Inner Path to Pachaiamman Koil

This concludes the series that shows details of 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.

This series shows the Inner Path in some detail all the way from Sri Ramanasramam, around Arunachala, and onto the streets on the Eastern side of  Arunachala.

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. Part Five follows the path through the trees. This is part six, the final  section of the Inner Path.

Below is a map of the entire Inner Path, that shows the six sections as well as some other landmarks along the way. The final section is in yellow.

Arunachala Inner Path Pachaiamman Koil

The final section of the Path goes for a bit through trees and brush, near to (but not visible from) Pradakshina Road. It then goes behind a few houses of local villagers, then up a small hill to Pachaiamman Koil, then down the hill back to the road. And the way we walk, finally to Ramakrishna Hotel for breakfast of Indian coffee, vadas and dosas.

Starting from the Big Rock


Looking towards Arunachala, the peak rises behind the trees.


The Path continues straight ahead.




Arunachala through the trees.


Continue through the brush and small trees.


Here is a clearer view of the Arunachala peak. The trunk element of The Elephant rises on the right of the peak.


Continuing down the Path. This is a shortcut where Carol cleared the brush and now is the main part of the trail. Before only cows could get through here, and everybody else took a jog to the left.


We turn a bit right and there is a nice red and white Om painted on a rock. By now there is quite a bit of road noise, but the road  is not yet visible.


A village woman walks ahead, with a container of dry branches on her head. This is fuel for the day’s cooking fire. So much of this brush is gathered that it does not have a chance to compost back into topsoil. This is a long standing issue in India, where much of the soil has been depleted by the last 2000 years of continual use.


Trash heaps line the path. And sometime piles of human waste, since the typical houses here have no toilets, and the people are used to going outside their houses to do their business. Watch where you step!


Behind these houses, you can see into their back yards. Here a man is standing in his undershorts in a brick-lined bathing area taking his morning bath.


The Path continues through more refuse. Paper products are burned, but the ubiquitous plastics have nowhere to go. Some towns are beginning to address this serious problem by banning plastic bags. The real problem is to educate and sensitize the people to “littering.”


Village children start to greet us. We go through here often and are known by many of them. It seems that children always want their  picture taken. They will come and ask ‘photo’ or ‘camera.’ The children will often ask us for pens. Their schools don’t supply them, so there is no way to practice their writing skills. Amazingly, the little girl in the foreground here actually offered to give US two pens. What beautiful children, physically and spiritually.


More path through more trash.


Now we walk directly behind a few houses. Be respectful to the people here. This is their home. A silent smile is usually enough.


At this house Carol has been greeting the two kids with a ‘fist bump.’ She started doing this as a way to  divert the children’s request for a pen, etc. It really seems that what they want is just some kind  of contact, and the fist bumps provide an easy way. She calls them ‘Obama bumps’ after the photo of Obama and his wife taken during the election.


Proceeding  through the village.


The skeleton of a dead  rickshaw sits  by the path.


This is a small thatched hut, some family’s home.


There are a number of cows here. Arunachala is in the background.


This long yellow sign is a predictable landmark. The Path turns to the right.


Here is Arunachala again. Clouds are forming around the peak.


The Path goes up and to the right.



Now Arunachala is shrouded in clouds. It is said that there are five faces of Siva that are visible in these eastern hillside rocks. This how you can be sure that it is Siva, since he, apparently, really has five faces.


Near the Path are newly built homes, with bright paint jobs. Much care was taken with these houses. The bright colors conform to the principles of Vaastu, the Indian equivalent of Feng Shui.

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Now the Path goes over two concrete bridges.


Arunachala is nearly hidden by the hill in the foreground.


Below is the first glimpse of Panchiamman Koil, rising out of the trees.


Patties of cow manure mixed with straw are drying here. They are used a fuel for cooking fires.


More Vediyappan mounts and guardians.


This group also has an elephant as a mount.


In front of Panchaiamman Koil are two rows of Guardians. If you look closely, the two on the left are resting their feet on heads.


Outside Panchaiamman Koil is a small shrine.


Inside is an ancient figure of a male and female. Siva and Parvati, maybe?


Here is the front of Panchaiamman Koil. The vertical red and white stripe indicate that it is is temple. You will see these many times in South India, marking temples.


The Arunachala peak is  entirely hidden here.


The road down the hill to the main street.


There are monkeys here today. This  one is sitting on a rock. I wonder if monkeys meditate.


There is a tank down the hill from the temple. Usually in the morning there are men bathing in the tank.


On the other  side of the road through the trees is another temple. There is a path here that goes a bit further around the mountain. After a rough bit and a scramble up a rock face, you come out to a small village built on the face of a very large hillside.


