Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

On the side panel is a list authors. We recommend reading by author as we don't want you to miss out on anyone's experience.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Vishu

On the auspicious occasion of Vishu Kanni, Happy New Year. We invite you to join our japam of the mantra Om Namah Shivaya - Crore 9 . Conditions apply.  

For details, please click on Puthur Shiva Temple

Friday, January 17, 2014

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

Thank you for celebrating the most glorious night of Lord Shiva with us at Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. See  Maha Shivaratri 2014

For those of you who have sent in heart-wrenching letters about issues of health and safety or asked how you can protect yourself from accidents, illness and over come fear, please click on:   Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra

There is a belief that there is not a disease in the world that cannot be cured by repeating the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra. 

Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh has said: "Diseases pronounced incurable by doctors can be cured by the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, when chanted with sincerity, faith and devotion."  

See if it holds true for you.

All of the mantras in the Hindu tradition were revealed to saints in deep meditation after an intense period of sadhana over many life times.

The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra was revealed to the great Hindu saint,  Sage Vashishtha. Before you start chanting or listening to the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, mentally prostrate before Sage Vashishta and seek his blessings.

Then, seek the blessings of Lord Puthur Shiva and our ancestors who, out of their compassion, are bringing this wisdom to you.

In order for the mantra to be effective, you must be:

· vegetarian

· consume no alcohol
· follow the yamas and niyamas
· Offer annadanam and/or sponsor the Maha Mrityunjaya homam at the Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple regularly every month on nakshatra day until the issue is resolved.

There are links to audio recordings on the side panel     Enjoy. 

Come let us pray to Lord Shiva


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shiva Prasath: All those who do Girivalam are blessed for no one can come to Arunachala unless He Himself calls us

Oh God, let me cross this ocean of doubts on a boat of knowledge.

Our pilgrimage began in Cochin on September 17, 2013 about 2:00 p.m.  My wife, young son and I headed towards Coimbatore to get the blessings of my aunt and uncle before traveling to Tiruvannamalai [Coordinates: 12.2200° N, 79.0700° E] next morning.  

September 18, 2013 (Wednesday) was Pournami (full moon day) and it would extend upto September 19th (Thursday) evening.

There was joy and excitement in the air. This was going to be our first trip to Tiruvannamalai and our very first Girivalam.  I wanted to arrive in Tiruvannamalai by 1:00 pm so that my wife and child could get some rest before we went for darshan at 5:00 pm and then on Girivalam.

During the drive, my wife and son asked me many questions and I replied “Wait, it’s going to be a unique experience.”

We drove in silence till in the distance I saw the Mountain, my dear Father Arunachala, rising high above the ground and looking so majestic; energy surged through me like I had never experienced before. The land welcomed me as a long lost son. Everything seemed so familiar. It was unbelievable.We drove directly to Sri Ramanasramam.

At Sri Ramanasramam, I went to the reception and was given a room. The room was airy and comfortable. The excitement was building up. We freshened up and paid obeisance to Lord Ganesha at Sri Ramanasramam and prayed to him to remove all obstacles on this pilgrimage.

We decided to drive to the temple and park the car near the temple (it is recommend that on special days it’s better not to, as the roads are barricaded and you have no choice but to rest in the car until dawn.)

The parking ticket vendor issued us a ticket while we searched for space. Surprisingly there was none available and we circumambulated the temple in the car and met this vendor to express the unavailability of space when all of a sudden a stranger came from behind and pointed to us a space. I was amazed.
Even though the start time for Girivalam was mentioned as 7:30 pm there was a steady rise in the flow of devotees. The fervor rose as dusk set. Devotees had formed large queues; police officers were guiding and monitoring the entrances.

 It was then I said a little prayer. “Oh Arunachaleshwarar, how can I get darshan of you? Please guide me.”

Just then I saw some police officers and they said there was a special darshan entrance. So we had to go around the temple once more to get to the special ticket counter. Down the lane I prompted my wife (who is fluent in Tamil) to enquire about the exact location of the special ticket counter.

She did and this person remarked "I can accommodate two people, if you wish, you can join me".

