Girivalam & Arunachala Hills
The moment the feeling of circumambulating the Arunachala Hills gains strength in our minds, it is a clear indication that we are going to receive the grace of Annamalaiyar and Unnamulai amman.
Girivalam on a Sunday morning will help the devotee get the blessings from Sun God whose effulgence knows no bounds. Giri valam on a Sunday evening will attract the grace of Lord Chandra. If we can get the grace of both the Sun and the Moon that can indeed be a great blessing. This grace is nothing ordinary but something that is exclusively designed for us to give us exceptional benefits.
Those who wish to get promotion in their jobs or are looking for a change to a better job can do giri valam on a Sunday or on a Monday. One of the scientific explanations can be given as below:
When we are circumambulating the hill, we are filled with hope, enthusiasm and energy. This translates to abundant positivity. The giri valam path itself is suffused with magnetic energy – something that defies description.
Together these create synergy leading us to visualize a better future for ourselves. Our ancestors would say – “ Just do giri valam and wait for the miracle to happen”.
Girivalam on Tuesdays will drive away poverty and financial constraints. Girivalam on Wednesdays is exceptionally good for students to improve their learning capabilities. Thursdays are special as we generally propitiate our gurus on these days. Giri valam on Thursdays will make our gurus cast a benevolent glance on us. It will not only make us more spiritually inclined but can also help us in becoming great scientists if we are in that field.
Girivalam on Fridays will please shukra bhagawan leading us on the path for earning more wealth. Doshas will be wiped away if we do giri valam on Saturdays. Though Giri valam can be undertaken on any day, taking it up on particular days has that accentuated effect.
We can also spread the good word about Giri valam and encourage others to join us. Aippasi, Karthikai and Marghazi months are special for giri valam. Circumambulating the sacred hills on Pournami nights can lead to miraculous benefits – though getting last minute accommodation in Tiruvannamalai may be an issue. However, if we plan the trip in advance, it will cease to be an issue. The very thought of walking around the hills on a full moon night sounds heavenly, isn’t it?
The panchakshara mantra – Om Namah Shivayaa – is highly potent in eradicating the sins of the present and the past. Tiruvannamalai is considered to be geographically located at the center of the earth. This gives a scientific explanation about its immense powers.
Here is a popular mantra that Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the famed sitthar from Tiruvannamalai used to recite :
Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala Shiva, Arunachala Shiva,
During giri valam, one’s mind should be completely concentrated in chanting the name of Lord Shiva – “Namah Shivaya”. One can also keep chanting – “Arunachala Shiva”, “Arunachala Shiva” or one can chant – “Arohara, Arohara, Annamalaiyaarukku Arohara”.
It is a good idea to visit the temples that are situated on the Giri Valam path. It is better to walk light when you are circumambulating the arunachala hill. While walking, focus on what you desire and then focus on Arunachala. This will set the tuning right. Positive visualization is the best antidote to solve life’s myriad problems.
The path has now become a “tar” road. So, one should be careful and walk on the sideways. It is a good idea to visit some of the temples en route and practice meditation for a few minutes to ward off mental fatigue and physical exertion. It is better if couples can walk together – but discussing family issues while doing the circumambulation is not a good idea.
Some devotees do visit the ashrams en route but it is left to an individual’s choice. Before starting Giri valam, one can pray to Lord Ganesha and once it is over, one can again thank Lord Ganesha.
It is a good practice to visit the temple early in the morning and then do the giri valam. If you are reaching Tiruvannamalai in the noon, then the visit to the temple can be made first and then giri valam can be commenced. In the morning, the temple opens at 5 am while in the noon, the temple opens at 4 pm. It takes at least 1 to 11/2 hours in the temple depending on the crowds. On festive occasions, the crowds are huge; so if you need a pleasant darshan of Annamalaiyar and Unnamulai Amman, visit to the temple can be scheduled on week days. Around the sanctum sanctorum of Annamalaiyar, if you are standing in the queue, you can view “Gaja Lakshmi” thayaar. Propitiating Gaja Lakshmi is essential for success in career or for establishing a successful business. After the darshan of Annamalaiyar, one can have a pleasant darshan of parasakthi amman and gajalakshmi thayar.
Though wearing footwear is not recommended while doing Giri valam, we also need to be practical. It is difficult to walk barefoot on the tar road especially in the noons. Rubber slippers are allowed. Generally, scholars recommend avoiding Giri valam during monsoons as it can weaken you – but frankly I do not think this is an issue.
It is always better to complete the Giri valam and not stop in between or abandon it mid-way. It is a good idea to restrict the intake of water during Giri valam. However, drinking water enroute to hydrate your body is strongly recommended. Pray to Lord Arunachala standing behind the Nandi. A simple dress is strongly recommended. Women should desist from wearing heavy jewellery while doing Giri valam.
