Arunachala Pradakshina – June 2008 Full Moon – Part Two: By Richard Clarke
Unnamalai Amman Mandapam. The green objects on each pillar are frogs.
New temple, I do not know the name.
More Sadhus sitting on bench
This is how I saw most sadhus today, sitting by the roadside on a bench watching all the people going by.
Palani Andavar Temple
Paramansa Nityananda Peedam, with 1008 Lingams
Ancient Shrine, near Echo Temple
Raja Rajeshwari Temple, opposite Kannapar Shrine
Waiting to go to School
Though Full Moon night is a big event, with people traveling from all over India to participate, for the local children, life goes on as usual. Here there is a group. I guess they are waiting for a bus. Different schools have different colored uniforms. The older girls wear ‘punjabi’ or salwar suits. Younger girls wear things like the little girl in the front right, a shirt and a dress (she has a white shirt under a tunic).
If you look closely you will see, on the tines of the tridents, bangle bracelets that have been left behind as an offering by earnest women passing by this altar.
Sugarcane Juice Stand
These sugarcane stands are common here. They will crush the sugarcane and give you a glass of cane juice, for a nice sugar lift.
Building Another Ashram: Babuji Guru, associated with Sai Baba
I wonder if more temples and such are needed along the road. Still they are still building more. This will be another Ashram.
Village woman sitting by house
Village life goes on, unfazed by all the people walking past.
The Feet of Sri Ram to worship
You will see these feet carvings in many places. Once, when we were walking in the forest near the Sadhu Tank, we came across a flat rock, with feet like this carved in the rock.
Arunachala from the road
Parvati hill is to the right, The Elephant in the center.
Altar made around Ant Hill
Another of the Nine Lingams – Varuna Lingam
Fruit Juice Stand
Note the boys in the back posing for the picture.
Into Adi Anamalai Village
Adi Anamalai Temple is to the right, not visible from the road.
Making our coffee at a Tea Stand. We sat for a bit and had Indian Milk Coffee to energize us for the rest of the walk.
Kaliyama Temple, opposite Manikkacachakar Shrine
Notice the tables with ceramic statues and other items to sell to the walkers.
Looking into the shrine.
On the other side of the shrine were food vendors. And the tree that is usually associated with each temple. This tree is where local people will perform part of the Shraddha ceremony, after a person dies. See Indian Village 13-day ceremony for more on this.
Another Ant Hill Altar
I don’t know the name for this. Arunachala is behind the temple.
These horses are often seen associated with a temple. I am not sure of the significance. Perhaps someone can tell me.
Vayu Lingam (Gas Lingam). The meaning of two of the lingam names was given to me be a friend. I am not sure of the significance of “Gas lingam.”
The One and Only Deathless Art Center
This is a small store we saw where the road to Kanji intersects the Pradakshina Road.
Views from the road
This stretch has few temples and vendors.
Here is an attractively painted building. You can see how the Indians love color.
People having breakfast at a food stand beside the roadway.
Small houses line the street in this section. Arunachala is behind them.
This brightly painted sign for Ramraj cotton underclothes is painted on many roadside buildings. Also you will see similar signs for Poomer underclothes and cottons.
Small rustic roadside Temple
There is a photo of this lit up at night in
Chandra Lingam, now with a tree growing from it.
One more of the nine Lingams – Kubera Lingam
This is the money lingam, per my friend.
In front of the lingam is a camphor fire. People will put their hands into the camphor smoke and use this smoke the bless themselves, drawing it to their face and head. They will also bring more camphor pellets and add them to the fire, so that it stays lit for all to use. Vendors sell camphor all along the Pradakshina route.
This is as far as we got on foot this day. This is maybe 1 KM from the junction where the road to Velore comes into Tiruvannamalai. One of my heels felt like it was ready to blister, so we hailed an autorickshaw, and went to RamaKrishna Hotel for a great India Breakfast and Indian Milk coffee. Then back to home.
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Not sure if you got the meanings of all the 8 names of Lingas. But here they are for your information, Vayu = Air and not Gas, Varuna = Rain/Water, Agni = Fire, Kubera = The Treasurer for Hindu Gods, Yama = The God of Discipline and Death, Indra = King of Devas/Gods, Niruthi = Indian name for SouthWest direction and Eesanya = Indian name for NorthEast
I have very recently discovered Arunachala, as late as March 08, even though I am an Indian. From then on I have been there four times and the magnetism of the place is irresistible. I sometimes envy your good fortune to know and live in such a place, coming from the distant land beyond the seas! Om Namah Sivaya!
Thank you for the names of the eight lingams. And I certainly agree with your view that Arunachala is irresistible. After all, we gave up our life in the USA, with our children and grandchildren to be with Arunachala.