Down the road.


Often you will see this billy goat along the road  here. He seems like the king of this hill.


We turn right at the first street. You could keep going straight down this hill. We think  of this as the ‘scenic route.’


A nice Ganesh shrine in the doorway of this house insures that things go well within the house.

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In the mornings, many women with water jugs are gathered around this tank, getting their day’s supply of water. This is a hard job. Naturally it  is  mainly done by the women.


Kids gather, asking, ‘photo, photo, photo.’


Sarees are spread out to dry.


They were probably just washed in this community clothes washing area.


Across the road  is a sweet little shrine.


Many primitive Nagas (Snake Gods) are set out in front of the central shrine. All are dressed in their dhotis. This shrine is very well taken care of.


The road continues on.


We take the first left turn, down the hill.


This is a nice clean street to walk down.


It passes by a large tank. This has water year round.


A Ganesh shrine is next to the road. It was  recently repainted, and is brightly colored.


Down the hill we go.


Now we come to the main street. Hotel Ramakrishna rises ahead.


Arunachala is obscured by the main buildings and phone/electricity lines.


Almost to the hotel. We can’t wait to eat breakfast!


First is coffee. We have coffee before the meal. Indians have it after. The staff here know us, and  know to bring the coffee to begin with.

It is served in a metal cup and small pan. The waiter, Raja, pours it from one to the other to cool the coffee. If I tried it from this height, the coffee would be all over the table.


Then the dosas and vadas are served. Since the staff knows that we LOVE the chutneys, they bring us big bowls of it.


This concludes the inner path portion of Arunachala Pradakshina.

From here you can complete it by walking through town on the main street, or on back streets closer to the mountain. We usually have our rickshaw driver, Rajan, pick up us after breakfast and ride through town.

The Inner Path Pradakshina is something that gives many people a deep sense of the holy maintain, and its peace and tranquility. The walk can be made year round. In the summer months start as early as you can (6 am?) and take lots of water. Take your time. Be willing to explore. Near the path are many places of wonder, beauty and  peace. Savor it all, if you can.

Related Posts

Inner Path – Southwest Side
nner Path – South Side from Ramanasramam
Inner Path – Around Parvati Hill
Inner Path – The Elephant
Inner Path – Through the Trees

Inner Path – “Trees”

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.

Arunachala Inner Path Trees

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.

HPIM2141 crop

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.

Related Posts   

Inner Path – Southwest Side
nner Path – South Side from Ramanasramam
Inner Path – Around Parvati Hill
Inner Path – The Elephant

Inner Path – The Elephant

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. This post is Part Four of the series.

A map is below. The Elephant section of the Inner Path is shown in orange.

Arunachala Inner Path The Elephant

Note from the map that this section of the Path has many small streams that cross it. The terrain here features small ‘hills’ as you enter into and out of the creek bed. These creeks are all pretty small, and only have water when it rains.

It is in one of these that Sri Ramana found the banyan leaf, and followed the stream upstream, only to be stung by hornets, and then abandoned his search for the banyan tree.

Starting from the Frog Pond

The Frog Pond is dry by mid March when these pictures were taken. The season is getting hot, so  we started early and were here by 7 AM, before the sun rises over Arunachala. The bright sun can be seen behind the ‘trunk’  of The Elephant. We will have sunlight in a few minutes.


The Path starts off across an area pretty dry and flat.


Looking to the right side, first you see the gap between Arunachala and a small hill. There is a path over this gap that is shown in A Path Across Arunachala.


Looking behind is Parvati Hill, and the pass at the other end of the hill. This is where the original Path was. This is shown in the postings: Kattu Siva Path Renewal – Part 1 and Kattu Siva Path Renewal – Part 2 .


Next the Path crosses the first of many creek beds …


Then rises up to the Northside Catchment Basin. Notice that there is a path across the basin that is usable much of the year. Some people take this path here.


The main route of the Path goes to the left, and follows along the dirt berm that makes up the retaining wall for the catchment basin.


Walking across this berm, farmers’ fields come right up to the path. This is the only place where this occurs.


In the photo below, looking over the basin, a big rock can just barely be seen rising through the trees. On the other side of the basin here is a trail nexus where a number of paths go towards and along the mountain side. This is shown better in Under the loving gaze of The Elephant.

There is an old small trail next to the mountain in this area that we call ‘The Inner-Inner Path.’ This will be detailed in subsequent postings. Easy exploration can be done here.


Between the Path and the fields, the farmer has made ‘fences’ of dry thorny branches. This keeps cattle from entering the fields. 


At the end  of the basin the Path crosses another dry stream bed …


Then goes off across the gentle hills. 


