The Largest Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva – Tiruvannamalai Temple or Arunachaleswarar Temple

From Arunachaleswarar temple alias Thiruvannamalai Temple is believed to be the largest temple in the world dedicated to Lord Shiva,  at Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu state, India.  “Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple” is the official name of the temple.

Arunachaleswarar Temple or Tiruvannamalai Temple
Arunachaleswarar Temple or Tiruvannamalai Temple

Tiruvannamalai Arunachalam temple is situated on a hilltop on a 10 hectare land.The history of the temple dates back to more than a millennium.  Thevaram, a seventh century devotional poetry and  Thiruvasagam, ninth century Tamil hymns composed by the Shaivite poet Manikkavasagar, both mentions this temple.

Devotes call God Shiva as Annamalayar or Arunachaleswarar here. According to the official website of the temple, Legend behind Annamalaiyar temple is as follows.

Bramha took the form of a swan and flew to see the crown of Siva. Unable to see the crown, Bramha saw a thazhambu flower which had decked Siva’s crown falling down. He asked the flower as to the distance of Siva’s crown whereby the flower replied that he had been falling for forty thousand years. Bramha, realizing that he would not be able to reach the crown asked the flower to act as a false witness.

The thazhambu flower acting as a false witness declared that Brahma had seen the crown. Siva became angry at the deception and cursed that Bramha should have no temple on earth and that the thazhambu flower should not be used while praying to Lord Siva. The place where Lord Siva stood as a column of fire to eliminate the ego is Thiruvannamalai.

Thiruvannamalai Girilvalam

Thiruvannamalai Girilvalam is very famous among the devotees. It is the process of Circumambuling the 14 kilometers path along the temple’s outer boundary (walking around the temple compound) on a full moon day. Devotees believes that Girilvalam will bring many benefits to them. Benefits includes long life, fame, relief from diseases, health, wealth, peace of mind, etc. Tamil film Superstar Rajnikath has contributed more than a million Indian rupees towards illuminating the Girilvalam pathway.

Thiruvannamalai Deepam Festival

Thiruvannamalai deepam festival is very famous among the devotees. Three million devotees have attended the last Deepam Festival on the Karthikai Deepam or Karthikai Vilakkidu day. It will be on the full moon day, in-between November and December. You can see the huge beacon lit atop the hill top  from miles away. It symbolizes the Shiva lingam (Associated with lord Shiva) of fire joining the sky.

Hotels in Thiruvannamalai

Sparsa resort Thiruvannamalai is an Eco-friendly resort. There are many other hotels also near to the temple.

How Do I Go to Tiruvannamalai Temple or Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple?

Tiruvannamalai to Chennai  distance is around 194 kilometers.  Vellore is at around 92 kilometers distance from the temple.

Tiruvannamalai railway Station is at around 2 kilometers from the temple. It is on the Katpadi-Villipuram route. Railway station code for is Tiruvannamalai  is TNM.

Nearest major airport is at Chennai.

Conclusion

Thiruvannamalai Temple is  the largest Lord Shiva Temple and Karthikai Deepam is the main festival here.

Are you going for the next Thiruvannamalai Deepam Festival? Please let me know your comments.