The Arunachaleshwar temple at Tiruvannamalai is one of the holiest Saivite shrines in the country. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of Arunachaleshwarar, also known as Annamalaiyar. The temple is one of the Panchabootha stalas (temples associated with the five basic elements – water, wind, fire, sky and earth) and is associated with Agni or Fire.
The temple is located at the foot of the Mount Arunachala (Aruna – red + Achala – immovable mount). The mountain is believed to be sacred and hence, many saints and siddhas have made it their home.
Thousands of devotees circumbulate (pradakshina) the mountain (also known as Girivalam) on full-moon days and also during certain festivals. The deepam festival during the month of kartigai is celebrated with great fervour. A big brass lamp is lit at the peak of the hill. The blazing flame atop the hill is witnessed by millions.