There are many sacred mountains around the World and especially in Hinduism where the Deity is always at the top of the mountain, for instance take Tirupati where Lord Venkateshwara is on the top of the Holy Mountain but in Tiruvannamalai the Temple of Lord Arunachaleshwarar is on the Foot of the Mountain. In Tiruvannamalai the Sacred Mountain is itself the Sanctum Sanatorium.
In Thiruvannmalai Lord Shiva is worshipped by climbing his Holy Mountain bare footed and that is called ‘Girivalam’ in Tamil which translates to Giri- Mountain & Valam going around. In Sanskrit it is called as Giripradikshina. Climbing the mountain on a Full moon day is the most sacred event in Thiruvannamalai.
The great Devine Poet Arunagirinathar says ‘Be they of lowly birth, without the advantage of learning, unable to practise the virtue of liberality, it is of no account. Those who perform pradakshina of holy Aruna, the Supreme, submit to his rule and become his devotee, will excel even amongst the most excellent . . .’
The path of Girivalams has lot of small Shrines and Lingas all over, even today Sidhars are believed to live there in the mountains. On every Pournami Day (Full Moon) lakhs of devotees throng the town of Tiruvannamalai to worship the Aadhi Linga which is the Mountain itself.No where else in the world a whole mass of land is considered holy and worshiped as God.
During the month of Karthigai to commemorate Lord Arunachala the God of Fire, a huge Deepam (Lamp) is lit on top of the Arunachala Hill. On Karthigai Deepam Lord Shiva is said to come to earth spreading light to the already darkened world.
Living in Tiruvannamalai is nothing but living on the feet of God himself to find ourselves that is nothing but finding Arunachala in us. Many great saints such as Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi settled on the foothills just to experience God in him.