Join us for a two days, one night excursion to Tiruvannamalai, the town named after the sacred hill that dominates the landscape. Your group will be accompanied by a historian.
The Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleshwara temple and the city has been under active worship even before the Pallava dynasty (3rd century BCE) and it was during this time, the Nayanmar saints sanctified the city by their pilgrimage and songs composed on the deity.
The tour group will also be accompanied by a trained classical singer who shall render some of the great bhakti works written on the temple deity(ies).
What you will experience:
1. An exhaustive guided tour of the ten hectares large Arunachalesvara Temple including the 1000-pillared hall, outer shrines and the main gopurams.
2. Be mesmerized by vocal renditions of bhakti poetry written centuries ago on the temple deity by your accompanying singer.
3. An introduction to the historic past of the temple, including detailed discussions on inscriptions and architectural contributions of South India's major ruling dynasties.
4. A silent walk around the sacred Arunachala hill (About 1 km long)
5. Listen to the rituals practiced in the temple, details about the festivals and local traditions.
Your Guide: Madhusudhanan Kalaiselvan, a PhD in architecture, a well renowed conservationist and scholar, has many years of study and experience in conducting guided tours of heritage sites across Tamil Nadu.
Accompanied By: Vidushi Ramya, a vocal and ghatam artist from Chennai. She learnt music in the traditional fashion: from her family initially and then from Smt Vijayanagarajan and Shri Lalgudi V. Rajasekhar. She has been performing concerts from the age of 16 and is part of an all women band.
This tour will be operated by Katrali.
We begin the journey early in the morning from Chennai. We will meet at the departure point and travel by bus to reach Tiruvannamalai.
Morning: Walk through the first corridor of the temple, introducing the tradition of fire worship ion human society, prehistoric background of Thiruvannamalai and an introduction to the temple. We will be visiting the 1000 pillared hall, main gopuram, 16th century shrines in the first corridor.
Evening: Later in the evening you would get an introduction to the historic past of the temple, walking around the second and third corridors, majorly developed in the last 6 centuries. This session will also through light on the inscriptions and the architectural contributions of the cholas, hoysalas, later Pandyas, Vijayanagara and Nayak kings.
Post Dinner: join us for a silent walk for around a kilometer around the sacred Arunachala hills.
Morning: After breakfast the finishing lap will cover the inner most corridor of the temple, with a few old sculptures of deities, amazing bronze images and the darshan at the shrines of Siva and Parvathi. We will get to listen to the rituals practiced in the temple, details about the festivals and local traditions.
Evening: Post lunch there is an optional visit to the local bazzar outside the temple complex to enjoy the visual beauty of the colouful shops and pick a few souvenirs