Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

Our Experiences In Tiruvannamalai

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Dr. S. Ananthakrishnan: Our Kubera Girivalam

Hari om sath,

We visited Tiruvannamalai recently and did what is called a 'Kubera Girivalam'. It is the day when Lord Kuberan does girivalam around Arunachala. I had read about Kubera Girivalam in a magazine called babaji siddhar many years ago but had totally forgotten about it until friends from a spiritual group I belong to said they were going on one and asked me to join them. As usual, I was the last to say yes. We are all from different places in Tamil Nadu and many of us were going to meet the elders in our group for the first time. I was excited.

We met at the Arunachaleswarar temple on 14th December, 2009 at noon. We bought special entrance tickets and had amazing darisanam of the Lord in all the sannidhis inside the temple.

Then, we searched for the Sri Idaikattu Siddhar sannidhi and found it at the back of the main shrine. I was a very happy because it is here that I met many of the senior members of our group for the first time. Idaikattu Sidhhar had brought us together. What a glorious moment it was!

We deposited our belongings in a room near the temple and then went for lunch. We had a very good spiritual discussion while having lunch. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Abhishekam at Kubera Lingam

By 2.30 p.m. we reached the Kubera Lingam and slowly the various abhishekams started. There was a huge crowd and I couldn't see the happenings inside the sanctum. So one friend, Ram, suggested that we both stand outside the temple compound and peep through a gap between two people sitting on the wall. Surprisingly, this worked. We had an uninhibited view of the Lord from there. Ram and myself took turns to drink in the beauty of Kubera Lingam.

While this was going on, another elder in our group made a sudden entrance. Once again it was a happy moment for we all got introduced. We waited to have the final darisanam of Kubera Lingam completely decorated. Just then it struck me that I should climb the wall again and have a sneak preview of the Lingam again but by then the crowd had become bigger and blocked my view. I consoled myself that I will have a satisfying view after the crowd was gone.

A Garland of Mist around Arunachala

They say if it rains during a ceremony, then it is very auspicious. When this elder came it rained a little. So all of the onlookers felt very blessed. I called my friend Ram aside to come get a good look at the hill which was slowly getting covered by fog. The pointed edge of the summit was looking like it was garlanded by fog. It felt as though Arunachala Siva was sitting majestically garlanded with white flowers. It was so powerful. My hair still stands up thinking of it. (The pictures have been posted at: http://arunachala-girivalam.blogspot.com/2010/02/pictures-garland-of-mist-around.html ).

After the abhishekam at the Kubera Lingam, our group broke up. Some of the elders left for their respective homes and some others in our group went for a second darisinam at the main Arunachaleswarar Temple.

Start of Girivalam

The rest of us had a good dinner and around 8.00 p.m. started on our girivalam. Many in the group took off at rocket speed. Only Ram, his friend Sonai and myself walked slowly, contemplating the Lord with every step.

It is said that girivalam should be done like a woman in her tenth month of pregnancy. That is how we walked on this girivalam. Sonai had purchased a packet of agarbathi and was offering it at every shrine on the way. He is a devoted soul and I loved his company.

Mouna Swamigal

To be honest, I had agreed to go on this Girivalam so that I could visit Mouna Swamigal. This wandering swamigal is about 25-35 years old, and had affected me greatly by his powerful gaze in 2005/6. So I really wanted to have his darisinam again. It was late at night and I didn't think it was right to disturb him. So I simply enquired where he lived and found out that it was in the same place he had told me in 2006 - near the Gouthamar Ashramam. May be I will meet on my next visit. Maybe!

All the while we were enjoying the beauty of the girivalam and the outline of the hill was visible even in the darkness. At a certain distance we saw a handicapped man. I wanted to avoid him but it seemed like he really wanted our help. Sonai held the man's tricycle. Ram and I ran to help the man mount his vehicle. I was so sorry that I had initally wanted to avoid the man. So, I gave him ten rupees which the man grasped with his three fingers. Then the man wanted us to turn his vehicle which we did and proceeded on our walk. All the while in my heart I was hoping a miracle would happen..if this person vanishes in thin air, that would be nice...then he would be a siddhar...and with this thought I turned back and suddenly he was no where. I was surprised and looked around. I found him parking his vehicle a short distance away where some people were sleeping.

