If legends are to be believed then it is said that Devi Parvati performed penance here to obtain the Vamabhaga or the left half of Shiva. Once a contest arose between Vishnu and Brahma as to their relative superiority. A heated controversy ensued, and Shiva appeared as a huge column of fire to prove that there was yet one power superior to them. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and flew up to discover the top of the flame and Vishnu became a Varaha (boar) and tore the earth with His tusk to discover the base of the flame. Both of them failed. This flame (Jyothi) turned into a Sthavara Lingam, which is believed to be the Arunachal Hill.
In commemoration of the Jyoti a huge beacon is lighted atop the hill every year on Karthigai Deepam day (Nov-Dec). Thousands of devotees visit the temple on this occasion and offer worship to Pancha Murthis.
It is customary to go round the hills (a stretch of 14 km) prior to the worship of Sri Arunachaleswara. On Full Moon days, thousands of devotees participate in this form of worship, known as Giri Pradakshina, when one can have darshan of 8 lingams, Sri Ramana Ashram, Sri Seshadri Swamigal's Samadhi and Yogi Surat Kumar.