Adi Annamalai Temple is the oldest known temple in and around the areas surrounding Thiruvannamalai. The temple was built at least a century before the construction of the Arunachaleswara Temple was even started. Hence, it is believed to be almost 2000 years old.
Initially the temple was believed to be a simple structure of wood containing the idols of various Gods and Goddesses. It was only later that gopurams were added and the wooden structure was brought down for building a temple of bricks and stone. The present form of the temple is known to have been in existence for over 1200 years now.
‘Adi’ stands for first in the local language and hence is an apt name for the temple. The temple was built much before the Arunachaleswara Temple but is miniscule in comparison to the latter. The temple stands on an area of only ½ acre. The lingam that is worshipped in the temple is believed to have been built by Lord Brahma Himself.
Achalpuram Temple, situated in the village of Achalapuram, is about 25 km from the temple city of Chidambaram. Lord Shiva is the main deity worshipped in this temple, and the idol worshiped here is to be particularly noted.
It is in the form of a Shiva Linga entwined by a snake, made in gold, the hood of which covers the linga, protecting it. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Sri Shivalokathyageshwar in this temple and as always, is accompanied by his consort Goddess Parvathi as Tiruvenneetrumai Ammai.
The temple architecture is reminiscent of the golden age of Tamil temple architecture. Every other temple in Chidambaram exudes the same aura in equal measure and this place proves to be no exception. The temple is located 8 km away from Chidambaram, on the route to Seerkazhi.
Abirami Amman Temple is dedicated to Goddess Abirami Amman. Located at the centre of the city the temple is thronged by devotees during Navratri festival. During Navratri, the famous Kolu is kept in the temple.
During this time, the priests of the temple perform over 1 Lakh archanas in dedication to the Goddess of the temple. During the Tamil month of Adi, the Goddess is taken on a possession on a pallak made of flower on all Fridays.
Agni theertham is the first water body situated outside the premises of the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple. The theertham is situated in one corner of the sea, unlike the other theerthams that are tank-like and located within the temple itself.
According to a legend, Lord Rama bathed in this part of the sea after killing the Lanka king Ravana. Rama is also believed to have invoked the blessings of Lord Shiva while washing himself in the sea. He was seeking absolution for having killed a Brahmin. This is one reason that bathing in the theerthams is believed to wash a person of their earthly sins.
Pilgrimage to Rameshwaram is said to begin only after first bathing in the agni theertham and all the pilgrims follow this religiously. However, of late many people have started complaining about the cleanliness standards of the area in and around the theertham. Pilgrims want the theertham to be better taken care of because of its religious significance.
The Aavaranap Pillaiyar Koil Temple, located in Courtallam, is maintained by the temple Devasthanam. The temple attracts a lot of tourists every year. There are many buses and taxis available to this place from various parts of Courtallam.
Adhiyamankottai is one of the oldest forts in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It is in the Dharmapuri district of the state. The fort has been built by King Adhiyaman, and he was one of the very last 7 benevolent emperors who had ruled the state. The fort actually appears like a circular mud wall.
Moreover, it does appear in a circular image when one searches it in the map. The place is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the entire state. The fort passes through a lake and this lake is considered to be very auspicious by the locals.
The fort was the residential place of King Adhiyaman and this capital was situated in the present Dharmapuri town. One gets absolute facilities as there are several bus and private car services that connect the place with the rest of the state.
Aanaikulathamman Koil is located near Velapadi in Vellore. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, in the form of Aanaikulathamman. Though this is a lesser-known temple, devotees from nearby places visit this holy place everyday.
The temple is built in an idyllic backdrop. It is recommended to visit the Aanaikulathamman Koil when you are in Vellore.
108 Pillayar Kovil is a temple located in the Karaikudi town that is part of the Sivaganga district in the state of Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated Lord Ganesha, who is the son of God Shiva and his wife, Goddess Parvati.
The temple is known all over the country because it houses 108 Ganesh murtis or idols. Many devotees flock to the temple in large numbers because of this special feature. The temple is also very popular among the local crowd mainly because Lord Ganesh is considered the deity who is responsible for removing obstacles from our path. Hence, people come to the temple to worship and seek the blessings of Ganesha before starting anything new. It is believed that invoking Lord Ganesha before the start of something new ensures that your new venture will go on smoothly without any obstacles. In order to impress the god, devotees offer his favourite sweet ladoo or modak at the temple.
