Arani is a town situated in the Tiruvanamalai District of Tamil Nadu. It is located on the banks of the Kamandala Naaga River, at an elevation of 151 m above sea level. The city of Vellore lies 38 km away from it, while Thiruvannamalai is situated at a distance of 60 km from it. The name of the town is probably derived from the word ‘aranyam’, which means forest.
Arani was ruled by the Cholas for a long time after taking over the place from the Pallavas. The most renowned of the Chola kings that ruled this place include Kulothunga Cholan I, Vikrama Cholan and Kulothunga Cholan II. During the Vijayanagara rule in the region, the Dasara Festival was celebrated with high enthusiasm. During the Nawab’s rule, there was a vicious struggle between the British, the French and the Nawab Hyder Ali. The well known poem, the Nal-Damayanti Swayamvarakhyana, is said to have been written during the author's stay in Arani.
This town is also known for its rice paddies and is home to 278 modern rice mills. It also has a large community of silk weavers that specialize in silk sarees prepared both by handloom as well as powerloom. These sarees also form the most popular shopping item in the place.
The town of Arani is also known for its lavish festivals out of which, the most popular ones are celebrated at nearby places of religious significance, like the temples of Vembuli Amman, Shri Puthra Kamateeswara Thirukoil, Sri Lakshmi Narasingaperumal, Sundhara Vinayagar Thirukovil, Muthu Mariyamman Thirukovil, etc. Nearby tourist destinations include Kanchipuram, Vellore, Vedathangal and Thiruvannamalai.
The nearest railway station is Vellore Cantonment (VLR), present at a distance of 19.7 km from Arani. Airlines provide access to Arani through the Chennai airport, situated at a distance of 95 km from it. Arani can be reached by road via State Highway 4.
The town has a tropical and humid climate during most of the year, due to which, the best time to visit it is between the months of November and March.