In this section a power line crosses the Path. This is the only place where this happens.


Now the sun is starting to  rise above the Holy Hill, and there is better light for photography.


The Path lights up …


And crosses yet another creek bed. We walk down and up the little hill.


Looking to the left, the gopuram of Adi Annamalai Temple rises through the trees.

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Often this man will be seen, asking for coins. Sometimes it looks like he is working, clearing rocks off the Path and doing other work to improve the Path. 

HPIM1968 closeup

Looking to the left of the Path, not a house can be seen. More mountains rise up on the horizon. There is no motor noise here; all we hear are bird songs.  


The Path proceeds across the hillside.


Looking towards Arunachala, a rocky hill can be seen in the foreground, rising from below. More places to explore. I have seen a group here, up on one of the rocks. It seems they were with a teacher and meditating.


Past another creek bed. This on has a stone wall to prevent erosion. These are seen in other places as well. This is all a part of the task of protecting the hillside and bringing as much water into the water table as possible.


The Elephant is in the background. A face of the hill rises in the foreground. Water can be seen flowing down rock faces during the rainy season.


The Path winds on.


And on.


We are getting close to the face of the hill that rises here.


Reminding us of the desert-like environment, here is another cactus, well protected from the heat that is soon to come.

HPIM2010 closeup

Just barely visible here on the hill face is a small white box. This once housed an idol. This idol has been taken by vandals. You can walk up to this spot and get a great overlook of the surrounding area.


On the other side is a steeper area of the rock face. Back towards this hill it is greener, a sign of better water. There is a trail that leads into this greener area. Sometimes village women can be seen carrying bundles  of dried grasses down this trail.  The local people know the plants that can be used here, and make good use  of everything.


Now the angle between the trunk and head of The Elephant has  become more acute. This means we are nearing the end this section of the Inner Path. I think of this as the ‘Elephant Compass’ and use the angle as a way to know where I am on the Path.


The Path continues to wind through the countryside.



The ‘Elephant Compass’ gets yet more acute. Getting closer to the end the of the section. 


Now, through the trees, houses can be seen far away. Road  noise is also sometimes heard.

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The Path continues through the dry brush. 


Look at the ‘Elephant Compass’ now. Where are we? We’re reaching the end of this section.


Looking back, we can see the hill face rising behind us. There is a  big area on this side of the hill that needs to be explored. This will be done in other posting, later.


Down a bit more of the Path.


A stone post with a painted Inner Path marker defines the end of The Elephant section of the path. Sometimes camphor will be seen burning in a pit on the top of this post. Notice that there are paths that lead both to the right and the left here. One set goes  towards the road, the other towards the mountain. The Inner Path goes straight, past the post.

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The next section of the path, we call ‘Trees.’ We will post this soon.                          

Related Posts   

Inner Path – Southwest Side
nner Path – South Side from Ramanasramam
Inner Path – Around Parvati Hill 
Under the loving gaze of The Elephant
Adi Anamalai Temple

Arunachala – On the Inner Path: Parvati Hill

This post continues the series of posts 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. This post is Part three of the series.

Inner Girivalam Path around Arunachala:
Parvati Hill section

A map is below. The Parvati Hill section of the Inner Path is shown in purple.

Arunachala Inner Path Parvati hill

Another way to visualize this is by the look of Arunachala from this location. From the correct place on this side of Arunachala, one can see Arunachala rising behind the twin peaks of Parvati Hill. Parvati Hill is in the foreground, with Arunachala behind.


Approaching the Inner Path

We started from our house on the southwest side of the mountain. The day we walked was after more than one week of rain, after ‘a cyclone’ hit Tamil Nadu. As you will see, much of the path was under water, and the catchment basins and tanks were filled with water.

It is a cloudy day, and Arunachala is behind a cloud.


Parvati Hill is to the left. Arunachala goes off to the right.


Sadhus are bathing at Kattu Siva tank.


The trees at the Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation are gone, a sign of the changes this organization is going through as it tries to deal with new people in the local Forestry Department. I hate it that they felt they had to move away from the mountain. See this link for more information about the important work being done by this organization.


From this area, you can also walk to the Kattu Siva Cave, or take a Path Across Arunachala.

The deep water pump and beautiful water lilies remain.


Now we start on this section of the Inner Path. Follow the path, generally north.


Across a creek, full of water now, the path that goes to the Kattu Siva Meditation Perch branches off to the right.

Carol is taking the main path. The east end of the peak of Parvati Hill is in the background.


Here are both peaks. These also carry the names of Siva and Parvati. These two peaks are the only part of Arunachala hill that have the same look from both sides of the hill. I will show the other side in a photo later in this article.


