The holy town of Tiruvannamalai also known as Arunachala and is one of the most sacred places in the world as it is here that Lord Shiva manifests himself as Arunachala Shiva in the form of Arunachala Mountain.Hence the world over Tiruvannamalai is also popularly known as Arunachala and as Tiru in short to millions of western tourists visiting Tiruvannamalai. Tiruvannamalai or Aruṇachala is also known by the names Arunachalam, Arunagiri,Arunai, Sonagiri ,Sonachalam and red mountains.
Tiruvannamalai is the hub for spiritual lovers and for those seeking the path of Advaita or non duality. It is for this primal path millions of people flock to Tiruvannamalai to search and seek the self and to enlighten themselves of the highest truth in this human life.Many westerners and Indians from all over India stay here for long duration and continue their sadhana.
Tiruvannamalai is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, which is a southern state in India.Like the rest of Tamil Nadu,the language spoken here is Tamil.The Nearest airport city is Chennai which is 200 Kilometres ( 124 miles ) from Tiruvannamalai.The next nearest airport is Bangalore which is 236 Kilometres (146 miles) and The city of Pondicherry ( New name – Puducherry ) is 108 km ( 67 miles ) away from Tiruvannamalai .
Tiruvannamalai is a rural town and economy is based on agriculture and tourism. The town is filled with ancient temples and ashram’s but the entire tourism revolves around Arunachala hill,Ramana Ashram (Ramanasramam ) and Arunachaleswarar temple and Adi Annamalai temple. Millions of devotees walk around Arunachala mountain.Walking around Arunachala hill is called Girivalam in Tamil and it is known as Pradakshina or Parikrama in Hindi and Sanskrit and is known as Circumambulation in English.Arunachala hill covers 14 km( 8.6 miles) distance.
Tiruvannamalai has frequent buses to all parts of Tamil Nadu,Karnataka,Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh.There is a small train station where trains run between Chennai and Tirupati on alternate days.The nearest big railway station is Katpadi and Villupuram from where trains run to all part of India. Katpadi is 93 kilometres (57 miles) and Villupuram is 62 Kilometres (38 miles ) from Tiruvannamalai.
Just as all places on earth that have the negative side and the grey areas there are things that tourists need to be aware of and be careful in Tiruvannamalai, especially western tourists must be careful and be well informed. All tourists are recommended to see Tiruvannamalaitourism.com for safety information and measures.Tiruvannamalaitourism.com is a private entity created for advice and safety of foreign tourists in Tiruvannamalai.