DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM IMPORTANT TOURIST PLACES AT TIRUVANNAMALAI DISTRICT
S.NO. DETAILS PAGE NO.
1. Tiruvannamali District Map 1 2. Important Places Distance Chart 2 3. History of Thiurvannamalai 3 4. Arunachaleshwarar Temple 4-6 5. Ramanar Ashram 7-9 6. Seshadri Ashram 10-12 7. Yogi Ramsurat Kumar Ashram 13-14 8. Sathanur Dam 15 9. Erikuppam Sani Bhagavan Temple 16-17 10. Padavedu Renugambal Temple 18-20 11. Panduranga Temple, Thennangur 21-22 12. Pachiamman Temple, Vazhapanthal 23 13. Javvadhu Hills 24 14. Parvadha Hills 25-28 15. Shenbaga Thoppu Dam 29 16. Jain Temple, Tirumalai 30 17. Vedhapurishwarar Temple, Cheyyar 31-33 18. Hotel Tamil Nadu Photo – Tiruvannamali 34
Page No: 1 1. TIRUVANNAMALI DISTRICT MAP
Page No: 3 3.HISTORY OF TIRUVANNAMALI
Tiruvannamali is an ancient temple town in TamilNadu with a unique historical back ground. It is one of the holy town that finds a place in the poems written by reputed Tamil saivaite poets.(padal petra sthalam). Several important facts are found in the stone inscriptions in the walls of temple prakarams. Also many details were available through inscriptions found on the copper plates.
The four great Tamil saivaite poets Sambandar, Sundarar, Appar and Manickavasagar have written about the history of Tiruvannamali in their literary work that stands unparalleled. They are Thevaram and Thiruvasagam. Arunagirinathat has also written beautifully about the history of Thriuvannamalai and this Lord Arunachalaeswarar temple. The ancient kings starting from the Chola Dynasty period read from the Tamil works and started reposing more faith on Lord Arunachalaeswar. They started contributing their share by constructing many Gopuram, mandapams, and shrines. Making steady additions to the temple structure over the last one thousand years. During the reign of King Krishnadevarayar of Vijayanagaram, Lord Arunachalaeswar temple saw many buildings and structures in the form of gopurams and mandapams came to be built. Since King Krishnadevarayar was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. Most important among them is the Rajagopuram that is 217 feet high. This is believed to be the second highest Gopuram in the India. According to the history of Tiruvannamali, this temple is the largest temple in India built exclusively for Shiva and Parvathi. Kings like Ballala who was another Shiva devotee contributed many structures to this temple. History says that Shiva himself pleased with this king’s kindness and generosity came forward to perform the kings final rites since this king was childless. Another history about Tiruvannamali on how Lord Shiva took the form of fire is explained as, when once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had a quarrel, Shiva in order to sort out this problem took the form of fire and challenged them to find his crown and feet. Both of them failed and Brahma in the process of finding out tells a lie and Shiva gets annoyed with Brahma and curses that he should not have place of worship. Hence it is believed that there is no temple for Brahma any where in India. Thus at Tiruvannamali Lord Shiva came to be worshipped by devotees in the form of fire. And it is one of the pancha bootha sthalas in Tamilnadu.
Page No: 4 4.ARULMIGU ARUNACHALESWARAR TEMPLE
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Arunachaleswarar Temple - 1 K.M.
Tiruvannamalai is a world renowned pilgrim centre located at the foot hills of Annamalai hills. It came to be built over a period of more than thousand years. Many kings particularly the Chola and Pandiya Kings. Apart from the King Krishnadevaraya in the 15th century.
This temple city is about 80 kilometres away from Katpadi or otherwise known as Vellore. This temple can also reached from Chennai traveling to a distance of about 180 kilometres. Shiva and Parvathi are the two deities that are worshipped here at Arunachaleeswar temple. Shiva is prayed here in the form of Agni. One of the panchaboothas that is used as an element to incarnate this earth or universe.
Shiva is known by devotees as Annamalayar or Arunachaleswarar. And this is believed to be the largest temple in the world dedicated to Shiva. The history of this Annamalayar temple dates back to thousand years. Mention has been made in the Thevaram and Thiruvasagam, both great works in Tamil.
Page No: 5
The greatness of this Arunachaleswarar temple was glorified through poems written by salivate poets Appar, Sundarar, Manickavasagar, and Sambandar. This is also well known as the Padal Petra Sthalam in Tamil besides few more temples in Tamil Nadu that enjoys this status.Many kings of those periods have contributed their share to the growth and welfare of this Arunachaleswarar temple. Construction was going on at a steady pace over the last thousand years indicating its importance and patron received by this temple from the public. It has continuously expanded due to the initiative of the kings and the public contribution.
The Arunachaleswarar temple has a unique structure with a 66 metre high gopuram consisting of thirteen storey tier. The temple has seven prakaras and nine gopurams. The tallest gopuram was built by king Krishnadevaraya in the fifteenth century and it is believed to be the second tallest gopuram in the world. This tower is called as Rajagopuram located on the eastern side. Arunachaleswarar temple is spread over 25 acres of land. Out of the seven prakaras, the first two prakaras is said to be built by the Pandiya kings and the remaining prakaras by the Cholas and other kings. It has two big tanks named as Brahma Theertham and the other as Siva Ganga Theertham. It has a massive thousand pillar hall built by the ancient kings. In the thirteenth century the Hoysala kings from Karnataka built some sannadhis and prakaras in the temple.
