Arunachala West Face

The sacred mountain of Arunachala is the embodiment of Lord Paramashiva. Reverentially referred to as Annamalai At most holy places located on hills, the deity is found atop the hill. But here at Tiruvannamalai, the Arunachala Hill itself is the deity (Lord Annamalaiyar) and one of the ways in which it is propitiated and worshipped is by its circumambulation. Arunachala is surrounded by eight Lingas (Asta Lingas) each residing in one of the eight directions of the four cardinal points (South – Yama linga, West – Varuna linga, North – Kubera linga, and East – Indra linga) and four intercardinal points (South East – Agni linga, South West – Niruthi linga, North West – Vayu linga and North East – Esanya linga) Varuna Lingam (West) – This lingam is situated on the outer Girivalam pathway about one kilometer before the village of Adi Annamalai. Devotees are protected from illness, particularly water-related diseases. In the Puranas it is revealed, Lord ParamaShiva appeared in the form of a massive column of fire on this hill, giving knowledge and liberation to Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu by showing His infinite manifestation, while asking them to find His beginning and end. Lord Shiva took the form of Arunachaleshwara to bless and guide his devotees. The sacred mountain of Arunachala is located in the temple town of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. Arunachala is also reverentially and lovingly referred to by His devotees as Annamalai, meaning "the hill of food" in Tamil. This name is derived from a Puranic story of Lord Shiva assuming the form of a beggar and begging for food from His divine consort, Mother Goddess Paramashivashakti, Devi Parvati. It is believed that those who offer food to the needy and perform acts of charity around Arunachala's sacred vicinity receive divine blessings. Tiruvannamalai attracts thousands of pilgrims and spiritual seekers every year, especially during the auspicious occasion of Karthigai Deepam. During this festival, a massive lamp is lit atop the sacred Arunachala hill, illuminating the entire area and symbolizing the divine presence of Lord Shiva. Karthigai Deepam is a celebration and commemoration of the divine Leela of Paramashiva manifesting as an infinite shaft of light, the "Agni Jyothi" or "Jyothirlinga".

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