This post continues the series that show Arunachala’s Inner Path, used by devotees of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi for the sacred walk around this holy hill. This walking is called pradakshina, or in Tamil, girivalam.
Part One shows the path from Ramanasramam. Part Two shows the walk around the southwest side of the hill. Part Three details the section of the path around Parvati Hill, at the west end of Arunachala. Part Four shows the path on the north side, under the Elephant. This is Part Five.
A map is below. The Trees section of the Inner Path is shown in red.
In this section of the Path, tall trees, planted about 20 years ago, are a main feature, first away from the Path, near the road, then next to the Path, then the Path goes through these trees. Also the Path gets closer to the road, and is less quiet.
Starting from the Stone Post
It is about 7:30 in the morning when we start from here. There is sunlight on the trail already. It is late March, and moving towards summer, so the plants are drying out.
At this spot there are paths leading both towards and away from the mountain. Go straight: the Path is marked here.
Sometimes you will see camphor burning in a pit in this marker. If you brought camphor, you might want to light a piece of it here.
Looking away from Arunachala, you can see trees rising far away.
The Elephant ‘compass’ is now pointed almost directly at us.
Ahead, there is a ridge that slants down towards the Inner Path. This is a landmark on this part of the path. When this ridge comes down to the Path, there is a nice place to sit, rest and have a drink of water. There is also a little-known feature of Arunachala at this spot, called by some the ‘Ringing Rock.’
The path is well marked. Sometimes it goes through thickets.
Sometimes through open scrub brush. There is a black and white dog walking with me today. He sometimes joins us on the walk. I bring doggie biscuits for him (and two other dogs that are friends).
Looking back towards the mountain, the ridge seen when walking The Elephant rises to the right. In the center here you can see a low hill, where it will be worth exploration trips in the future.
Ahead on the Path we see the ridge angling down to the Path.
Trees are now closer to the Path.
The Path continues through open brush.
We pass a stone retaining wall intended to reduce erosion during the rainy season.
Now it looks like we are heading into the trees.
They are closer to the Path here.
We wind down a small hill.
And come to a well-made rock-and-cement structure that is part of the system to slow down water running off the Holy Hill.
Below, we have crossed to the other side of the Elephant ‘compass’.
The path goes through trees for a short bit, then back into the brush.
Here is a short set of stone stairs. Again and again we see work that has been done by someone who loves Arunachala, and provided some service to the mountain by working on the Inner Path.
Winding through the low trees and brush.
Here is a survey marker. The date is 1909.
Now the Path is next to the trees.
The Elephant ‘compass’ shows we are on the north east side of Arunachala.
We see many trees to the right of the Path.
In the foreground, notice the green ridge coming down towards the path.
This two-rock marker also shows where we are. We are near a group of rocks were we can sit and rest.
To the right, through the trees, we can see a spot of yellow color. This is from a house by the Girivalam Road. You can hear traffic on the road now.
Here are the rocks. We usually sit here for a bit, and have a drink of water.
Off the right side of the Path is a rock with an arrow painted on it. (In the photo above, it’s the rock to the right in the middle ground.) If you look closely, you will see that it is scuffed (above and to the right of the arrow). Grab a hand-sized stone and strike it in the scuffed area.
Listen and know why it is called ‘The ringing rock.’ Have you ever heard anything like this before?
Now the Path continues through the trees.
More houses and commercial buildings are visible to the right of the Path.
The peak of Arunachala is behind us. We see The Elephant from the other side now.
These trees are planted in rows.
Take the right fork of the Path.
Below is the peak through the trees.
We cross a couple of paths. The Inner Path is well marked. Go straight.
Now a rock formation rises to the left of the Path.
It is maybe 20 feet high. Recentlyl we saw a photographer here, having gone ahead of his group to get a shot from a great angle.
We cross the path that goes by this rock. This is the end of this section of the Inner Path.
We will post the next and last section of the Inner Path soon.