The most significant factor in this temple is that lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of fire. Every year during the month of Karthikai, the flame is lit on the hill top and this ritual is witnessed by millions of devotees who gather here from all corners of the world. This festival is widely called as Karthikai Deepam in Tamil. Devotees consider greatly auspicious to witness this fire every year since Shiva or Arunachalaeswar is prayed as Agni at Tiruvannamalai.
Shiva is also called as Annamalayar and Parvathi as Apitakuchambaal by many of their devotees. This temple is also considered unique since fire being one of the five elements of Panchabootham is attributed to this Arunachalaeswarar temple and Shiva takes the form of this fire. The other elements that falls under the Panchaboothas are space (Akash), water (Jalam), wind (Vayu), and earth (Bhoomi) Each of these five elements of Panchaboothas are associated to different places of worship in Tamil Nadu and Andhra. Water is associated with a temple in Thiruvanaikaval, Space is attributed to a temple at Chidambaram, Earth at
Page No: 6
Kanchipuram and Wind at Sri Kalahasthi in Andhra nearer to Tirupathi. At Arunachaleswarar age old traditions and formalities are still in vogue. When it relates to worship the local community at Tiruvannamalai are involved in the rituals. They are the temple
priests, administrators, temple staff, trustees, palanquin bearers, guards, bhajan singers, musicians and other important artisans.The ceremony includes bringing the Ganga theertham on the elephant from the holy tank located at the southern part of the town. This water is brought through the Thirumanjana Gopuram on the south side. This water is utilized for cleaning the second prakara entrance.
Then Shiva and Parvathi are woken up and Arunachaleswarar is taken on a procession to the main temple and Parvathi is taken to Unnamalaiamman temple. Then the first pooja starts every day in the morning and conducted at regular intervals and timings for a total number of six times a day.All devotees go round the hill and it is called Pradakshina and it is usually done during the full moon day (Pournami). About five lakh devotees go round this Annamalai hill every full moon day and it around 13 kilometres in distance. This practice of doing Pradakshina regularly helps the devotees to stay spiritually, mentally and physically fit.
Page No: 7
5.R AMANA MAHARISHI AS HRAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Ramana Maharishi Ashram - 2 Km
Tiruvannamalai is also synonym to Saint Ramana Maharishi as it is to Lord Arunachalaeswarar. Ramana Maharishi was born in a simple and poor family at a small village near Madurai. He was born in the year 1879 on 30th December. Venkatramana was his real name. After his father’s death when Ramana was only in his teens, he with his mother moved to his uncle’s house in Madurai. It was here that Ramana met a person from Tiruvannamalai who came to his uncle’s house at Madurai. After hearing some news about Tiruvannamalai from that person, he was very impressed on going to see Lord Arunachalaeswar at Tiruvannamalai.
Later Venkatramana left to Tiruvannamalai along with his mother. He settled there and fervently started praying to Lord Arunachalaeswar and continuously sat in penance for many days. Saint Ramana Maharishi’s teachings drew many people towards him and today after 58 years after his nirvana there are millions of followers. These devotees repeatedly visit his ashram to receive his immortal blessings. They particularly visit his ashram during the Maha Shivarathri day, and many others visit through out the year. He continuous to live among them through his valuable teachings andphilosophy.
The town of Tiruvannamalai is located about 120 miles away from Chennai. It is exactly in the south west direction to Chennai. One can reach Ramana Maharishi ashram that lies mere two miles from the Tiruvannamalai railway station lying between Villupuram and Katpadi in the South India. Ramana Ashram can be easily reached via bus and private cabs.
Page No: 8
At the Ramana Ashram :
A beautiful arch at the main gate welcomes all the visitors to the
Ramanashram. There is a big courtyard with plenty of old trees and one among them is said to be around 450 years old. Next to attract the attention of the visitor to the Ramanashram is the two imposing tower built in temple and it is in Dravidian style. One of the tower is built over the tomb of Ramana’s mother and the other over the new hall.
In the new hall there is a life size statue of Ramana Maharishi. This is made ou t of a single stone and excellently given a fine polish to make it appear like black marble. This new hall helps to accommodate the increasing number of devotees who visit this ashram every year. The old hall is not enough to accommodate all the devotees s ince it is small in size. Ramana Maharishi used this new hall only a few months before his nirvana.
The other tower surmounts the Mathrubhuteswara temple. The devotees can enter this shrine through the door located in the western wall of th e new hall. This shrine was built by a great temple architect called Vaidyanatha Sthapathi. Lord Shiva lingam and Chakra meru are the deities in this shrine. Shri Chakra meru pooja is performed on all Fridays in a week, on full moon days and in all first day of 12 solar months in a year.
