Hindus believe that the earth is formed by Pancha Boothas, five basic elements, namely land, water, fire, air and, ether. And these pacha boothas are associated with five sacred temples of Lord Siva.

The famous Thiruvannamalai temple is believed to be the sacred temple which symbolizes fire and have the grandest Kathigai Deepam celebration every year.

Karthigai Deepam in Thiruvannamalai is celebrated for 10 days and a huge lamp is lit in a cauldron containing three tons of ghee, at the top of the Annamalai hills. This deepam is called a mahadeepam and can be seen from a several kilometers away.

Even though Girivalam is performed in this temple regularly, yet the Girivalam during Karthigal Deepam is quite special. The devotees will be walking 14 kilometres around the Annamalai Hills and it is believed that Arunachaleswarar will be visually represented in the form of agni on the hill top during this time.

There are eight famous lingams situated around Annamalai hills namely Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and, Eesanya Lingam, where the devotees can perform darshan during their Girivalam walk.

Previously, hundreds to thousands of devotees visit the temple to pray and make offerings to Lord Shiva. However, this year the prayers are conducted with strict restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic.

During the 10th day, Lord Periya Nayagar will be making rounds on the Rishaba Vahanam, a chariot that is made of gold.

Visiting Thiruvannamalai temple during Karthigai is a must to experience the best Karthigai celebration in the world.

However, since we are unable to travel and take part in large gatherings, you can still watch the Karthigai happenings LIVE from Thiruvannamalai temple:

Image credit: Dinamalar, Thiruvannamalai.co.in and Flickr