousand pillars. It’s positioned on the suitable facet as one enters via the Rajagopuram. The pillars are adorned with completely different sculptures of deities. The mandapam is specifically used throughout Thirumanjanam i.e Abhishek of the deity completed within the Ardra Nakshatra. Hundreds of devotees sit collectively right here on this present day to worship Shri Arunachaleshwar.

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Pathala Lingam

There may be an underground chamber referred to as the Pathala Lingam. Shri Ramana Maharishi is alleged to have meditated right here. He’s a famend Saint or Yogi who had defied dying at an early age.

Kambatu Elaynar Sannathi

This Sannathi is simply reverse the thousand pillar mandapam. It was constructed by Raja Krishnadevaraya. It has 4 chambers. The innermost chamber is the Moolasthanam the place Shri Murugan’s shrine is positioned and worshipped. The third chamber is used for prayers. The primary and second chambers have exquisitely carved constructions on granite.

Siva Ganga Vinayagar Sannathi

This temple is positioned behind the Elaynar Sannathi. It has an imposing vimana with colourful deities. It’s devoted to Ganapati or Vinayak.

View of Rajagopuram across the Shiva Gangai tank
View of Rajagopuram throughout the Shiva Gangai tank

Arunagirinathar Mandapam

This temple is devoted to Tamil saint Arunagirinath. He’s seen in standing posture providing his prayers to Murugan.

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Kalyan Sudarsan Sannathi

There’s a marriage corridor on this Sannathi the place many devotees come to carry out the wedding. It has a Shivalingam and vigraha of Nandi and Devi Parvathi.

Vallala Maharaj Gopuram

This gopuram was constructed by the Hoysala king Veer Vallala. His statue has been put in on this tower, therefore the title. Right here, Shri Arunachaleshwar performs the shraddha ceremony of the king, as he was childless.

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Killi Gopuram

Killi Gopuram means the parrot tower. This gopuram connects to the inside shrine of Shri Arunachaleshwar. On this tower, in a distinct segment, there’s a picture of a parrot constructed of mortar. It’s believed that Saint Arunagirinath is within the form of the parrot, resting on this tower. There are pictures of King Rajendra Chola and Bhaskaramoorthy, who constructed this tower, alongside along with his spouse. All of the Utsav deities are taken out for procession via this gopuram.

Katchi Mandapam

After crossing the Killi Gopuram, there’s a huge sixteen-pillared corridor referred to as the Katchi Mandapam. All of the deities give darshan from this mandapam, in the course of the main festivals. A holy column of sunshine is burnt on the holy Arunachal mountain on the Karthigai Deepam day. Devotees watch that beacon of sunshine from this place. From right here, one can see the flagpole and a small Nandi in entrance of the shrine of Shri Arunachaleshwar.

Shri Sambanda Vinayagar Shrine

The temple is positioned close to the Katchi Mandapam. The idol of Shri Ganesh is crimson purple in colour and in a sitting posture. It is without doubt one of the largest idols of Ganapati in Tamil Nadu. It’s stated that Ganesh had killed a demon and smeared his physique along with his blood, therefore the colour is purple.

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Unnamalaiyamman Temple

Devi Parvati is worshipped individually on this temple as Devi Unnamalaiyamman. The shrine is positioned within the northwest nook of the temple. The temple has a Navagraha shrine, Kodemara Mandapam, Ashtalakshmi mandapam and the Garbha Griha.

Shri Arunachaleshwar Shrine

The innermost shrine of Shri Arunachaleshwar faces east. He’s the principal deity of the temple. The Garbha Griha homes the shiva lingam. The partitions surrounding the shrine have pictures of Lingodbhava, Nataraj, Durga, and different deities. There’s a small room known as Palliyarai, positioned within the second Prakaram. The room is used as a resting room by the deities. Within the night time, as soon as all of the rituals are over, the Murty of Devi Parvati is introduced in a palanquin to this room. A consultant picture of Shri Arunachaleshwar can be introduced and each the pictures are stored on a swing. Then some rituals are carried out and eventually, the room is closed. Each the murtis are left on this room for resting at night time.

One can even see completely different pictures of Sundareswar, Ardhanarishwar, and different Utsav murtis, that are used throughout completely different festivals. There are pictures of 63 Neyanars and a number of other types of Shivalinga within the second Prakaram. Additionally, there’s a small shrine devoted to Ganapati referred to as Sthala Vinayagar.

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The temple opens at 5:30 am and closes at 9:30 pm.

Festivals at Arunachaleshwar Temple

There are lots of festivals celebrated within the temple like Mahashivaratri, Navaratri, Vaikuntha Ekadasi. However a very powerful festivals distinctive to this temple are:

  • Brahmotsavam – This pageant is well known within the Tamil month of Karthigai between November and December. It’s a ten-day pageant that concludes with Karthikai Deepam. On this present day an enormous lamp is lit on the Arunachal hill. The Utsav murti of Shri Arunachaleshwar is taken across the mountain in a picket chariot. Inscriptions point out that this pageant is well known for the reason that Chola Interval.
  • Girivalam – Each Purnima, the devotees do a parikrama of the Arunachal Hill barefoot, referred to as Girivalam or Giriparikrama. The circumambulation covers a distance of 14 km. It’s believed that this parikrama removes one from his sins and from the cycle of delivery and dying. Throughout the parikrama, choices are made at varied shrines, tanks, caves, and mandapams, which lie on the trail. The Ashtalingamsare positioned in eight instructions throughout the trail.
  • Tiruvoodal – This pageant is well known within the Tamil month of Thai, which falls in January. On this present day, Nandi is adorned with garlands made from fruits, greens, and sweets. The Utsav murtis are taken out in procession into the road, the place a holy combat is between God and the Goddess is enacted. Later Devi goes contained in the temple and locks it. Shiva stays outdoors and spent the night time in a close-by Murugan temple.
Journey Suggestions
  • The gown code is strictly carried out. Shorts usually are not allowed contained in the premises.
  • It’s simply accessible from each Chennai and Bangalore.
  • There are ample locations for lodging. Throughout festivals, one has to ebook upfront.
  • Numerous amenities have been offered by the temple authorities and city administration for devotees keen to carry out Girivalam.
  • Temple administration gives lodging to devotees at a nominal price.
  • The knowledge contained in the premises is in Tamil solely. Be at liberty to ask the safety on the gopuram or temple workplace for any data.
  • Prasad is offered on the counter close to Unnamalaiyamman Temple.

Different locations of curiosity close by

Ramana Maharshi Ashram

Ramana Maharshi room
The Ramana Maharshi room on the campus

Ramana Maharshi is a good saint, who defied dying on the early age of 16 years. His ashram referred to as Ramanashram is located on the Girivalam path. His teachings are ardently adopted by his devotees, who go to the ashram for his blessings. The ashram gives an lodging facility. It has a library, eating space, gaushala, and a gross sales counter. His samadhi is located contained in the ashram. It additionally homes the Matrubhasheshwar temple. The ashram is serene and one can really feel a divine presence and peace.

Landscape view of Ramana Maharshi Ashram
Panorama view of Ramana Maharshi Ashram


It’s located on a hill overlooking the temple. Ramana Maharshi stayed right here from 1916 to 1922. One can get the birds-eye view of the Arunachaleshwar Temple on the best way to the Skandashram.

Virupaksha Cave

The cave is alleged to be the samadhi of Sage Virupaksha. It’s within the form of Om.

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