Thiruvannamalai is an ancient temple town in Tamilnadu with a unique historical back ground. It is one of the holy town that finds a place in the poems written by reputed Tamil saivaite poets.(padal petra sthalam). Several important facts are found in the stone inscriptions in the walls of temple prakarams. Also many details were available through inscriptions found on the copper plates.
The four great Tamil saivaite poets Sambandar, Sundarar, Appar and Manickavasagar have written about the history of Tiruvannamalai in their literary work that stands unparalleled. They are Thevaram and Thiruvasagam.
Arunagirinathar has also written beautifully about the history of Thriuvannamalai and this Lord Arunachalaeswarar temple. The ancient kings starting from the Chola Dynasty period read from the Tamil works and started reposing more faith on Lord Arunachaleswar. They started contributing their share by constructing many Gopuram, mandapams, and shrines. Making steady additions to the temple structure over the last one thousand years. During the reign of King Krishnadevarayar of Vijayanagaram, Lord Arunachalaeswar temple saw many buildings and structures in the form of gopurams and mandapams came to be built. Since King Krishnadevarayar was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. Most important among them is the Rajagopuram that is 217 feet high. This is believed to be the second highest Gopuram in the India. According to the history of Thiruvannamalai, this temple is the largest temple in India built exclusively for Shiva and Parvathi. Kings like Ballala who was another Shiva devotee contributed many structures to this temple. History says that Shiva himself pleased with this king’s kindness and generosity came forward to perform the kings final rites since this king was childless.
Another history about Thiruvannamalai on how Lord Shiva took the form of fire is explained as, when once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had a quarrel, Shiva in order to sort out this problem took the form of fire and challenged them to find his crown and feet. Both of them failed and Brahma in the process of finding out tells a lie and Shiva gets annoyed with Brahma and curses that he should not have place of worship. Hence it is believed that there is no temple for Brahma any where in India. Thus at Thiruvannamalai Lord Shiva came to be worshipped by devotees in the form of fire. And it is one of the pancha bootha sthalas in Tamilnadu.