Tam: திருவண்ணாமலை tiruvaṇṇāmalai

‘Holy Red Mountain’   City/District, Tamil Nadu

From Tam: tiru, ‘holy’, ‘eminent’, ‘auspicious’; aṇṇā/aruṇa, ‘red’, ‘(colour of the) dawn’; and malai, ‘mountain’, ‘hill’.

Aruṇācala, the Red Mountain [Tam: acala(m), ‘mountain’] is actually an 800m extinct volcano.

The element of fire is an important symbol here and legend associates it with the time Shiva manifested himself as an infinite column of fire to trick Brahma and Vishnu. 

It is one of the five main pilgrimage sites dedicated to Lord Shiva in South India and the magnificent Annamalaiyar temple, with its 66m gopurams, is situated at the foot of the hill.

Sri Ramana Maharshi, a self-realized sage, lived here for most of his life and taught self-enquiry as a way of attaining enlightenment.

Pilgrims come here to perform the Giri Pradaksina, a circumambulation of the  Arunachala mountain, or to visit the Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Tamil Nadu place names.


Arunachalesvara Temple, Tiruvannamalai        Govind Swamy