Tiruvannamalai temple is one of the biggest and grandest temples in South India. With the hill as back ground it gives the appearance of a fort to those who see it from a distance.
Tiruvannamalai temple is unique on account of its stately towers, high rampart walls, broad quadrangles, spacious gateways, large mantapams and fine tanks. It has also much architectural importance and sculputural beauty.
Tiruvannamalai should have been under the sway of the Pallava Kings who ruled from Kancheepuram before the ninth century A.D. We do not find any inscription in the temple prior to A.D.850 and hence the present temple could not have existed then. Saint Sambandar in his Thevaram relating to this place mentions a temple. Saints Appar and Sambandar belonged to the Seventh Century, Sekkizhar, the renowned author of Periapuranam mentions that both the Saints Appar and Sambandar worshipped Arunchaleswarar in the hill Temple. The Chola Kings ruled over the country for more than four Centuries from 850 A.D. to 1280 A.D.
Some earlier Kings of Vijayalaya dynasty must have begun to construct the inner shrine(Garbegraha). Thiruvannamalai is a famous holy town perched on a hill (malai) in the district of Thiruvannamalai of Tamil Nadu state of India and is the most scared pilgrim center of Hindus in the region. The region was known as 'Thondai Mandalam' in the ancient period. This holy town is the home of highly revered ashram of the mystic saint Sri Ramana Maharshi and the famous Arunachala temple. The city has about 100 temples.