Agasthiyar Falls is located close to the Papanasam Shiva Temple at a distance of about 4 km uphill. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region. The height of the waterfall is around 100 metres and it can be reached by trekking from the Papanasam Temple.
This waterfall is believed to have not just the power to wash all sins but is also enriched by medicinal herbs and has the power to heal. One can also trek uphill to its source, the Kalyan Theertham, where the origin of the falls is hidden behind a huge wall-like structure.
Legends say that Saint Agasthiar balanced the earth and saved it from the havoc which was created by the crowd of people who thronged to the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva.
The 1008 Lingam Temple is located in Ariyanoor, and it is one of the most famous temples of the city. The temple is under the control of a department of the Vinayaga Mission. There are 1008 Shiva Lingams present in the temple with the holy cow Nandi in front of them all over the hillock on which the temple has been built.
There is an enormous Ganesha statue at the foothills of the temple. The location around the area is picturesque, and the area is very serene. An idol of the presiding deity of the shrine Sri Umaiyambigai Samedha Sri Arunachala Sundareswara is positioned on top of the hillock. A sight of the idol is said to be worth visiting the temple.
Agaya Gangai refers to a multi-tiered waterfall of the river Aiyaru that cascades down from a height of 300 feet. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, Agaya Gangai waterfall is located nearby the Arapaleeswarar Temple. A set of steps that are more than a thousand in number exist from the temple to the bottom of the waterfall. The steep nature of these steps make both the descent and ascent quite tiring, and people who get winded easily or those who have health problems are advised to take an extremely slow approach. A couple of viewpoints are present on the way and offer a spot to relax for tourists.
Agaya Gangai literally translates to Ganges of the sky and the view from the top is breathtaking. Tourists are advised to be on the watch for slippery rocks close to the waterfall while witnessing its grandeur from up close.
Aayiram Jannal Veedu is a famous landmark in the town of Karaikudi. The literal translation of the name of the place means the house with a thousand windows; a very apt name for a house that has thousand windows!
The house is very famous among the tourists who make it a point to visit the place when in Karaikudi. In fact, once in the town, simply ask anyone for directions to the house. Built in 1941 on 20,000 square feet of area, the house is very spacious and costed 1 lakh 25 thousand at the time, a meager sum of money now. The house has 25 huge rooms and five very large halls. There are some 20 doors in the house along with 1000 windows.
The first thing that strikes when one enters the house is that although it is in shambles and poorly maintained, the original style of architecture and grandeur still remains intact.
Adam’s Bridge, also popularly known as Rama Setu or Rama’s Bridge, was built by the army of Vanars or monkeys who helped Rama rescue Sita from Ravana. In Ramayana, the bridge is referred to as Setubandhanam. The bridge is actually a path made of limestone shoals that stretch between Pamban Island, which is on the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka.
Geologists have proven that the bridge was actually a walking path that formerly connected India and Sri Lanka. The sea that now separates the two countries is referred to as Sethusamudram or Sea of the Bridge.
The Bridge also finds reference in Christian mythology; Adam had crossed this bridge in order to reach the mountain (Adam’s Peak located in Sri Lanka) where he did his penance by standing on one foot for a thousand years. Hence, the name Adam’s Bridge.
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple in Kumbakonam is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is in this temple that the annual festival of Mahamaham is held. The temple is believed to be at least 1300 years old. The temple has been in existence since the 7th century when the Cholas were reigning over the town. The temple is mentioned in the hymns written by Saiva Nayanars, who were 7th century poet saints of Tamil Nadu.
The temple was greatly worked upon and expanded by the Nayaks between the 15th and 17th centuries. Today, the temple is the largest Shiva temple in the town, boasting of a tall rajagopuram or gateway tower that is 9 storeys high and stands at a height of 125 ft. Within the premises of the temple are three large concentric compounds.
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Adi Kumbeswarar and the idol of the god is located right in the centre of the temple in a shrine.