What to do and see in Tiruvannamalai, India: The Best Places and Tips

January 19, 2018 Janette Largent

Tiruvannamalai (Tamil: Tiruvaṇṇāmalai IPA: [ˈtiɾɯʋaɳːaːmalɛi̯], also Thiruvannamalai or Trinomali and Trinomalee during British times) is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and a part of Tondaimandalam (Tondai Nadu) region. The city is administered by a special grade municipality that covers an area of 13.64 km (5.27 sq mi) and a population of 145,278 and urban agglomeration had a population of 398,780 in 2011. It is the administrative headquarters of Tiruvannamalai District. Roadways are the major mode of transport in Tiruvannamalai, while the city also has rail connectivity. Chennai International Airport is the nearest domestic and international airport to the town. Tiruvannamalai is named after the central deity of the Annamalaiyar Temple, Annamalaiyar. The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated during the day of the full moon between November and December, and a huge beacon is lit atop the Annamalai hill. The event is witnessed by three million pilgrims. On the day preceding each full moon, pilgrims circumnavigate the temple base and the Annamalai hills in a worship called Girivalam, a practice carried out by one million pilgrims yearly.
Restaurants in Tiruvannamalai

1. Sri Ramana Ashram

Chengam Road | M, Thiruvannamalai, India +91 4175 237 292
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
5%
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4.5 based on 214 reviews

Sri Ramana Ashram

Reviewed By nana16march - Chennai

Maharishi Ramana was a great person, lived simply and preached what he practised and one need not make special efforts to practice.The ashram was kept very clean and when one enter the prayer hall you feel like sitting down and pray. A must place for those who seek tranquility

2. Girivalam, Arunachaleswarar Temple

Tiruvannamalai Temple road, Tiruvannamalai, India +91 4175 252 438
Excellent
69%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
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4.5 based on 287 reviews

Girivalam, Arunachaleswarar Temple

Reviewed By gilubip - New Delhi, India

The Arunachala hill is Mahadeva, hence the girivalam is the circambulation of the Lord Himself.
The total distance is 14KM, usually people start from the temple. Full moon nights are special and considered auspicious for the walk. So one would find thousands of people walking starting from evening and throughout night.
We walked wearing slippers but on the road we could see most people walking barefoot. There were many people chanting mantras, singing hymns etc...
We completed our walk in 3 hours but that depends on your speed & number of breaks!

3. Arunachaleshwara Temple

Foothills of the Annamalai Hill, Thiruvannamalai 606601, India
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
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4.5 based on 196 reviews

Arunachaleshwara Temple

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Reviewed By rasa006 - Chennai (Madras), India

First , short visits not enough to know fully about this famous temple and its surroundings. But we spent only few hours in this temple town.
We had been to this temple earlier also, but we made a repeat visit on Feb 2nd,2018 Friday. We reached Tiruvannamalai temple Rajagopuram at 10.15 am on Friday and devotees started queue up for darshan, being Friday-special for any Hindu temple. We first prayed at Lord Sambandha Vinayar ( red in colour), then went back to pray at Lord Subramaniar sannidhi - where Saint Arunagiri jumped from Rajagopuram to committ suicide and Lord Muruga saved him and blessed him to sing Tirupugazh.
1000 pillar mandapam was locked one side and other side, there was some homam performed. On this Friday, priests were performing pooja for 1008 sangu for sangabishegam.
We entered main Annamalayuar sannithi,had very good darshan with archana, went around praying in all upa-sannidhies. Then to Goddess Unnamalai Amman sannidhi and then to Bairavar sannithies,etc..Then to Pathala Lingam (Lingam below MSL)-from where Saint Ramana Maharishi started is penance and attained his sainthood.
We went around on Girivalam route and saw 8 Sivalingam sannidhies, Ramanashramam,etc. but we did not alight from our vehicle. Just a round,that is all we were able to do.
We went to Germany Bakery, near the Eastern Gate of temple, which is very popular among foreign tourists. Located in a narrow st.,in a non-descriptive old thatched roof, they do quite good business and keep up their quality.
We returned back to Chennai around 5.30 pm same day. A soul warming visit,I might say.

4. Bougainvillea Tours

Ramana nagar, Tiruvannamalai 606603, India
Excellent
97%
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5 based on 61 reviews

Bougainvillea Tours

Reviewed By QuePasaCalabaza - Seattle, WA

Ashok was our guide on Arunachala to the caves, to the top, and at the main temple in Tiruvannamali. I cannot recommend Ashok enough. He is extremely knowledgeable, flexible to preferences, kind, patient, and speaks eloquent English. I was quite impressed with Ashok- two enthusiastic thumbs up!

