THIRUVANNAMALAI TEMPLE VIRTUAL TOURISM
Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyar Temple Virtual Reality Tour has been Digitally photographed in single camera set-up for the virtual tour. In this presentation, you can go to 27 places inside the temple including siva Gangai theertham, Arunagirinathar Mandapam, thousand pillars hall, flag-tree post, and more places. And it is one of the temples associated with five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of Fire.
And the default mode for 2D if you are using desktop/laptop, and for the best viewing experience and if you want to feel being inside the temple use the VR Headsets.
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Tiruvannamalai is very famous place for both spiritually and historically.Tiruvannamalai is one of the most venerated places in Tamil Nadu.
In ancient times, the term “Annamalai” meant an inaccessible mountain. The word “Thiru” was prefixed to signify its greatness, and coupled with the two terms, it is called Tiruvannamalai. The main deity of the temple is Annamalaiyar and Unnamalai Amman. Shiva is worshiped as Arunachalesvara or Annamalaiyar, and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam.
The temple is very unique as it is one among pancha bhooda stalam and sung by saiva kuravargal. The annamaliayar kovil was built before 1100 years and the architecture of the temple has its contribution from various kingdom from Cholas, Pandias, Sambuvarayars Posalas, Vijayanagar kings, Nayaks, Nagarathargal, Cheftains and Zamindars. And this is believed to be the largest temple in the world dedicated to Shiva.
Tiruvannamalai is considered as the most sacred place on earth as it is here that lord Shiva manifests himself in the form of Arunachala Mountain.Many Jnani’s acknowledge Arunachala as the spiritual axis of the earth. Like flowers attract bees, Aruncahala has been drawing mystics, masters, yogis, truth seekers and enlightened beings from time immemorial. Arunachala Mahatyam which forms part of various purans and vedas say this “ By seeing Chidambaram, By being born in Tiruvarur, By dying in Kasi one can attain liberation.But by merely thinking & meditating on Arunachala, one will surely attain liberation”.
In Hindu mythology, Parvati, wife of Shiva, once closed the eyes of her husband playfully in a flower garden at their abode atop Mount Kailash. Lord Siva’s wife Goddess Umadevi once playfully closed His eyes which plunged the world into darkness. All living beings suffered in the dark. To absolve herse of this sin Mother Umadevi created a Sivalingam out of sand and worshipped at Kancheepuram.
At that instance, Lord Siva ordered her to proceed to Thiruvannamalai and do penance so that she could get half of His body. Likewise Mother Parvathi did penance at Pavalakundru with the help of Saint Gowthama. A demon called Makidasuran disturbed the penance of Mother Parvathi. The Mother took the form of goddess Durga Devi and destroyed him on the full moon day of the Tamil Month of Karthigai during the auspicious period of pradosham. Lord Siva presented himself in the form of Fire atop the hill and merged Goddess Parvathi on the left half of his body to form Ardhanarishvara, the half-female, half-male form of Shiva. The Arunachala, or red mountain, lies behind the Arunachalesvara temple, and is associated with the temple of its namesake. The hill is sacred and considered a lingam, or iconic representation of Shiva, in itself.
Another legend is that once, while Vishnu and Brahma contested for superiority, Shiva appeared as a flame, and challenged them to find his source. 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., while Vishnu became the boar Varaha, and sought its base. The scene is called lingothbava, and is represented in the western wall at the sanctum of most Shiva temples. Neither Brahma nor Vishnu could find the source, and while Vishnu conceded his defeat, Brahma lied and said he had found the pinnacle. In punishment, Shiva ordained that Brahma would never have temples on earth in his worship. The Annamalai Hill was Agni (fire) during Krithayugam, was Manikkam (Emerald) during Threthayugam, was pon (Gold) during Dwaprayugam and rock during Kaliyugam as per the ancient legends. On the request of Thirumal and Bramha by their devout prayer, Siva who was in the form of a fire column took the form of a Sivalingam at the foot of the hill hwere the Arulmigu Annamalaiyar Temple is located. In Tamil, the word Arunam means red or fire and Asalam means hill. Since Shiva manifested himself in the form of fire in this place, this name Arunachalam came to be associated with Annamalai hill and the town. The first mention of Annamalai is found in Tevaram, the seventh century Tamil Saiva canonical work by Appar and Tirugnanasambandar.