The outer Garba griha has images of Dakshinamurthi, Lingothbavar, Lakshmi and Vishnu. They are very aesthetically and beautifully sculpted by expert temple artisans. The idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga are placed on the south west and north west corner of this shrine. The Chandekeswari shrine is on the north side of this new hall. The north east corenr is occupied by the Navagrahas. A Nandhi is placed facing the garba griha. All the pillars in the shrine sport the different hindu deities. Page No:9
Ramana Maharishi Samadhi :
Saint Ramana Maharishi’s Samadhi has a tomb on which there is a raised mandapam.A vimana ismounted on top of this mandapam, that is supported by four huge pillars. These granite pillars are exquisitely carved and superbly polished. A beautiful lotus is car ved out of white marble is placed in the centre point of this mandapam. Over this marble lotus a Shivalingam is perched. This Samadhi also has a large meditation hall for devotees to sit in meditation.The old hall comes next where Ramana Maharishi spent hi s last years before attaining nirvana. This hall is quite sought after by devotees who sit here for penance continuously for many hours. There is a large garden to the north of this hall. A free dispensary is located on the west side which offers medical facility for the poor and the needy. A path on the east leads to the kitchen and
the dining hall. This path also leads to the skandasramam that is located in the north Arunachala hill.
This huge dining hall is convenient enough to serve 1000 devotees at a time. Mostly on the Ramana Maharishi’s birth day this hall is utilized along with the big kitchen to cook food for the visitors. From this dining hall one can reach the Veda patasalai meant to teach small boys the chanting of Vedas and its meanings.
Page No:10 6.SESHA DRI MAHARISHI ASHRAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Seshadri Maharishi Ashram - 2 K.m.
Seshadri Swamigal was born in the year 1870 at Kancheepuram. It is believed that he went to Thriuvannamalai when he was in his teens. He was a ardent devotee of Goddess Shakthi. Unlike Ramana Maharishi who was a staunch follower of Lord Arunachaleswarar. They were good friends even though their way of life was totally different from one another.
Seshadri Swamigal’s behavior was strange to the devotees. He would never sit or sleep in one particular place and never had any permanent home of his own. Most of his time was spent roaming the streets of Tiruvannamalai. He used to sleep whenever it was comfortable to sleep in a place. Never had any organized daily routine to follow. Always ate food from roadside shops without paying them any money. The shopkeepers thought it was a good omen if Swamiji visited their shop to eat. There would be heavy sales in that particular shop where Seshadri Swamigal ate that day. Page No: 11
Seshadri Swamigal would never take bath for years together. But all the while likes to enjoy getting himself fully drenched in the rain. He stands still even in heavy downpours and would get indoors only when it stopped completely. Some times he would sing and dance in the rain in front of his devotees without any reservations. He lead life like a siddhi and would foretell things that would happen in future. He even reads people’s mind by observing them quickly. When they came to him for blessings, sometimes he would run away from them. He does not like devotees touching his feet and falling at his feet. At times pilgrims are scared to go near him, since he would abuse and throw stones at them. He mostly avoids people around him and like to sit in a lonely place talking to himself like a insane person. Sometimes he would touch the sick persons and his touch had a miraculous power to cure all ailments whom so ever he touched .
This power is believed to be inculcated from the Goddess Shakthi since he was a strong devotee of her. He was equally blessed with miraculous power of Lord Arunachaleswarar and Lord Rama. It is believed Mahan Seshadri was a gift of goddess Kamakshi. Since he was born to the couple Varadharajan and Maragatham after being childless for long years and was born after performing severe penance to Goddess Kamakshi. Hence he was considered a boon offered by Kamakshi.
Shri Seshadri was considered a divine child from the beginning. He also proved them right by starting to do poojas from his early childhood. One incident made him more popular in Kancheepuram when Seshadri was only a four year old child. Little Seshadri was walking beside his mother in the temple street. As he was passing by the shop he picked up a idol of Krishna kept there in the shop for sale. Seshadri’s mother refused to buy him the idol, but Seshadri was stubborn to own it. The shop keeper seeing this situation, allowed Seshadri to take the Krishna idol free. The next day when Seshadri was walking with his mother passing by the same shop to the temple, the shopkeeper recognizing the boy felt he was a golden child with divine powers. And he spread word about his power to every one since the whole lot of idol were sold the previous day when he touched the idol of Lord Krishna at his shop. From then on every body called him a boy with golden hand and with extraordinary divine powers.
At the fifth year Seshadri was sent to Veda patasalai by his parents. There he showed keen intelligence to grasp various vedantas and mantras. And by the time he was fourteen he learnt much at this Patasalai. His father passed away when Mahan was only fourteen years old. There after his uncle took to Vazhur. Here Swamiji completed his learning and was a master in Upanishads, Vedas, Gita,Vyakarama and Nyaya besides astrology and music. Page No: 12
And when Mahan was seventeen his mother also died and his uncle solely took care of him and his brother. Seshadri began doing severe pooja and sat for long hours with the pictures of goddess Shakthi, Lord Arunachala and Lord Rama. When Seshadri was nineteen he became a disciple of Sri Balaji Swamigal who inducted him to sanyasin. Seshadri after traveling many holy cities and towns in Tamil Nadu reached Tiruvannamalai, the abode of Lord Arunachaleswarar.
