Arunachalam Temple Giri Pradakshina: A Spiritual Journey Around Arunachala Hill

Arunachalam Temple Giri Pradakshina: A Spiritual Journey Around Arunachala Hill
  • Jun 10, 2024

Arunachalam Temple Giri Pradakshina: A Spiritual Journey Around Arunachala Hill


The Giri Pradakshina, or circumambulation of Arunachala Hill, is one of the most revered spiritual practices for devotees visiting the Arunachalam Temple in Tiruvannamalai. This profound journey involves walking around the sacred Arunachala Hill, believed to be an embodiment of Lord Shiva. The tradition is steeped in deep spiritual significance, drawing pilgrims from all over the world. In this blog, we'll explore the details of the Giri Pradakshina, including the exact distance, its spiritual importance, and practical tips for those planning to undertake this sacred path.

The Significance of Giri Pradakshina

Giri Pradakshina, also known as Girivalam, holds immense spiritual importance in the Hindu tradition. The word "Giri" means hill, and "Pradakshina" means circumambulation. Devotees believe that walking around Arunachala Hill is equivalent to worshiping Lord Shiva directly, as the hill itself is considered a manifestation of the deity.

Spiritual Beliefs

  • Divine Presence: Arunachala Hill is revered as a physical manifestation of Lord Shiva, representing his formless, eternal nature.
  • Karmic Cleansing: Completing the circumambulation is believed to cleanse one's karma and bring spiritual liberation (moksha).
  • Eternal Blessings: Devotees seek blessings for health, prosperity, and spiritual growth by undertaking this pilgrimage.

The Distance of Giri Pradakshina

The full circumambulation of Arunachala Hill covers a distance of approximately 14 kilometers (about 8.7 miles). This path encircles the base of the hill and takes devotees through various sacred sites, temples, and ashrams.

Route Details

  • Starting Point: Most devotees start the Giri Pradakshina from the Arunachalam Temple, proceeding in a clockwise direction.
  • Sacred Stops: The path includes several notable stops such as the Adi Annamalai Temple, Panchamukha Hanuman Temple, and the Nirudhi Lingam, among others.
  • Varied Terrain: The route consists of paved roads, forested paths, and occasional rocky terrain, providing a diverse walking experience.

Tips for Undertaking Giri Pradakshina

Embarking on the Giri Pradakshina requires some preparation to ensure a safe and fulfilling experience. Here are some practical tips to help you along the way:

Planning Your Journey

  1. Choose the Right Time: The best time for Giri Pradakshina is during the full moon (Pournami) days and on auspicious occasions like Karthigai Deepam. However, you can perform it any time of the year.
  2. Start Early: Begin early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the midday heat, especially if you're undertaking the walk during the summer months.

What to Carry

  1. Comfortable Footwear: Wear sturdy and comfortable walking shoes to handle the varied terrain.
  2. Water and Snacks: Carry sufficient water to stay hydrated and some light snacks for energy.
  3. Protective Gear: Use a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

During the Walk

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink water regularly to keep yourself hydrated throughout the walk.
  2. Pace Yourself: Walk at a steady pace that suits your fitness level. Remember, this is a spiritual journey, not a race.
  3. Be Respectful: Maintain silence or chant softly, respecting the sanctity of the path and fellow pilgrims.

Safety Considerations

  1. Travel in Groups: If possible, undertake the Giri Pradakshina with a group for added safety and support.
  2. Emergency Contacts: Keep the contact information of local authorities and emergency services handy.
  3. Be Mindful of Health: If you have any health conditions, consult with a doctor before undertaking the walk and carry any necessary medications.

Sacred Spots Along the Route

The Giri Pradakshina path is dotted with several sacred spots that enhance the spiritual experience. Here are a few noteworthy ones:

Adi Annamalai Temple

This ancient temple is one of the oldest on the Giri Pradakshina route and offers a tranquil spot for prayers and reflection.

Panchamukha Hanuman Temple

Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is known for its unique idol with five faces, each representing different aspects of the deity.

Nirudhi Lingam

One of the eight lingams located along the circumambulation path, the Nirudhi Lingam is believed to offer protection and remove obstacles from the lives of devotees.

Skandashram and Virupaksha Cave

While these spots are slightly off the main Giri Pradakshina route, they are worth a visit for those seeking deeper spiritual insights. Both are associated with the revered sage Ramana Maharshi.


Q: How long does it take to complete the Giri Pradakshina? A: On average, it takes about 4-5 hours to complete the 14-kilometer circumambulation, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make.

Q: Is there an ideal time of year to perform the Giri Pradakshina? A: While you can undertake the Giri Pradakshina any time of the year, the cooler months from October to March are preferable. Full moon days and Karthigai Deepam festival also attract many pilgrims.

Q: Can I perform the Giri Pradakshina barefoot? A: Many devotees choose to walk barefoot as an act of devotion. However, if you're not accustomed to walking barefoot over long distances, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes.

Q: Are there facilities along the route for food and rest? A: Yes, there are several stalls and small eateries along the route where you can buy refreshments. However, it is still a good idea to carry your own water and snacks.

Q: Is it safe to walk the Giri Pradakshina path at night? A: While many pilgrims undertake the walk during the night, especially on full moon days, it is recommended to be cautious and preferably walk in groups.

Wrapping Up

The Giri Pradakshina of Arunachala Hill is more than just a walk; it's a deeply spiritual journey that connects you with the divine presence of Lord Shiva. Covering a distance of 14 kilometers, this sacred circumambulation offers an opportunity for reflection, devotion, and spiritual growth. Whether you're a seasoned pilgrim or a first-time visitor, the Giri Pradakshina promises a profound and transformative experience.

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