Thiruvannamalai

Only 188km away from Chennai, Thiruvannamalai is the home of a mammoth temple (built around 700 A.D), dedicated to Arunachaleshwara (Shiva, venerated as a Linga of Fire) and his divine consort Unnamalai Amman. Birth place of the renowned Tamil Saint Arunagirinatha, who composed the thirupughal hymns, it is also the locate chosen by Saint Philosopher Ramana Maharishi, for his ashram.

The temple's annual Karthigai Deepam festival (November-December), involves the lighting of a huge sacred fire atop the Annamalai hill - which can be seen from even 25 miles away. In his upward flight he caught hold of a flower of Pandavas falling from Siva's crown and requested the flower to bear a false witness that he collected it from Siva's crown. Knowing this Lord Siva cursed Brahma that he would never be worshipped in the temple, and banished Pandavas flower from his adornment.

This temple is safely edifice consecrated to the Lord of Light and other deities, built centuries ago at the foot of the hill to form the seat of worship. The main entrance to the sanctum sanctorum is in the eastern tower, the tallest structure in proportion to the other dimensions of this largest temple forming part of it. The tower rising heavenward is marvelously massive and magnificently majestic one with its imposing structural elegance and inviting architectural excellence and awes people at a distance.