The Arunachaleshwara Temple is one of the Shiva Temples in the Pancha Bhootha (Five Elements) temples group. The temple is located at the base of the Arunachala Hill in Thiruvannamalai town of Tamil Nadu in India. It is the Agni (Fire) Linga temple. The Pancha Bhootha temples are as follows and Arunachaleshwara Temple is the third one to be worshipped in the order of “NA MA SHI VA YA” of the Shiva Panchakshari Mantra.
- Ekambareswara Temple (Earth/Land) – Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
- Jambukeswara Temple (Water) – Thiruvanikaval/Trichy, Tamil Nadu
- Arunachaleshwara Temple (Fire) – Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
- Sree Kalahasthi Temple (Air) – Sree Kalahasthi, Andhra
- Chidambaram Natarajar Temple (Sky/Ether), Tamil Nadu
Deity and Structure of the Temple
Lord Shiva as Arunachaleshwara or Annamalaiyar is the main Deity here along with his consort Parvathy as Unnamalai Amman. The temple complex is one of the largest in India and covers about 10 hectares of land. It has four Gopurams (Gateway Towers) with the tallest eastern tower about 66 meters in 11 stories. The towers were built by Sevappa Nayakkar of Nayakar Dynasty.
The main shrine of Arunachaleshwara faces east, housing images of Nandi and Surya, and is the oldest structure in the temple. On the day preceding each full moon, pilgrims circumnavigate the temple base and the Arunachala hills in a worship called “Girivalam”. It is a practice carried out by one million pilgrims yearly.
Read more about the temple here
Read my article about the Pancha Bhootha Temples to know more about our trip to the five temples.