We agreed to follow him.  On the way, I noticed devotees were thronging to get darshan of Lord Arunachaleshwarar. The monkeys were playing on the trees and the birds were resting on the massive white washed gopurams.

I wanted to speak to the devotee who got us inside but he was no where to be seen. My God !!! I did not even get a chance to thank him. Who was he? It felt like Arunachala had embraced me. The Annamalaiyar chants were playing loudly in the temple and I prayed 'Oh God, give us the strength to complete the Girivalam. I don’t know what to expect on the way.”

Just then I noticed that behind my wife were a group of women devotees. We introduced ourselves and asked a few questions about Girivalam. One lady called "Devi" told us not to worry, to just follow her. I knew it was Annamalaiyar’s answer to my prayer. We were his guests. He was going to take care of us.
We had an amazing darshan of Annamalaiyar and Unnamalaiyar but it was so hot inside when I remembered that we were in Agni Kshethram. It got cooler as we neared the navagrahas and there was a crackling sound, followed by a thunder... thoughts rushed through my mind even though we had umbrellas in the car. I felt the clouds would blanket the moon and we will not be able to walk under its radiance but the moment we stepped out of the temple...the moon was shining with its full glory. I felt so much gratitude for Annamalaiyar

Start of Girivalam

Despite the light drizzle, we followed Devi, starting with darshan of Lord Ganesha. My son was very excited. Our Girivalam had begun. The physical circumambulation was done on the outer route since I had the information that the inner route was banned by forest authorities because of forest fires.

The drizzle ceased, the clouds cleared. With the Majestic Giri on my right and thoughts on Lord Arunachaleshwar we began. Initially, there was so much excitement, I could hardly contain myself. A couple of kilometers down, the sound of chants vibrated, we passed by saffron clad devotees singing praises of Lord Arunachaleswar, songs of S.P. Balasubramaniam, vendors shouting to get our attention, restaurants selling hot food, coffee shops, there was fruits, dates and fresh juice, the crowd swelled, it was a sea of humanity walking gracefully many with thoughts of Lord Arunachaleshwar. It was amazing that devotees from various walks of life were cherishing each moment and every step on this holy land.

Devi guided us to each lingam starting from Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam. There were many little shrines on the way. She was explaining the purpose of visiting each lingam and how it helps people get rid of certain medical ailments. Chanting the name of Lord Shiva was sufficient. Large queues formed to get darshan of the lingams. We treaded along the path. We reached the Raja Gopuram at 1:45 a.m. The crowd was intense and ecstatic. All burning camphor and chanting the lords name. High energy filled the air.

We parted with Devi giving much thanks. She said that she was a regular visitor to Tiruvannamalai on Pournami days . We spent some time thanking the Lord for such an experience. We paid our obeisance then sat down for a few minutes watching the grand gopurams. We pondered about the sequence of events that took place in the past few days and how things fell into place. We felt like we had regained our vigour and our enthusiasm.  On the way back to the room, I noticed that devotees were still arriving in hordes to perform Holy Girivalam.
In the morning we visited the Ramanashramam. There were saffron clad sadus under the tree shade. One of the devotees showed us the gate to go to Skandashram and Virupaksha cave.The climb was exciting, very few people were trekking the Holy hill to visit the Caves. The vegetation I understand was part of the afforestation project which helped bringing life back to the Holy hill as it was devoid of vegetation a couple of years ago. Little boys were selling water bottles. Laborers were engaged in paving the path with rocks and soil. A craftsman was found selling artifacts. We reached Skandashramam where Ramana Maharshi spent his early days. The trees and plants that the ashram had planted created a serene atmosphere. I slipped into meditation easily. My family was enjoying the scene and cool atmosphere. My son was happy watching the birds that were in abundance. Locals guided us to Virupaksha cave.

Just below the Skandashram there was a pool of natural water and the local guide informed us that water has come back to the hills after 5 long years. Theertam (holy water), as he referred to it, was absolutely sweet and cool. We quenched our thirst. He also warned us of langur species of monkey and to take extra care of dangling purse and bags if any. I visited the Virupaksha cave. The cave was supposed to resonate with the sound of Om. Here Shri Ramana resided in this cave and had written books like ‘Self-enquiry’ and ‘Who am I’.


