Arunachala, Southwest Monsoon Starts


Usually in June rains come to Arunachala, with the Southwest Monsoon in South India. Tiruvannamalai is not in the main wind pattern for the monsoon branch that flows through Kerala, being blocked by the Western Ghats. So the rain that gets here is just in storms, usually lasting for no more than about one hour. These storms drop a lot of rain, though. The storms also come with much wind: during, before and after, from the southwest. When they built the thatched roof for my new house, they did not brace enough for these winds, and after the whole roof was leaning (to the northeast), the builders had to bring a crew back, strip the roof apart, move the frame back, add bracing against the wind, and relay the leaf. 

I posted a few weeks ago about ‘waiting for the monsoon.’ Well, now the rain has started and you can see some of the effects of the water. The photos below were taken on June 21st and June 24th. The night before the 21st there was a good rain storm. There have been several evening thunderstorms for the last two weeks. Looking at some of the photos you can see the green leaves starting to explode out of what seemed like dry dead wood. In the two series of pictures, three days apart, you can see the progression in growth.

It is about 6 in the morning. We are on the north side of Arunachala, under  The Elephant.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The rising sun is behind the clouds above Arunachala. The peak is in the center of the photo.


Now from branches that seemed dry and dead last week, new growth can be seen.

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This sage plant seemed all dried out the last time we saw it. Now there are lush leaves and soon there will be new flowers.

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Besides the green leaves that have pushed out, here are new flowers, too!

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The new leaves are a light translucent green.


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This is the plant that a week ago had dried  leaves, many of which were shrunken into green cylinders. Now they are plump and there are green balls. New flower pods?

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Near the Frog Pond, work has been going on for the last few months. One thing they did was to dig out a path to and from the Frog Pond.


Now with the rain, there is water. This tank was dug out as part of the work so it is deeper and will hold more water. 



Some dogs usually go with us on the walk. One is them is taking a cooling bath in the tank.


Now near the tank, the ground is cleared, and gray stone fence posts are piled all around. What is happening here? What is going on? This is right next to the Inner Path.


Carol is ahead. The route that the path has taken for many years is dug up from the work that is going on.


We are entering the area of the Northside Basin. The dog on the right was been walking the Inner Path with us for more than one year. We call her Tigger. We first met her on the way to Skandashram. Now we usually meet her near Kannappa Temple. (Today it looked like she was ordering a chai from the chai stand before we caught her attention.)


Some water has collected in the basin.


A tree here, like the smaller bushes, is breaking out in new small growing leaves. A week ago it was bare wood.

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See the small flowers on on this bush. These have been out for the last few weeks.

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Three days later, June 24, 2009

Now lush leaves can be seen, and more flowers. These plants have just been waiting for enough rain to start their growth cycle for the year. And water is so precious, that they have flowers immediately, to make the most use of the rainy season.

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Another small plant with many small green leaves starting to cover the gray branches. This plant is about 18 inches high.

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These bushes are covered now with green leaves, glowing in the early morning light.


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Below is the plant that three days ago had small green balls growing above the leaves. Now they are starting to bloom with small white flowers.


Another bush with new flowers.

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Below is the same plant as two photos above. This is the one that had leaves that were all dried up and curled up into tubes. Now the leaves are lush, healthy and shiny.

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This tree is starting into bloom with yellow ‘puff-ball’ flowers.

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Here is Parvati Hill in the early morning light before the sun has hit it. This is looking from the dirt berm that creates the Northside Basin.


Here is the trail over the berm, looking towards Arunachala and The Elephant.


With the coming of rain, life is growing again after the long months of dormancy to survive the hot dry months of the Indian summer. It feels like there is a rush to growth, flowers, and the year’s crops of seeds to propagate the species. The wheel of life turns. The plant life of Arunachala is coming back for a new year.    

Related Posts:

Waiting for the Monsoon
Inner Path, The Elephant


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