Temple Structure
 


SIXTH PRAKARAM
Arulmigu Arunachleswarar Temple consists six prakarams. The sixth prakaram is the outer prakaram. Rajagopuram, Thirumanjana gopuram, Pei gopuram and Ammaniammal gopuram are located between sixth and fifth prakarams.
FIFTH PRAKARAM
Raja Gopuram
The tower located on the eastern side between the sixth outer Prakaram and fifth Prakaram is the tallest of all the towers in this temple. This is known as Raja Gopuram. It stands in splendid dignity at the foot of Annamalai Hill over looking the town with its immense height and beauty. It is 217 feet in height with 11 storeys. It is the second tallest temple tower in South India.

The Raja Gopuram, built by Krishnadevaraya is lavish with the sculptured art of the period.
Kambathu Elayanar Sannathi

Slightly at inner left side of the Raja Gopuram entrance stands this magnificent Sannathi. This Sannathi consists seven steps which lead devotees to the inner chambers.


This Sannathi was built during the reign of Vijayanagara kings. It marks the actual spot where according to legend, Sambandan's boastful challenge to Arunagirinathar took place in front of Prabudadevaraya Maharaja and his court.


The Sannathi was divided into four chambers. The first chamber consists very fine sculptures over the entrance leading to second chamber. The left and right side walls of this chamber carries pictures and devotional hymns of Arunagirinathar. Third chamber is the place for devotees to worship and the fourth chamber is the moolastanam, the inner shrine of Lord Muruga.

One Thousand Pillared Mandapam
Parallel to Kambathu Elayanar Sannathi and to the northern side of the fifth prakaram stands "One Thousand Pillared Mandapam". Every pillar of the Mandapam is engraved with beautiful figures and the roof with numerous stone Nandis. Thousand pillared Mandapam is used for the deities to be seated for ablutions and worship on Aani Thirumanjanam and on the day of the star Thirivaathirai. This Mandapam consits an underground chamber which houses Sri Pathala Lingam.

Sri Pathala Lingam
Descending stone steps from Thousand pillared Mandapam lead devotees to the shrine of Sri Pathala Lingam. The sculptured vimanam of this shrine is at the floor level of the mandapam. The stone Lingam found in this shrine stands there undisturbed several hundreds of years.

This was the shrine where Saint Ramana Maharishi used to meditate during his early days. The meditation was so deep and wonderful that he could not feel pain even though his body was covered with insects and was eaten by vermin. It was at this stage Mahan Sheshadri Swami noticed Ramana Maharishi and arranged assistance to him.

Sivagangai Vinayagar Sannathi
Close to Sivagangai Theertham stands Sivagangai Vinayagar Sannathi. This is situated at the rear side of Kambathur Elayanar Sannathi and opposite to Thousand Pillared Mandapam. The Vimanam of this shrine is colourful covered with a profusion of deities.

Arunagirinathar Mandapam
Arunagirinathar Mandapam consists a spacious Hall. The hymns of Arunagirinathar are engraved on marble stones of the walls. At the inner side of the Mandapam is a shrine for Lord Subramaniyar wherein Arunagirinathar is seen praying the Lord with folded hands. This is also known as Gopurathilayanar sannathi.
Kalyana Sundareswarar Sannathi
Kalyana Sundareswarar Sannathi stands at the southern side of the broad flight of stone stairs leading upwards to the majestic Vallala Maharaja Gopuram. This Sannathi houses a Lingam, Devi and Nandhi. In front of the Sannathi is a marriage hall where marriages of the devotees are performed.
Vallala Maharaja Gopuram
This is the direct entrance and exit between the Fifth and Fourth Prakarams.
The Vallala Maharaja Gopuram was built by the Hoysala King Ballala between AD1318 and AD1343. Two stories are associated with this Gopuram one is Vallala Maharaja being humiliated by Lord Siva and the other one is Saint Arunagirinathar saved by Lord Muruga. The fame of this ardent devotee king Vallala Deva soars high as Lord Arunachaleswarar himself performs the King's funeral rites which are supposed to be done by King's son.

   
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