Virupaksha cave, Tiruvannamalai

Virupaksha cave is one of the ancient caves in India with its history dating back to the 13th century. The cave is located on the eastern slopes of the Arunachala Hill. The history of the cave dates back to the time when it was the abode of Sage Virupaksha Deva. It later gained importance after Sri Ramana Maharshi stayed in the cave for 16 years.

History of Virupaksha Cave

The cave derives its name from Virupaksha Deva, who was a renowned 13th century saint. It is believed that Saint Virupaksha spent most of his life in this cave and its surroundings. It is also said that his body turned into ashes just after his Samadhi (a state of complete oneness). The holy ash is supposed to be preserved here on the altar.

Sri Ramana Maharshi & the Cave

Sri Ramana Maharshi spent 16 years in the cave from 1899 to 1916. Many significant events took place in his place during his stay in the cave. While at Virupaksha, Sri Ramana Maharshi also wrote in prose a Tamil translation of Vivekachudamani, a sacred scripture composed by Adi Sankara. He also wrote ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Who am I’ while residing in the cave.

More about the Virupaksha cave

Virupaksha cave is protected by constructed premises that also allow its visitors to have a peaceful time and a spiritual experience. Many devotees come here to meditate and feel the spiritual vibrations within. The Ashram is open at 8:00 AM. The cave is a year round destination and one of the popular places for Sri Ramana Maharshi devotees. It gets really hot during the day and hence it is advisable to climb up to the cave before daybreak. It is also advisable for tourists to wear trekking shoes. From the cave surroundings, one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Thiruvannamalai Temple.

How to reach Virupaksha cave

The cave can be reached through two routes. One is through Ramana Ashram and the other is by walk from Thiruvannamalai Temple. The area also has some trekking routes. Thiruvannamalai town is well connected to major cities in Tamil Nadu through roadways. Thiruvannamalai Railway Station is connected to cities including Chennai, Madurai, Pondicherry, Vellore and Tirupati. Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport to Thiruvannamalai (around 155 kilometres away).