Arunachaleswara Temple, also called as Annamalaiyar Temple,is a Hindu temple of Lord Shiva, located at Arunachala hill in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and Lord Shiva is worshipped as an element of fire in this temple. Shiva is worshiped as Arunachaleswara or Annamalaiyar, and he is worshipped in the form of Agni lingam. Mata Parvati is known as Unnamalai Amman. The importance of Annamalayar was mentioned in the famous text Tevaram.
The temple is one of the largest temples in India. The temple opens from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and celebrates several festivals. The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in a grand manner in this temple. Girivalam is very famous among the devotees, and they will circumambulate the Arunachala hill especially during full moon days. And Chitra Pournami festival is a famous festival for the devotees and thousands of devotees will make their girivalam during that day.
According to ancient Puranas Mata Parvati, once playfully closed the eyes of Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. Due to her act, the entire universe was surrounded with full of darkness for several years. In order to maintain the universe to its normal form, Mata Parvati performed penance at the Arunachala hills, and Lord Shiva appeared before her and she merged with Lord Shiva.
According to another famous legend, when Vishnu and Brahma challenged that they are the superior gods among the other gods, Lord Shiva appeared in the form a flame, and challenged them to find his original form.Brahma took the form of a swan, and flew to the sky to see the top of the flame, while Vishnu became the boar Varaha, and sought its base. Neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find his original form, and while Vishnu accepted his defeat, Brahma had lied and told that he had seen Lord Shiva’s original form. Due to his act, Lord Shiva cursed Lord Brahma that he would never have any temples on the earth. Sambandar, Appar and Manickavasagar praises the glory of the temple, and written about it in their sacred texts.
The place is also called as Mukthi Sthalam and saints like Seshadri Swamigal and Ramana Maharishi were lived in this Tiruvannamalai.
By visiting the holy temple of Arunachaleswara, we can get SALVATION after our death. Our sins would be gradually reduced and we would get spiritual energy and attain more physical and mental strength in our body and in mind. In this holy temple, the temple management is providing annadanam daily at 12.00 noon to about 300 devotees per day. Lot of devotees are getting benefited through that.
In the girivalam path, lot of temples are there, like Raghavendraswamy temple, Hanuman temple, Vishnu, Amman temples etc. Ashtalinga temples are also situated in the girivalam path, and ashrams for Ramana Maharishi, Seshadriswamigal and Yogi Ramsuratkumar is found in the girivalam path. By doing girivalam, our mind will get relaxed from tensions and we will forget ourselves from worries and will feel more pleasant and happy, and also we will get the grace of Lord Shiva. Hence let us try to develop the habit of visiting Lord Arunachaleswarar at least once in a year, and get the divine blessings from him.
Let us chant the names of Lord Shiva and be blessed.
“OM SREE ANNAMALAYARE NAMAHA”
“OM SREE UNNAMALAYAMMANE NAMAHA”