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Tirumalai (Arihantagiri)

History – Tirumalai or Arihantagiri is located in Polur Taluk, Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu. Thirumalai’s history dates back to the 2nd & 3rd Centuries B.C. Digambar Jain Acharya 108 Sri Vishakacharya who migrated from North India to Shravanabelagola along with the Acharya Badhrabahu the last Shrutakevali had been to Thirumalai along with his disciples and had spent some time here. Also called Vaigapur Thirumalai, Enguna Thirumalai, Iraivar Thirumalai; Srisailam Thirumalai in the inscriptions have a mountain and a set of caves used by Jain ascetics.

Hill with Jain Deities – On the hill is found an 18 feet high idol of Tirthankar Neminath in Kayotsarga posture. This idol is also called ‘Shikhamani Nadar’. On climbing further we can find a small temple with an ancient idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath in Kayotsarga posture as the main deity. We can also find the feet impression of Digambar Jain Acharya 108 Sri Shanthisagar Muni Maharaj on the hill.

Jain Caves – A few caves that were inhabited by the Jain monks are found below the hill. It consists of paintings of Samavasarana, Jambu-Dweepa and few others. Carvings of Tirthankar Neminath, Kamatopasarga Parshwanath, Goddess Kushmandini/Ambika, Lord Bahubali and other Jain deities are found in the cave. The cave also has details of the Samadhi of Muni Sri Vadeebha Simha, the author of “Gadya Chinthamani”.

Temples Besides the Jain Caves – Besides the Jain caves are found 2 Digambar Jain temples. One of the temples houses the clay idol of Tirthankar Vardhaman Mahavir in sukhasana as the main deity. The other temple houses the idol of Tirthankar Neminath as the main deity. In the Mukha Mantapa of this temple is found the idol of Adinath in Sukhasana.

Jain Math – Near the hill is found the Digambar Jain Math established on 8th February 1998 with His Holiness SwastiSri Dhavalakeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji as its pontiff.

Jain Temples Besides the Jain Math – In the premises of the Jain Math are found the Panchakuladevi temple, Padmavati temple, and Chandranath temple. The Panchakuladevi temple has the idols of Goddess Chakreshwari, Jwalamalini, Kushmandini, Padmavati, and Varahi Yakshi.

How to reach – Tirumalai is situated in the Arani circle in between Arni and Polur in the North Arcot District of Tamil Nadu.