Thiruvannamalai Sightseeing

Leisure Places

Sathanur Dam is one of the Major Dam Constructed across Pennaiyar River. The dam can be reached by road 30 km from Thiruvannamalai Town.Sathanur Dam is constructed across the Thenpennai River in Chengam Taluk among Chennakesava Hills. It has a capacity of 7321 million cubic feet (Full level 119 feet). An area of 7183 hec. of Land is benefited by the left bank canal and 905 hec. of land is benefited by the right bank canal in Thandrampet and Thiruvannamalai Blocks. This is one of the best picnic place in our District. The Beautiful Garden with colorful statues are also available in it. This Garden is one of the Famous Cine Shooting Spot in South India.

This Dam was constructed during the year 1958. Sathanur Dam is the oldest hero in Cinema Industry. All the films in midst of 1960-1980 was shouted here. Beautiful parks were maintained here with lawns and parks. A mini zoo is maintained inside the park area to enjoy the Children.One swimming pool is maintained inside the dam to enjoy the tourist during the visit to dam. A large Crocodile farm and a fish grotta is maintained here to know the life of Crocodile and fish culture. A visit to Sathanur Dam is a useful one to the Engineering students who want to know about the irrigation structures, Sathanur Dam is one of the oldest and beautiful dam here to be visited.

The Javadhu Hills are a range of hills, one of the largest in the Eastern Ghats. Which is located in Vellore District, 75 Km from thiruvannamalai. About 80 km wide and 32 km long, they are bisected into eastern and western sections by the Cheyyar and Agaram rivers, tributaries of the Palar. They consist of bluish gray granites, with peaks averaging 3,600–3,800 feet. Their steep south eastern flanks are forested with sandalwood. They are noted both for their fruit bearing trees and for their sandalwood. Jamunamarathur is one of the larger villages in the hills. The town of Vaniyambadi is located nearby.

Beema Falls is situated 5 kms away from Jamunamarathur. Water flows approximately for 8 months of the year. The reflection of sun on the water falls glow like a silver sheet that is a beautiful and magnificent sight. This falls is one of the main attractions of tourists. People enjoy bathing at the bottom of this falls. This, much unknown small falls, is in the middle of the reserve forest.

This is the biggest lake in the Javadu hills and it is also known as Kolappan lake. This is one of the scenic places that attract tourists. Recently this lake has been developed with boating facilities for the benefit of tourists. In the midst of the lake an island is developed for the enjoyment of the tourists.

Monuments

Raman Maharishi, the 20th century saint lived here and taught simple methods of meditation to his disciples from all over the world. He attained mukthi in 1950, but his Ashram continues his work by propagating his teaching and voluntary services. The tourists visit from all over the world and they feel that they get peace and spiritual elevation by visiting the Ashram. Kandashramam were Ramana once meditated is half way up the hill and mountain path used by him is beautiful and tranquil.

Sri Ramana Maharshi stayed at various places in Tiruvannamalai and then in several caves on the Arunachala Hill until he finally settled at what came to be called Sri Ramanasramam where he lived until his Mahanirvana in April 1950. He never took formal sannyasa nor did he claim to have any disciples. From the day he arrived in 1896 until his Mahanirvana, Ramana never left his beloved Arunachala.

The first place that Ramana stayed in Tiruvannamalai was the great temple. For a few weeks he remained in the thousand-pillared hall. But he was soon troubled by the urchins who pelted him with stones as he sat silently. He shifted to an underground vault known as Patala Lingam, where the sunlight never penetrated. Without moving he sat deeply absorbed in the Self and was unaware of being bitten up by the ants and vermin living there.

The Vainu Bappu Observatory, or VBO for short, is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is located in the Jawadhu Hills near the town of Kavalur . The first telescope was of 38 cm (15 inch) aperture, with which astronomical observations were started in 1968 at KavalurObservatory. The 75 cm (30 inch) telescope has been completely designed and fabricated at the workshops of the Indian Instituteof Astrophysics. In 1972 a 1 metre (40 inch) telescope made by Carl Zeiss Jena was installed at Kavalur. Vainu Bappu Telescope, the largest telescope in Asia.

Vainu Bappu's swansong was the 2.3 metre (93 inch) aperture telescope, designed and built within the country. However it was rather unfortunate that Bappu passed away in 1982 and could not see the completion of this telescope. In a befitting tribute, the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, at a function held at Kavalur on 6th January, 1986, named the observatory as VAINU BAPPU OBSERVATORY. The telescope is so powerful that it can easily resolve a 25 paise coin kept forty kilometres away. Deep sky observationsare carried out with this telescope using a variety of focal plane instruments. The equatorially mounted horse-shoe-yokestructure of the telescope is ideally suited for low latitudes and permits easy observation near the north celestial pole.

