Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've actually been saving up writing about this place until I know enough to do justice to a place like this. 

I have almost been here for a month now, and even now I fail to come up with a single adjective to describe it. Nor do I want to go overboard by using mere words that anyway sound shallow. 

Pilgrims from all over the world flock to this place, one of the Panchamahabootha sthalas, Thiruvannamalai is the 'agni lingam', which represents the 'fire' element.

Ever since my parents settled here 3 months ago, I always wanted to come here on the full moon, and do the famous 'Girivalam,' a 14 km trek around the mountain, the main attraction of this place. 

As luck would have it, I came here to recover from my illness, and doing the trek was out of the question, so here I am, being ruthlessly, utterly pampered by my parents, eating awesome food and soaking in some awesome culture (Ha! that got you jealous)

The first thing I saw as I entered this idyllic temple town, was a majestic mountain that overshadowed everything else here. This was the sacred 'Aruna shivalinga mountain', meaning the whole mountain itself here was worshipped as the shivalinga. In the coming days as I recovered, I realized that the temple here is just the symbolic aspect to the city itself, and its actually the city of Thiruvannamalai which is the actual temple, the mountain, the linga. 

This city is scattered with ashrams, where masters like Ramana maharishi, Yogi Ram Surat Kumar and Sheshadari Swamigal meditated and attained enlightenment. 

The main temple, the 'Arulmigu Arunachaleshwar koil' , with the presiding deity of Shiva and Parvathi as Annamalaiyar and Unnamulaiamman is more than a 1000 years old. Throughout the temple one can feel the fire element emanating from its space having a strange cleansing effect, especially when you enter the inner shrine. 

The town itself of course is a brilliant tourist hub, especially in the Ramanashram side of the town, which is majorly popular among foreigners, the city feels like a cross between the colorful Goa and spiritual Varanasi. So you can meditate every evening and then head for delicious wood fire baked pizzas.

So this whole month has been an extended holiday. I don't know how long I am going to be here, but I could sure get used to waking up to the birds and peacocks (okay, by the time I wake up, they are gone, but I swear I hear them in my dreams) , a view with the majestic mountains and wood fire baked pizzas (not yet tried them, but they sound delicious). And I for once am in no great hurry to recover!!!!!