Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

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There are about 400 pages of information on Girivalam on this website.

Ulaganathan P.: (#2): Girivalam requires a pious heart

The picture of Arunachalam posted here is so idyllic but deceptive. Of late, a lot many people throng the holy place and many do so without any sense of awe and piety in their heart, which they must have as they do grivalam. The filth and squalor all round the route of girivalam is abominable. It is dotted with so many eateries as if it is a picnic doing a girivalam. In the name of Anna dhanam, many distribute the so called prasadam and the left over is strewn all over the path. This is what happens when religious event is observed in a mass scale and I am not a snob to suggest that the general public should be discouraged to participate in girivalam.

On the other hand, I feel such mass observance should be encouraged for that alone will uplift ; but we must take it very seriously. All those who do girivalam must prepare themselves before hand before undertaking the same. They must fast and break it only completing the girivalam and sighting the deepam atop the hill. They must observe utmost silence while doing the parikram or keep chanting silently or in groups the mantras or hymns in praise of the God. They must realise that girivalam is not an empty excercise but a spiritual sadhana which takes you nearer to God.

Many of my girivalam trips did not leave me spiritually elevated and I used to feel sorry for the callousness of the adminsitration and the hollowness of the people who do not seem to have the right attitude to girivalam. Despite all our shortcomings, God in his heaven is smiling and the deepam is witness to all the happenings.


  1. You are right. The Girivalam path is not pristine clean. Annadanam is leaving the path very dirty and the music many ashrams are playing over loud speakers to attract attention to themselves, is disturbing.

    However, be rest assured that good people are working on keeping the area around the Arunachala mountain quiet.

    There is a legal case in front of the Indian courts now to prevent the use of loudspeakers on the girivalam route.

    There are others who are working in many other ways to keep the sanctity of the mountain.

  2. The number of people who perform girivalam on full moon day is almost equal to those who do it on deepam day. Arunachala attracts devotees who are at many levels of spiritual sadhana. Majority are village folk and their devotion is something unique. At times I wonder at their devotion, carrying children on shoulders and walking barefoot. It is true that the entire route is a mess full of left overs and debris after the event. Probably some voulntary organisations should step in and try cleaning the rout dividing it between batches. I feel the best way is to inculcate the spirit of service in school children and college students of the area and orgaise the service activity. This can be done by devotees aho are residing at Tiruvannamalai It may not be correct to look to wards Govt only for such large scale activity

  3. That's a wonderful suggestion, Ramana. Volunteer groups should be set up in Tiruvannamalai like they have done in Sabari Malai, where software engineers and doctors from around the world have come together to raise awareness about cleanliness and the use of environment friendly products while on pilgrimage. Something on those lines is long overdue in Tiruvannamalai. On our recent trip, farmers in the surrounding areas told us that plastic waste from Girivalam is making its way into their fields and their cows are dying from eating them.

  4. Stop unauthorised Annadanam”
    Staff Reporter

    District 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. Mr. Pingale has also noted that auto fares are finalised following meeting between Regional Transport Officer and auto drivers.

    The fare structure would be publicised by erecting hoardings at several places of the town,” the release said.

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