A one day trip to Thiruvannamalai on August 12, 2011 Friday was spiritually enriching and memorable one. Satya, Anil, and I caught a bus straight to Thiruvannamalai on Friday at 5.30 p.m. and got down there at 11 p.m. (5 and ½ hours covering 210 kms). Upon checking into accommodation at (Ramana Towers), we started Girivalam at 12.05 a.m.
Girivalam means ‘going around the hill or taking pradakshinam to hill.” Here the hill is known as “Arunachalam” representing sacred Fire element or agni tattva.
Aruna means the red color or fire, chalam means hill. In most of the holy places in India, the deity is found atop the hill, but here the holy hill itself is the deity (Lord Annamalaiyar) and is worshipped. The Holy hill is 2668 ft. high. En route, there are eight lingams located at the eight directions and provides an octagonal structure to Thiruvannamalai Town. The eight lingams are: Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam.
The circumambulation path is 14 kilometres. History has it that even today a number of siddhas are living on the hill. It is auspicious to perform \”Girilvalam\” during every Full moon day which would do immense good. Wow! what a crowd in lakhs going around the holy hill chanting Shiva naam silently on barefoot under enchanting beauty of full moon, truly an experience to cherish. The amount of intense devotion and patience shown by older devotees, disabled, and parents walking hand in hand with their little ones immensely inspire and expand our vision. We completed the holy walk by 5.30 a.m. on Saturday morning and went to accommodation for some rest.
After breakfast, we visited Sri Ramanashram. What a beautiful and absorbing ashram, as we encountered colorful peacocks freely roaming around. As we sat and closed our eyes inside the hall where Sri Ramana Maharshi Samadhi/Sannidhi is, we felt our head space (chidakasha) is being washed and cleansed by somebody. It was an expansive experience. In the evening around 5 p.m., we visited the holy shrine of Lord Annamalaiyar, what an amazing majestic, huge temple, words fail to describe its ambience, artistry, architect, and vibe. Around 8 p.m. we could have darshan as the crowd was still swelling up.
We were in bus to Bangalore at 10 p.m., sitting fully charged, thanking the higher power for giving such a wonderful slice of rich spiritual experience wherein our tiny, trivial, nonessential (sometimes nonsensical) aspects of our worldly life just melt away like utterly butterly cheese. The bus moved as our eyelashes became wet.
Hari Om Tat Sat