Tiruvannamalai district is a district of Tamil Nadu state with its administrative headquarters located at Tiruvannamalai town. The district got its name from its headquarters town, Trivannamalai. "Thiru" is a Tamil term which means great, sacred or holy. On the other hand the term "Annamalai" means an inaccessible mountain. Both the term together, Tiruvannamalai means the great holy inaccessible mountain. Tiruvannamalai is one of the most admired places in Tamil Nadu. The temple town of Tiruvannamalai has an important position in the list of the ancient heritage sites of India. Furthermore, it is a well known centre of the Saiva religion. Deepam festival is a prominent festival of this place which attracts devotees not only from the South India but also from the other parts of the country. There are some historic places in the district which are related to the East India and French companies likewise Tiruvannamalai, Arni, Vandavasi, Devikapuram, etc. The district was under the rule of the Cholan of Sambuvarayar in the late Chola period and at that time they made Padavedu near Arni as their headquarters. A very brief period of Pandya depicts its supremacy over this region which was clearly indicated by the inscriptions of the Pandyas of the second empire such as Jatavaraman Srivallabha and Tribhuvanachakravartin Kulasekhara in the 13th century AD. After India got its independence, the place Tiruvannamalai became a part of the North Arcot district. In this way the place was ruled by different rulers during different periods of time. Tiruvannamalai as a separate district came into existence on 30th September, 1989.
Geographically, the district lies at 12°23'N latitude, 79°07'E longitude and 177 m altitude. In the year 2019, there was a total 21.14% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area 6,188 sq. km. and it is bounded by Vellore district on the North, Villupuram district on the South, Kanchipuram district on the East and Dharmapuri district and Krishnagiri district on the West. The climate of the district remains hot and dry throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1075.9 mm in the year of 2019-20.
Administration wise, the district is divided into 11 talukas namely Tiruvannamalai, Cheyyar, Arani, Chengam, Polur, Vandavasi, Kalasapakkam, Kilpennathur, Chetpet, Thandarampattu and Vembakkam. Moreover, it comprises 22 towns and 1,095 villages. The administrative language in the district is Tamil.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of 24,64,875 out of which 12,35,889 are males and 12,28,986 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 994 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 12.75% including 12.78% were males and 12.72% were females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 93.08% of the total population. The population density in the district is 398 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Tamil with 94.31%. In the year 2018 the number of live births in the district was 22,129 including 11,690 were males and 10,439 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 17,689 including 10,378 were males and 7,311 were females.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the district. Most of the lands in the district are use for agricultural purposes. More than half of its population are engaged in agriculture in order to earn their livelihood. The chief agricultural product in the district is rice. Every year a huge chunk of revenue comes the agricultural product in the district helps in its economy to a great extent. The district is scantily industrialised but some small scale industries of silk sarees, power loom, perfumes, etc are found in it. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj declared Tiruvannamalai as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2011-12 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 14,91,978 lakh at current price and Rs. 9,38,359 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The net domestic product in the district during the period 2013-14 was Rs. 17,27,766 lakh at current price and Rs. 14,87,607 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during the period 2010-11 was Rs. 35,241 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.
The district is renowned as an abode of several reputed educational institutions. It provides a platform for higher education. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 74.21% including 83.11% are males and 65.32% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 16,26,813 including 9,09,803 are males and 7,17,010 are females.
Danapal Venugopal, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from the Tiruppattur constituency in Tamil Nadu was born on 5th November, 1931 at Tiruvannamalai town. He is a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) political party.
The district has several centres of attraction which allures many travellers from different parts of the country as well as world. Sri Ramana Ashram, a holy place is located in the Tiruvannamalai town. Sri Ramana Maharshi was lived in the town and he attained mukti in the year 1950. So, this ashram was built in his memory. Tourists from far off places come to this town to visit the ashram. Sathanur dam, a huge dam was constructed across the Pennaiyar River among Chennakesava Hills during the year 1958. Some beautiful parks, a swimming pool and a mini zoo are located near to the dam. Arahanthgiri Jain Math, a pious Jain Math was built at Tiruvannamalai near Arani on 8th February, 1998. This math has a 16 meter high sculpture of Neminatha which is the tallest Jain image in Tamil Nadu probably made in the 12th century. Some other notable places of interest in the district are Yogi Ram Surathkumar Ashram, Jawadhu Hills, Devikapuram, Padaved (Padai Veedu), Amman temple, Sanneeswaran temple, etc.