Annamalaiyar Temple – Literary Mention
The temple is praised in the Thevaram hymns of Gnanasambandar. Describing the graceful appearance of the Lord with Mother on the Annamalai Hills with its waterfalls pleasing the souls, the Saint says that all adverse effects following a soul from past births would disappear once the devotee worships Lord Annamalaiyar. This is the 22nd temple in Nadu Naadu region sung in Thevaram hymns.
Thirugnana Sambandar, a 7th-century Tamil Saivite poet, venerated Annamalaiyar and Unnamulai Amman in ten verses in Tevaram, compiled as the First Thirumurai. Appar, a contemporary of Sambandar, also venerated Annamalaiyar in 10 verses in Tevaram, compiled as the Fifth Thirumurai. As the temple is revered in Tevaram, it is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the Saiva canon.
Manickavasagar, a 9th-century Tamil saint and poet, revered Annamalaiyar in his writing, describing the deity as "AnnAmalai". He composed the Tiruvembavai in the Tamil month of Margazhi at the temple. Arunagirinathar was a 15th-century Tamil poet born in Thiruvannamalai. He spent his early years as a rioter and seducer of women. After ruining his health, he tried to commit suicide by throwing himself from the northern tower, but was saved by the grace of god Murugan. He became a staunch devotee and composed Tamil hymns glorifying Murugan, the most notable being Thirupugazh.
The western world learnt of Thiruvannamalai during the mid 20th century, through the work of Ramana Maharishi (1879–1950 CE). The cave where Ramana meditated is on the lower slopes of the Annamalai hills, with the ashram further down at the foothills. The basement of the raised hall inside the temple has the Patala Lingam, where Ramana attained supreme awareness while ants devoured his flesh. The place is also called a Mukthi Sthalam, meaning place of salvation, and saints like Seshadri Swamigal, Gugai Namachivayar and Yogi Ramsuratkumar have been associated with the temple.