Seshadri did not have any specific place for meditation. He would move fr om place to place and his favourite places were Kambattu Illayanar temple, Draupadi Amman temple, Yogeswara mandapam and padhala lingam. Seshadri came to Tiruvannamalai quite earlier to Ramana maharishi. The people around this holy temple city Tiruvannamal ai would often refer to Seshadri Mahan as the elder brother of Ramana Maharishi.
Mahan always emphasized people to pray to Shiva Lingam. One can attain liberation and get spiritually enlightened by praying to Lord Arunachaleswarar. This was be lieved to be his strong teaching and ideology that he propagated among his followers far and wide.Seshadri Swamigal after spending nearly forty years in Tiruvannamalai breathed his last here after falling sick for a brief period of time. The Ashram of Seshadri Swamigal is located near the Ramana Ashram at Tiruvannamalai.
Page No: 13 7.SHRI YOGIRAM SURATKUMAR ASHRAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Shri Yogiram Suratkumar Ashram - 2.5 K.m.
Shri Yogiram SurathKumar was also well known among his devotees as Visiri Samiyar especially with his followers from Tamil Nadu. Though he was born at a village near Kashi, he spent his spiritual life at Tiruvannamalai, the abode of Lord Arunachalaeswar. Shri Yogiram hails from a traditionally religious family. From his early child hood he was spiritually inclined and was attracted towards the Saints and Yogis living near the banks of river Ganges. He was born in the year 1918 on the first day in the month of December. His birth place was a small village lying near the banks of the river Ganges.
People around child yogiram noticed in him a strong urge to seek god in various forms. And as he grew he had an inclination to pursue god and follow in the spiritual path of life. To achieve this goal he was eager to become a disciple of some saints, swamijis and yogis. He used to sit along with the meditating sadhus at the ganga river banks and engage himself in Nama Japam. This continued every day and Yogiram became too involved in his religious activities. In the process became good friends with all the sadhus and saints. He learnt from them all the spiritual teachings over the years. Seeing his enthusiasm to learn the Swamijis were keen to teach him without hesitation.
Page No: 14
Shri Yogiram wanted to travel far and wide in order to become a disciple of some great swamijis. Hence in the year 1947 he started on a religious mission towards the south. He initially was very keen to visit Shri Aurobindo Ghose at his Ashram. As per his aspirations he reached the ashram of Shri Aurobindo Ghose. Under his advice and guidance he was directed to meet Shri Ramana Maharishi at Tiruvannamalai. There after Swami Yogiram after leaving the ashram of Aurobindo headed straight to the abode of Lord Arunachaleswarar in order to meet Shri Ramana Maharishi at his ashram. Her he met Shri Ramana maharishi Swamigal and took his blessings. Bagawan Ramana Maharishi blessed Shri Yogiram with the power of gnana. After this Shri Yogiram left to meet Shri Ramadas Swamigal who was residing at Kerala upon the advice given by Shri Ramana Maharishi. He arrived at Shri Ramdas Swamigal Ashram at Kerala and stayed there for sometime as his disciple. Here he involved himself fully in spiritual activities. After some days Shri Ramdas Swamigal blessed Shri Yogiram with the power of Bhakthi. He also initiated Shri Yogiram by uttering into his ears three times the holy mantra as follows, Om Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.
There after Visiri Samiyar or Shri Yogiram Surath Kumar swamigal continued his holy pilgrimage to other parts of South India. Finally Shri Yogiram Surath Kumar Swamigal returned to Tiruvannamalai, the holy abode of Lord Arunachaleswarar. He used to sit and meditate in various prominent places of Tiruvannamalai roads surrounding the temple. His favourite places where he did tapas were near the temple chariot, road corners of Tiruvannamalai nearer to Lord Arunachaleswarar temple prakharams. Later he started living in a very small rented house adjacent to the temple at Sannathi street Tiruvannamalai. He had regular devotees visiting every day seeking his divine blessings. Since the place was insufficient to meet all his devotees, they suggested him to start his own Ashram in a bigger premise. On their support later he moved to Aghrahara Sholai to continue his divine services. This ashram is located on a four acres land that is within the limits of Tiruvannamalai town. Shri Yogiram attained siddhi at this ashram in the year 2001 peacefully, leaving behind his devotees in deep sorrow. Millions of followers came to bid a tearful farewell to this Shri Yogiram Swamigal alias Visiri Samiyar at his Ashram.
Page No: 15 8.SATHANUR DAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Sathanur Dam - 30 K.M. This magnificent Sathanur dam was built in the year 1958. It is located near the Tiruvannamali. One can reach from Lord Arunachala temple by road which takes about half an hour drive by car. Sathanur dam is built across the Pennaiyar river that originates at the Chennakesava hills. A large area of agriculture lands are benefited through water stored in this dam. Roughly it irrigates around 8000 hectares of lands. The total storage capacity of this dam is 7321 million cubic feet when the water stands at the full level of 119 feet.
The other added attraction of this Sathanur dam is its picturesque location. This nature’s beauty draws millions of tourists every year from all over the world. And people who visit Tiruvannamalai never fail to visit this dam. There is also a beautiful garden and a children’s park as part of this dam. A small zoo is maintained here near this dam with some wildlife varieties. Page No: 16 9.ENDHIRA SANEESWARAR TEMPLE, ERIKUPPAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Erikuppam Saneeswarar Temple – 56 K.m.