After all the rain, the path, in many places, seemed more like a creek than a path.


After a bit of walking, you will come to this tank. Today it is very full. There is a path on the other side, too, but now it is under water.


There is a sadhu’s hut by this tank. The winds during the cyclone have torn his plastic ‘door’ to shreds.


On the other side of this tank, we see some statues.


We come closer to these statues. Investigating, we have found that they represent a tribal God, Vediyappan (god of wilderness, or forest). These horses are seen near many temples is this area.

This shrine is located in a spot considered very sacred by the local tribal people. They say that you can hear the gods’ footsteps in this area. That is why the shrine is located here.

I have talked to other local people about these horses, and while they may not know about Vediyappan, they know that these horses stand ready for the god to ride out whenever someone needs protection.

Here is a closer photo of the horses, the god, I guess, and the dogs that are the escorts.


At the side of the statues is the “primitive” forest temple, with natural rocks worshiped as lingams, etc. These kinds of shrines are in many places in South India. I think one can see the progression from natural shrine, to outside altar, to small holy building, to temple, to temple complex.


Below, a close-up of the watchman. You can see a shield in one hand. The other hand, though empty now, once held a sword.  These figures are the protectors of the forest from predators, standing ready.

I have researched Vediyappan and not found much. But I did find Ved Ayyappan, said to be the third son of Siva, and to have overcome a forest-thug, Udayanan. Here is a link for Ayyappan. Here is a second link. Maybe this local god is a local version of this legend?  Further research makes me think that this a local name for Ayyanar. Ayyanar is definitely associated with the white horses.


Arunachala, enshrouded in clouds.


Now to follow the path onward around Parvati Hill.


Still wondering if this is the path or a creek? I see a white and red path marker ahead, so it must be the path.


One  of the peaks of Parvati Hill.


The old Inner Path section that is being restored goes to the right here. Here are two posts about this path. Part one. Part two.


Water pours over this catchment dam, with Arunachala in the background.


Looking away from the hill, one sees the forest that surrounds the path on this side of the hill.


The path slogs on through the water.


One last look at Arunachala before it is occluded by Parvati Hill.


On the other side of Parvati Hill one sees a big tree and rock to the right of the path.


Coming closer, you can see a path off to the right.


The side path leads through the bushes.


And to a nice cave, just off the Inner Path. We had walked by this spot for several months without noticing this cave.


Inside the cave is a cement floor, dry even after the last week of rain. Notice the rock and cement work to the right  of the doorway.


Back on the Inner Path.


For a bit, the trees change, the general color seems a darker green, and there are the big trees like these behind Carol.


Here is a stone survey marker dated from 1904. There are several of these around the hill, all from the same approximate period.


To the left is a big intersection with another path.


Follow the path to the left.


You come to Kannapar Shrine. There is a path from Girivalam Road that takes you right to this spot.


Newly built next to Kannapar Shrine is what I think of as a ‘lingam field.’ This is one of the young Nithyananda‘s facilities. Here I think there are 1008 lingams.

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Back on the path, now on the north side of Parvati Hill. The path is pretty wide here.


After a bit more walking through the trees and brush, the terrain opens up.


We walk through a wide open grassy area. The Inner Path goes to the right of this photo. We walk through the center path. It seems easier and more direct.


To the left is a field, flooded and being plowed by a man behind two bullocks.


To the right are the twin peaks of Parvati Hill. From the north side this time, though.


For a panoramic view, I stood in one place and swung the camera from left to right. Panoramic shot 1.


Panoramic shot 2


Panoramic shot 3.


Panoramic shot 4.


Below, still walking along the trail. This small house is the only one close to the path on this side of the hill. I have seen a sadhu there, accompanied by another man.

In this picture there is another stone marker of some kind. Obviously meant to mark something. But it is not associated with the property line and line of posts.


Following the path(s) around the hill.


Look, on the rock ahead is a black goat.


We pass the herd of bulls that seems to live here. They are always in this spot as we pass by in the morning.


The clouds above the hill, a spot of clearing over one of the passes over the hill.


The path goes through this open area towards Arunachala hill. From here, you usually see the structure, ‘The Elephant.’ Today the clouds obstruct The Elephant.


Looking towards the path over the hill.


A bit more through the grassy fields and clumps of trees.


I know we are getting close to the end of this section because of the palm tree to the left of this shot. The path winds through these scrubby low bushes.


We are joining the main path again here.


Or is it the main creek?


The ‘Frog Pond’ (as we call it) is over its banks. We cannot even get to where we usually sit for a rest without wading through the water. Today we don’t even try.


