Arunachaleswara Temple

Arunachaleswara Temple

Location 100 km south of Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Dedicated To Lord Shiva.
Significance Form of Fire taken By Lord Shiva.
Also Known as Adhirunkazhalan, Kannaramuthan.

The temple is at the foot of the Arunachala Hill and is one of the largest temples in India. The Vijayanagara ruler Krishna Deva Raya built the temple in between 1502 to 1529. The inner sanctorum of the temple dates back to the 11th century. In this temple is found one of the elements lingas where God Shiva incarnates as Fire. The Arunachaleswara temple spreads over an area of 24 acres. An interesting fact is that the Kadugai or the roof edge is formed of Yali friezes and the vimana of mortar.

There are found about 119 epigraphs in the temple most pertaining to the Cholas for a long time. The rest of the inscriptions belongs to the Kopperunjinga, Pallava, Hoysalas and the Vira Vallava Deva Nagara Kings. Inside the premises of the large temple there are also temples dedicated to Subramanya and Parvati. The temple came in to existence when Lord Shiva was angered by the act of Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. He then took the form of Fire having neither a beginning nor an end.
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Temple Architecture

The Arunachaleswara Temple has a 60m or 13 storied high sculptured gopurams. There are in total 9 gopurams of which four are in the middle of the walls. The larger one or the big tower is called by the name of Raja gopuram. Thirumanjuna gopuram and pey Gopuram are to the north and south of the temple. The outer corridor has a granite wall that links the entrance gopurams. The massive wall is about 30 ft high.

On entering the temple from the east, there is the Thousand pillar hall built by Chola king Krishna Deva Raya. The exactly 1000 pillars are inscripted with the sculptures of the Naik period. The mandapam where the deity is placed and worshiped is known as the Ani Thirumanjaram. The sacred tank or pool of ShivaGanga is towards the south of the Kambathu iiayanar mandapam with enclosed corridor. The tank is used for the purification and ablution of the Deities in the temple. The water to the tank was provided by digging a canal called Thirumalaiamman Devi Samundram.

The third mandapa has 16 pillars and it is from this mandapa that the Pancha Murthis or the five deities give darshan on the day of Kartigai. The sanctum is reached by the main entrance in the east. Within the sanctum Lord Shiva personified as Annamalaiyar is present in Linga form . The Rudra baga is covered with gold plate. There is the Devi shrine to the opposite of the Mandapa.

Daily Chores in the Temple

Daily pujas are performed to Lord Arunachaleswara six times from early mornings to late evenings. The Pujas are performed in the traditional way. People are seen queuing in large numbers to offer puja to their Lord.


Annually innumerable festivals are carried out in the temple. The most famous festival is “Karthigai Deepam” celebrated in the month of November to December for 10 ten consecutive days. During the festival every day in the morning and night ‘Lord Arunachaleswara is taken out for a procession through the streets.

How to Reach

By Air: Triruvanamalai is over 100 km south of Kanchipuram and 185km to Madras. From Madras there are international flights to important destinations around the world.
By Rail: The train station is in the line between Madurai and Tirupati. Metro gauge trains operate between Vellore and Triruvanamalai.
By Road: The bus stand is just 2 km away near to the temple. Many people arrive by bus to the temple. Triruvalluvar Transport Corporation buses run regularly to places like Tirupati, Madras, Kachipuram.

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