In addition to the well known Kartikai Deepam festival, several other
festivals are celbrated throughout the year at Tiruvannamalai.
Each occurrence of the full moon is
a celebration in itself, as hundreds of thousands throng to circumambulate the Annamalai
Hill, considered to be a reperesentationof Annamalaiyar himself.
The festivals of the temple are remarkably
intertwined with the life of the locals, marking the so called subtle transcendence
between the human and the divine states.
In addition to the various festivals, Tiruvannamalai
celebrates four annual Bhrammotsavams (10 day festivals) the most famous
of which is the Kartikai Bhrammotsavam (in the Tamil month of Kartikai
Nov 15 - Dec 15).
The Arudra Darisanam in the
month of Margazhi (Dec 15
through Jan 15) is a celebration of the cosmic dance of Shiva.
The Tai Poosam festival which
occurs in the month of Tai (Jan 15 through Feb 15) is also of great significance. The Tiruvoodal
festival, enacting a mock quarrel between Annamalaiyaar and Unnamulai Amman is enacted in
the presence of Sundaramoorthy Nayanaar in the Tiruvoodal Street,
a street that has been earmarked for this annual event.
During this quarrel, Parvati
enters the temple alone by herself, leaving Shiva outside, and Shiva
(Annamalaiyaar) circumambulates the Annamalai hill (himself), and during his trip, grants
liberation to the rishi Bhringi. His jewels get stolen in the West side
of the town and he then recovers stolen jewellery in the eastern side of the town, and
then returns to the temple the folowing morning.
In the month of Maasi, (Feb 15
through March 15) Shiva is crowned as the King in the absence of a royal
heir to King Ballala of the Hoysala dynasty (an early
14th century ruler) whose statue adorns the Vallala Gopuram.
Interestingly Ballala's death is announced as an
element of the festival tradition during the Tai Poosam celebration
season. Associated with these events, Annamalaiyaar visits Pallikondapattu,
one of the villages to the east of Tiruvannamalai, where the King's palace is said to have
The Parivettai (Royal Hunt)
festival is a part of the two Bhrammotsavams celebrated during the winter
and summer solstices. This festival represents a royal hunt on the borders of the town.