We usually walk to the right here. Not today.


Carol sits for a bit. So do I. This is the end of this section. We rest before we proceed to the next section, which we call, ‘The Elephant.’


Below, the east end of Parvati Hill from the Frog Pond.


Parvati Hill from a bit further on the path, reflected in the now-full northside basin.


Related Posts:

Kattu Siva path Renewal – part 1

Kattu Siva path Renewal – part 2

Kattu Siva Cave

Kattu Siva meditation Perch

A Path Across Arunachala

Inner Path – Southwest Side

Inner Path – South Side from Ramanasramam

Holy Feet

Arunachala – On the Inner Path: Southwest Side

This posting is the second in a series in which I will show some of the experience of walking Arunachala’s ‘Inner Path.’

The first posting shows the start of the walk from Sri Ramanasramam.

This posting continues with the walk where the initial posting ended, from the path near the access point where Perumpakkam Road meets Bangalore Road. This is the place where many walkers enter onto the Inner Path. This part of the Inner Path goes by the path up to Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s caves, by the Sadhu Tank, and ends at the Arunachala Reforestation station.

Previous postings show areas that can be reached while on this part of the Inner Path. Postings about Papaji’s cave can be found here and here. Aum Amma cave is shown here.  A posting about the ‘Holy Feet of God’, Tiruvadi, South of the Sadhu’s Tank, can be found here.

A map of Arunachala and the Outer Path is below. I have marked this map with a few landmarks we use, and with an approximate map of the first two sections of the Inner Path pradakshina (girivalam in Tamil) shown in this series.

The Southwest section of the path is in blue.

Arunachala markers and inner  path copy 2 copy

The path starts after you go through the stone ‘gate’ leaving the first section. There is a ditch you walk through on the other side where the path starts. If it is full of water, there is an alternate to the right.


Looking to Arunachala through the trees before we start walking on this section.


Most of these photos were taken on a Sunday, and there were a few other people walking the path, including an elderly Indian couple that have lived for the last 30 years in Saratoga California, near where I lived, and who have heard of my spiritual teacher, Nome.

Many times during the week we will not see another person walking the Inner Path.

The path start winding through an area where trees provide a canopy.


The path branches to the right here. Do no go straight here; you will go back to Bangalore road.


Arunachala, the peak enshrouded in clouds.


The path in gentle here, winding through trees towards the mountain.


Now the path has turned East.  The tall trees on the right were planted I think 10 – 20 years ago. There were many of this kind of tree planted in this area, and on the Northeast side of the hill.


Winding through this countryside. The red and white paintings are trail markers painted on stones. These are found all the way around the mountain to mark the Inner Path. Following these one should not get lost – just keep Arunachala to your right and keep walking.


Now the path has turned back towards the mountain. It is more rocky here.


Carol walking ahead of me.


Arunachala  from the Inner Path, clouds at the top.


Here is a marker for the path to Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s caves. Follow the path up the hill. Have good shoes, this is rocky and steep in parts.


Continuing along the Inner Path. Now Parvati Hill, the small hill on the East end of Arunachala, with its two small peaks, is visible.

Note the stones lining both sides of the path. These are common in this section of the path. You will see them in many of the photos.


Parvati Hill, looking of one of the several small lakes found in this section of the path. These are behind earth berms, and I think are intended to help bring water back into the underground water table. It is early monsoon season now, and there is some water in this tank, which has been dry for the summer months (starting in April).


Again Arunachala in the clouds. This is from the berm shown above. Part way up the mountain, on the left side of the photo, a big rock formation is visible. This is where Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s caves are found.


The path is pretty here, and lined with stones on both sides.


Now winding through more trees. When the sun is out, these trees are much appreciated. Any shade is welcome. White and red trail markers are visible in the distance.


Coming out of the trees, Parvati Hill is again visible.


Back into the trees.



Now to the right of the trail is a big rock. Often, in the tourist season, you will see groups, sitting on this rock.


Early in the morning, you also may see a Sadhu, meditating.


Walking through more trees.


And finally we come to the Sadhu’s tank. This tank is, I am told, spring fed. What I have seen is that it has water all through the year, while most other tanks will dry out.


It is early in the morning, and there are Sadhu’s bathing, washing their saffron cloths and spreading them out to dry.

HPIM8286 close up

On the other side of the tank, there is a picturesque masonry arch, and a falling-down building.  This is where we saw the Sadhu bathing in the photo above.

HPIM8289 closeup

Now we follow the path once more through some trees.


And we get to one of the Reforestation Project’s tree nurseries.


Here is another stone gate, which marks the end of this section on the Inner Path.


The next part of this series will start from here.