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Thiruvannamalai Hill


Arunachala Temple

Annamalai refers to the holy hill at Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, where the Annamalaiyar Temple, a temple of Lord Shiva is located. Every year in the Tamil month of Karthigai (October–November), the Karthigai Deepam (Light) is lit at top of the hill. This place is also known by the names Arunagiri, Annamalai Hill, Arunachala, Arunai, Sonagiri and Sonachalam. It is the most important holy place for people practicing Atma vichara (self enquiry) and one of the 5 main shaivite holy places in South India.

The height of the Thiruvannamalai hill is approximately 2,669 feet.

Arunachala Mahatmyam says,

"People will attain mukthi, by seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kashi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala."

Arunachala Temple

Asked about the special sanctity of Arunachala, Ramana Maharshi said that other holy places such as Kailas, Kasi and Chidambaram are sacred because they are the abodes of Lord Siva whereas Arunachala is Lord Siva himself. However, as the above verse of Arunachala Mahatmyam says, Arunachala is a secret kshetra. It is this place that bestows jnana (Self-knowledge) and because most people have so many other desires and do not truly want jnana, Arunachala has always remained comparatively little known. But to those few who seek jnana, Arunachala always makes itself known through some means or other.