5. Mountain Saran Tours

Tiruvannamalai 606604, India
Excellent
98%
Good
1%
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5 based on 119 reviews

Mountain Saran Tours

Reviewed By avrilEngland - england

If you want an authentic guide who loves Arunachala with all his heart to help you explore this mountain then we highly recommend Saran . He has a deep heartfelt , spritual connection with this mountain and he gently guides and encourages as he leads quietly to the top ! We spent two days in his company and his knowledge of the mountain and the area is enhanced by his obvious love of what he does . We saw some amazing and magical sights and would have no hesitation in recommending Saran to anyone who wants an extra dimension to their visit to Tiruvannamalai .

6. Virupaksha Cave

Virupaksha Trail, Thiruvannamalai 606601, India +91 99426 92502
Excellent
70%
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Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 55 reviews

Virupaksha Cave

Reviewed By praseenap - Mangalore, India

I visited ten days ago and entered the cave after reaching Skandashram first. I found my deepest spiritual experience inside this place as the energy emanating from the cave pulled me in. It's something I cannot put in words but those who meditate will know instantly when you enter. The climb down to Virupaksha cave is a little steep from Skandashram. If you have problems with you knee or limbs, I would suggest you have someone to help guide you. Please carry your water, medicines in a sling bag when you go. There was an older lady in the group behind me who almost collapsed right after she reached Skandashram. But after some rest and water, she was better. So, be prepared for the little hike.
You must maintain absolute silence and not use your mobile when you enter both premises. The cave has the ashes of sage Virupaksha, who performed intense meditation during his time. There is a red cloth covering a mound and you can climb up to behind here the mound is and sit there quietly and meditate. There is pin drop silence inside and it's a beautiful experience. You feel like you are transported to somewhere else. It's beautiful.
You will find others meditating. Mind you head while you walk in, be silent so you don't interrupt the others who are already in here. It's a little dark, so look around before you settle in to the cave. Leave your footwear outside the entry to the premises.

7. Agini Lingam

Nh66 | Girivalam Path, Near Ramasharam, Tiruvannamalai 606602, India +91 4175 252 438
Excellent
64%
Good
18%
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18%
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4.5 based on 32 reviews

Agini Lingam

Reviewed By KomillaS - Brentwood, California

This is the 2nd temple you visit as part of Girivalam. Agni, the fire Represent the south east direction. It is very small temple, nothing like the grand Arunachaleshwara.
The priest is very welcoming and you would visit it as part of the ashta Lingham , the 8 Lingham - all directional temples.

8. Seshadri Swamigal Ashram

Chengam Road | 2 Km From Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, India
Excellent
48%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
12%
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4.5 based on 32 reviews

Seshadri Swamigal Ashram

Reviewed By anithaaravamuthan - Chennai (Madras), India

Its a ashram situated near agini lingam temple and also on the way to Girivalam. So peaceful and nice ashram established by Shi Seshadhri swamigal. Well maintained.Small food outlet is also there.

9. Yogi Ram Surath Kumar Ashram

Near Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai, India +91 4175 237 567
Excellent
59%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
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4.5 based on 24 reviews

Yogi Ram Surath Kumar Ashram

Reviewed By SangeethaAnbalagan - Chennai (Madras), India

Myself along with my parents got to visit Yogi Ram Surath Kumar ashram last weekend, it was a big ashram. It has got a big meditation hall inside, where there is a big statue of Yogi Ram Surat Kumar placed, the people from the ashram are chanting the Namas of him - Yogi Ram Surath Kumar, Yogi Ram Surath Kumar..
It was so peaceful, another big hall was available where the pictures of various spiritual collaborators like Shri Annai, Aurobindo, Amirthanandhamaye, Lord Ramakrishna etc., was available. Had a nice feel visiting this place.

10. Nirudhi lingam

Girivalam Path, Tiruvannamalai 606602, India +91 4175 237 275
Excellent
60%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
11%
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4.5 based on 17 reviews

Nirudhi lingam

Reviewed By RamGanesan - Chennai (Madras), India

This is a small temple, again on the Gririvalam route. I think it is the fourth in the sequence of 8. I am not however sure on this. It is believed that Sage Narada took bath in the lake adjacent to this temple. All of these 8 Asta Lingam temples should not visited in a one off mode. It is a must to visit all of them in a sequence during the Girivalam route. Lot of literature and significance of each of these places is available in plenty on the web. It is advisable to read and then embark on the Girivalam.

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