Paadal Petra Sthalams


Annamaleswarar (also called Arunachaleswarar), facing east


Unnamalai Amman (also called Abithagujambal), facing east

Other Deities

Sarva Sidhdhi Vinayaka, Kambathilayanar, Muruga, Vidyareswarar, Brahma Lingam, Ekambareswarar, Sapthamadhar, Renukambal, Chitragupta, Saneeswara, Kalatheeswarar, Palaniandavar, Venugopala, Gajalakshmi, Pitchadanar, Nataraja, Jurahareswarar, Kalasamharar, Bhairava, Viswamitra, Lingams worshiped by Sages Viswamitra, Vyagrapaadar, Pathanjali and Aagstya, Paadala Lingeswarar, Ayyappa, 63 Nayanmar, Navagraha. Sanctum Niches – Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Lingotbavar, Brahma, Durga, Chandikeswara

Thiruvannamalai is a huge temple with 6 Prakarams (including the one outside the outer compound wall). There are four Gopurams at the entrances in four directions. The Rajagopuram at the eastern entrance is with 11 tiers and rises 217 feet in height. The Southern Gopuram is Thirumanjana Gopuram, West is Paei Gopuram, North is Ammani Ammal Gopuram. Apart from this there are 5 smaller gopurams at the entrances to the inner Prakarams including Vallala Maharaja Gopuram, Kili Gopuram, and the ones in the south, west and north entrances. A 1000 Pillar Mantapam is immediately to your right in the fifth Prakaram as you enter through the Eastern Rajagopuram. Below ground level in this Mantapam is the shrine for Paatala Lingeswarar where the great Saint Ramana Maharishi was found with his body covered with sores while on meditation. Our detailed temple layout provides a reference for all the Prakarams, Gopurams, Shrines, and Mantapams. Thiruvannamalai has several festivals and events happening throughout the year. Thiruvannamalai is one of the Pancha Bootha Sthalams and represents Fire. Thiruvannamalai also has the other four Lingams that represent Earth (Ekambareswarar), Water (Jalakandeswara), Air (Chidambareswara) and Wind (Kalahastheeswarar).

The Thiruvannamalai Hill which is the manifestation of Lord Shiva himself is right behind the temple. Karthikai Deepam is an annual grand event here when a large lamp is lit on top of this hill and devotees from all over throng to witness this spectacle. The Hill has a Girivala Pathai (circumambulating path) around it for people to go around, particularly auspicious is the circumambulation on the night of the full moon. The path is about 15 Kilometers around the hill. On the path are shrines with Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam. There are also several Theerthams along the Girivalam Path including Agni Theertham, Simha Theertham, Bali Theertham, Kadaga Theertham and Yama Theertham. There are also several Mantapams along the way, the significant one being the Ezhuthu Mantapam. In approximately the exact position behind Annamaleswarar Temple and behind the hill is the Adi Annamalai Temple.

The Panchaloha Processional Idols of Thiruvannamalai are vast in number and considered to be a unique forumula of metal alloys as they have a different hue to them. The oldest of them has been estimated to belong to 11th Century CE.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Brahma Theertham, Sivagangai Theertham (tanks inside the Prakaram)

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Magizham (Mimusops elengi)


Thirugnanasambandar and Thirunavukkarasar (7th Century CE) have visited and praised the lord here at Thiruvannamalai. The temple at Thiruvannamalai has been in existence from the Pallava Era. All evidences and inscriptions belonging to that era have been lost in the war between the Pallavas and the historically first Chola King, Vijayalaya Chola (846 – 880 CE). The earliest to have been constructed would have been the Sanctum Sanctorum. However the earliest inscription found here at Thiruvannamalai are only from 849 CE till about 1582 CE. These, apart from mentioning about donations of various forms, also throw light on the temple history, and that of the region also. Over 100 inscriptions in Tamil, Sanskrit and Kannada. A few of them are in poetry form also. These inscriptions belong to the Cholas from 8th Century to 13th Century CE. From 13th to the 16th Century the inscriptions belong to Kadavarkon Koperunchingan, Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Nayak Kings. Most of the buildings were creatd by Koperunchingan, Krishnadeva Raya and Sevappa Nayak. Apart from this kings from far away lands have also contributed to the development of the Thiruvannamalai Temple which is considered the center of Saivism.


In a quest to find the head and feet of Lord Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, respectively had a competition. While Vishnu took the form of a boar to locate his feet, Brahma took the form of a Swan to locate his head. Lord Shiva is believed to have stood as a gigantic pillar of fire here as both went about their quest. Neither could succeed. While Vishnu admitted defeat, Brahma with his wings on fire fell down and while falling he grasped a petal of a Thazhampoo fallen from Shiva’s headlock and lied that he had reached his head. For this sin Brahma was cursed to not have temples exclusively for him and the flower was banished from the floral offerings to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva in this form of a pillar of fire is believed to have cooled down and settled down as the Hill on the request of other gods and celestial beings.

Thiruvannamalai is also the place where Lord Muruga possessed Saint Arunagirinathar. The spot is marked by a shrine to Muruga called Gopurathu Ilayanar Sannidhi.


Thiruvannamalai is about 70 kilometers straight west of Tindivanam. Tindivanam is about 115 kilometers southwest of Chennai.

Stay and Food

Thiruvannamalai has many hotels and restaurants for stay and good food. Apart from the Hotels are several Ashrams including the Ramana Ashram. All these require prior reservations.

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