Secrets of Arunachala – Kattu Siva Inner Path Renewal – Part 1


We are exploring more in the Kattu Siva area. In this posting and the one that follows I will show excellent work that is being done to renew a part of Arunachala’s Inner Path that has gone out of use.

In the ‘old days’, I am not sure exactly when, maybe 40 or 50 years ago, the Inner Path did not go around the small hill at the west end, called by some ‘Parvati Hill’. Instead there was a more direct way over a low pass that went from the Kattu Siva area on the southwest side of Arunachala to the Adi Anamalai area on the north side of the mountain.

The photo below was taken from the southwest side of Arunachala and shows this pass. The base of Arunachala rise on the right, Parvati Hill is on the left, with a small hill connecting them. The pass over which the path goes is between the small hill and Parvati Hill.

Parvati Hill end of Arunachala

This is an area that we have wanted to explore for some time. In Part 1 of this series are photos taken on our first exploration trip. What we did this day was to go up to the Kattu Siva Meditation Perch.  Then we climbed the small hill on the northwest side of the perch. This hill lies between the ‘Perch’ and the area leading to this pass. I figured there must be something, a path, that went through this area, and I figured if we went cross country over the hill and down that we would be sure to find whatever is there.

As we climb this hill, we get great views of the area. Here we see the south end  of the hill we are climbing, with the forest of the Kattu Siva area beyond it.


We look back towards Arunachala.


We overlook the Kattu Siva forest.


There  is another small ‘cave’ up here. What are called caves here are usually just sheltered areas under a big rock. This cave is the 16th I have visited so far, and is the only one that I have found that I don’t think has been regularly lived in or used. While there is enough space for a person to lie down and sleep, there are some big rocks that would need to be removed to make a good sleeping area.


We  look down the slope towards the Holy Hill.


And to Arunachala, with the sun just rising over the hill. It is aboutg 7 in the morning.


We climbed cross-country up the hill. We had planned for this, so had our walking sticks. They are most valuable for treks like the one we make today. Don’t leave home without it.


At the top we can look to the pass between the small hill and Parvati Hill. No path is visible.


Looking out through the valley between the hill we are on and Parvati Hill we see some big rocks that perhaps we will be able to get to. Again we see not path from here. Maybe there is a small one below.


At the very top is a rock formation. I climb to the top. It is early in the morning and the sun is just now reaching into this spot. With no sun, I have taken my shirt off for best cooling.


From this location I can see more clearly the big rocks in the area that will lead directly to the pass that is our target for investigation. I wonder if there are any caves down there?


Also I can see across to the south side of Parvati Hill. It is topped with a rock formation. Carol thinks she can see a cave, a dark spot within these rocks. I wonder how to get there.


Looking over  the hill to Arunachala. Here the view or Arunachala as a lingam seems clear, with the peak rising out of the surrounding hills.


We then climbed through the brush and over rocks down the hillside. We are so busy with our clippers, cutting through the brush that I have forgotten to take any pictures of this part of the walk. My walking stick saved me from two falls.

At the bottom, sure enough there is a path, and it is much bigger and wider than I expected! Since the sun is out, now I have my shirt and hat on.


We look up the path. It seems like a good path. Today, though, we do not have enough left in our legs to try much more climbing, so we leave the uphill exploration to another day.


Downhill the path is pretty wide (and pretty rocky).


This path goes for some distance. Someone has done an enormous amount of work to get this path the way it is.


Looking downhill, over rocks and brush to the Kattu Siva area forest.


The path goes on downhill. It is not very steep.


Looking at a big rock. I see darkness at the bottom. Is this another cave?


As we get closer to this rock, I can see the darkness more clearly. Not knowing where the path to the rock is, we go off the trail with our clippers and cut our way through the brush.


Getting to the rock, we can see a darker sheltered area under the rock.


And here is the cave! This is one of the few I have seen that does not have an altar set up in it.


Carol sits in the cave, under the rock.


There is a big flat rock that is tilted on its side. It is a great place to lei down and rest!


In the floor of the cave there are pits dug, about four inches wide in two rows. Some stones are in the pits. This is a two-person “counting game.” I think there is an African game that is similar, called “Mankala.”

HPIM8817 game pits in floor of cave

Looking out of the cave at Parvati Hill.


As we see the cave from the path on this side, the rock formation at the top looks like a lingam. I am going to call this “Lingam Cave.” It is the 17th that we have found. Carol is cutting away some thorns.


Here is Lingam Cave with Arunachala in the background.


We continue down the path. It is pretty nice here.


Wow, here it almost like the path is paved with flat stones! What good work.  I have not seen anything like this anywhere else around the hill.



Looking back up the path, we can see the pass in the distance, and another big rock as well. I wonder if there is yet another cave? We will investigate this another day.


Here is the peak of Parvati hill again, from another angle.


Arunachala in the distance, when looking the other way.


We keep on going down the path. We are not really sure where it goes anymore. We just head downhill.


There is clearly a path here.


One last look at the lingam that is Arunachala rising from the surrounding hills.


Carol waling out of the area, with the pass behind her.


Here is the Inner Path. To the left is the Kattu Siva tree plantation, and the way home.


We look back at the two peaks that top Parvati Hill. The pass is to the right of them.


We will go back in a few days and continue exploring this path to this pass across Arunachala. This day’s exploration of Arunachala has had several interesting finds!

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4 Responses to “Secrets of Arunachala – Kattu Siva Inner Path Renewal – Part 1”

  1. Caves of Arunachala – July 2009 Update | Luthar.Com: HarshaSatsangh Says:

    […] Related posts are: Kattu Siva Meditation Perch and Kattu Siva path Renewal – Part 1. […]

  2. arunachalag Says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am planning this weekend to arunachala, would like to meet you to know more about the kaatu siva route, can you please send a mail to confirming your availability, so that i can meet you at arunachala.

    I am from chennai and gods grace, visiting arunachala then and there..this is my blogspot.

  3. Inner Path - The Elephant | Luthar.Com: HarshaSatsangh Says:

    […] 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 […]

  4. Arunachala - On the Inner Path: Parvati Hill | Luthar.Com: HarshaSatsangh Says:

    […] Path section that is being restored goes to the right here. Here are two posts about this path. Part one. Part […]

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