Tiruvannamalai is also synonym to Saint Ramana Maharishi as it is to Lord Arunachalaeswarar. Ramana Maharishi was born in a simple and poor family at a small village near Madurai. He was born in the year 1879 on 30th December. Venkatramana was his real name. After his father’s death when Ramana was only in his teens, he with his mother moved to his uncle’s house in Madurai. It was here that Ramana met a person from Tiruvannamalai who came to his uncle’s house at Madurai. After hearing some news about Tiruvannamalai from that person, he was very impressed on going to see Lord Arunachalaeswar at Tiruvannamalai.
Later Venkatramana left to Tiruvannamalai along with his mother. He settled there and fervently started praying to Lord Arunachalaeswar and continuously sat in penance for many days. Saint Ramana Maharishi’s teachings drew many people towards him and today after 58 years after his nirvana there are millions of followers. These devotees repeatedly visit his ashram to receive his immortal blessings. They particularly visit his ashram during the Maha Shivarathri day, and many others visit through out the year. He continuous to live among them through his valuable teachings and philosophy.
The town of Tiruvannamalai is located about 120 miles away from Chennai. It is exactly in the south west direction to Chennai. One can reach Ramana Maharishi ashram that lies mere two miles from the Tiruvannamalai railway station lying between Villupuram and Katpadi in the South India. Ramana Ashram can be easily reached via bus and private cabs.
At the Ramana ashram
A beautiful arch at the main gate welcomes all the visitors to the Ramanashram. There is a big courtyard with plenty of old trees and one among them is said to be around 450 years old. Next to attract the attention of the visitor to the Ramanashram is the two imposing tower built in temple and it is in Dravidian style. One of the tower is built over the tomb of Ramana’s mother and the other over the new hall.
In the new hall there is a life size statue of Ramana Maharishi. This is made out of a single stone and excellently given a fine polish to make it appear like black marble. This new hall helps to accommodate the increasing number of devotees who visit this ashram every year. The old hall is not enough to accommodate all the devotees since it is small in size. Ramana Maharishi used this new hall only a few months before his nirvana.
The other tower surmounts the Mathrubhuteswara temple. The devotees can enter this shrine through the door located in the western wall of the new hall. This shrine was built by a great temple architect called Vaidyanatha Sthapathi. Lord Shiva lingam and Chakra meru are the deities in this shrine. Shri Chakra meru pooja is performed on all Fridays in a week, on full moon days and in all first day of 12 solar months in a year.
The outer Garba griha has images of Dakshinamurthi, Lingothbavar, Lakshmi and Vishnu. They are very aesthetically and beautifully sculpted by expert temple artisans. The idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga are placed on the south west and north west corner of this shrine. The Chandekeswari shrine is on the north side of this new hall. The north east corenr is occupied by the Navagrahas. A Nandhi is placed facing the garba griha. All the pillars in the shrine sport the different hindu deities.
Ramana Maharishi Samadhi :
Saint Ramana Maharishi’s Samadhi has a tomb on which there is a raised mandapam.A vimana ismounted on top of this mandapam, that is supported by four huge pillars. These granite pillars are exquisitely carved and superbly polished. A beautiful lotus is carved out of white marble is placed in the centre point of this mandapam. Over this marble lotus a Shivalingam is perched. This Samadhi also has a large meditation hall for devotees to sit in meditation.The old hall comes next where Ramana Maharishi spent his last years before attaining nirvana. This hall is quite sought after by devotees who sit here for penance continuously for many hours. There is a large garden to the north of this hall. A free dispensary is located on the west side which offers medical facility for the poor and the needy. A path on the east leads to the kitchen and the dining hall. This path also leads to the skandasramam that is located in the north Arunachala hill.
This huge dining hall is convenient enough to serve 1000 devotees at a time. Mostly on the Ramana Maharishi’s birth day this hall is utilized along with the big kitchen to cook food for the visitors. From this dining hall one can reach the Veda patasalai meant to teach small boys the chanting of Vedas and its meanings
Saint Ramana Maharishi’s Nirvava room
This nirvana room is located to the east of the new hall and the room north to this room is where Ramana Maharishi spent most of his last days. Visitors come to offer their prayers to this sacred place without fail. The mother tomb of Ramana is located in the south facing this place.
Following this place are the rooms that are meant for the guests visiting Ramanashram. These rooms are very well maintained. They have all the required facilities to make it a ideal place to stay. They are surrounded with shady trees and it gives the devotee plenty of peace and happiness. There is a nice library with plenty of books written on Saint Maharishi’s teachings and that has immense spiritual values.
Ramana ashram timings and daily rituals
At 6.30 A.M. – Vedic chanting begins at Samadhi hall and followed by milk fed to Ramana.
At 7.00 A.M. - The serving of breakfast
At 8.00 A.M. - Vedas are chanted in front of the Ramana’s Shrine
At 8.30 A.M. - Followed by pooja at Bhagavans tomb and his mother’s tomb.
At 11.30 A.M. – Lunch
At 4.00 P.M. – Milk and tea are served to the visitors
At 4.30 P.M. – Visitors read Tamil and English religious books at Ramana’s Samadhi
At 5.00 P.M. – Veda chanting at Maharishi’s shrine
At 5.30 P.M. – Pooja performed at Maharishi and his mother’s shrine
At 6.45 P.M. - Reading Prayana from Monday to Saturday
At 7.30 P.M. – Concludes with the dinner
Every Friday, full moon day and the first day of each Tamil month, Shri Chakra pooja is performed at Mathrubhuteswar shrine.
Ashram Contact Address:
Sri Ramanasramam P.O.
Sri Bhagavan Ramana ashram
Thiruvannamalai - 606 603
Tel :+91 - 4175- 237200
Mobile :+91 - 9244937292