Presiding Deity : Annamalayar
Goddess : Unnamualayal
Muruga : Kambathuilayanar
Vinayaka : Sambandhavinayakar
Popularly noted for : Girivalam
Holy tree : Makizha tree
Holy spring : Brahmma theertham
Place : Thiruvannamalai
District : Thiruvannamalai
Every expectation of the devotee is fulfilled here including liberation from mental peacelessness and sorrows. Lord Annamalayar is all blessingful. The devotees come in lakhs during the whole year to the shrine.
Those aspiring for a life partner, child, development in business, promotion in career, employment chance, self-employment, education etc. seek the blessing of Lord Annamalayar and they do get it.
Those who are physically weak, the sick, couples separated from each other, brothers and sisters lacking unity between one another and longing for reunion, all prostrate before the Lord for a remedy. Those who worship Lord Annamalayar get relief from various obstacles in the way of their endeavours and achieve total peace and also attain salvation finally.
People offer their hair to the Lord. Those who need a child place cradles in the temple. Lamps are lit for the salvation of the departed souls. Devotees offer grains, money, vegetables, fruits, jaggery to the Lord equal to their weight, a prayer commitment known as Thulabaram. Abisheks are offered in turmeric, flour, milk, curd, milk, sugarcane juice, honey, tender coconut, panchamirtham ( made with fruits and honey) sandal, rose water, sacred ashes etc and cloth the Lord with dried, clean and pure clothes, and offer ghee lights-deepa. Devotees also conduct the wedding festival to the Lord and Goddess. The Nivedhana is offered to the visitors. The rich feed the devotees.
Specialities of the Temple:
The Tamil word Annudhal means approaching closely. Anna also means that one cannot approach at all. As a mountain of fire, Anna is one who could not be approached even by Brahmma or Vishnu and find either his feet or head.
Malai (mount): Mount Kailash has the reputation as it has the Shivalinga in it. Thiruvannamalai has the reputation as the mount itself is in the shape of Linga. The Girivalam (walking around the mount) is another repulation universally praised.
The sages, Siddhas, the enlightened all worshipped this holy mount since the day the world came into being. This was a Fire Mount during the Krutha Yuga, Ruby Mount during the Thredha Yuga, Golden Mount during Dwapara uga and now a Stone Mount during Kali Yuga. According to geologists, Thiruvannamalai has some magnetic power called Kanthamalai.
The other wonder is, the mount looks with a single shape when seen from the east meaning that all is One. During the rounding, it looks as if two symbolizing the Arthanareeswara philosophy. When seen from the west, three faces could be seen meaning the Trimurthis. At the end of the rounding journey, five faces will be visible symbolizing the five faces of Lord Shiva.
Procedures of Girivalam or walking around the mount: The total distance is 14 kilometers. This should be journeyed by walk only and not by vehicles. There are eight Lingas around the Girivalam 1) Indra Linga, 2) Agni Linga, 3) Ema Linga, 4) Nruthi Linga, 5) Varuna Linga, 6) Vayu Linga, 7) Kubera Linga and 8) Easana Linga. The rounding journey should be undertaken worshipping all the eight Lingas.
While going around the mount, one should not wave their hands sportively but obediently keeping the left without touching the mount on the right side. One should be silent during the walk as it is believed that the Siddhas are accompanying us invisibly and represent us to the Lord submitting our prayers. The heart should be full of thoughts of Lord’s glory. As often as possible, the devotee should also look at the mount side and immediately look at the sky before seeing anything else.
Each Full Moon day at least 7 lakh devotees come to Thiruvannamalai for Girivalam. Besides devotees from Tamilnadu, they come from other state of India and foreign countries too. Big VIPs and VVIPs visit the temple and undertake Girivalam.
It is in the month of Karthikai (November-December) Lord Shiva offered His left side to Goddess Parvathi. Therefore, Karthikai Girivalam assumes importance.
On every first day of the Tamil Calendar months, it is believed that Rishis and Siddhas are journeying through the mountan around. i n the new moon day, the moon gets more powers from the Sun and therefore the Poornima Girivalam is supposed to be highly yielding.