The sun was high up in the sky, we descended the hill and there were ladies screaming at the langurs as they were trying to destroy the cement board roofing. Other ladies were inspecting the damage and picking up the shattered pieces. They guided us and told us that we would reach the temple and recommended us to catch an autorickshaw to Ramanaashrama. We reached the temple precincts and even during the hot afternoon, we observed that the devotees were still engaged in conducting the Girivalam.


At Ramanasramam, we went into the book store and bought a few books. Sadhus were relaxing under the shade of the trees in the ashram. Pairs of Peacocks were cooing away from the trees.

In the room, I was browsing through the book on Giripradaksina , the author had in his last sentence written the following All those who do this Giripradaksina are blessed for no one can come to Arunachala unless He Himself calls us.”

Emotions ran high through me. The experience was truly unique. After some rest, we visited the Panchamuki Gayathri temple and paid our obeisances. We also visited the Lord Arunachaleshwarar temple again to thank the Lord for taking such good care of us. The holy mountain diminished from the rear view mirrors but the experience and the blessing he showered upon us are still with us.

Shiva Prasath

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Girivalam is a powerful spiritual practice. Bhagavan Shree Ramana Maharshi said, "Girivalam alone is sufficient."

However, for those of us who cannot go to Tiruvannamalai as often as we would like to, there are three spiritual practices that we can do at home.


Japam is a powerful way to work out one's karma and obtain God's blessings.  Japam done with love, faith and total concentration will bring about harmony and facilitate healing. Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh called it the spiritual soap which will cleanse our mind of impurities.

For more information, please click on:  


Annadanam is an offering of food to all living beings. There is no better puja and ritual in Hindu religion than feeding another living being.  The Hindu scriptures say that this one act alone can burn off all our karma from previous lifetimes and set us free.

For more information on the practice of Annadanam, please click on

Every spiritual path has an avenue for people to give back to the Universe. Hindus call it Dashamamsha or tithing.

While tithing is traditionally one-tenth of one's income, Hindu elders say if you have never tithed before, start with three per cent of your income. Tithing is not something that will deplete your resources, but multiply and increase it. You will see.

For details, please click on: Dashamamsha or Tithing

Come Let Us Pray to Lord Shiva.

Monday, September 30, 2013

How It All Began For Us

The Background

In 2008, I was inwardly directed to start a website for my ancestral temple, the Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. See www.puthurshivatemple.blogspot.com

The Shiva Lingam at this temple is 1,500 years old but only a few people cared or even knew about it. Within weeks, the website went viral, and people from all over the world started emailing us. They said they were so proud of our heritage and thanked us for bringing it alive for them. 

In 2009, I was  inwardly directed again to start japam of the mantra OM NAMAH SIVAYA. It is the very mantra that a saint had chanted several centuries ago at the site where the Sree Vellat Puthur Shiva Temple stands today and Lord Shiva appeared before him and promised to stay on at the temple. The mantra is still very powerful because when we started chanting it, people from around the world started having amazing experiences. See

3. Experiences from Crore 7

Over 1,000 people have participated in our japam groups from crores 1-8. Many graduated to doing japam on their own at home as a family. A few stayed on with us and we are grateful to them. Most importantly, new people are joining us all the time.

As though all this wasn't enough, another miracle happened in 2009. Lord Shiva drew me to Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai and there was the birth of another website - Arunachala Girivalam
In a few short years, we have had about 200,000 people from over 150 countries around the world log on to our many websites. The websites, we were told, changed their lives and helped them connect to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

We were very surprised to hear that some of the people logging in from India had never done japam before or worshipped Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the way we were showing them. To everyone, all we can say is a very humble thank you. Puthur Shiva used us as a vehicle to reach you. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

Months went by. In 2013, I was inwardly directed once again to offer Annadanam at the Sree Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala. When I shared this with the participants in the japam group, many were very eager to join me and offer Annadanam Fund to all the loving devotees of Lord Shiva who work tirelessly at the temple: whether it is the priests who conduct vazivadus (pujas) for people from around the world who write-in with heart-felt prayers or it is the old ladies who pick-up flowers, string them into garlands and clean the temple or whether it is the men who manage the temple office and provide security for the temple, they are all so dedicated and it is our honour and privilege to feed them.

