Agni Lingam


Fire, Water, Earth, Space and Air are the five elements that govern all the Organisms in the universe and Shiva established with five forms in the name of the elements. Shiva established Arunachaleswar  (Fire), Jambukeswar (Jala or Water), Ekambareshwar (Earth) and Nataraja (Space or Akash) in Tamil Nadu and Kalahasteeswara (Air) in Andhra Pradesh. Tiruvannamalai called as Arunacham, where the Agni (Fire) Ling self manifested is in Tamil Nadu State. The Shrine is the symbol of fire and famous as Agni (Fire) Ling. The area is the oldest among the other shrines in the world. The shrine exists in the centre of the world and is believed to be the heart of the universe. It is believed that the Shrine gives salvation on memory. A Fire Flame originated on the peak of the hill and formed as Tejolinga. Arunachaleswar and Arunachaleswari or Unnamalai Nayagi are the principal deities. The story behind Arunachalam is so lengthy and it could not be completed if we try to talk about Arunachalam since the legend is the same as the length of Shiva Ling which does not have adyanta (no starting/no ending). Nobody can narrate entirely about the shrine of Arunachalam ,and no words can explain the legendary greatness of the shrine.

On a fine day as relaxation, to make fun of mata Parvathi closed the eyes of lord Shiva then immediately she recognised her guilt and to do atonement for this, she started great penance and formed as half part in the body of shiva. This particular shrine is famous in the name of Arunachalam. When matha parvathi closed the eyes of lord shiva, the moon and the sun frozen by and the whole world turned into darkness. Matha parvathi repented for the sin and error in dharma she committed. Hence matha parvathi pleaded lord shiva to tell about the way to get atonement. Lord shiva tried to console her in many ways by saying that she is the self appearance of shiva and no difference between matha parvathi and lord shiva. Even matha parvathi urged shiva to tell her some way to atonement. Then lord shiva suggested her to do penance, the best solution to atonement. After that, matha parvathi went to the hermitage  of the sage Gowtham and started her penance. While mata parvati is continuing her penance, in the middle the demon mahishasura appeared and creating booming. Then mata parvthi has taken the incarnation of CHAMUNDESWARI and exterminated Mahishasuran. This anecdote took place near the Chamundi Hills of Mysore near Arunagiri. Henceforth Maa Parvathi became famous as Mashisasura Mardhani.

 Arunachaleswarar Temple

A hegemonic conflict arises between Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva takes perseverance in the form of a brightening cauldron pillar form between them and informs them that the person who found the last point of the pole will be the supreme between them. Both of them agreed and Brahma went in the direction of upwards in the form of a swan, while Vishnu went in the downward direction in the form of a white Boar. Brahma informed that he had found out the top point of the pole and the Mugali flower witnessed the same whereas Vishnu agreed with his inability to find out the last point of the Pillar. Lord Shiva gets angry with Brahma and Mogali Flower and gives curse to Brahma not to have any worship to him besides rejects the Mogali Flower in his worship. Vishnu was given boon to have all worship and rituals. The lightning cauldron pillar is nothing but the Arunachala Hill.


As per legend Sage Markandeya along with his other sages prayed to Nandikeswara to tell them about the easy ways to cross the Ocean of Samsara and attain salvation. Nandeeswara replied that a dip in the holy Ganges at Varanasi in good faith, being born in Tiruvarur, darshan of Chidambaram, visit of Vriddhachalam where Vishnu performed penance and gained Chakra as boon from Lord Shiva, pilgrimage to Kedarnath and darshan of Lord Mallikarjuna and Brahmaramba in Srisailam are the ways to salvation. Besides, darshan of Kalahasti, Tirupati Hill, Kanchipuram, Kumbhakonam, Madurai and Rameswaram also gives Salvation.

arulmigu arunachaleswarar temple maharshi Idol- tiruvannamalai tamil nadu

Markandeya urged Nandikeswara that visiting and offering worship in these divine places besides attending family activities is not possible to Gods and Sages and requested to explain that the place gives relief and salvation with bathing in Third and Ritual worship. Markandeya further added to inform about a place in which everyone  releases from family bindings and attain Kaivalya. Sage Markandeya worshipped Nandikeswara along with the other sages. Nandeeswar informed that Arunachala is the place in the Universe that gives relief from family activities to all human beings with remembrance of the sacred Name and has numerous names. Nandeeswar further added that Arunachala Hill stands in eras Krita, Tretha, Dwapara as a Hill of Fire, as one of Diamond, as a Golden Hill respectively and continuing in the present Kali era as a Hill of Stone. Vishnu and Brahma in their dominance dispute, Vishnu as a boar and Brahma as a swan could not find the beginning and end of the Hill Arunachala. 

It is to be noted that the clouds surrounding the peak of Arunachal Mountain seem and the peak appears to be like Himalayas pouring water on the Mountain as river Ganga flows from the head bulge of Lord Shiva. Himavantha, the god of Mountains, thought that he had to give his daughter Uma in marriage with the skull-carrying Siva. Later he accepted the story of Shiva in the form of Mountain to settle the hegemonic conflict between Brahma and Vishnu. He is satisfied that Shiva also belongs to their mountain race. Nandeeswar reiterated that remembrance of Arunachal will give salvation even to the assassins deported by the society and the trees and shrub in Arunachal is a Kalpa Tree besides the springs on the mountain as holy Ganga. Nandeeswar explained the uniqueness of Arunachal Mountain to the sages in detail. People believed that Nandeeswar is still in the sitting posture in Arunachalam.

