Virupaksha & temple complex
Vijayanagara empire



Is of special importance as this is the place of Lingasthana. It is here that Siva appeared as a luminous pillar before Brahma and Vishnu. There is also the sacred tradition, that the Linga in the Moolastanam was bestowed at that auspicious time.

When Brahma and Vishnu paid homage to Siva and those per¬sonal articles were used to glorify Him; the lamps, sacrificial threads, garlands, incense, camphor, sandal-paste and many other glorious objects that constitute the excellent worship for the adoration of the Lord of All.these splendid articles were established as a precedence, so that Siva may be worshipped with such glorification forever.

Delighted with the excellent admiration paid to Him, together with the veneration in His honour, the astounding Esvara Siva proclaimed a Holy Day in remembrance of that adoration to be made famous as Sivarathri-The Holiest of Holy Days

Dear Children, I am delighted at your worship on this holy day. Henceforth this day will be famous as Sivarathri, the holiest of holy days pleasing to me. The devotee shall observe a fast on Sivarathri, both during the day and at night.


He shall perfectly restrain his sense organs. He shall adore to the extent of his strength.

He shall not deceive anyone. This is the time when the virtue of devotion to me, increases like the tide in the ocean. Festivities like the installation of my image and so forth on that day are very auspicious.

The day on which I manifested myself in the form of a column of fire, is the Arudra star in the month of Margasirsa (November -December) , my child.

Since I manifested in the form of a Linga in the field of battle this place will be known as LINGASTHANA.

Sivapurara - Vidyesvarasamhita Chap 9 v 10 to 18

My friend, when worshipping Siva on Maha Sivarathri in the pre¬scribed manner, the devotee attains that fruit which usually accrues to one who continuously worships Siva for one year. The devotee is expected to observe a fast (Viratham) both during the day and night. To restrain the senses, to adore Lord Siva with flowers to the extent of one's capabilities.
When worshipping the Sivalinga, we are honouring and venerating the Great One Himself. When we worship the Sivalinga on the auspicious time of Maha Sivarathri, while at the same time glorifying Him with the prescribed articles for that worship, we are certainly on the path to salvation.
We have numerous functions to perform every day of our short lives. But when Maha Sivarathri arrives is the time which is supremely blessed. It is set apart, so that we can turn our minds Godwards, that we might remember the One Supreme God of All.

It is a time when the virtue of devotion to Me, increases like the tide
in the ocean at the rise of the moon.
Festivals like the installation of My idols on that day are very
The Maha Sivapuranam

Sivarathri generally falls between two Amavasya periods, before the Hindu New Year or Chitrai first. There is a special reason for this choice.
The special moment when three orbits: the Earth's orbit, the Moon's orbit and the Sun's orbit are conjunct.When they are joined together at one point the year begins for us. This is the start of the year for the Celestials.
When all the nights coincide -the Celestial night, the Solar night and the Earthly night: -that is when it is night for us on the earth, from six in the evening until six in the morning - THAT NIGHT IS MAHA SIVARATHRI.
Glorified in the dark half of the month, Maha Sivarathri is per¬formed when Chaturdasi extends up to midnight and is the path designed for us in this world of form for reawakening into the full Divine Light - the Light of Truth.
The day is the period that most of us have to work, although there are many people who have night duties to perform. After working hard during the day, we also try to find extra time for other activities. This is when we meet our family and friends, go to clubs and try to do things that benefit others. So that, when night arrives we begin to stretch and yawn. Most of us find it difficult to stay awake and are ready for sleep. Naturally tired after doing our many duties and activities, it is not surprising that we need the rest so that we can get up to a fresh start the following day.
When the auspicious time of Maha Sivarathri begins, it is six in the evening. While most of us are not tired at that time, as the auspicious period continues its way throughout the night to complete its cycle at six in the morning, we can become very tired because we are not used to going without rest However, because Sivarathri is the special time, the night dedi¬cated to Siva, it is the time when we must make every effort to stay awake. Believe me, my friend, it is necessary for us to stay awake because when we keep from sleep on that special-night, it is just like turning all that is dark within us into light.
On that special night, we observe a fast (Viratham), not only giving up food in the physical sense, but also spiritually giving up unwanted thoughts that hinder our progress.

Come on get up, Its dawn now,
How long are you to be -
Dying and
How long to remain in
Samsaras' snare.

The Katho Upanishad

The Puranas explain to us, that we must observe a fast and keep vigil at the time of Maha Sivarathri. The scriptures also make it clear that for the benefit of our soul and for learning discipline we should fast at least once a week, or even once every two weeks, or once a month, or if we cannot even manage that, once every six months. If that is impossible we must observe fast and vigil once a year when we celebrate Maha Sivarathri. When we keep awake on Sivarathri and observe fast we are conquering all the dark forces that are within us. At that Special time of Siva, we celebrate His greatness.
We have to be like the hunter, who even in his ignorant state stayed awake that auspicious night and gained salvation. For such is the greatness of this night of Siva, that the hunter, while he waited all night in the branches of a tree in order to lure an animal in his net in order to fill his hungry stomach, unknowingly performed Japa and gained through Siva's Great-Grace, food for the soul and salvation.

Hence the devotee shall worship Sivan by performing rites,
Sivan's sacred rites for the blessing of His favour.
Sivan's Japas and mantras always.
Sivan is delighted by the dedication of souls,
He bestows salvation.

Maha Sivapuranam

Siva is the One who is the Supreme Reality. He is the Self-Existent, Self-Luminous. He is the One Infinite, Eternal.Partless, Subtle and Taintless. Siva is Perfect and Absolute. He is the Imperishable-Supreme-Self, who is full of Eternal-Goodness. Full of Eternal-Consciousness, He is the Infinite Cause of the universe. He is also its Witness. Siva is the One-Transcendental-Reality whose nature is One; uniform and undivided. He is the Embodiment of Knowledge; Janavigraha.
Siva is the Revealing-Revealer of all objects of experience. He is also the Experiencer of all experiences. Siva is full of Eternal-Con¬sciousness.
Siva is Self-proved, Auspicious and Good. Within Him is the past, the present and the future - He is the Lord-of-All-Time.
Endowed with All-Powers Siva creates the worlds with His power which is called Prakriti. He controls Prakriti from within Himself.

How can Siva be known? Siva Transcends the grasp of ordinary experience. Siva can be realised through prajna intuition experienced throuh spiritual realisation illumined by him.

On Maha Sivarathri the Arunachaleswarar Temple is full with many worshippers doing pradakshina within the third and second prakarams. The Moolastanam overflows with devotees, all anxious to be there when the great chanting of names and the Special Abishekam is being performed.
The path round the Holy Linga Mountain is also crowded with devotees, all walking around the Siva Linga.Maha Sivarathri is a very auspicious time when devotees think back to the origin of the Linga which resides on the earth at this spot. The worshipper understands that this is Lingasthana. They try as much as they possibly can to worship on Maha Sivarathri with the prescribed articles of devotion, flower garlands, camphor, water, bells,sandal paste and much more.
The Temple of Arunachaleswarar has been built at the foot of the Holy Aruna Linga Mountain. As devotees walk from prakaram to prakaram within the temple grounds and look at all the structures that have been built from ancient time, they walk with Siva.And as they pass over stone and under Gopuram they join with all those ancient peoples in their devotion to Him. Within their heart and soul they hold onto Siva who is this place.