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Thiruvannamalai City Guide

Thiruvannamalai is a famous pilgrimage temple town and the district headquarters of Tiruvannamalai district. The city is 200 kms away from Chennai. Pilgrims and spiritual seekers visit the place from all parts of the world. The ancient town of Thiruvannamalai is constructed around Annamalai hill (Arunachala hill), which is a mountain range elevated at 4000 meters height from the ground. The city is also renowned for its Arunachala Temple. People flock to the Annamalai hill called as Gitivalam every full moon to offer individual prayers. Spiritual gurus Seshadhri Swamigal,Aurobindo, Ramana Maharishi along with many other sages and saints are known to blessed the place with their divinity.

A trip to Thiruvannamalai means coming close to the orbit of godly field, enriched with density of sounds and holiness. This destination is among those pilgrimage sites, which are considered embracing fascinating explanations, mystical experiences and mystifying powers.

Sightseeing Destinations:

Arunachaleshwar Temple

It is a famous tourist attraction and is one of the grand as well as biggest temples located in South India. The holy place is dedicated to Deity Unnamulai Amman and Lord Shiva. The temple is one among the essential five elements, symbolizing Fire (Agni). The shrine also holds architectural significance as well as scriptural beauty.

Entrance fee Time to visit Video camera Camera Holidays
Nil 5.30 AM-12.30 PM & 3.30 PM–9:00 PM Not Allowed Not Allowed NO

Girivalam Path

On festive days like Karthigai, Tamil New Year day, first day of the Tamil month and Full Moon days, thousands of disciples walk around the mountain (GIRIVALAM) to seek the Lord Arunachala's blessings. Girivalam is made up of two words, 'Giri' means hill & 'Valam' means coming around. It means coming around the hill, which is called Girivalam.

Entrance fee Time to visit Holidays Video camera
NO 6.00 AM–01:00 PM & 4 PM–9:00 PM NO Not Allowed

How to do Girivalam
  • People performing this are advised to walk around the hill barefoot. The mountain covers approximately 14 Km of distance.
  • All through the Girivalam process, always view the top of the Arunachala hill.
  • If possible, Girivalam should be started only in full moon nights or also in regular nights.
  • During Girivalam, devotees should mumble “Om Arunachala”.

Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram

This ashram is close to Sri Ramanashram flanked by the second & third Lingam on the way to Girivalam. At the Samadhi of Sri Seshadri Swamigal, regular worships (pujas) are performed. There are also some platforms for contemplation in the open, in a fine-looking backyard, in the shade of the trees.

Entrance fee Time to visit Holidays Video camera
NO 6.00 AM-1.00 PM & 3.30 PM–9:00 PM NO With prior permission only

Sri Ramana Ashram:

It is one of the sacred places of the town where Mahan Sri Ramana maharishi lived. People all around the world take a visit to this Ashram. It is positioned between the second & third Lingam on the way to Girivalam. Legend is that when someone meditates at the Ramana Ashram's meditation hall, then the spiritual connection gets evoked.

Entrance Fee Time to visit Video camera Holidays
NO 5.00 AM-12.00 PM & 2.00 PM–8:30 PM With prior permission, otherwise not allowed NO

Day Trip from Tiruvannamalai: Tiruvannamalai –> Sathanur Dam –> Tiruvannamalai

Sathanur Dam is among the most important dams built across Pennaiyar River. This dam is 30 kms away from the town of Tiruvannamalai and can be reached by highway. It was built in the year 1958. Sathanur in cinema industry, the Dam is quite popular for shooting purposes. The films made during 1860-1980 were filmed over here. Here you can also find beautiful parks and lawns. A small zoo is also there for children's recreation.

Entrance fee Time to visit Holidays Video camera
Rs 6/- per person 7.00 AM–7:00 PM NO Not Allowed

Thiruvannamalai –> Vellore Golden Temple (Sripuram) –> Thiruvannamalai

Sripuram or Golden Temple is a religious park located at the base of a small range of green mountains at a place famous as Thirumalaikodi in the Vellore city. The Lakshmi Narayani temple or Mahalakshmi temple is the salient feature of Sripuram as the 'Ardha Mandapam' and 'Vimanam' have been encrusted with gold both in exterior and interior. Vellore is situated at a distance of 95 kms and takes 2 ½ hrs drive.

Entrance fee Time to visit Holidays Video Camera
NO 8.00 AM–8:00 PM NO Strictly Not Allowed

Thiruvannamalai –> Gingee –> Thiruvannamalai

From Thiruvannamalai, Gingee is at a distance of 45 Kms. The place is home to an enormous fort complex, which is 800 ft tall. It is spread over 3 hills with the wrecks of a temple, a palace, a mosque, a granary as well as an auditorium. Early journey in the morning would be good, as the place bears hot temperature during the day.

Entrance fee Time to visit Holidays
Foreigner Rs-100/- and Rs 5/- for an Indian (Admission fee pertinent only to all monuments in the Rajagiri Fort & Krishnagiri Fort) 9.00 AM–5:30 PM NO

Fairs, Festivals and Celebrations:
  • Throughout the year, a number of festivals are rejoiced at Arunachaleshwar temple in Tiruvannamalai. Karthigai Deepam is the most significant out of all and is celebrated every year in the month of Karthigai, which falls between 15th Nov & 15th Dec. This celebration always continues for a few weeks after Diwali celebration. It is rejoiced as a 13-days carnival and it is popularly famous as Karthigai Brahmotsavam.
  • The Aadipoora Vizha for Parasakthi takes place for ten days in July / August the Tamil month of Aadi. On the 10th (last) day fire walking and Valaikappu (bangles wearing) take place. Arunagiri Nadhar Vizha is celebrated on 15th August.
  • The Pancha Parva Vizha is also the name of the celebration, which is held during New Moon Day (Amavasya), Pradhosha, Sukra Varam, Karthigai & Soma Varam every month at the complex of this holy place.
  • Vallar Maharaja Festival takes place on Masi Maga day (February-March) and Final Ceremonies follow 1008 Sangu Abishegam on each Monday (Somvar) in the month of Nov/Dec (Karthigai). It is regarded as holy and attended by many people.
  • Chithirai Vizha is celebrated for 10 days, in Chithirai the Tamil month (April / May). This carnival ends in Chitra Pournami. The burning of Cupid (Manmada Dahana) also is performed there.

Ways to Get in:

Railways: TVillupuram is the nearest major Railway station at a distance of 70 Km – 1 ½ hours

Road: The place is well-linked with many other main cities of Andhra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka.

Airways: Chennai is the nearby airport at a distance of 200 Km – 4 ½ hours

Places Distance Drive
Chennai 200 km 4 ½ hours
Mahabalipuram 170 Km 4 hrs
Kanchipuram 150 Km 3 ½ hours
Pondicherry 110 Km 2 ½ hours
Bangalore 210 Km 4 ½ hours
Thirupathi 200 Km 4 ½ hours
Trichy 220 Km 5 hours