ARULMIGU ARUNACHALESWARA TEMPLE

INTRODUCTION

Arulmigu Arunachalesvara Temple also popularly known as Sri Annamalaiyar Temple is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva, which is situated on the holy town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and it represents the fire element, Lord Agni Bhagavan.

Here as usual, Lord Shiva appears in the form of Lingam, that is, in the popular form of Agni lingam, and he is known as Arunachaleswarar and as Annamalaiyar. Lord Agni had once visited and worshipped Lord Shiva at this temple, and there is also an Agni Lingam temple in the Girivalam path. Ma Parvati is called as Unnamalai Amman or Apithakucha Ambal, or as Arputhakuchambal. The chief god, Lord Arunachaleswarar was praised through songs by the Nayanmar Saints during the 7th-century, and those wonderful songs are available in the Shaivite Holy Text Tevaram, and this temple is one among the sacred Shiva Temples, and at this temple, the great Shaivite saint-poet Manikkavasagar had penned the wonderful text Tiruvempaavai, which is as famous to the tasty Tirupavai songs.

The temple is one of the largest temples in South India, and apart from the main shrines, the temple contains several shrines, like SomaskandaDurgaChandikeshvara, Ma Gajalakshmi, Lord Arumugavelava(Kartikeya), DakshinamurthySwarnabairavar, Lord Nataraja, and Lingodbhava. Big halls are also present in this temple, and among them, the thousand-pillared hall looks very attractive and admirable.

Though the date of the construction of this actual temple structure was unknown, however from the temple records, it was found that the Chola Kings and the Vijayanagar Emperors had rendered a great work towards maintaining and preserving the temple structure. The temple is controlled by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The temple follows six daily rituals, and it observes twelve yearly festivals. And the most important among them, is the Karthigai Deepam festival, which would be celebrated during the day of the full moon between November and December (Karthika Pournami), and during that auspicious day, we can view huge fire flames, (fire would be lighted on the top of the hill by the devotees), and it would appear similar to Lord Shiva himself, and this marvellous event would be watched by lakhs and lakhs of pilgrims. 

Girivalam(Circumambulating the holy Arunachala Hills), is an ancient practice which is followed even till today, wherein which, a large number of devotees would circumambulate the holy Arunachala Hills, especially during full moon days. I have also circumambulated this holy Arunachala Hills for more than twelve times, and due to that, I have attained great spiritual enlightenment! This wonderful Temple has attained universal status, after Guru Ramana and Guru Seshadri Swamigal had lived in the marvellous Arunachala Hills for several years.

As per ancient legend, Ma Parvati, had once closed the eyes of Lord Shiva in a playful manner at the holy Mount Kailash. Although this act had lasted only for a few seconds, yet the entire universe becomes dark. Due to that, Ma Parvati has to undergo rigorous penance at this present place of the temple, and pleased by her devotion, Lord Shiva had appeared before her in the form of fire flames on the top of Annamalai hills, and thus by again giving bright light to the entire universe. 

After this incident, Lord Shiva had showed his great affection and love on his lovely consort Ma Parvati, had merged with her, and this popular form is called as Ardhanarishwara, also called as Shivashakteeswara. The hill itself is considered to be very sacred and this hill itself is worshipped in the form of Lord Shiva. As per another legend, Lord Shiva had once appeared in the form of fire flames, in order to show his enormous supreme powers before Lord Vishnu and Brahma, in order to destroy their ego!

There are several boarding and lodging homes located near to this temple. If we merely think about this holy temple just for one time, and if that itself would give salvation to us, then if we directly visit it, then how much divine energy we would get! Once if we reach this holy place, we could hear the wonderful mesmerising song, “Annamalaiyane endrum unnai ninaipene”, Oh the great Lord Annamalaiyane, we would think you forever. Devotees can choose various modes of transport in order to visit this temple like bus, car, train and two wheelers.

OM SRI ANUNACHALAGIRIVASA NAMO NAMAHA”

WRITTEN BY

R.HARISHANKAR