Arunachala hill, in the pilgrimage town of Tiruvannamalai in South India, has long been a sacred place for Saivite Hindus. The 800m tall hill is located about 100 miles away from Tamil Nadu’s bustling capital of Chennai.
Each year during the Tamil month of Kartigai (October-November), the festival of Kartigai Deepam is celebrated. During this auspicious time a big fire is lit on top of the hill. A a giant wick about 30 meters long is immersed in hundreds of liters of ghee and then set alight. The fire symbolizes God Siva’s light eradicating darkness.
The hill is also where the great Hindu mystic Sri Ramana Maharshi lived and meditated for over 20 years.
Each full moon, countless pilgrims circumambulate the base of the hill. Men, women and children make the 14km (9-mile) walk barefoot, worshiping at the many small shrines along the way in particular the 8 small temples to God Siva, each one associated with the 12 moon signs. The walk begins at the temple, with an intention held strongly in mind, the pilgrim walks the path as he works with his inner nature with the help of the gods.
We’ll be in Tiruvannamalai later this month for 2-nights during our Festivals and Temples spiritual adventure to south India and Malaysia. A little less than 4-weeks away we welcome anyone who would like to join this journey.
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