There are good Samaritans who offer pongal, butter milk or fruits to pada-yatris who are circumambulating the Arunachala Hill.
In all there are eight lingams. Indralingam is located on the eastern side. Indran is praying in front of the lingam seated on a white elephant called Iravadam. The challenges faced by Indran in his power were overcome by praying to this linga. So, those who are looking at enhancing their position can pray to Indra Linga. Rishabha & Thula Rasi individuals will benefit more.
On the south-eastern side is Agni lingam. Those who suffer from agni dosham can meditate in front of this lingam and pray. This lingam is powerful for Simma rasi individuals.
Southern direction is direction of Lord Yama. As the latter was seated in a buffalo and prayed here, it is called as Yama Linga. Those who are having fear of death can pray here. This linga can be prayed to by anointing it with lotus flowers. This linga is good for Vrichhika rasi individuals.
Nirudhilingam is located in east west direction. Those having putra dosha can pray here and get rid of the doshas and be relieved of their difficulties. Childless couples can pray here. The nirudhi lingam is very impactful for individuals belonging to Mesha Rasi.
Varunalingam is located in the South-West direction. Varuna had prayed to Lord Shiva seated on a crocodile. Those individuals who are suffering from diabetes or kidney related ailments can pray to varuna linga. Farmers praying for rain can pray to varuna linga. This will lead to a good monsoon.
North West direction has vayu lingam. Vayu had prayed to Shiva here. This place was a herbal forest. Lord Shiva was propitiated using bilva leaves. Those suffering from breathing problems or lung disorders can meditate here and achieve peace. Individuals belonging to kadaga rasi can pray here.
Kuberalingam is located in the Northern direction. Kuberan came in his horse and prayed here and was benefited by the grace of Lord Shiva. Those who are poor can pray here. Those who are burdened by debt can also pray here. Those who are already wealthy can pray here for sustaining their wealth. This lingam is suited for Meenam and Dhanusu Rasi individuals.
The North-Eastern direction is very auspicious and is often called as the Esanya Mulai; Devas prayed here. Nandi became adhikara nandi here. This lingam called as Esanya Lingam is suited for those who wish to be rid of 71/2 sani disai. Praying to this Lingam will rid you of Sani Dosha. This lingam is powerful for Kanni as well as Midhuna raasi individuals. Praying to Esanya Lingam will lead to better prosperity, improved health and a better job.
To have a darshan of all these lingams and the ashrams located on the giri vala path, it is advisable to propitiate the sacred and immensely powerful Arunachala Hill.
As mentioned before, it is advisable to focus on what you want while doing Giri valam. Believe me, giri valam is immensely potent and extremely powerful.
The siddars who found refuge in Arunachala Hills are:
Arunagirinathar, Seshadri Swamigal, Kugai Namashivayar, Ramana Maharishi, Yogi Ramsurathkumar, Villu Muthu Moopanar, Ammani ammal and Umadevi ammal.
Finally, the temples that are located on the Giri vala path are as below:
1. Kaliyamman temple
2. Arutperunjothi temple
3. Matrupoodeswara temple
4. Patala Lingeshwarar temple
5. Adhikaramurthy Nandikeswara Sannidhi
6. Manikkavasagar temple
7. Parvatha Malai temple
8. Idukki Pillaiyar temple
9. Shirdi Sai Baba temple
10. Adhi Parasakthi temple
Not many are aware that atop the hill, there is a pachhaiyamman temple. Near the Tiruvannamalai bus stand one can locate the Durga Devi temple. It is a small temple but something that needs to be written about more so that more visitors visit the temple. One cannot blame anyone because generally devotees plan a two-day trip and so sometimes it becomes difficult to visit all the places. Many devotees spend 3-4 days in Ramana-ashram or Seshadri Swamigal ashram or Yogi Ramsuratkumar ashram which is and can be a great blessing. These ashrams will have infinite positive energy and meditating in these ashrams can be a life-altering experience for all devotees.
These ashrams have now become globally renowned as people come here in quest of peace. If you are planning a trip for 3 days, you can also visit Tirukkovilur that has a famous Vishnu temple.
The main challenge in Tiruvannamalai is the quality of food that is available and also the exorbitant rates charged by hotels for sub-optimal infrastructure and service. Notwithstanding these glitches, the fact remains that Tiruvannamalai is a great place to rejuvenate oneself and be one with God.
Giri valam can be considered one of the most memorable and cathartic experience. Senior citizens who can’t walk can actually do giri valam in the Yogi Ram Suratkumar ashram as well.
I hope all of you enjoyed reading this article on “Tiruvannamalai and Giri Valam”.
Thank you so much for your time and may the blessings and grace of Lord Arunachala and Goddess Unnamulaiyamman be showered on us aplenty.
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