Shivratri tunes the mood for meditation, worship and fasting , for the followers of Shiva. It is the big day for Saivites. Thiruvannamalai is one of the five Panchabootha sthalams or the five elements temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Lord Arunachala, both the essence and energy in all, stands still as the Arunachala hill, imparting the greatest spiritual truth of self realisation. While it is the practice of people to move around the Hill on foot, with one's mind directed towards Him; it is an ideal way to observe Maha Shivaratri.
Why Shivratri in Thiruvannamalai?
Arunachala embraces alike, both followers, who are more involved in religion and rites as well as seekers who are in the spiritual quest.
The Arunachaleshwara temple in Thiruvannamalai is a buzz with rituals, which the religious revel in on Maha Shivaratri. On the other hand the Arunachala Hill satiates the urge of the spiritual seeker's to experience the perenial flow of bliss.
Significance of Grivalam on Shivratri
While scriptures ascertain that keeping awake is an important aspect of observing Shivaratri, Girivalam serves this purpose aptly by keeping sleep at bay, owing to the movement of the body. It takes approximately four hours to complete the journey around the Hill.
Girivalam or moving around the Hill is a meditation by itself. It simply falls under the category of what it is determined as walking meditation in recent days. It is a meditation technique, which keeps the mind agile with the movement of the body, from slipping into a state of sleep like trance; an obstacle in one's progress in meditation.
Girivalam also symbolises the message of Shivratri, which is keeping vigil throughout. This is about being alert about having the mind in the self or the divine (Here the Hill) against going out through the senses.
Further more moving around the hill in meditation symbolises, moving about the world carrying out one's duties while in a meditative state of mind, with all serenity.
Hence Thiruvannamalai can be one of the best options to observe the great day of Lord Shiva.