--> Skip to main content

Thiruvannamalai Deepam 2023 Date at Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple - Maha Deepam in Karthigai Month at Tiruvannamalai Temple

The 10-day Karthigai Deepam festival observed at the famous Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, culminates with the Maha Deepam lit atop the Anamalai Hills. Thiruvannamalai Deepam 2023 date is November 26.

Bharani Deepam in Karthigai Month at Tiruvannamalai Temple

Symbolism of Thiruvannamalai Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple - Karthigai Deepam

The Maha Deepam represents Lord Shiva, who appeared in the form of a pillar of fire with no end and beginning (Jyotirlinga) before Brahma and Vishnu.

Karthigai Deepam festival, observed in Tamil month Kartika, is more than 3000 years old and is mentioned in the early Tamil scriptures.

Significance Of Thiruvannamalai Maha Deepam By Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi has composed the following Tamil verse to explain the significance of the Karthigai Deepam that is lit on the Arunachala Hill every year. The stanza is as follows:

Ittanuvē nānām enu-madiyai nīttapbuddhi idayattē porundi-aga nōkkāladduvita mā-mey agac-chuḍar-kāṇ gai-bhūmaddi-yenum Aṇṇā malaicchuḍar-kāṇ meyyē.

Meaning: The true significance of seeing the flame (Karthigai Deepam) on Annamalai, which is the Heart centre of the world, is realising the Light of the Real Self that is one without a second, after discarding the notion ‘I am this body’ and making the mind abide in the Heart by attending to the source of the mind (through Self-enquiry and meditation).

Story of Thiruvannamalai Deepam 

Legend has it once Lord Vishnu and Brahma wanted to know who was the greatest. After an intense debate they sought the help of Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva said that he who can find the origin or end of his form is the greatest. Lord Shiva appeared before Lord Vishnu and Brahma in the form of a pillar of fire with no beginning and end. This form is referred as Jyotirlinga.

Lord Brahma assumed the form of a swan and Lord Vishnu the form of a boar and conducted an elaborate search to find the end or beginning of the flame. Soon they realized that the Supreme Being has no end or beginning.

The Tiruvannamalai Maha Deepam atop the Anamalai Hills commemorates the appearance of Lord Shiva in the form of Jyotirlinga.

How is Thiruvannamalai Deepam Lit?

The cauldron for lighting the Maha Deepam is taken to the top of the Annamalai hill through a seven kilometer route. The cauldron is ten feet in height and five feet in diameter and is carried on poles by the Nattar, temple authorities assigned for the job.

Atop the Tiruvannamalai hill, the cauldron is filled with thousands of kilograms of ghee. A wick measuring more than 300 meters is made using special cloth and is inserted in the cauldron.

On the day of the Karthigai Maha Deepam is lit, devotees also trek to the top of the hill to make personal offerings of ghee which is poured into the cauldron using a long pole.

The Tiruvannamalai Maha Deepam is visible from a radius of 35 km.

Bharani Deepam

Bharani Deepam is an important ritual on the Karthigai Deepam day at Thiruvannamalai temple. As the name indicates, the day falls on the Bharani Nakshatra star in the Tamil Karthigai month.

This is an important ceremony before the big lamp is lit atop the Arunachal Mountain known as the Tiruvannamalai Maha Deepam. The flame for lighting the Arunachala Deepam atop the mountain is carried from the Bharani Deepam.

The lighting of the Bharani Deepam by the chief priest in the Tiruvannamalai Temple marks the beginning of the Karthigai Deepam festival.

A flame lit from five different lamps symbolizing earth, air, fire, water and ether is the Bharani Deepam.

The Bharani Deepam is carried from the Tiruvannamalai Temple to the Arunchala Mountain by a group of fishermen.

Vahanas (Vehicles) During the 10-day Karthigai Deepam Festival at Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple

The utsava murti of Sri Arunachaleswarar gives darshan to devotees in various Vahanas during the 10-day festival which culminates with the Thiruvannamalai Deepam.
  • Karthigai Deepam 1st day Festival Silver Vahanam (Silver Vehicle)
  • Karthigai Deepam 2nd day Festival Silver Indra Vimana
  • Karthigai Deepam 3rd day Festival Simha Vahanam, Anna Vahanam (Lion and Elephant Vehicle)
  • Karthigai Deepam 4th day Festival Silver Kamadhenu, Karpagavirucham
  • Karthigai Deepam 5th day Festival Risha Vahanam
  • Karthigai Deepam 6th day Festival Silver Radham (silver chariot)
  • Karthigai Deepam 7th day Festival Wooden Ratham (wooden chariot)
  • Karthigai Deepam 8th day Festival Pichandavar Urchavam, Horse Vahanam
  • Karthigai Deepam 9th day Festival Purusha Mirugam Vahanam
  • Karthigai Deepam 10th day Festival Early Morning 4.00 AM Bharani Deepam - Evening 6.00 PM Thiruvannamalai Deepam