This is a famous Navagraha Temple dedicated to Sani Bhagavan/Shani Bhagavan (Planet Saturn).
Usually Sri Sani Bhagwan appears in the idol form, but in the Erikuppam temple, Sri Sani Bhagwan graces in the form of the Shivalinga. Long before , a king bulit the temple for the Saturn planet installing him as Shivalinga with the yantras. Yantra is a diagramatic representation of the power of the deity we worship. In due course of time, the temple disappeared leaving the Linga alone in the open space. Later, people built this temple. As he graces as a Linga with Yantras, He is known as Enthira Saneeswarar.
In the sanctum sanctorum, Sri Saneeswara appears in the 6.5 feet tall Shivalinga form placed on a peeta of 2.5 feet width. As in Shivalinga, Moon and Sun have their places on the head. His crow vehicle is in the middle. The six faced (Shatkona) yantra with Namashivaya, basic mantras as Beejakshara and Mahalakshmi mantras are inscribed in the Linga. The temple is in the midst of green Page No: 17 fields. The entrance sculpture shows Sani Bhagwan in a Rath which is driven by the crows. There are also paintings of all planets with their vahana in the front hall. It is suggested to offer archanas with Vilva leaves for Shiva worship. On the next day of the Pongal , mattu pongal day, abishek is performed with 108 pots of milk.
For the people to have a good look, the Sun, Moon, the Crow, the hexagon & the triangles have been covered with metal plates carved to the shape. We can see the figures and letters on the deity, if we watch with concentration. He is on a Peeta and near Him is the Yanthra of Chaya Devi which was found buried near the Lord.
These designs on Sri Saneeswara were carved more than thousand five hundred years ago by the evolved souls. Our ancient Rishis had academic and spiritual facts on all the planets, even before the scientists discovered them.
Page No: 18 10.RENUGAMBAL TEMPLE, PADAVEDU
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Renugambal Temple, Padavedu - 55 K.m.
Padavedu is one of the most important ‘Sakthi Sthalas’ in Thondainadu. Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested in this place, indicating "Sakthi is everything in this world" and offering her blessings along with Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Siva. In this place a number of sages performed penance & attained salvation. The existence of Banalingam and Nanakarshna Chakra consecrated by Adi Sankarar is the specialty of this place. This is the most popular temple of Padavedu and is usually crowded on holidays.
This is the place where Saint Jamathakni did penance and attained Mukthi (salvation). Here as blessed by Lord Siva, Mother Renugambal kept her Sirasu (head) for performing pooja by devotees and to offer them her blessings. She took her body to Swarka Loga (Heaven) along with Saint Jamathakni.
Page No: 19
With the blessings of Brahma, the Mother of all worlds Uma Devi was born to Eraivadha Maharaja, the king of Vidharba Desam. The child named as Renugai grew and attained marital age. Permitted by her father and according to the customs of those times, Renugai traveled the whole world accompanied by her friends and an army in search of a suitable husband. At last, she arrived at Kundalipuram, where saint Jamathakni was doing penance. Since Renugai camped near the Ashram with her soldiers, the sacred place was named "Padai Veedu" (army encampment). "Padaiveedu" is now called as "A.K.Padavedu (Amman Koil Padavedu)". Here, Renugai saw Saint Jamathakni.
Renukadevi, daughter of King Raivada married Sage Jamadagni and delivered Parasurama. Padavedu is the place where Sage Jamadagni, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, lived with his wife Renuka, an Incarnation of Parvathi and son Parasurama, the avatar of Vishnu. Sage Jamadagni and Sage Vishwamitra grew together. The Sage used to perform Yagna daily to which mother Renuka used to bring water in a pot just made that day. One day the Mother saw a Gandharva flying and lost her mind on that due to the Maya or the play of the great Shakti. She was late for the yagna and felt ashamed.
Amman in the temple is a swayambumurthy - head alone. This is one among the Shakti Peetas. Against the kumkum Prasadam offered in Shakti temples, only sand is offered here. Though an Amman temple, three are no lion paintings on the walls but only cows. Also against a lion or Yazhi (belonging to lion family) vahanam in Amman shrines, there is a bull here.
To prove that everything is under the power of Shakti, it is believed that three Lords, Brahmma, Vishnu and Shiva are in the sanctum sanctorum formless. Worshipping Ambica means worshipping all the Gods and 30 crore Devas of the celestial world.
Page No: 20
The location of Arulmigu Renugambal Amman Temple is serene and awe inspiring. Situated at the foot of the mountain chain (Jawadhu hills) the temple is surrounded by trees on all sides.
Padavedu is 8 km far from the branch road of Chandavasal lying on the Tiruvannamali highway. Bus facilities are available to Padavedu from Kancheepuram, Vellore, Polur, Arcot and Arani. The place is 42 km from Vellore, 52 km from Tiruvannamali, 22 from Arani, 150 km from Chennai and 23 km from Polur.
Nearest Railway Station is located at Kalambur, Arani.
