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Thiruvannamalai Temple

Lord Shiva has his largest dwelling in Thiruvannamalai, in the name of Annamalaiyar temple, which dates back to 1000s of years and has a mention in the oldest Tamil literatures like Thevaram and Thiruvasagam.

When Lord Brahma (the Creator) and Lord Vishnu (the Protector) entered into a quarrel to ascertain who was the most powerful, Lord Shiva entered into the scene to evaluate their power.

To assess their strength, He announced a contest, where the winner is the one who could spot his crown and his feet. After announcing the contest, HE immediately transformed into a Big Spark of fire, which stretched from the Heaven to the Earth.

While Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha and excavated deeper into the land to locate Lord Shiva’s feet, Lord Brahma became a swan and flew high in the sky to spot the crown of Lord Shiva.

At the end, both of them failed in their exploration. Although Lord Vishnu accepted his defeat, Lord Brahma asked to the Thazhambu (a flower), which fell down from the crown of Lord Shiva, to give witness against truth.

The flower accepted to lie and listening to the false witness, Lord Shiva became furious because a flower in the crown of Lord Shiva took 40 thousand years to reach the ground, since Lord Shiva is in a boundless form.

Therefore, HE cursed Lord Brahma would not be worshiped in any temple in the earth and the Thazambu would not be used for any prayers. Lord Shiva, who was in the form of fire, cooled down and became the Annamalai hill.

The Lingam in this temple is Agni/Jyothir lingam, one of the Panchabootha lingams.

During the Krithayugam, the Annamalai hill was in the form of fire (Agni); in the Threthayugam, it turned to be an Emerald hill (Manikkam); in the Dwaparayugam, it was a Golden hill (Pon); and in the Kaliyugam, it became a solid rock hill. Lord Shiva’s Shivalingam can be worshipped in the foothill of Thiruvannamalai, in the name of the Arulmigu Annamalaiyar Temple.

Another famous legendary story of Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyar Temple says that Goddess Parvathi playfully closed Lord Shiva’s eyes, at the Mount Kailash and hence, the entire world went into darkness. Along with other Rishis, she meditated for years that Lord Shiva reappeared in Thiruvannamalai hill and became the light of the world.

This is considered as the iconic symbol of Lord Shiva himself and it is the first place, where Lingothbavar originated and followed in various other temples of Lord Shiva. Situated in an area of 25 acres, the temple magnificently stands with 9 huge towers and nine wide prakaras. In the With Ashtalingam (8 Lingam temples), surrounding the hill, it is in the shape of octagonal.

Every lingam is related to Navagraha and hence, believed to bring plenty of benefits, related to that respective Planetary Logos. Tamil Month of Karthigai, Karthigai Deepam festival has been splendidly celebrated for 10 days in this temple and lakhs of devotees visit the temple to go round the hill.

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