Papaji’s cave – half way to the top of Arunachala: By Richard Clarke

We explore Arunachala frequently. We walk from ‘yenga veedu’ (our house) to the mountain. I wanted to live on the SW side of the mountain because the forested area at the base of the hill interested me, as does this side of Arunachala.

The pictures here are from a walk we took this week from our house up to Papaji’s cave. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the side path off the inner pradakshina path, then another 30 minutes up the hill.

Nandi by road Carol on path Take path to left Carol on path, Arunachala in background

To get to the path from where we live, we walk out to Bangalore Road and then walk in towards Tiruvannamalai. Just before where the pradakshina road turns off of Bangalore Road there is a Nandi, shown above, pointing to Arunachala. On the other side of the road is where the path starts. Follow the trail to the left.

Everywhere here, Arunachala dominates the horizon. Carol, my wife, is shown above walking up the path with Arunachala in the background. Notice the trees by the path here. They were planted long ago, I guess as shelter for this access path. This path is marked with ‘trail markers’ for the pradakshina path (A white ‘cup’ holding a red ‘flame’).

Here is inner path, turn right Walking inner path

Look for the OM Or the Om Amma and Arrow Up the path to the mountain

When we get to the inner path, we turn right and go against the usual clockwise pradakshina direction for a few hundred feet until we see the Om marker on a rock. We then turn left towards the mountain. Where this path starts there is another Om Amma mark with an arrow.

Om Amma is a local woman, quite old now, who lived in a cave on the hill close to the cave where Papaji stayed for some time. She is said to have a natural Om symbol on her forehead. People would climb up this path in order to get to her for her darshan. Now some people have moved her down the hill to a location near AHAM’s ashram. She is still available at least once a week at her “new place.” It is said that she does not respond in any normal kind of way, and often does not take any notice of other people. Locals feel that she is somehow ‘touched by God.’

Sometimes the path is steep Arunachala from path

From here the trail gets more difficult, but is still pretty easy to walk and climb up. As always, Arunachala forms the background (and the foreground and is Reality itself).

We made  it! (this far anyway) Note about Aum Amma

UP the path Another view  of Arunachala

About half way to Papaji’s cave starts one of several sections where you walk up over big rocks. On the first of these, where Carol is signifying, “I did it” there is more painting on a rock about Aum Amma. And as always Arunachala stands as the substrate to all.

Over rocks we go Looking from the mountain, SW C;imbing over more rocks We are very close, now past Aum Amma's cave

Up the hill we go. You can see from the hill back into area West of Tiruvannamalai around Perimpakkam Road. Now we are getting close to Papaji’s “cave.”

Here is Papaji's cave Altar

Meditating at Papji's cave Meditating at Papji's cave

We climb over one more big rock and there, past two small pools of water that are labeled in white paint, ‘drinking water’, we can see the ‘cave.’ It is small, not really what most people would call a cave, just a sheltered space beneath a rock.

An altar has been created there out of rocks from the hillside. There are a few things on the alter, as well as a ghee lamp and a burnt out candle. Sometimes you see flowers draped over the altar. Not today though.

This is a very good place to sit and meditate. Carol and I both take advantage of this.

Arunachala from Papaji's cave

Here is Arunachala from Papaji’s cave.

Looking back to Perimbakkam Road See our house? Yenga veedu

Looking down from here, one can see the surrounding area. And in the red circle is ‘yenga veedu’, our house.

Arunachala from Papaji's cave area

One last look at Arunachala, and we make our way down the path.

Walking home we usually stop at ‘The three star hotel’ (Aruna Annai??) and have a cup of Indian Coffee ). Often there are other Westerners here and we will chat with them a bit. Then the short walk home.

3 thoughts on “Papaji’s cave – half way to the top of Arunachala: By Richard Clarke

  1. Hi.. I Am sure you get this a lot.. But it is so interesting to find blogs.. Not just the content.. But the do you live here.. or do it for a part of the year..


  2. We live in a village near Tiruvannamalai now, on the south West side of Arunachala. We are long-time followers of Sri Ramana Maharshi and practitioners of Self-inquiry. We were drawn by Arunachala. We moved here in November of 2007.


  3. I have been there several times. That place you are calling “Papji’s cave” is actually the small shrine where Papaji dog is burried. The actual cave Papaji lived/meditated in is hidden behind some thornbushes about 100 feet east of that spot. The pools you are at there is a place the locals call “Three Waters” but that is most definitely Papaji’s stomping ground!


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