Thiruvannamalai is a small sleepy town at the foot of the Arunachala hill or Annamalai. It is a temple town which is popular among pilgrims for the Arunachaleshwara temple and is located in the Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu and is also headquarter for the same district. The significance is that the hill is considered as the form of Lord Shiva Himself.
The town is considered as one among the five ‘PanchaBoothaSthalangal’ or 'Five Element temples' of Lord Shiva denoting the fire element. The other four elements, space, wind, water and earth are represented by Chidambaram, Sri Kalahasti, Thiruvanaikaval and Kanchipuram respectively.
Arunachaleswara Temple, Ramana Ashram, Virupaksha Cave and Seshadri Swamigal Ashram are some of the places that hold a lot of religious as well as spiritual significance for not only the Hindus of south India but for the world at large. One can spot a lot of foreigners who have traversed from far to realise the quintessence of Indian spiritualism. Padavedu Renukambal temple and Nedungunam Ramar temple are also temples which lure a lot of travellers who visit Thiruvannamalai.
Karthigai Dheepam Festival
There are four ‘Brhamaotsavams’ that are celebrated every year in the town. The most popular among these is the one that is celebrated in the month of November/December. These months are considered as Karthikai in the Tamil calendar. The celebrations go on for ten days and on the last day is celebrated the Karthigai Deepam where a giant cauldron with a huge wick and is filled with tons of ghee is lit in order to commemorate the significance of Lord Shiva assuming a the form of a huge pillar of fire to remove the delusion of Brahma and Vishnu. Lakhs of people gather to witness the flame atop the hill.
Full Moon day Circumambulation
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Another ritual that is regularly followed in the town is the worship of Lord Shiva on every full moon night. This worship is no mean feat since the devotees have to go around the Annamalai Hill barefoot. This distance measures 14km. However thousands of people circumambulate the hill with reverence.
During the time of Chitra Pournami in the month of April according to the Tamil calendar, many pilgrims from all over the country as well as the world come to the hill to offer their prayers.
The Town of Peace and Harmony
People live in harmony and conduct their businesses in as peaceful a manner as possible. The main businesses of the town are centrally located on the main roads that connect the town to Bangalore. In fact, many residential places have also been constructed on this road.
The town has its own railway station situated very close to the center of the town in the rail head from Vellore to Villupuram. Chennai International Airport is the closest airport, but the best way to reach the town is by doing a road journey.
The place experiences hot summers, moderate rainfall and mild winters.