We felt Arunachala was blessing us when many cheques meant for the annadanam got delayed in the mail and were delivered to the Sree Puthur Shiva Temple in Perintalmanna, Kerala shortly before Karthigai Deepam 2013 was lit in Tiruvannamalai and in Perintalmanna. How can we thank Arunachala enough for this?

Come let us pray to Lord Shiva


Sunday, September 29, 2013

We did it!

The Nepali Ganesha who greets visitors at the entrance of the Kauai Aadheenam in Hawai, U.S.A

We normally don't like to toot our own horn but in this case we will!

We made it to Hindu Press International.  The Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra travelogue written by S. Gopal, a participant in Puthur Shiva Temple's Nama Japam and contributor to Arunachala Girivalam, was picked up by Hindu Press International (HPI).  

HPI is an international news agency that was started by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva) of Kauai in Hawaii, U.S.A many decades ago. It is currently published by Hinduism Today, also started by Gurudeva and being run by his successor, Bodinatha and the many sannyasins of his lineage. 

Here are the links to:

HPI:    Hindu Press International

Gopal's Kailash Yatra Travelogue:  Kailash  Mansarovar Yatra


Friday, March 8, 2013

What is superior to Girivalam

Sri Ramana Maharshi said:

* Girivalam alone is sufficient.

* The mind will wander when you sit and do japa but if you do pradakshina that mind will remain one-pointed even though the limbs and the body are moving. It is known as sanchara samadhi.

* There are many types of herbs on the hill. The breeze that blows over them is good for the body.

* So as we do pradakshina, the body will become healthy and the mind will attain the peace of the Self.

* Girivalam is an extraordinary sadhana.

How to do Girivalam

Pictures of Lord Ganesha being worshipped on the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii, USA

1. Before setting out, take a bath, wear clean, fresh clothes, smear sacred ash on the body and wear a rudraksha mala.

2.  Seek Ganesha and Arunachala's permission to do Girivalam.

3. With every step you take around Arunachala, all sins committed in one's past lives will be expiated. By circumambulating the sacred hill, you will obtain the merit of innumerable yagnas and bathing in all the tirthas.

4. So walk slowly, carefully, silently and noiselessly. With palms folded, meditating on this great Lingam walk, with immense love in your heart and praise and reverence for Arunachala on your lips.

5. Offer food, clothing and money in charity to the sadhus, the poor and the sick. Feed the:
cows -           representives of Goddess Laksmi,
crows -         Shani Bhagavan and ancestors,
dogs -           Lord Bhairava, 
monkeys -   Lord Hanuman, and
peacocks -   Lord Muruga.  
Give according to your means but give with a full heart in gratitude for the blessings you have recieved and will receive.

It is said that thousands of invisible devas, siddhas and Gods will accompany a devotee who circumumbulates in this manner.

What Lord Brahma said about Girivalam

Brahma Lingam inside the Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai

* Those who have darshan of Arunachala or meditate upon it, will attain liberation.

* All kinds of wealth will accrue to those who hear of the glory of Arunachala.

* Those who remember Arunachala will become pure in mind.

* They shall be absolved of their karmas.

* A mere darshan of Arunachala will grant the benefit of bathing in all the holy tirthas and performing all yajnas and yagas. He will obtain the grace of Sadasiva.

* Among the various places on earth which are sacred to Siva, it is only at this place that Sambhu fell in love with His own majestic and magnificent form. He lost the desire to dwell at Kailasa. He asked Parvati, all the rishis and devas to come here and perform penance, austerities and all rituals that are laid down in the scriptures. In Bharatavarsha dharma is cherished because of the presence of Arunachala.

* Devotees whose sins have all been destroyed in the blaze of Arunachala live in bliss.

