Tiruvannamalai (Tamil: திருவண்ணாமலை Tiruvannamalai [ tiɾɯʋaɳ ː a ː malɛi̯ ], also Thiruvannamalai ) is a city in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu with around 145,000 inhabitants ( 2011 census ). Located at the edge of the valley of the river Ponnaiyar at the foot of mountain Arunachala, a spur of the Eastern Ghats, about 160 kilometers southwest of Chennai. Tiruvannamalai is the administrative seat of the district of Tiruvannamalai.

The story Tiruvannamalais can I follow back ( 871-907 ) on the basis of temple inscriptions until the reign of the Chola king Aditya. Around the middle of the 10th century took the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III. the city. The Chola probably was not until towards the end of the reign Rajarajas I. ( 985-1014 ) that reconquest. From the 13th century came under the dominion of Tiruvannamalai Pandya, the Hoysala, the Sultanate of Delhi and finally Vijayanagar. In the 17th century, the former governor ( Nayaks ) of the Vijayanagar Empire took over the city. In the late 18th century it came under British rule, which, as Tiruvannamalai temporarily belonged to a brief interruption in 1816 to Mysore, lasted until 1947.

The landmark is the huge Tiruvannamalais Arunachaleswara Temple. To the central sanctuary of the temple complex - with an area of ​​about ten hectares one of the largest in South India - are arranged three courtyards, each with ornate gopurams ( gateway towers ) are entered. The innermost Gopuram, the " Parrot Tower ", was founded in the 11th century by the Chola king Rajendra I (reigned 1012-1044 ). The pillared hall dates from that period. The Hoysala added added more extensions. King Krishnadevaraya (reigned 1509-1529 ) of Vijayanagar had the nine gopurams raise it to its present height and equip magnificently. The Arunachaleswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva Lingodbhava who have appeared on the mountain Arunachala, near the town in the form of a pillar of fire, and thus the sign of the lingam is said to have created. Pilgrims visit not only the Arunachaleswara Temple, but climb, orbit the fabled mountain after which it is named. Every year in the Tamil month Karttigai (November / December ) is a pilgrimage festival called Karttigai Dipam instead. At the foot of Arunachala is a further attraction and pilgrimage site of Ramana Ashram, named after the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi ( 1879-1950 ).

Tiruvannamalai is one of the most visited Hindu pilgrimage sites in Tamil Nadu. In addition to Indian pilgrims the place is haunted, to a lesser extent, by foreign tourists. In 2011, Tiruvannamalai recorded a total of 8.1 million visitors.

Inside the temple Arunachaleswara