Saturday, March 12, 2016

Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai

Annamalaiyar Temple, Thiruvannamalai
Annamalaiyar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located at the base of Annamalai hills in the town of Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu, India. It is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the five elements, the Pancha Bhoota Stalas, and specifically the element of fire, or Agni. Shiva is worshiped as Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar, and is represented by the lingam, with his idol referred to as Agni lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Unnamulai Amman. 


The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The 9th century Saiva saint poet Manickavasagar composed the Tiruvempaavai here.


The temple complex covers 10 hectares, and is one of the largest in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with 11 stories and a height of 66 metres (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.


The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar. The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated during the day of the full moon between November and December, and a huge beacon is lit atop the hill. It can be seen from miles around, and symbolizes the Shiva lingam of fire joining the sky. The event is witnessed by three million pilgrims. On the day preceding each full moon, pilgrims circumnavigate the temple base and the Annamalai hills in a worship called Girivalam, a practice carried out by one million pilgrims yearly.


The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers of the Sangama Dynasty (1336–1485 CE), the Saluva Dynasty and the Tuluva Dynasty (1491–1570 CE). The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamilnadu.


Shiva is known by devotees as Annamalayar or Arunachaleswarar. And this is believed to be the largest temple in the world dedicated to Shiva. The history of this Annamalayar temple dates back to thousand years. Mention has been made in the Thevaram and Thiruvasagam, both great works in Tamil.


This temple city is about 80 kilometres away from Katpadi or otherwise known as Vellore. This temple can also reached from Chennai traveling to a distance of about 180 kilometres. Shiva and Parvathi are the two deities that are worshipped here at Arunachaleswarar temple. Shiva is prayed here in the form of Agni.


Many kings of those periods have contributed their share to the growth and welfare of this Arunachaleswarar temple. Construction was going on at a steady pace over the last thousand years indicating its importance and patron received by this temple from the public. It has continuously expanded due to the initiative of the kings and the public contribution.


This temple is also considered unique since fire being one of the five elements of Panchabootham is attributed to this Arunachaleswarar temple and Shiva takes the form of this fire. The other elements that falls under the Panchaboodhas are space (Akash), water (Jalam), wind (Vayu), and earth (Bhoomi) Each of these five elements of Panchaboodhas are associated to different places of worship in Tamil Nadu and Andhra. Water is associated with a temple in Thiruvanaikaval; Space is attributed to a temple at Chidambaram, Earth at Kanchipuram and Wind at Sri Kaalahasthi in Andhra nearer to Tirupathi.


At Arunachaleswarar age old traditions and formalities are still in vogue. When it relates to worship the local communities at Thiruvannamalai are involved in the rituals. They are the temple priests, administrators, temple staff, trustees, palanquin bearers, guards, Bhajan singers, musicians and other important artisans.


The ceremony includes bringing the Ganga theertham on the elephant from the holy tank located at the southern part of the town. This water is brought through the Thirumanjana Gopuram on the south side. This water is utilized for cleaning the second prakara entrance.


Then Shiva and Parvathi are woken up and Arunachaleswarar is taken on a procession to the main temple and Parvathi is taken to Unnamalai Amman temple. Then the first pooja starts every day in the morning and conducted at regular intervals and timings for a total number of six times a day. All devotees go round the hill and it is called Pradakshina and it is usually done during the full moon day (Pournami). About five lakh devotees go round this Annamalai hill every full moon day and it around 14 kilometres in distance. This practice of doing Pradakshina regularly helps the devotees to stay spiritually, mentally and physically fit.
Legends
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History
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General Information
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Greatness of Temple
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Temple Speciality
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Temple Architecture
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Temple Opening & Pooja Timings
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Pooja Fees
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Religious Significance
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Worship & Festivals
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Karthikai Dheepam Festival
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Girivalam
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Services
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Literary Mention
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Thirupanni (Renovation Works)
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Ashrams around Temple
Alamara Gugai Ashram:
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Athithi Ashram:
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Greenland Ashram:
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Sri Ramana Ashram:
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Satyachetana Ashram:
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Seshadriswamigal Ashram:
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Sri Anantha Niketan:
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Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram:
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Other Ashrams:
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Unknown Sadhu of Thiruvannamalai:
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Contact
Executive Officer/Deputy Commissioner
Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple
Thiruvannamalai - 606 601
Phone: 04175- 252438.
Connectivity
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