After this we reached the Kubera lingam and at this time I took in the beauty of the Lingam. We sat down and had a short discussion on spiritual matters when we noticed that two dogs that were sitting close to us suddenly become very silent and were repeatedly trying to catch some sound with their ears. Just a short while ago they were roaming here and there and now they were sitting silently. Both were looking at the exit of the temple and had become very silent. May be a siddhar or Kubera moorthy himself? Who came, bhairavar alone knows!

The two yantras below the Idukku Pilliayar Sannidhi

Next we visited the Idukku Pilliayar sannidhi. We entered this sannidhi through a small gap facing the Arunachala mountain. It is said that Sri Idaikattu Siddhar had installed two yantrams below the shrine and anyone who enters through this gap gets the benefit of darisinam of Arunachala while going in and the other is the vibrations from the yantra penetrate the body and remove problems of the body and mind. We were blessed to be able to do this.

Not far from here is the Esakki Siddhar jeeva samadhi. We paid our respects to Esakki Siddhar and proceeded towards the Eshanya lingam. Opposite to Eshanya lingam is the jeeva samadhi of Sri Ammani Ammal. Offering our prayers to both the shrines from outside (as they were closed), we proceeded to Ram's room to pick up our belongings and board our respective buses. This is my fourth girivalam and I enjoyed it as the first one I did in 1998. Even at this moment the majestic appearance of the hill with a garland of white flowers remains firmy etched in my mind. I am at a loss for words to describe the feeling...

Hari om sath


  1. what is kubera girivalam ? When I checked the calender it is Monday. Is every monday Kubera girivalam day ? Is there any other girivialm days like this ? Pls advise


  2. .
    We got this message from Dr. Ananthakrishnan:

    Kubera Girivalam is the day when Lord Kuberan does girivalam around Arunachala. The Girivalam starts at the Kubera Lingam and ends at the Kubera Lingam. This is the only information I have with me. I too am new to Kubera Girvalam. -Dr. S. Ananthakrishnan

  3. .
    Bhaskar, a very knowledgeable elder, who has done many girivalam himself, has sent us this message:

    One of the most important features of the Giri Pradakshina is the Ashtalinga Darshan. Ashta means eight in Sanskrit. These eight lingams are placed symmetrically at each one of the eight geographical directions from the base of the Arunachala mountain - East, South-east, South, South-west, West, North-west, North, North-east.

    In Hinduism, the directions play a vital role and each direction is governed by its own cardinal deity who is propitiated in a fitting way when that particular direction is undertaken for any purpose. For example if you have to make an east-bound journey then you would worship Indra who is the god governing the eastern direction and pray that he blesses your journey and keeps you safe from danger etc.

    In Arunachala the Ashta Dik Palakas (the gods of the eight directions) have a special role since (1) while performing the circumambulation one has to cover all the eight directions and (2) the deities themselves having a special connection with Shiva Arunachala have manifested at the appropriate centre and worshipped Shiva in the form of the lingam which is why we have the Ashtalingams consecrated respectively at each one of these spots.

    Kubera is the god of wealth and prosperity and so he is greatly sought by all. He is also the chief of the yakshas who safeguard the riches of the devas. Legend has it that Lord Kubera himself is beholden to Arunachala for the continued strength of his wealth and thus he worships Him from his ordained direction. Kubera lingam is situated at the end of the girivalam path before reaching town.

    Hope this information is useful to you.


  4. .
    Thank you Bhaskarji and Dr. Ananthakrishnan

  5. Is there any particular day of the year that is prescribed for kubera girivalam?

    Ramana Sarma

  6. I don't know. You would have noticed that none of the devotees who went on Kubera Girivalam are willing to give us this information. That is because in spirituality everything is revealed to us at the appropriate time or we will hurt ourselves. It will be like giving a little child a box full of matches.

    If you are still dying to know, ask Arunachala on your next visit to Tiruvannamalai. I am sure he will give you an answer.