* Arunachala fulfills the wishes of those who adore Him with circumambulation, prostration and perform austerities.

* A single darshan of Arunachala will please Him much more than austerities, offerings and yagnas performed in other kshetras.

* The Vedas and the epics in the form of hills surrounding Arunachala pay their obeisance to Him. Neither I (Lord Brahma) nor Vishnu with all our skill can adequately describe the glory of Arunachala. I (Lord Brahma), Vishnu and the devas always worship Arunachala while remaining invisible to human eyes.

* Disease, distress, mental worry and other miseries incidental to the dark age of kaliyuga do not affect those who always adore Arunachala.

* The power of Arunachala nullifies the influence of planets.

* I (Lord Brahma) have thus described to the best of my ability the glory of Arunachala which bestows liberation in a trice to those who contemplate Him.

Suta said: When Sage Sanaka heard with rapt attention the glorious and nectar-sweet story of Arunagiri that flowed from the lips of Brahma, he was filled with bliss.

Benefits of doing Girivalam during the week

A devotee who circumambulates the Hill on:

Sunday: attains liberation and he gains the world of Siva.

Monday: he lives free from the afflictions of old age and death.

Tuesday: is released from all debts.

Wednesday: he becomes wise.

Thursday: he attains fame as a guru.

Friday: brings prosperity

Saturday: averts the ill-effects of planets.

If those who suffer from physical and mental ailments, as well as those who are weak and emaciated, circumambulate Him, their ailments are cured.

Girivalam can be done on any day, at any time but those done on new moon, full moon, and Karthigai Deepam are considered very auspicious and extremely powerful. It is said that siddhas come to Arunachala and respond to people's prayers at that time although many people in Tiruvannamalai have experienced the presence of the siddhas at other times as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Girivalam on the Inner Path is now banned

Inner path on hill out of bounds for ‘girivalam’

By Staff Reporter

Performing girivalam around Tiruvannamalai hill, on a footpath known as ‘inner path’ has been banned.

While the regular girivalam path attracts several lakh devotees during full moon days, the inner path, actually a coarse footpath that passes through forest and much closer to the hill, attracts few thousand foreign tourists and domestic devotees.

District Forest Officer V. Naganathan said, “The path passes through reserve forest and entering reserve forest itself is an offence. Repeated incidents of forest fire occurred in the hill due to indiscriminate entry into forests. Now we have issued specific orders banning the practice of performing girivalam in the inner path”. During last full moon day, forest personnel asked thousands of people who were treading the inner path to get out of the forests and to walk on the regular path. We got written undertaking from some of the violators to not to take the path again, he said.

“Some ashrams are known to have involved in arranging inner path girivalam for their guests. We have asked them to not to arrange this practice again. If people walking on inner path refer to any ashram, we will take action against it. We have ordered for the removal of paint markings made on stones along the path. We are planning to close the entry points to the path and to put hoardings in about 50 places which warn against the practice of performing girivalam inside the forest. Forest personnel would be deputed in the inner path in the coming full moon days and action would be taken against people who violate the ban,” Dr. Naganathan said.

Initially the path attracted only a sparse number of nature lovers and devotees who love wilderness. But as the regular girivalam path is becoming commercialised day by day, the inner path started attracting more number of people and faced resultant ecological threats. Finally came the forest department ban.

Source:   here

In a related story:   
Unauthorized Annadanam Banned

Staff Reporter

Collector Vijay Pingale has ordered police to take action against those who do ‘Annadanam’ without getting permission in Tiruvannamalai during full moon days. He also asked police to seize all the material from the unauthorised ‘Annadanam’ providers.

According to a release from the Collectorate, Mr. Pingale said this at a consultative meeting of officials convened here on Friday to discuss issues relating to Girivalam on full moon days.

“Collector has noted with displeasure that the hawkers are not being regulated in crowded areas of the town during festival days. He suggested that Revenue Divisional Officer can initiate criminal action under section 133 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Auto Fares
Mr. Pingale has also noted that auto fares are finalised following meeting between Regional Transport Officer and auto drivers.  The fare structure would be publicized by erecting hoardings at several places of the town,” the release said.

