Arni / Arani is a town in the Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu. It has orginated its name from the word ‘Aranyam’ which means forest. Arani is known for its rich history – a Fort, palaces, ancient Jain and Hindu temples.
Pallavas were the first to rule the Arni town followed by Rashtrakutas in 968 A.D., Later during the Chola period Kulothunga Chola II (1070 A.D – 1122 A.D) and Rajadhiraja Chola II (1166 A.D – 1178 A.D) Arni witnessed more developments in administration including formation of feudatories. Inscriptions also reveal several grants and donations made by Cholas to temples in the form of villages. The Jagir of Arani was granted to Vedaji Bhaskar Pant, a Marathi Brahmin in 1640. It was continuously headed by the descendants of Bhaskar Pant till the Zamindari Abolition Bill was passed in 1948.
Jain Temples – There are many Jain temples in Arni, these include:
Sri 1008 Mahaveer Bhagavan Digambar Jain Temple – It has the black coloured idol 3 feet high idol of Lord Mahavir the 24th Tirthankar as the main deity. In its first floor is seen the idol of Tirthankar Shanthinath in Kayotasrga.
Ancient 1008 Shri Rishabanath Digamber Jain Temple, Arni Palayam – It has the 2 feet high marble idol of Tirthankar Adinath in Padmasana as the main deity. Also are many other Jain idols – stone idol of a Tirthankar in paryankasana, metal idols of shrutaskanda, Navadevata, Nandishwara; marble idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath in Padmasana. Navagraha Tirthankar idols are installed on a single platform. In the Shrutha bhandara of the temple are seen many ancient palm leaf manuscripts and other Jain books.
Ancient Digambar Jain Temple, Mullipattu.
Arni Saidapet Jain Temple – Temple of Ananthanath Thirtankar.
Digambar Jain Temple, Arni.
Location – Arni is located at 12.67°N 79.28°E on the banks of the Kamandala Naaga river. It is located at a distance of 60 Kms from Tiruvannamalai the district centre.