The parrot has a curious connection with Arunachaleswarar Temple and a painted mortar image of a parrot in a pigeon hole of the White Temple Tower. There is a legend of Arungirinathar, a saint and devotee of Murugan in Tiruvannamali who spent his last life in the form of a parrot residing at the temple. Sambandan, an orator defeated by the Saint and went to the king, lost his eyes with the darshan of Murugan. He advised the king to instruct Arungirinathar to get the drops squeezed from Parijata flower in Heaven to restore his eyes. The King instructed the Saint to bring the flower. The Saint entered into the body of a dead parrot leaving his body and flew off to collect the flower. After the departure of the parrot, Sambabdan was forced to cremate the body of the Saint and was quickly burned on the orders of the King. Arunagirinathar returned with the flower and found that his body was burnt. He went to the King in the form of a parrot and restored his eyes with the follower. Arunagirinathar spent his remaining life in the form of a parrot praising Lord Murugan.

arunachaleswarar temple gopuram- tamil nadu

Besides Parrot, Pilgrims may see a number of peacocks in Arunachala. Peacock is the vehicle (vahana) to Lord Kartikeya and Goddess Kaumari. Karthikeya is the son of Shiva. Further the Peacock is closely related with Lord Krisha, as he is often depicted with Peacock feathers on his head. There are plenty of stories, songs and poems on Peacock and it is the symbol of beauty. Peacock was created from the feathers of Garuda, and vehicle (vahana) of Lord Vishnu. The feathers of Peacock are used to dust sacred items and in Hindu rituals as a fan. Peacock in general is called Mayura and the dance of Peacock is famous during the rainy season. 

The devotees believe that the clock-wise walk around the Arunachala Hill is called Giri Pradakshan and it itself is a devoted offering to Lord Shiva since the Hill is considered to be the Jyotirlinga form of Lord Shiva. A great festival is performed on the full moon day in Karthika (November) and a lamp will be lit on the top of the hill and lakhs of devotees perform Giri Pradakshan on that particular day. The devotees believe that the Giri Pradakshan performed on the day will fulfill their desires within 41 days. Giri Pradakshina means to start from the East the devotees walk around the Hill in clockwise direction covering 14 km shall reach the East point visiting the temples of Ashta Ling around the hill without any cover on head chanting Panchakshari. It will generally take 3 to 4 hours. The herbal air blowing from the hill gives relief to the body, the chanting of Panchakshari to the soul and blessings of Shiva to the spiritual living. There will be no ups and downs in the road around the hill. The unable persons to walk may perform the journey by auto cost Rs.600.

Tiruvannamalai Temple Hill View

The Hill is octagonal in shape surrounded by eight small temples called Asta Linga. These Temples are located at the four cardinal and four intercardinal points. The temples are Yama in South, Niruthi in the South West, Varuna in West, Vayu in North West, Kubera in North, Esanya in North East and Indra in the East direction. Devotees may visit the other temples viz. Seshadri Swamy, Sri Ramana Maharshi. Vigneswara, Seth Annamalai, Adi Annamalai, Chandra Ling, Padakku Pillaiyar, Pachai Amman and Ardhanareeswara round the mountain along with Ashta Linga. Lokapalas are the guardians of the four cardinal directions and rule the specific directions of space. The eight deities, of the cardinal and inter cardinal directions are the ‘Ashta-Dikpalas. 

The bonfire festival is conducted on the full moon day in Karthika month, probably in November. A flame with tons of Cow Ghee in a very big censer will be lit on the day and it appears up to 15 km. The flame continues for weeks. Devotees believe the flame as a symbol of enlightenment and the vision of the flame gives Moksha. The sunset in Arunachalam is extraordinary since the son will appear through the five floors of the tower of the temple one by one from top to bottom. 


The temple is open from 5-00Am to 12-30Noon and from 3-30PM to Night 9 00. There are several Ashrams in Arunachalam. Ramana Maharshi Ashram and Kanchi Peetam Ashram are prominent among them. Pilgrims may book accommodation in Ramana Maharshi Ashram by submitting particulars of stay to before six weeks of their visit and rooms will be allotted on availability. There is temple accommodation allotted on availability. Accomodation on rental basis and free meals are available in Shiva Sannidhi. There are other private medium and star hotels for accommodation and meals in Arunachalam.     

Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram

The Ashram of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is famous in Arunachalam. The Indian Hindu sage was born in 1879 and attained salvation in 1950. The childhood name of Sri Ramana Maharshi is Venkraman Ayyar and he was born in a Brahmin family in Tiruchi of Tamilnadu. He received knowledge of salvation in his early years and settled on the hills of Arunachalam. Though he was born in a Brahmin family he declared himself to be an atheist. He prefers silence in his preaching and he used to speak very less. He used to speak with those who could not understand his feelings. He generally speaks about self knowledge. He used to explain the place and importance of self knowledge to attain salvation. He used to calculate the mood and offer preaching of ways of devotion. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi in his preachings about the greatness of Arunachalam stated that the name “Arunachala” is 3 crore greater than the Panchakshari  నమశ్శివాయ’ (Namassivaya) and Arunachala is Gnana Panchakshari whereas నమశ్శివాయ’ is Yoga Panchakshari and it was written in Skanda Purana.