The Arunachaleswarar temple at Tiruvannamalai is a very ancient temple in Tamil Nadu. It is said to be around thousand years old and patronised by the great saints and poets of Tamil Nadu. The prominent among them are Appar, Sambamdar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar and Arunagirinathar. This has great reputation among all Shiva devotees since Arunachalaeswar is prayed here in the form of fire, fire being one of the five elements that composed this universe. The other four elements of the panchaboothas are vayu, akash, jalam and earth.
Arunachaleswarar temple has six prakarams around the temple. Every full moon day of the month Girivalam is undertaken by the pilgrims. Lakhs of devotees participate every month in this healthy ritual. This word Girivalam is the origin of the tamil word giri meaning hill and valam means coming around. Hence coming around the hill is called as Girivalam in Tamil.
The Annamalai Hill was Agni (fire) during Kirthayugam, was Manikkam (Emerad) during Threthayugam, was Pon (Gold) during Dwaparayugam and rock during Kaliyugam. There are eight lingams located at the eight directions and provides an octagonal structure to Thiruvannamalai Town. The eight lingams are: Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam. The Adi Annamalai Temple glorified in Dhevaram is located on this path.
To come one full round (Girivalam) the road round the hill, it is around 14 kilometres. And people both young and old religiously go round on the full moon day. It is said to bring in abundant peace or calmness for the mental well being and also refreshing for the physical fitness.