Girivalam Timing: 10th February 2017 - 8:00 am to 11th February 6:57 am
The Arunachaleswarar temple at Tiruvannamalai is a very ancient temple in Tamil Nadu. It is said to be around thousand years old and patronised by the great saints and poets of Tamil Nadu. The prominent among them are Appar, Sambamdar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar and Arunagirinathar. This has great reputation among all Shiva devotees since Arunachalaeswar is prayed here in the form of fire, fire being one of the five elements that composed this universe. The other four elements of the panchaboothas are vayu, akash, jalam and earth.This beautiful temple is located at the foot of the Annamalai hills that falls under the Tiruvannamalai district about eighty kilometers away from Vellore town by road.
This temple city can also be reached from Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu that is around 185 kilometres by road. It is believed that Shiva is also in the form of a hill and hence it is called as Annamalai hill. Anna means all powerful in Tamil and malai means hills. Since this god is considered very powerful thus it is compared to the mountain that cannot be moved and strong. This god being believed to be part of the hill, hence it is also called as Annamalayar among its devotees.
Arunachaleswarar temple has six prakarams around the temple. Every full moon day of the month Girivalam is undertaken by the pilgrims. Lakhs of devotees participate every month in this healthy ritual. This word Girivalam is the origin of the tamil word giri meaning hill and valam means coming around. Hence coming around the hill is called as Girivalam in Tamil.
To come one full round (Girivalam) the road round the hill, it is around 14 kilometres. And people both young and old religiously go round on the full moon day. It is said to bring in abundant peace or calmness for the mental well being and also refreshing for the physical fitness.
This abode of Arunachaleswarar, the Annamalai hills at Tiruvannamalai has varied interpretations over the years. It is believed this hills took different forms at different period of time and age. During the Kirthayugam it was in the form of fire. The next Threthayugam it took the form of emerald, known as manikkam in Tamil. In the course of Dweparayugam it existed in the form of gold. Now in Kaliyuagam it has taken the state of rocky hill.
At Arunachaleswarar temple there are eight lingams known as Ashtalingam. They are positioned at different locations and facing various directions. Each lingam signifying different directions of the earth. These lingams are named as Indralingam, Agnilingam, Yamalingam, Niruthilingam, Varunalingam, Vayulingam, Kuberalingam and Esanyalingam.
Each lingam addresses different aspects of man’s life and they bless the devotees with different types of benefits. It is believed to be installed by various gods. Also these lingams have a dominant navagraha and praying to each lingam brings forth various benefits that is being bestowed by that navagraha on the devotees who prays to that particular lingam to achieve the desired results.
The first lingam on the Girivalam is the Indra lingam and this lingam has east as its cardinal direction. It is said to be installed by lord Indran the celestial king. The dominant navagraha of this lingam are the sun and sukiran. Worshipping this lingam blesses the devotees with long life coupled with prosperity in abundance.
The second lingam on the Girivalam is the Agni lingam. This faces the south east direction. The uniqueness of this lingam is that it is the only lingam that is placed on the right side of the path on which one goes Girivalam on the full moon night every month. Praying to this lingam helps one to keep away sickness and to maintain good health. The dominant navagraha of this lingam is Chandran. It also helps the ardent devotees to counter the problems that they come across in the life’s journey. This lingam is located near the lotus tank.
The third lingam on the Girivalam is the Yama lingam. This lingam signifies the south direction. It is said to be installed by the god of death Yama. The dominant graham of this lingam is Sevvai. It has a holy tank known as Simma theertham. Worshipping this Yama lingam relieves the devotees of their financial constraints.
The fourth lingam on the Girivalam is the Niruthi lingam. The cardinal direction is South East. The dominant graham of this lingam is the Ragu. This was installed by the king of the giants. This lingam also has a holy tank called as Sani theertha. Devotees worshipping this Niruthi lingam are freed of their problems.
The fifth lingam on the Girivalam is the Varuna lingam. This lingam signifies the west direction. This lingam is installed by the Varuna god who is the creator of rain on this earth. The dominant graham of this lingam is the Sani. There is a holy tank named as Varuna theertham. Devotees worshipping this lingam are protected from all critical illness. This Varunalingam also takes care to elevate their social development.
The sixth lingam on the Girivalam is the Vayu lingam. This lingam is placed facing the north west direction. Vayu lingam is installed by the god of air himself known as Vayu baghavan. The graham that is dominant is the Kedhu. Offering prayers to this Vayu lingam gives strength to fight all heart ailments, stomach problems, lung problems and general illness.
The seventh lingam on the Girivalam is the Kuperalingam. This faces the northern direction. The dominant graham is the Guru. And the Kuperan or the god of wealth has installed this lingam. Offering prayers to this lingam regularly helps the devotees to achieve prosperity.
The last lingam on the Girivalam is the Esanya lingam. And this lingam faces the north east direction. The god that installed this lingam is the Esanyan. The graham that dominates this lingam is the Budhan. Praying to this lingam gives peace of mind to devotees and develops a positive attitude in them to achieve success in all their pursuits.
Tips to follow while going Girivalam
- It is advised that devotees go Girivalam only barefooted.
- Always view the top of the giri all through their Girivalam.
- Preferably Girivalam should be undertaken only during full moon nights or else in normal nights.
- To chant during Girivalam the namam of Om Arunachala.