"Tiruvannamalai, Land of Shiva" Tiruvannamalai by ManOfLaMantra

Tiruvannamalai Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 90 photos

Arunachala IS Shiva

Many think that Mt Kailash, the Tibetan mountain revered by Buddhists, Hindus, and Bonpo, is the most powerful spiritual "power spot" on earth.

The folks I met in Thiruvannamalai would beg to differ: "Kailash is the abode of Shiva, but Arunachala IS Shiva." Hence the belief of many that Thiruvannamalai is THE place to get your spiritual batteries charged up.

I've haven't been to Kailash in this life, and don't know if Arunachala is a more powerful spiritual spot, but I very much enjoyed the time I spent there.

I originally headed to Thiru (as the natives call it) from Pondicherry, ostensibly to visit the Sri Ramanashram. I ended up spending a few weeks there.

Why do I like it so much? Thiru is a friendly town frequented by devotees of Shiva, many of whom consider it the most important shrine of this deity.

It has a very open ashram (see below) and marvelous huge temple.

Ramana Maharshi and Sri Ramanasramam

Thiru is the home of the friendly, relaxed Sri Ramanasramam, a wonderful place to meditate, study and learn about the life and teachings of the sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, who spent the majority of his life meditating and teaching on and around the mountain.

Ramana Maharshi taught self-inquiry, in which a meditator seeks to simply and directly discover his true identity by asking "Who am I."

Sri Ramanasramam is open to anyone, regardless of spiritual inclination. I did my (Buddhist) meditations and prayers in the same room as everyone else.

There are lots of peacocks strutting proudly around the ashram. They walk around everywhere, knowing that no one will harm them.

The ashram has a wonderful library of books from all spiritual traditions, including an excellent collection of books on Vajrayana Buddhism in English. There are also lots of books on Advaita and other Hindu traditions.

Sri Arunachaleswar Temple

One of the oldest and largest temples in South India, Arunachaleswar is simple breathtaking. The largest gopuram is >60 m high. The complex sits at the base of Arunachala HIll a short bike ride from Sri Ramanashram.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful friendly ashram, amazing temple, and the mountain itself
  • Cons:Very hot in Spring -- best to visit Oct-March
  • In a nutshell:A great place for a spiritual retreat
  • Last visit to Tiruvannamalai: Apr 2000
  • Intro Updated Feb 14, 2004
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Comments (3)

  • songlines's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2005 at 12:22 PM

    Hi, yes I stayed at the Ramana Ashram too recently and found it to be a wonderful experience, peaceful and beautiful. If you go during full moon of November you get to take part in Deepam festival when they light the fire on top of Mt Arunachalla.

  • orlikins's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2005 at 6:50 AM

    sounds like a beautiful experience :)

  • chauncenetta's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2004 at 6:21 PM

    Do they have fries there?


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