Category : Stories
Where are Arunanchala hills located?
Arunanchala hills are located at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Naidu state in Southern part of India a.k.a holy hill at Tiruvannamalai is one of the main places for the followers of Shaivism.
The hill is also known by many other names including Arunagiri, Annamalai Hill, Arunanchalam, Arunai, Sonagiri and Sonachalam.
Why Arunanchala hills are famous?
At the base of the Arunanchala hills, there is lies one of the five main temple of Lord shiva, named Annamalaiyar Temple.
The Annamalaiyar temple has an monumental tower or gopuram style architecture which is rectangular in form with ground-level wooden doors, often richly decorated, providing access to the main temple.
This temple is mostly renowned for some of the remarkable carvings on the walls. One of the most beautiful carving of Lord Shiva is found in Annamalaiyar temple in which Lord Shiva is shown as dancing in an elephant’s skin.
Many great saints and sages like Sri Ramna Maharshi who were great passive instrument to radiate the great power of self resided and did their spiritual practices or sadhana in the Arunachala hills.
At the foot hill of Arunanchala hills, Sri Ramana Ashram situated which draws devotees from all over the world.
Karthigai Deepam (sacred fire light) lit in Annamalaiyar Temple then carried at top of the Arunanchala hills to celebrate the tenth day of the Tamil month Karthikai (November- December) every year.
Sri Ramana Maharshi beautifully described the meaning of this event as
Getting rid of the `I am the body’ idea and merging the mind into the Heart to realize the Self as non-dual being and the light of all is the real significance of darshan (vision of divine) of the beacon of light on Annamalai, the centre of the universe.”
Pilgramage to the Ashta Lingam, 8 small shrines of the lingams. Also known as Giri Pradakshina in Sanskrit and Giri Valam in Tamil.
Sri Ramana Maharshi explained the meaning of the word pradakshina and how it should be done by a devotee
The letter “Pra” stands for removal of all kinds of sins; “da” stands for fulfilling the desires; “kshi” stands for freedom from future births; “na” stands for giving deliverance through jnana.
If by way of Pradakshina you walk one step it gives happiness in this world, two steps, it gives happiness in heaven, three steps, it gives bliss of Satyaloka(highest plane of consciousness) which can be attained. One should go round either in mouna (silence) or dhyana (meditation) or japa (repetition of Lord’s name) or sankeertana (bhajan) and thereby think of God all the time. One should walk slowly like a woman who is in the ninth month of pregnancy.
Massive celebration of the Maha Shivaratri festival . The day Lord Shiva got married to Parvati is celebrated as Shivaratri – the Night of Lord Shiva. It is the 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of the month Phalguna (Magha), which usually falls in either February or March month.
Amazing mystic healing powers of Arunachala hills
It is believed that Lord Shiva declared that
Residence within a radius of thirty miles of the Arnunchala hills shall, by itself, be sufficient to burn off all defects and effect the union of the individual soul with the Supreme even without the initation.
In ancient times Sri Parvathi Devi, Sages like Gautama and Dhurvasa did tapas in arunchala hills and their ashrams still exist there.
Arunachala hills has secret mystic powers that truly bestows the self knowledge( or jnana ) to the real Jnana yogis. People who truly seek self knowledge and visit Arunachala hills. They always find a way to reach to the self. The Arunachala hills makes itself known through some means or other to unleash the truth within.
Ramana Maharshi said that
Holy places such as Kailash, Varanasi and Rishikesh are sacred because they are the abodes of Lord Siva whereas Arunachala is Lord Siva himself.
Some of the interesting verses from Arunachala Mahatmyam are below
Arunachala is truly the holy place. Of all holy places it is the most sacred! Know that it is the heart of the world. It is truly Siva himself! It is his heart-abode, a secret kshetra. In that place the Lord ever abides the hill of light named Arunachala.
All stones in that place Arunachala arelingams. It is indeed the abode of Lord Siva. All trees are the wish-granting trees of Indra’s heaven. Its rippling waters are the Ganges, flowing through our Lord’s matted locks. The food eaten there is the ambrosia of the Gods. To go round it in pradakshina is to perform pradakshina of the world. Words spoken there are holy scripture, and to fall asleep there is to be absorbed in samadhi, beyond the mind’s delusion. Could there be any other place which is its equal?
“By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation.“
Higher up in the Arunachala hills you will find many caves where many saint and sages achieved the truth of life over the centuries. OM shaped cave in higher hills of Arunanchala still bears the name of 15th century sage Virupaksha Deva who stayed and did his sadhana there. At south-east slope of Arunachala you will find the cave of Sri Ramana Maharshi lived in from 1899 to 1916.
You can still find many siddha purushas at Arunchala hills who stays in cave there and are deeply engrossed in to their sadhana. Arunchala hill can be a perfect place to deepen your spiritual practice and explore the hidden deep dimension within.
Have you been to Arunachala hills ? Or planning to visit?
Share your own story of visiting Arunachala hills as everyone has had their own unique experience there.