Friday, December 12, 2008


Girivalam; ; Circumambulation of Arunachala Hill

Girivalam (also called Giri Valam) spiritual festival observed on every full moon day at Tiruvannamalai for sacred Mountain Annamalai.In tamil language, "Giri" means mountain and "Valam" means circumambulation. People with spiritual seeking choose to walk around the mountain and worship Aruanachala temple of Tiruvannamalai on pournami day called Girivalam.
Girivalam is connected to the hill Annamalai , considered as a deity and god Shiva temple called Arunachaleswarar an Tamil ancient massive shrine found at the bottom of the Tiruvannamalai hill. This Arunachaleswarar temple named after "The mountain of fire" . The god who lives there also called by the same name. In sanskrit "Arunam" stands for fire with red colour, "asalam" can be read as "malai" or hill. In fact the mountain is red in color, stand high for 2668 feet with 16 KM in diameter (approximately).

During the Girivalam (Giri valam) circling, people visit eight siva lingams located around the Arunachala mountain. Each lingam represent one direction, if you watch closely Tiruvannamalai town itself structured around this lingams in octagonal dimension. Each lingam has its own name Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam.

Indian spiritual history has it that even today a number of siddhars are living on the hill. During the fullmoon Maha Girivalam (Giri Valam) or Deepam festival day of Karthigai month It siddhars movement would be there and the whole atmosphere would be filled with perfumes of herbal plants. This will provide peace of mind and good health to body. It is a proven fact that Tiruvannamalai girivalam pulls 100,000 of devotees to circumambulate the Arunachala mountain and obtain seeken wish comes true by praying to siva Annamalai.The giri valam circumambulation path has been well maintained with rows of sodium lights around the hill.People can walk round the clock 24 hours a day without any fear or getting lost. To improve the devotees experience, Tiruvannamalai town government has established many road side stores as well as strict vigilant Police patrol around the mountain

Girivalam Circumambulation Tips

Normally people start just before dawn or after sunfall. As Tiruvannamalai is rocky place day time may not be suitable because of hot sun and dry humidity weather.

As per custom full day fasting is required before you circle the mountain. People eat only after completing the walk around mountain.

Walking around the hill is kind of walking meditation where you supposed concentrate your steps and chanting your preferred mantra. You hear many different slogans and chanting like arunachala arunachala, annamalaikku arohara, siva siva, muruga muruga, ramanana, Krishna Krishna yogi ramsuratkumara, yesuvey yesuvey, jesus Christ and buddham saranam kachaami etc. As per my guru Yogi ramsuratkumar, which ever mantra you like to chant which ever god you like to pray , whomever you want to follow as a guru doesn't matter. What count is remembering god and being spiritual.

Good to keep a bottle of distilled water with you and first aid medicine like glucose in case your body experience the low sugar because of fasting. You see people serving free water, milk and juices throughout the girivalam path, you can try if you want but remember you don't break the fasting until you finish mountain circling.

Keep ample of 1 rupees and 50 paise coins so you can ration to anyone who is in need. By doing this you are actually helping your karma to curb it's previous sins (local saying).

Please note 14 km of walking around the arunachala mountain must be done with bare foot and no shoe wearing. Occasionally you will be pinched by small pebble on the path or others may step on your toe giving you refreshment and acupuncture effect, you find enjoy walking. On karthikai month (November) you see enormous crowd more than a million dashing, it is better in crowd and walk carefully.

The most remarkable thing you notice during the girivalam is people who is walking along with you. People from Europe/America/asia and Africa will be walking along for some mysterious reason and seeking. The reason they choose to walk with you on this specific day, because both of your karma has some kind of contact, that connection pulled both of you to cross again. Nice isn't, but thats what spiritual seekers says. So be gentle in case someone step on your toe while walking.

Thiruvannamalai Girivalam -

қαvї - கவி

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