Thiruvannamalai - is very special to me in many ways. It was the first temple we set foot in when we first arrived in India in 1994 although we had flown into Chennai.
We were told the best place to be for Kartigai Deepam was at Annamalai and so we headed there a few hours after arriving to see the magnificent sight of this hill where the deepam was light and will go on to burn for 7 days n 7 nights. The amount of people that arrive here is beyond anything i've seen. Even if its not Kartigai Deepam, girivalam dates or the full moon day attracts as many devotees that the roads into the city are closed to mobile traffic as human traffic takes over.
In the chill of Marghali morning we headed into the temple at 3.45am for the early morning prayers and abhishega pooja. What a sight he was, Annamalayar who basked in the glow of golden earthen lights as the priest poured the various abhishegam items to the chant of manthras. it is pretty indescribeable.
By the time you finish at Unnamulaiyar Devi's sannathi, dawn has arrived and the mountain set behind the temple gopurams glows as mother earth sways around with her dancing clouds as the world wakes to another day.
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