Thriuvannamalai temple - Fascinating facts

10th day festival after Maha Deepam, Rishaba (bull) vahana -siver
10th day.Karthigai Mahadeepam on the
10th day, Bharani Deepam.Thirivannamalai
7th day Karthigai Deepam festival .Maharatham(Ther), Thiruvannamalai,
Karthigaideepam festival,4th day
4ty day
5th day
Annamalaiyar is the most sacred of the names of the manifestation of Lord Shiva (also Siva).

Among the 275 sacred places (Lord Shiva Temples) which were praised by the hymns of Thevaram known as "Thirumurai Thalangal." twenty two are  in Tamil Nadu Nadu. Thiruvannamalai is the most sacred of these twenty two.

Shiva Puranam  identifies four sacred places for getting  salvation - free from the cycles of birth and death. Thiruvannamalai is one among them. The significance of this place is that by mere remembrance of Lord Arunachaleswarar at this place gives salvation to all souls (Ninaithale Mukthi Tharum Thiruthalam).

Thiruvannamalai has been the abode of Siddhars. Idaikkattu Siddhar, one of the eighteen Siddhars, belongs to this sacred soil. Thiruvannamalai has the honour of providing an abode for  numerous saints. Among them  Arunagirinathar, Guru Namachivayar, Deivasigamani, Arunachala Desikar, Mahan Seshadri Swamigal, Bagawan Ramana Maharishi, Sri Yogi Ram Surathkumar, et al are well known.

Fascinating facts:

 01. The Arunachaleswarer (also Annamalaiyar) temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the all-pervading  mystic cosmic dance is one of the important Shiva temples in India. People from all parts of India visit this huge temple complex set in the back drop of holy hill 'Arunachala.'

 02. One of the Pancha Bootha Sthalas, representing Agni, the temple  was  built  by  several  kings, belonging to various dynasties.

03. In the whole of India, the Hindu festival of Karthgai  Deepam is  celebrated  on  a  grand scale here where it is a 10 day colorful festival celebrated with devotion and commitment. During the festival period about 20 million people visit this temple town.

04. Karthigai Deepam festival commences  at around four o' clock in the early hours in the temple. An important event, the Bharani Deepam , a ritual that preludes Maha Deepam in the evening  is lit at the temple by the temple priests amidst chanting of Sanskrit mantras.

Around 4 pm, deities of  Panchamoorthy (Vinayagar, Murugar with Valli and Deivanai, Unnamulai Amman, Parasakthi and Sandeeswarar) are taken in palanquins and placed opposite to the sanctum sanctorum. The deity Ardhanareeswarar is taken out at 6 pm when the Mahadeepam in the 2200 feet high  hill was lit. At night the presiding lord is taken out on Rishaba Vahana (bull) that is  fully gold plated.

05. The Mahadeepam is several feet high and  the cauldron  is filled with  300 plus kg ghee  instead of oil and  is topped with a giant wick made of several hundred meters of cotton cloth specifically made for this purpose. The Mahadeepam atop the Arunalchala  hill  can be  viewed by people living around the near by villages. The villagers light the oil lamps at home after this event 

06. Devotees never light the earthern lamps at home before the lighting of Maha Deepam and a bath is a must for them. Women, during their three day period,  are not allowed to light the lamps.

07. During the 10 day festival, each day the bejeweled  gods and  goddesses are taken out in a procession on the Vahana or chariot mostly  after evening;  some of them are silver plated or gold plated.

08. 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th day temple processions are quite interesting. 4th day: The auspicious Karpaviruksha - the celestial tree that grants the  reasonable wishes of devotees  is taken out along Lord Panchamurthigal. Here the tree that is compared with humans  is adored and  worshiped. 5h day: Lord Panchamurthigal, Who is on the Rishabha (Bull) vahana ( 25 feet high) made  of silver is  preceded by  giant  umbrella with about 17 feet in diameter.  7th day: The lord , this time,  is taken out  on a giant raatham (chariot) made of wood. The Chariot, with intricately designed base and giant wheels  has a width as wide as the street.
8th day festival: The night procession witnesses  the lord on a horse Vahaha (mount), whose legs do  not touch the  ground and are in the air.

The festival concludes after lighting of Mahadeepam on the Arunachala hill behind the temple in the evening followed by procession of gods at night.