Indian Railways is one of the finest in the world. Even though our rail system does not have superfast trains ( speed exceeding 250 km/hr), it boasts of exhaustive, intricate rail links which carries a mind boggling 10 million people every day

Indian Railways normally concentrates on broadening the existing lines, doubling where ever the traffic is on the increase and modernising the existing stations

In the recent past few towns in India have become very famous and the traffic to these towns has increased exponentially. Few of these towns are: Sabharimala in Kerala, Thirupathi in Andhra Pradesh and Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. On a given day the moving population to these towns exceed 1 lakh. Of all these towns Thiruvannamalai  is unique in terms of location and approachability.

From Thiruvannamalai, Chennai  is located 180 kms in the north-eastern direction, Bangalore 200 kms in the western direction, Pondicherry 100 kms in the eastern direction and Trichy 190 km in the southern direction..  Thiruvannamalai is a growing town, having 3-4 engineering colleges and 30 higher secondary schools. It is surrounded by tourist friendly places like Senjee, Sathanur and  Chengam. Ramana Maharishi a well- known saint of 20th century established his ashram in Thiruvannamalai. Seshadri Adigalar and Vibhoodhi Samiyar were the other saints who brought the flavour of God to this holy town. These ashrams attract constant flow of foreigners throughout the year

Now, the world famous and 9th century Arunachaleshwarar Temple attracts lakhs of people of Hindu faith and the sacred ‘Girivalam’ , which is going around the hill on full moon days, sees constant flow of people. The ‘Karthigai Deepam’ is a unique experience to the huge visiting population from all directions and from all over India. But surprisingly, the entire visiting population depends on road transport run by government and private enterprise and not by rail transport, which is almost non-existent and runs few non-descript routes

It is suggested that the rail authorities and the ministry under Sri Suresh Prabhu study the possibility of making Thiruvannamalai an ACTIVE JUNCTION by proposing new rail links. It is further suggested that Chennai-Trichy can be connected through Sriperumpudur-Chunguvarchathram-Kancheepuram-Arani-Chetthuputtu- Thiruvannamalai-Thirukoilur-Vridhachalam-Perambalur and Chennai-Bangalore can be connected via Sriperumpudur-Chunguvarchathram-Kancheepuram-Arani-Chetthuputtu- Thiruvannamalai-Chengam-Mattur-Krishnagiri-Hosur. It is further suggested that Thiruvannamalai – Salem can be connected via omalur- yercaud.

Finally, Thiruvannamalai temple which is associated with the ‘pancha boothas’ represents the power of Agni (Fire) and lakhs and lakhs of devotees who visit the temple round the year will be immensely benefitted if the rail links are established within a reasonable time.

G Krishnan

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