Plastic Water Sachets
Plastic water sachets have been banned in Tiruvannamalai during full moon days.

Source: here

See Parameswaran Iyer's plea to the authorities here


Sunday, June 17, 2012


We have received a number of emails from our readers concerned about the inner path. Our advice is:


The outer path itself requires a pious heart but one so close to Arunachala even more so.  (see here  & here)

The only safe way to walk it is by keeping your mind on Arunachala all the time. How many of us can do that ?

Foreigners do Girivalam on the inner path because they don't want to have anything to do with Indians. Some Indians are now following them on the inner path.  To our horror we found a tour group that is doing this for money......okay dakshina, as though that makes it any better.

Many of our beloved Gods and Goddesses and revered siddhas are known to live near Arunachala and there are sukshma (subtle) Shiva Lingas that dot the entire area. You could, unknowingly, trample upon them and then have to face the consequences of disturbing these great beings. 

Our advice is: Do Girivalam on the outer path until you get the call to walk the inner one.  Parts of the outer path can be very quiet when you walk it during off-festival times.

See post "Inner Path Across Arunachala delayed by mountain spirits." here

Thursday, June 7, 2012

V. Harimanigandan: Incredible Girivalam on the Inner Path: Part I

LK writes: We weren't going to post any more stories after "A Garland of Mist around Arunachala" but V. Harimanigandan emailed us his experiences and we couldn't resist. English is not his first language, so he tells his story through pictures. Enjoy! 

V. Harimanigandan writes:

I have been wanting to go on Girivalam for over three years. I told myself, "If He wants me, then one day I will go." The time came on 1st October, 2011 when a group of us, with Arunachala's permission, set-out on Girivalam on the Inner Path. The sacred hill of Lord Siva has got lots of mysteries and great souls still live in the caves and on the hillside.

We started at Sri Ramanasramam back gate at 9.15 a.m. The path split right there - one goes to Skandasramam and the other on the Inner path. Our leader asked us to follow the markings and if we were lucky we would have darshan of the siddhars. 

Come follow me on my Girivalam on the Inner Path. It has been an incredible spiritual experience for me. Added to it, I was able to take hundreds of pictures.


V. Harimanigandan: Kattu Siva Siddhar Cave Part II

All of a sudden we came upon the Kattu Siva Siddhar Cave. It was very serene. My friend in Chennai had told me that Kattu Siva Siddhar lived here almost 800 years ago. He is still here.

Our leader told us "Go in only if you get the call. Otherwise, you don't want to disturb a great soul."  I had got the call almost a year ago. So I took a dip in the pond, went around the cave and then in.

The cave is 15 feet under the ground, the entrance was very narrow, I walked 5 to 8 steps down, there were two rooms. The first room size was about 4 x 5 feet, the other room 3 x 3 feet. Just one person can fit in there. There were two pictures, one of  Lord Arunachala and the other of the Siddhar’s. There was a lamp burning. After a while, I came out and sat near a tree for few minutes. When we started to leave the place, within a few meters, we saw in the bushes, a miracle. (Look closely at the picture below) We saw a sadhu. He blessed us by showing his hand. We were so fortunate.


V. Harimanigandan: Kannappa Nayanar Temple: Part III

Then we got thirsty. A woman grazing her goat led us to some fruits which were really juicy and sweet.

I saw a Vanni Maram [Prosopis cineraria Tree]. It was such a sight. I could hear a faint trickle of water when I embraced the tree.

V. Harimanigandan: Pancha Mukha Darshan of Arunachala: Part IV

We completed our Inner Girivalam at 2.30 p.m. near the Pancha Mukha Darshanam

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pictures of 'A Garland of Mist Around Arunachala'

In Dr. Ananthakrishnan's post: Our Kubera Girivalam - http://arunachala-girivalam.blogspot.com/2010/02/dr-s-ananthakrishnan-our-kubera.html - he has written about a garland of mist around Arunachala. We now have the pictures to show you! His friend Ram, who is also mentioned in that story, has graciously given us permission to post them here. Thank you, Ram!!