Situated at the foot of Tiruvannamalai Hills and spread over 25 acre, Arunachaleswarar Temple is an imposing structure with a marvellous architecture. It boasts four gateway towers known as gopurams, each of which is encompassed with mandapams, shrines and enclosures, decorated with finely carved sculptures and pillars. The eastern tower with 11 storeys, stands at a height of 66 m and is one of the largest temple towers in India. Also known as the Annamalaiyar Temple, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva and invites devotees in large numbers from all parts of the country. Built in the traditional Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is believed to be the eighth-largest Hindu temple in the world. The temple complex houses many halls and the most popular one is the thousand-pillared hall, which was constructed during the Vijayanagar period (1336-1646). The temple is one of the pancha bhoota sthalams, which are dedicated to the manifestation of five natural elements. Legend has it that the lord has apparently manifested himself as an element of fire in this temple.


Arunachaleswarar Temple houses eight lingams known as ashtalingam, which are positioned at different locations facing different directions. These lingams are named as Indralingam, Agnilingam, Yamalingam, Niruthilingam, Varunalingam, Vayulingam, Kuberlingam and Esanyalingam. Each lingam signifies different directions of the earth and is believed to bless the devotees who undertake Girivalam, a popular religious ritual, with different benefits. The temple remains open from 5.30 am to 9 pm everyday.

Other Attractions in Tiruvannamalai