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About Tiruvannamalai

Successive kings of South India have given great importance to Tiruvannamalai and the temple of Arunachala. For a thousand years these kings have built prakaras outlying temples, gopurams and compound walls, dug ponds, offered jewels and donated gold  for the upkeep of temple lands.   Historically famous kings like Raja Raja Cho-zhan, Rajendra Chozhan, Harihara Bukkar, Krishna Deva Rayar as well as kings of Chera, Chozha, Pallava, Pandya, Rashtrakotta, Hoysala and Naik dynasties were proud to have Tiruvannamalai as part of their kingdom.  Some of them made it their Capital. Though caught in political crisis and engaged in battles, they continued to hold onto Tiruvannamalai, which they considered vitally important to them.

Historical details about Tiruvannamalai and the Aruncahalewsara temple are available to us through stone inscriptions on the prakara walls and copper plates.  These inscriptions refer to a period of about thousand years starting  from 750 A.D. The earliest archaeological findings from these stone inscriptions point to the fact that the greatness of Arunachala was known to the kings from the spiritual works   Thevaram and  Thiruvasagam. We come to know that Tiruvannamalai was historically and spiritually famous even from those ancient times. We have clues that the temple was small  during the visit of Appar, Manikavasagar, Sambandar and others.  Kings  who read about the great glory of Aruncahaleswara from the Thevaram and Thiruvasagam began to expand the temple and beautify it. We owe a debt of gratitude to the four great  Saivite  saints,  the kings,  queens and chieftains for their service. They had great faith in and devotion  for  Arunachaleswara.

The temple and outlying areas, as also the town were built and maintained by successive kings. Many stone and brass inscriptions in Sanskrit and Tamil have been found  giving  further details of the history of this temple.  These inscriptions also tell us about the economic and social changes of the times, and the great service rendered to the temple by the kings.

Tiruvannamalai was earlier known as "ThiruAnna Nadu" and the president deity was known as Thiru Anna Nattu Mahadevan.This region was called Thondai Mandalam and was ruled by the Pallavas.It then passed into the hands of the Rashtrakootas, a dynasty to which belonged Krishna III, who undertook important renovation work during the tenth century A.D. The region then came under the rule of chieftains like Kadavaraya, the Banas and Sambuva Raya. From the thirteenth to the fourteenth century, the Pandya kings ruled over it. Then came the Hoysalas who made Tiruvannamalai their capital they waged war to establish their power.  The Vijayanagar kings who took over from them spent enormous amount of money for the worship and other requirements of the temple. Poets like SaivaEllappa  Navalar  have sung in praise of the Naickers of Tanjore who came to power after the Vijayanagar kings, for the great service they rendered  to the temple. Important renovation work was done in the sanitarium by Aditya Chozha-III in 750 A.D. and Parandhaka Chozha-I in the tenth century A.D.  


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