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Kartikai Deepam
Tiruvannamalai the home of Arunachaleswarar, where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a lingam. The Consort here is Unnamulaiyaal, also known as Apitakuchambaal.

This is one of the largest temples in India. One of the most important Shaivaite temples, Tiruvannamalai is also the pancha bhootha sthalam of Agni (Fire). Shiva is said to have manifested himself in the form of a massive column of fire.

Legend has it that once Brahma and Vishnu quarreled for ascertaining the superiority of one over the other. They went on fighting, when Lord Siva appeared between them in the form of a column of fire. Simultaneously, a voice was heard from the heavens that they must stop fighting. Trying to find out what the column of fire was, they tried in vain to find out the beginning and the end of the fire.
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Looking at the Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum is a veritable feast indeed. One of the distinct features of this temple is that, everyday the Lord is adorned in different attires. For example, on Fridays, the Lord is adorned in silver ornaments, while on Sundays, He appears like a Maharaja.

At the Tiruvannamalai temple, the day begins with the ceremonial arrival of the Ganga to the shrine, from a tank in the Southern part of the town on an elephant through the Southern, Tirumanjana Gopuram. This water cleanses the entrance to the second prakaram. Next is the ritual of waking up the Lord and his Consort in their bedchamber.

Apart from this, six other poojas are offered at the temple. The first one is at 6 am, and the last one is at night where the Shiva Meru and the image of Parvati are brought in a procession to the bed chamber.

 

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