Tiruvannamalai is an important pilgrimage and religious destination. Situated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, this holy town is dotted with numerous temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Some of the most renowned temples in the region are –
Famous Temples In Tiruvannamalai:
- Annamalaiyar Temple
- Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple
- Karaikandeswarar Temple
- Avanibhajana Pallaveshwaram Temple
- Periyanayagi Amman Temple
- Lord Arulmigu Renugambal Temple
- Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram
- Sri Ramana Ashram
- Yogi Ram Surat Kumar Ashram
- Virupaksha Cave
- Sathanur Dam
- Mamara Guhai
- Javadi Hills
1. Annamalaiyar Temple
Covering an area of around 10 hectares, Annamalaiyar Temple is one of the largest temples in India. This temple is also known for its towering gopuram that stands at 66 meters. Annamalaiyar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped here in the form of a lingam. It is a significant temple for Hindu devotees as it is associated with the element of Agni or fire- one of the five elements of nature. The temple is located in the foothills of the holy Mt Arunachala and is hence also known as Arunachaleswara Temple. During either November or December, on the full moon day, The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the temple which attracts pilgrims from far and wide.
2. Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple
Located at a distance of around 30 kilometers from Tiruvannamalai, this temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. This magnificent temple has been constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Ranganatha Perumal, the savior of the Vedas and devas from the demon king, Somukan. Each year, numerous festivals are celebrated at this temple out of which the chariot festival held during March-April is the most prominent and attracts people from across the country.
3. Karaikandeswarar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is situated in Kanji village near Thiruvannamalai. Shiva is worshipped here as Karkadeswarar with his consort, Goddess Parvati, taking the form of Periyanayagi Amman. This temple is the first of seven Karaikandeswarar Temple located in different spots along the Cheyyar river. Panguni Uthiram festival, a 10-day long affair held during March and April, has been a huge crowd puller for years.
4. Avanibhajana Pallaveshwaram Temple
Located at a distance of about 65 kilometers from Tiruvannamalai in the town of Seeyamangalam, Avanibhajana Pallaveshwaram temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Also known as the Stambeswarar Temple, this temple was constructed in the 7th century using rock-cut architecture. One of the pillars of the temple has a sculpture of Nataraja, which is believed to be one of the earliest representations of Shiva’s dance form.
5. Periyanayagi Amman Temple
This temple is located in the Devikapuram village, around 121 kilometers away from the town of Tiruvannamalai. This is the second-largest temple in the area after the Annamalaiyar Temple. Goddess Parvati is worshipped in this temple as Periyanayagi Amman and her consort, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Kanakagiri Swara in a temple nearby. The Temple has a vast temple complex and there are many shrines and teerthams within it.
6. Lord Arulmigu Renugambal Temple
Situated at a distance of 55 kilometers from Tiruvannamalai, Arulmigu Renugambal temple is one of the famous Sakthi sthalas. The idol of Amman in the temple is a swayambumurthy. Alongside it, there are idols of Lord Brahma, Lord Thirumal and Lord Shiva.
7. Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram
One of the holiest of the Tiruvannamalai temples, Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram is devoted to Sri Seshadri Swamigal. A celebrated Hindu saint, he was also known as the “Saint with the golden hand”. The ashram has a Samadhi and some beautiful small temples where you can sit and meditate for hours.
8. Sri Ramana Ashram
This Ashram was the home of modern sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi. He lived at this place for about 28 years, from 1922 until his death in 1950. The Samadhi of Ramana maharishi is a major attraction for pilgrims from around the world. The ashram is located at the foot of the Arunachala hill and is surrounded by natural beauty.
9. Yogi Ram Surat Kumar Ashram
This ashram is considered to be the most beautiful place in this town. Devoted to the great Indian saint, Sri Yogiram SurathKumar who was popularly known as Visiri Samiyar, this place is a beautiful spiritual destination that must be visited while in the city. The statue of the Swamiji present in the complex of the ashram is the main attraction of this place. This ashram allows tourists to meditate and learn about the Vedas.
Other Important Places of Tourists’ Attraction in Tiruvannamalai:
10. Virupaksha Cave
This cave ashram is extremely popular because it is in the shape of the religious Hindu symbol ‘OM’. Situated on top of a small peak in the Arunachala hill, these caves were named after the renowned saint, Virupaksha Deva. He spent most of his life here and his ashes are preserved and worshipped here.
11. Sathanur Dam
Constructed across the Ponnaiyar river, the Sathanur Dam is one of the major dams of the state. Located at a distance of about 30 kilometers from the city of Tiruvannamalai, this dam is a major tourist attraction and the perfect place to spend a fun and joyful day during your visit. The complex of the dam consists of a children’s park, a fish grotto and a huge crocodile farm which is a house to around 300 crocodiles. This site is a must-visit for every nature enthusiast.
12. Mamara Guhai
Mamara Guhai which translates to the “mango tree cave” is another religious spot located in the region. It is believed that the celebrated saint, Sri Ramana Maharshi, meditated here for about six years. Inside the temple, there is an idol of Lord Shiva in his Viswanathar form, along with two forms of Devi, Goddess Annapoorna and Rajeshwari. Also, there are lingams of the Siddha gurus present there.
13. Javadi Hills
The majestic Javadi hills are one of the best places to visit if you want to witness the enchanting beauty of nature. Located around 89 kilometers from Tiruvannamalai, you can take a short drive that’ll take you straight to the scenic hills where you can enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls along with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Adventure buffs can also enjoy the numerous trekking trails here.
How to Reach Tiruvannamalai
Tiruvannamalai has great connectivity with the rest of the country, especially through railways. But this pious town can be reached by any mode of transportation- buses, trains, and flights.
By Road: Thiruvannamalai boasts excellent road connectivity with cities like Vellore, Madurai, Chennai, and Bengaluru. You can either take a Tamil Nadu state bus or hire a private taxi to reach the town.
By Train: Tiruvannamalai railway station is well connected with major cities like Madurai, Tirupati, Pondicherry, Vellore, and Chennai. The town is easily accessible from any part of the country because of the vast network of Indian railways.
By Air: If you wish to reach Tiruvannamalai via airways, the closest airport is in Pondicherry, about 87 kilometers away. Another convenient airport to reach here is in Chennai at a distance of around 155 kilometers.
Best Time to Visit Tiruvannamalai
The weather of Tiruvannamalai is tropical with hot summers, pleasant monsoons, and cool winters. The temperature during summers can reach 45-degree Celsius making sightseeing and temple tours quite difficult for the tourists. The frequent showers during monsoon make the place more beautiful and pristine, especially highlighting the beauty of Sathanur Dam and Javadi Hills. Winter is the best time to visit this temple town to experience the serenity and natural beauty at its best.
Also, Tiruvannamalai is known for its numerous festivals that are celebrated in this town throughout the year. You simply must plan your trip around these festivals to make the most of your trip.
India is home to numerous religious places spread across the map and Tiruvannamalai is one of them. The temple town of Tiruvannamalai is a must-visit destination if you are looking for a spiritually satisfying holiday spot. With various temples, ashrams, and caves along with charming landscapes and other alluring tourist spots, this place is an ideal option for your next family trip. So, what are you waiting for? Take a leave from your monotonous life and head to this religious yet exciting location.