Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple
A unique temple of Shiva is located in Tiruvannamalai district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which is addressed as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleshwar Shiva Temple. The temple is located in Tiruvannamalai district, in the foothills of the Annamalai range, which gives it a special geographical setting. The temple is thronged by devotees on every full moon day and a huge fair is held especially on Kartik Purnima. The devotee has to walk the Annamalai mountain 14 kilometers long before reaching here.
History of Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple
An inscription found in the temple and the present structure and towers of the Arunachaleswara temple shows that this temple were built by the kings of the Chola dynasty. By other inscriptions found in the temple shows that this area was under the Pallava kings before the 9th century.
According to historians, the Chola kings ruled the city of Tiruvannamalai from 850 AD to 1280 AD and acted as patrons of the Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple. In 1328, Hoysala king Veera Ballala III made the city of Tiruvannamalai the capital. After which the Vijayanagara rulers of Sangama dynasty from 1336 AD to 1485 AD and Saluva dynasty and Tuluva dynasty from 1491 AD to 1515 AD expanded and maintained the temple.
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Construction of Temple
The Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple complex is spread over 10 acres of land and is currently considered to be one of the largest temples in India. There are five Shiva temples in the Arunachaleshwar temple complex, which include land, water, air, sky and fire, and each represents a manifestation of a natural element.
There are four gateway towers known as gopurams inside the temple. The tallest gateway tower of the temple is the eastern Rajagopuram which is 66 meters in height. For this reason, this temple is included in the highest temples of India. The tower on the west side of the temple is called Payi Gopuram, the southern tower as Tirumanjanopuram and the tower on the northern side is called Ammani Amman Gourami.
Rituals are held six times daily in the temple from 5.30 am to 10 pm and there are twelve annual festivals according to the Indian calendar. The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated on the full moon day between November and December in this temple. A day before each full moon at the temple, pilgrims circumambulators the base of the temple and the Arunachala hills in a puja called Girivalam, which is performed annually by one lakh pilgrims.
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There are four sanctums called palliarai on the four sides of the sanctum of the main temple and to the south of the thousand-pillared hall, there is a small shrine for Subramaya and a large tank.
The wedding pavilion, Kalyana Mandapam, located inside the temple, to the west of the southeast has been built in the Vijayanagara style. The third courtyard of the temple houses the Vasantha Mandapam, also known as the Hall of Spring, which houses the temple office and the Kalatheeswara temple.
The fourth courtyard of the temple houses a Nandi, the Brahma shrine, the temple tank, the Vinayaga shrine called Yanai Thirai Konda and a hall with a six-feet high statue of Nandi, which was built by the king Vallala Maharaja.
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How to reach Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple
By road- Tiruvannamalai is well connected by road. The Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwar Temple can be easily reached by bus and taxi.
By train – Tindivanam Railway Station is at a distance of 69 km from the temple and Viluppuram Junction at a distance of 63.2 km. You can easily reach temple from these stations by taxi and bus.
By Air- The nearest airport to the temple is the Puducherry airport, which is located at a distance of 106 km from the temple and the temple is easily accessible by bus and taxi.
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