Page No: 21 11.PANDURANGA TEMPLE, THENNANGUR
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Panduranga Temple, Thennangur - 70 K.m.
Thennangur is a village located in the Tiruvannamalai district in the state of Tamil Nadu. The village was earlier known as Dakshina Halasyam, and it is famous for a uniquely designed Hindu temple, Raghumayi Sametha Pandurangan Kovil. According to the Hindu puranas (myths), this village is the birthplace of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi.
Thennangur is one of the villages of Vandavasi Taluk in the Tiruvannamalai district of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 70 km away from the district capital, Tiruvannamalai, and 110 kms away from the state capital, Chennai.
Thennangur is located on State Highway 116 between Kanchipuram and Vandavasi. The total distance between Vandavasi and Thennangur is 11 km and the distance from Thennangur to Villupuram is 69.4 kms. Page No: 22
The villages located around Thennangur are Vandavasi, Birudur, Chetpet, Eramalu, Irumbedu, Kaaram, Echur, Salukkai, Thenelapakkam, Veerambakkam, and Pancharai. Other towns located nearby are Cheyyar, Anakkavur, and Thellar.
Thennangur was previously known as Dakshina Halasyam, meaning “a place where the wise drink nectar.” As this place was full of forests, it was also known as Shadaranya Kshetra (six forests). It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi (or Meenashki) was found in this place as a three-year-old child by a Pandya king.
The village was given rebirth by Shri Haridas Giri Swamigal, a disciple of Swami Gnanananda Giri, who decided on Dakshina Halasyam as the home for spreading Sanathana Dharma through Namasankeerthanam, because he strongly believed that one can easily reach the feet of God through music.
The nearby town of Vandavasi, which was previously under the administration of the British, was then called Wandiwash.
The village of Thennangur is very famous for the Sri Panduranga temple. People come from all over the country to this temple to have the darshan of the deity. The temple is famous for the Vishukani Utsav festival that falls on Tamil New Year’s Day. The Muthangi Sevai festival is celebrated on the day of Gokhulashtami that falls between August and September, when the Lord Krishna is decorated in various alankaras (styles) as Rajagopala, Govinda-Giridari holding the Govardana hill, Parthasarathy, and Child Krishna.
The nearest railway stations are at Melmaruvathur, about 28 km from Vandavasi, and at Tindivanam, about 35 km from Vandavasi. Page No: 23 12. PACHIAMMAN TEMPLE, VAZHAPANTHAL
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Pachi Amman Temple, Vazhapanthal – 67 K.m.
Munugapet Pachaiamman temple is 1000 years old temple. This temple situated in Tiruvannamali district near vazhapanthal seiyar circle near Arani. It is a beautiful village surrounded by greenary of fields and small villages.Nearly 150+ kms from chennai.This is the 1st Pachaiamman temple and later new temples of goddess constructed in Tiruvannamali .
Page No: 24 13. JAVVADHU HILLS
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Javvadhu Hills – 75 K.m.
Beeman Falls are located in the Tiruvannamali district of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They can be placed at a distance of 5 kilometers from Jamanamarathur village. Jamanamarathur is situated 40 km from Polur region in Tiruvannamali district of Tamil Nadu. Generally the water flows in the cascade for more than 8 months in a year. The tourists enjoy bathing at the pool beneath the waterfall. The Beeman falls (as they are popularly known as) are part of a reserve forest which is renowned for sandalwood and fruit bearing trees. A 12 kilometers trek in the woods leads to the Beeman falls, which is the adventurous part of the visit to the falls.
This waterfall is also known as Bheema Falls. The altitude of Beemanmadavu Falls and its surroundings ranges from 300 meters to 1000 meters. The Beema falls are located at a distance of 48 kilometers from the district headquarters of Tiruvannamali.
The tourists of that region enjoy bathing at the pool beneath the waterfall of Beemanmadavu. While visiting Beemanmadavu Falls or Beema Falls, one can make a weekend tour of the neighbouring attractions in Tiruvannamali such as Kavalur Observatory, Amirthi Forest, Glass House, Gingee Fort, Sathanur Dam, Padavedu, Parvathamalai and Devikapuram.
Page No: 25 14.PARVATHA MALAI
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Parvatha Malai - 37 K.m.
Parvathamalai is located at Thenmathimangalam village which is about 20 kms of Polur. Polur is some 35 kms north of Tiruvannamali. Kadaladi which is about 25Kms north of Tiruvannamali is another route to reach the base of the hill. There's a very powerful Lord Shiva temple at the top of the Parvathamalai hill. Devas and spiritual beings from other lokas worship here every night. This is a place visited by numerous Siddhas for Shiva worship. During the Pournami full moon, this hill attracts a lot of devotees. This is a place vested with a lot of spiritual power.
A top the hill are a Shiva temple apparently 2000 years old and an Ashram which is quite recently constructed. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy. One of the most popular theories attributed to the origin of Parvathamalai is that it was formed when a part of the Sanjeevani mountain that Lord Hanuman carried, fell down to form this existing hill. The hill is also popular for its medicinal plants. Devotees mentioned the hills hosts 119 varieties of medicinal herbs.