The temple complex covers an area of 10 ha (25 acres), and is one of the largest temples in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 66 m (217 ft), making it one of the tallest temple towers in India. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Annamalaiyar and Unnamulai Amman being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the thousand-pillared hall built during the Vijayanagar period.[3
It has four gateway towers, the gopuram, on its four sides. The eastern tower, the Rajagopuram, is the tallest in the temple. The base of the Rajagopuram is made of granite, measuring 135 ft (41 m) by 98 ft (30 m). It was begun by king Krishnadevaraya (1509–29 CE) of the Vijayanagara dynasty, and completed by Sevappa Nayaka (1532–80 CE). The inscriptions indicate that the tower was built at the behest of Sivanesa and his brother Lokanatha in 1572 CE. The south tower is called Thirumanjangopuram, and the west, Pei Gopuram. Ammani Amman gourami in the north. Raghunathabhyudayam and Sangitha Sudha, both Nayak scriptures, also describe the towers. The Tanjavuri Andhra Raja Charitamu mentions that Krishnadevaraya built the tower and the outer precincts of the temple. The temple has a total of five precincts, each of which holds a huge Nandi, the sacred bull of Shiva. Towers include the Vallala Maharaja Gopuram and Kili Gopuram, or Parrot Tower.
The temple celebrates dozens of festivals throughout the year. Four prime festivals, the Brahmotsavam, are celebrated yearly. The most important of these lasts ten days during the Tamil month of Karthikai, between November and December, concluding with the celebration of Karthikai Deepam. A huge lamp is lit in a cauldron, containing three tons of ghee, at the top of the Arunachala hills during the Deepam. To mark the occasion, the festival image of Arunachalesvara is taken around the wooden chariot around the mountain. Inscriptions indicate that the festival was celebrated as early as the Chola period (from 850 CE to 1280 CE) and was expanded to ten days in the twentieth century.
Daily poojas are conducted for six time in this famous temple. Moreover the special poojas to be carried out in Lord Siva’s Temple are also performed regularly.
Ukshakala pooja: 05:30 A.M to Arthajama pooja: 09:00 P.M
Devotee can book the Darshan Booking in HRCE Department Portal https://tnhrce.gov.in in which, a link to ‘Online Darshan Ticket Booking for Temples’ provides the List of Temples which allow the Online Darshan Ticket Booking Services.
When going for darshan at Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswarar Temple, make a plan for at least two three hours for a relaxed exploration of the temple and darshan of the deity. During festival, it takes around 4 to 5 hours to get darshan. Devotees visiting the Annamalaiyar Temple will not be allowed to bring mobile phones with them.
Reaching Sri Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai :
The nearest airport from Thiruvannamalai is at Pondicherry at a distance of 87 km. Another important airport close to the city is at Chennai, which is around 155 km away. One can avail taxi services from the airport in order to reach Thiruvannamalai.
Thiruvannamalai Railway Station boasts a brilliant connectivity with major cities and areas of the country. There are trains to all the directions in India, making it the best way to reach the city.
Thiruvannamalai is well-connected by National Highways and State Highways. NH-77 and SH-9A and 6 connect Thiruvannamalai with other cities in India. Tamil Nadu state roadways corporation offers a good connectivity with other major towns and cities of the state.
Annamalaiyar Temple dress code follows a strict prohibition of shorts, lunges, caps and animal skin clothes inside the temple premises. As per the new code, male devotees should wear dhotis or pyjamas with upper cloth, or formal pants and shirts. Women should wear sarees or half sarees with blouse, churidhars with dupatta. The children should wear any fully covered dress. Wearing Leggins is not allowed and should avoid sleeveless kurtis.