Important Pilgrimage Centre in Tamil Nadu


This hill town and district gets its name from the presiding deity Annamalaiyar. On the full moon day of every month, devotees circumnavigate the Annamalai hill and the temple base in worship. This is called girivalam (giri means hill). Almost ten lakh people perform the girivalam every year.

Another annual festival is Karthikai Deepam that is held on full moon day, in November-December. A huge beacon of light is lit atop the Annamalai hills. More than 30,00,000 people witness the festival.


This important hill is considered to be the abode of Lord Muruga. Devotees fast and carry kaavadis (two semicircular pieces of wood which are bent, decorated and balanced on the shoulders of the devotee) and walk barefoot to worship the deity during Thai poosam (January–February). Pilgrims carry different offerings – flowers, milk, sandal paste, etc. – in their kaavadis for worship. More than seventy lakh devotees visit this hill shrine every year. This is one of the Arupadai veedu of Lord Muruga. – among the six sacred abodes of Muruga in Tamil Nadu.

Palani hill is located on the eastern spur of the Western ghats. The Kothaimangalam wetlands are located near Palani. These huge lakes are the habitat of several migratory birds. The Kongur wetland is located 25 km from Palani.


Tiruttani is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya and is situated in Tiruvallur district, on a hillock. 365 steps lead to the shrine, each step representing a day of the year. Lord Murugan fought fiercely with Surapadman (a demon) at Tiruchendur. After his victory, Murugan wanted to cool his anger. He reached Tiruttani hill, which is therefore known as Thanigai malai. Tiruttani is also known by many other names: Purnagiri, Kshanikachalam, Mooladri and Neelotpala.


The famous Kapaleeswarar temple is located in Mylapore, Chennai. The annual Brahmothsavam or the Panguni Uthiram festival is a very important festival performed in this pilgrim centre. The car festival draws lakhs of devotees. The Arubathumoovar festival during March – April in honour of the 63 Nayanmars, in which their images are taken out in a spectacular procession, draws devotees from various parts of Chennai, and other districts and States.


The Nagore  Dargah was built over the tomb of a Sufi saint Hazrat Nagore Shahul Hamid. The saint had performed many miracles and cured the afflictions of King Achutappa Nayak, a 16th century ruler of Thanjavur, who gifted him 200 acres of land for the dargah. This dargah is a major pilgrim centre attracting lakhs of pilgrims. The annual 14 day Kanduri or Sandhana koodu festival draws lakhs of devotees.

Velankanni, Nagapattinam

Velankanni is a small coastal town situated in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. The Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni, also known as the Lourdes of the East, is one of the pilgrim centres in India drawing lakhs and lakhs of pilgrims every year.  The Chapel was dedicated on the feast of the Nativity of Mother Mary (September 8). Almost 15 lakh people participate in the annual 10 day festival during August and September.


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