Arunachala – On the Inner Path: Southside from Ramanasramam: By Richard Clarke
This posting is the first in a series in which I will try to show some of the experience of walking Arunachala’s ‘Inner Path.’ The Inner Path is a pradakshina path that has been maintained by various volunteers for many years. This path is close to the Holy Hill, much less traveled, and many find it to be the most quiet and peaceful way to walk around the mountain.
To give a good sense of the Inner Path, there will be a number of postings, one for each of what I see as ‘sections’ of the path. For many of these sections I will have one or more postings of what we have found near the path. I will call these postings, “Off the Path.” I think this provides a good framework to show you what we are finding as we continue to explore Arunachala.
This first posting covers the path from Sri Ramanasramam to the location near where Perumpakkam Road meets Bangalore Road, and there is a popular walkway from the road to the Inner Path.
This is shown in the map view below, marked in green:
Starting from Sri Ramanasramam
Arunachala from Ramanasramam
The to back gate
Through the gate
Starting up the Path
First, a few steps from the start of the path. Often there are one or two ‘mountain guides’ sitting here who can be engaged to assist newcomers and make sure they can find their destinations.
We started out this day about 7:15 AM, and none were there yet.
Up the path
Take the left branch of the path here.
Starting on the Inner Path
Looking up the hill.
Looking away from the mountain. Here we are looking west from the path. A small hill can be seen. This hill is off Bangalore Road, before the turnoff to Girivalam (“Hill-Round”) Road.
Following the path.
Looking up at the hill, the first view of the peak.
Ahead is one of the ‘arms’ of Arunachala. In the map above, you can see this to the left of Ramanasramam, jutting out from the mountain. This arm is one of the main landmarks of this part of the path.
Trail markers line the path so walkers can be sure they stay on the path. These markers remind me of the fire in the cauldron at the top of Arunachala each year at Deepam.
The peak is more visible now.
Walking the path.
This type of cactus is found in many places around Arunachala. They remind me just how hot the weather is here most of the year. This cactus is about eight feet high.
There is a stone wall. Cross it and turn left, down the hill.
We turned right once, to explore a rock formation up the hill here. We found a tribe of Langur Monkeys up the hill. As we approached, the young monkeys and their mothers scampered higher up the hill. The king of the tribe held his ground, and as we approached bared his fangs several times. We “pranamed” him to show that we do not want to give him any trouble, and we turned around.
A bit more about these monkeys can be found at this link to ArunachalaGrace.blogspot.
We come to a stream, with a water catchment basin. Both are dry now. Sometimes you will see people sitting here.
Onward on the path.
Arunachala from this location.
Carol and Richard, with Arunachala as backdrop.
We follow the path along the stream. Bear left. The right fork is a shortcut. I will show this in a later posting.
Following the path.
The streambed is to the right.
Another view of Arunachala …
And we keep walking the path.
We are approaching the area where one of the major Arunachala Reforestation efforts operates from. Here we get the first view of the Museum/Visitors Centre at the Mountain of Medicine, currently under construction.
Here is a close up.
And another view.
Walking through the area, you can see all the seedlings being grown up to planting size.
The gate out, to Bangalore Road, and the Children’s Park.
Govind, the Westerner that is behind all this good work.
Arunachala, from the Mountain of Medicine.
Leaving the Mountain of Medicine, to continue on the path.
To find our more about this wonderful effort, view this posting by David Godman.
One of many paintings on rock slabs of local birds and animals.
Back on the path.
Looking towards the Hill.
Looking towards the street. Here a housing development can be seen.
Tree planting, recently done.
Views of Arunachala.
More holes are dug, waiting for rains before doing more planting.
The view away from the mountain. If you do a close-up of this hill, you will see an ancient altar at the top.
One last look at Arunachala. Notice in the foreground another of the types of cactus that are to be found around the mountain.
Then the gate that marks the end of this section of the Inner Path.
Looking out to the road.
Looking forward to the next section of the Inner Path.