Thiruvannamalai is known as Agni Sthala, Tuesday belongs to Agni or Planet Mars. Special Pujas are performed during Tuesdays. Girivalam is undertaken on Tuesdays too.
Sunday Girivalam ensures Shiva position, Monday the Indira status, Tuesday release from debt burdens, relieves the devotee from the cycle of births and deaths, Wednes day the Wisdom, Thursday a status equal to enlightened souls, Friday taking near to Lord Vishnu and Saturday ensures effects of total prayer offered to all the nine planets. Girivalam on new moon days eliminates all the tension and stress of the mind and makes it clear as a crystal. A 48 day fasting and going round the mount ensures a child.
Reputation of Thiruvannamalai:
The mountain by itself is a Shivalinga.
Most famous Shiva sthala of South India
Of the Panchabudha sthalas, Thiruvannamalai belongs to Agni – Fire
The very thought of Thiruvannamalai assures salvation.
The devotee profitably loses the trait of pride and develop humility
Goddess Unnamulayal got the left part of the Lord Shiva here
The holy place that gave birth to sage Arunagirinathar
A place where Lord Muruga appeared before Arunagiriar and saved him from his suicide attempt.
The temple has 9 towers and spread over an area of 25 acres. Thiruvannamalai Gopuram (tower) is the second tallest one – 217 feet with exquisite aesthetic beauty. Known as the Tirupathi of Tamilnadu, the town of Thiruvannamalai is ever crowded with devotees from many parts of the state, country and abroad.
The temple was built in the 6th century. Renovated by Pandya. Chola, Cheara in various periods and is the oldest temple of Tamilnadu. A shrine inhabited by rishis and siddhas who still live here. A shrine that gave us Ramana Maharishi, Seshadri Swamigal, Visiri Swamigal and enlightened souls.
Situated in the heart of Thiruvannamalai town, the place is 188 kms from Chennai, 210 from Trichy, 60 from Villupuram, 210 from Bangalore. Those visiting the shrine may have accommodation facilities in the lodges. Hotel Trishool Phone No. 22219; Hotel Akash 22151; Hotel Lodge 23291; Hotel Brindavan 22693; Hotel Dhoumagal 22208, the charges ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 5000.
Conveyance is comfortably available from almost all important places as Chennai, Tiruchy, Pondicherry, Madurai. Nearest Railways stations are Thiruvannamalai, Kadpadi, Villupuram and the airport Chennai.
Maha Sivarathri in the month of Masi (February-March), Makara Sankranthi – Pongal in the month of Thai (January-February), thiruvoodal or Unjal, monthly pradoshas are observed. Fire walking (Thee Midhi) in Adipooram day before the Amman Sannidhi is very famous. Such a festival is not celebrated in any Shiva Temple in Tamilnadu.
Six time Puja (Aarukala Puaja) is followed in the temple. In the month of Masi (February-March) Annamalayar is taken to Pallikondapattu symbolizing the incident of his doing the last rites for the Vallal Maharaja to whom he was born as a son. On the 5th of month of Thai (January-February) Lord Shiva comes in a procession in the surrounding temples at Manalurpet, at Kalasapakkam on Rathasapthami day in the month of Thai. 6 days festival is celebrated during the month of Panguni (March-April) following the Panguni Uthiram. Every month has a festival here, The crowd of devotees will be more during Pradosham days. Deepavali, Pongal, new year days of both English and Tamil Calendar is celebrated with special Puajas.
The history of this great and celebrated temple is known to almost all devotees. It was a challenge or competition between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahmma to decide their superiority by finding the feet and head of Lord Shiva respectively. The competition was fixed by Lord Shiva Himself to judge their superiority status. Shiva took the guise of flames. Vishnu frankly admitted his defeat that he could not find Shiva’s feet. But Brahmma, though failed, arranged the Thazhamboo flower to give false witness that he saw the head. Knowing his falsehood, Shiva cursed that he would not have any temple on earth with pujas etc. Similarly Thazhamboo also is not taken for pujas.