Mahan Sri Seshadri Swamigal lived in the late 20th Century. Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram is one of the holy places in this Town. People from all over the world visit his Ashram.The Seshadri Swamigal Ashram is located next to Sri Ramanashramam and lies between the second and third Lingam on the circular route around Mount Arunachala. Sri Seshadri Swamigal was a 20th century saint who is believed to have worked many miracles. After renouncing material life at the age of 19 the saint came to Thirvannamalai. Regular pujas are performed at the samadhi of the saint and the beautiful ashram premises is a much sought after place to meditate and introspect.

Yogi Ramsurat kumar was born in a village near Kashi on the first day of December,1918. In his childhood, he loved very much to meet the yogis and monks. He was befriended by a number of holy men who build their huts on the Ganges shore or simply wander nearby. In search of His spiritual father, His spiritual mission started in the year 1947, when he decided to visit the renowned sage and patriot of India, Sri Aurobindo Ghose. He expressed his desire to the old monk. Aurobindo then asked yogiram to meet another holy man the sage of Arunachala, Sri Ramana Maharishi.He later moved to Kerala at the ashram of Swami Ramdas. Sri Aurobindo gave him Jnana, Sri Maharshi blessed him with tapas and Swami Ramadas gave him the nectar of Bhakti.

After a prolonged spiritual voyage, Yogiji finally reached Tiruvannamalai in the Southern India. He was seen near the Temple chariot, at the corners of the Road, under the trees of the Temple. Swamiji then began living in a small house in Sannadhi Street beneath the Temple. He continued to bless the devotees who thronged at thousands to His house at the Sannadhi Street. The Devotees wished Him to have an Ashram which He gently accepted.

Virupaksha Cave is located on the eastern slope of the famous Arunachala hill. This cave is named after the renowned 13th century saint named Virupaksha Deva who is believed to have stayed in the cave. This cave ashram is in the shape of a perfect 'OM'.

Gingee Fort is also known as Chenji which is one of the surviving forts in Tamil Nadu.The fort is so fortified that Shivaji the Maratha king ranked it as the most impregnable fortress in India and it was called the Troy of the East by the British

The site of a small fort built by the Chola dynasty during the 9th century AD.Gingee Fort was modified by Kurumbar during the 13th century. The fort was built duirng the 15–16th century by the Nayaks, the lietunants of the Vijayanagara Empire and who later became independent kings. The fort passed to the Marathas under the leadership of Shivaji in 1677 AD, Bijapur sultans, the Moghuls, Carnatic Nawabs, French and the British in 1761. The fort is closely associated with Raja Tej Singh, who unsuccessfully revolted against the Nawab of Arcot and eventually lost his life in a battle.

Places of Worship

This gigantic temple is located at the foot of the sacred Annamalai or Arunachala Hill Nine lofty towers of the Arunachaleshwara Temple, the numerous stucco figures and the neatly and intricately carved stone sculptures stand as admirable testimony to the Dravidian Architecture and skills of the master craftsmen of the yesteryears. The temple is located on a sprawling 25 acre land, encompassing several shrines, mandapams, corridors and other such enclosures each adorned with massive pillars with sculptures minutely and aesthetically carved. A huge hall here has a thousand pillars, each elegantly carved, neatly and orderly installed bearing testimony to the planning skills of the engineers of those times. Numerous inscriptions dating back as early as to the 10th century and as a late as 16th century are found on the walls of this temple, recording the liberal contributions of kings and rich to this temple.

Padaiveedu, a most important 'Sakthi Sthala'. Padaiveedu is one of the most important 'Sakthi Sthalas' in Thondainadu (a part of Tamil Nadu). Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested in this place, indicating "Sakthi is everything in this world" and offering her blessings along with Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Siva. In this place a number of sages performed penance and attained salvation. The existence of Banalingam and Nanakarshna Chakra consecrated by Adi Sankarar is the specialty of this place.This is the place where Saint Jamathakni did penance and attained Mukthi(salvation). Here as blessed by Lord Siva, Mother Renugambal kept her Sirasu(head) for performing pooja by devotees and to offer them her blessings. She took her body to Swarka Loga (Heaven) along with Saint Jamathakni. Nestled among the hills between Arni and Vellore is a village called Padaiveedu. This beautiful pastoral village was once the capital of Sambuvarayar Dynasty and was also a grand commercial centre. Encircled by mountains and hills, this place consists of 17 villages. During 13th and 14th Centuries the Sambuvarayar chieftains ruled this area under the patronage of the Pandyas.

The temple of Angala Parameswari is 32 kms from Gingee, the special deity of the Sembadavars. Here festival occurs in February-March. A special feature of this festival is the Simimasana kollai. The people who attend the festival cook large quantities of grain of various kinds and set them out in the burning ground and offer them to goddess who is brought there. Every Ammavasai (New Moon day) there will be the Lakhs of devotees situated here. In the inner sanctum there is a snake pit which is being worshipped. There is a congregation of devotees on every new moon day.