Importance of ‘Arunachalam’ pilgrim | Mythological significance of ‘Arunachalam’ and its touristic importance
Tiruvannamalai is one of the most famous pilgrimage centers of Tamilnadu. This is also known as Arunachalam. The five basic elements of the universe are sky, air, fire, water and earth. According to the stories of Puranaas Lord Shiva has taken the form of these five elements in five different locations. These five forms are called Panchabhootha tatwa Lingaalu. The place where Lord Shiva has taken the form of Agni or fire is Arunachalam or Turuvannamalai.
Once there was a conflict between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu about the supremacy. Suddenly a big fire pillar had appeared between them. It was so big that the starting and ending of the pillar could not be seen. To find out the origin of the pillar Lord Brahma climbed his Hamsa vaahana and went in to the skies. Lord Vishnu had taken the form of Varaaha and went deep into the earth. Both the Gods could not find the origins of the piilar and returned to the place from where they have started. Lord Shiva came out of the pillar and stood between them. Later as per the wish of Lord Brahma and Vishnu, Lord Shiva has taken a form of a mountain at that place. That mountain is Arunachalam. According to the sthala puraanam this mountain takes the form of Agni in Kritha Yuga, An ornament form in Threthra Yuga, and gold form in Dwapara Yuga and Marakata form in Kaliyuga.
Sage Gautama used to reside on this mountain in an Ashram. A big lamp is lit on the mountain on the eve of ‘Kartika Purnima’ celebrations at Tiruvannamalai. This lamp burns for nearly three days. This is visible even from a distance of 40 kms. Devotees make pradakshina around this mountain believing that the lamp is Lord Shiva himself. The temple is at the bottom of the hill. This temple with four Prakaaras is said to be one of the biggest temples in Tamilnadu. The Nandi Vigraham in the front Mandapam is one of the rarest statues in India.
Tiruvannamalai is near the southern border of Andhra Pradesh. Katpadi Junction station is located 35 kms south from Chittoor.
There is a branch line to Vellipuram from Katpadi. Tirumannamalai is exactly at the middle of the line. There are many hotels and lodges in this place which is 93 kms from Katpadi and 68 kms from Vellipuram.