Page No: 26
There is no transport to reach the top of hill which is 3500 ft. (approx.) from sea level. The hill is said to have full of herbal (mooligai) plants. At the top of hill Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy (Shiva) and Lordess Brammarambigai resides inside the temple with no priest. There are no shops, eatables available other than temple.
This is a place vested with a lot of spiritual power. Kanchi Sri Shankaracharya saw the hill in the shape of Shiva lingam. He saw the hill as God and doesn't want to keep his foot on the hill and just went around the hill worshiping it. Ramana Maharishi said there is no need for Guru for people in and around 30 Kms of Tiruvannamali and he will guide them as Guru. So people interested in spirituality can come here every month and attain bliss and enlightenment.
Reaching the top of Parvathamalai is an arduous task. It is a vertical mountain over 4,000 feet in height that has iron rod steps, track steps, ladder steps, and sky steps (Agaya padi) not found at other such sacred mountains. The Kadapaarai Padhai section of the climb up the Hill is considered to be the toughest part of the trek. This part which is punctuated by iron rods drilled into the rocks and chains to assist during the sharp ascent is also only wide enough to accommodate one-way traffic. Thus one has to raise one’s voice from the bottom of this section and wait for acknowledgment from the other end before starting to climb the Kadapaarai Padhai section. Shiva stepping on Parvathamalai:
Another legend associated with this sacred site recounts that when Lord Siva returned from the Himalayas to South India. He stepped on Parvathamalai on his way to Arunachala. Page No: 27
Story of Mallikarjuna:
“Sage Siladha performed severe penance on Lord Shiva seeking a boon to have children. Two sons were born to him, Nandhi and Parvathan. Sanakadhi Rishi called on the sage and said that Nandhi would live on earth only for a short while. As a result of this prophecy Siladha fell into grief. Nandhi assured his father by saying that he would win over death by his penance on Lord Shiva.
Pleased with Nandhi’s penance, Lord Shiva appeared and made the young child his vahana (vehicle) and passed the order that devotees should come to him only after being allowed by Nandhi. Nandhi’s place of penance at the foot of the hills at Sri Mallikarjuna Temple at Srisailam is also known as “Nandiyal”. His brother Parvathan also performed penance on Lord Siva and became the hill – Parvatha Hill – i.e. Parvathamalai”.
According to the Yoga Shastras, the human body takes the Kundalini to the Sahasrara in the head after crossing the six Aadhara Nadis below and enjoys the supreme bliss of Sadashiva. Similarly, the devotee reaches the top of the hill after passing through Kadaladi, Methagamalai, Kumarinettu malai, Kadaparai malai, Kanakachi Odai malai, and Puttru malai, Kovil malai to worship Shiva-Parvathi and achieve wisdom.
Page No: 28
It is said that the devotee will reap the benefit of a Kailash darshan if he/she visits this temple for 48 Poornimas and Amavasya continuously and will be relieved of diseases however severe it may be.
There are 3 routes to Parvathamalai:
Chennai, Chengalpet, Melmaruvathur, Vandavasi, Polur, Parvathamalai
Chennai, Kanchipuram, Arcot, Arni, Polur, Parvathamalai
Chennai, Chengalpet, Tindivanam, Gingee, Tiruvannamali, Parvathamalai
Connectivity: The temple is 35 km from Tiruvannamali and can be reached both on Thenmathimangalam or Kadaladi route. Bus facility is available. Kadaladi can be accessed from Tiruvannamali only by road. Buses are plying regularly to and from Tiruvannamali main bus stand. Kadaladi can also be reached by private cars, vans and auto etc. from Tiruvannamali, which takes about 45 minutes. Parvatha Malai hill is at a distance of 20kms from Polur and about 35kms from Tiruvannamali. If you are planning to visit Parvatha Malai from Tiruvannamali take the left (west road) after crossing Tiruvannamali railway station and take the Kanji – Tiruvannamali road. After reaching Kanji, take the Kadaladi road to reach Parvatha malai. The total driving distance is 35kms.
From Polur you can reach Parvatha Malai by taking the NH 234 upto Kalasapakkam. At Kalasapakkam take the Kalasapakkam – Vilvarani link road to reach Parvatha Malai. As earlier stated Parvatha Malai can also be climbed from Then-madhi mangalam or Mambakkam, which are near to Kadaladi. Polur is 20 km from Thenmathimangalam.
Nearest Railway Station is located at Tiruvannamali. *************
Page No: 29 15.SHENBAGA THOPPU DAM
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Shenbaga Thoppu Dam – 57 Kms
Shenbaga Thoppu dam is built across Kamandala Naga Nadhi near Padavedu in Tiruvannamali district. It is located amidst hills with serene surroundings.
It is one of the good picnic spot in Tiruvannamali district to spend time with the family. It is best to visit this place after monsoon. **********
Page No: 30 16 .JAIN TEMPLE, TIRUMALAI
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Tirumalai Jain Temple - 50 K.m.
Arahanthgiri Jain Math is located in Thirumalai Village of Tiruvannamali District in Tamil Nadu. It is an ancient Jain Math in Tamil Nadu. This Jain Math is also known as Shri Khstra Arihantgiri Digambar Jain Mandir.
