temple town of Tiruvannamalai, 85 km south fo Vellore, is an important
Shaivite toen. Of the 100 or more temples, the most outstanding
is the Siva-Parvati Temple of Arunachaleswar, which is said to be
the largest in India. The main gopuram is 66 m and 13 storey high,
and there is a 1000-pillared hall.
Gingee pronounced as 'shingee' is 37 km east of Tiruvannamalai.
There is an interesting fort complex here, constructed mainly in
the 16th century during the Vijaynagar Empire (though some of the
structures date back to 1200 AD). The fort is built on three separate
hills, joined by three km of fortified walls. The buildings - a
granary, audience hall, Siva temple and a mosque- are fairly ordinary,
but the boulder-covered mountain landscape is impressive.
Gingee is pleasantly free of postcard sellers and the like, in fact
it's deserted. You can easily spend a whole day here exploring at
will. There's an uneven staircase of stone slabs up Krishnagiri
Hill, but the route to Rajagiri Fort is much more difficult to follow.
There are buses almost every hour from Tiruvannamalai. Ask to be
let off at the fort, which is before the town.
Park Lodge has basic singles/doubles rooms. Udipi Brindavan
Lodge. on Anna Salai has simple roooms and also you can get air-con
rooms. Hotel Trishul is just three minute walk from the temple.