History of Arahanthgiri Jain Math starts from the period of 322–185 BCE as the Last ‘Shrutkevali’ Bhadrabahu expected to stay at this place. He stayed at this place to practice meditation and “Swadhyaya” along with 8000 other saints. The Village Thirumalai where this Jain Math is located is also known as Arhatsugiri or Arihantgiri. We can find the 18 feet Neminath Idol on the top of the hill having 140 steps at this location. We can see various ancient caves existing in this Jain Math along with 18 feet idol of Neminath and hundreds of Religious books. Presently Digambar Jain Trust is running a Gurukul at this Jain Math.
How to reach Arahanthgiri Jain Math in Thirumalai By Bus:
Arahanthgiri Jain Math in Thirumalai Village is well connected by Road to all places in Tamil Nadu. This Jain Temple in Thirumalai Village is 50 km away from Tiruvannamali and can be reached by buses or private taxis. Page No: 31 17. VEDHAPUREESWARAR TEMPLE, CHEYYAR
Distance: Tiruvannamali to Vedhapureeswarar Temple, Cheyyar - 90 K.m.
This temple is 2000 years old. It is built in 500 Acre land and has 7 tier Rajagopurm. One has to cross 9 entrances to have the darshanam of Vedapureeswarar. There are separate shrines for Pancha Boothams. Hence we can have the darshan of all Pancha Bootha lingams together. We can also have the darshan of all the 8 Gopurams from one spot.
Here Siva is in Suyambu Lingam form. Daily Sun rays falls on the deity in the Sanctum. This is one of the speciality of this temple. While worshiping one can stand in one place and see Swamy, Ambal, Ganesan, Murugan, Navagraham and Sthala Viruksham. This is another speciality of this temple. Ambal has been portrayed so beautifully with Ruthraksha malai in one hand, Lotus flower in another, the third is Abhaya Hastham and the forth Varatha Hastham. She is blessing the devotees with her sathur pujams.
Page No: 32 Lord Siva explain in detail about Vedham to Dhevas and Rishis in this place. Hence this place is called Thiruvothur. Here Gnanasambandar and Thirunavukkarasar have sung Thevara Pathigam on Vedabureeswarar. Arunagirinathar sung about Lord Murugan of this temple. Siva danced in this place. The dance is called Veera Nadanam. Vinayakar here is Narthana Vinayakar and Murugan is Shanmugar. Lord Murugan created the theertham "Cheyaru" for this temple. Hence this town is called Cheyyaru. Vinayakar, Murugan, Vairavar, Thirumal, Brahmma, Suryan, and Thondaman were worshiped Vedapureeswarar in this temple.
Thiruvothur is close to Kanchipuram. Today people calling this place as Cheyyaru . Bus facilities are available from Kanchipuram, Vandavasi, Pozhur, Tiruvannamali and Arani. The temple is inside the town.
This temple situated on the banks of Cheyyaru river. Many many years back there was often flood in the river. Due to that the walls of the temple were get damaged. To avoid this damage one devotee of this temple raised the banks and planted Palm Trees ( பைன மர ). All the trees were male tree and not a single female tree. There was no fruits ( ெநா ) from the trees. On seeing this few jains started mocking at the Siva devotee and telling them that is all the power lord Siva has. They challenged let lord Siva change these trees to female and get the fruits. Only then we believe in Siva. The worried devotee mentioned this to the visiting Thirugnansambandar about this. Thirugnanasambandar sung a Thevara Pathigam and in the end of the pathigam he sung . .
Immediately with the grace of Lord Vedapureeswarar all the male trees were transformed in to female trees and yielded the fruits. On seeing this all jains in that area converted to Saivism. Even today we can see the stone palm tree in front of Ambal Sannithi. Poojas are conducted for this tree.
Page No: 33
The Nandhi in this temple will not be looking towards Sannadhi. It will be facing outside. As Siva teaching Vedam to all the Devas and Rishis, he had instructed the Nandhi not to allow any one except Devas and Rishis. Due to this reason Nandhi is facing outside.
There was another reason for the Nandhi facing outside.
The King Thondaman had very strong faith on Vedapureeswarar. Once he was defeated by another king Visuvavasu. Thondaman lost his confident and prayed Lord Vedapureeswarar. The Lord gave lot of strength by providing his support and instructed Nandikeeswarar to help Thondaman to win the war. To go with Thondaman Nandhi was looking outside.
Page No: 2 2. IMPORTANT PLACES DISTANCE CHART
Sathanur Dam Arunachaleshwarar Temple Ramanar Ashram
30 K.M. 1 K.M. 2 K.M.
Javvadhu Hills Seshadri Ashram
74 K.M. 2 K.M.
Parvadha Hills Yogi Ramsurat Kumar Ashram
2.5 K.M. 37 K.M.
TIRUVANNAMALI Jain Temple, Tirumalai Pachiamman Temple 50 K.M. 67 K.M.
Sani Bhagavan Temple Panduranga Temple 56 K.M. 82 K.M.
Shenbaga Thoppu Dam Padvedu Renugambal Temple Vedhapureeshwarar Temple
55 K.M. 88 K.M. 57 K.M.
Page No: 34 HOTEL TAMILNADU, TIRUVANNAMALI