There is a bridge that Sri Ramana Maharshi would regularly stop at when circumambulating Arunachala. This circumambulation is called pradakshina in Sanskrit, and girivalam in Tamil. As a part of documenting all the sites associated with Ramana, this post shows what Ramana’s bridge looks like today.
Here are maps showing its location.
In the area map below, you can see that Ramana’s Bridge is past Adi Anamalai, and before Pachiaimman Koil.
The detailed map shows that it is just before a road that goes northeast.
While the bridge is in the same location, much has changed. In Ramana’s day, the road was just a narrow dirt track, wide enough for a bullock cart. The road, after being paved, in the 1960s, was later widened. At this time, the original bridge was torn out and a new one built. There are also buildings on both sides of the road now. In Ramana’s day, there was nothing here but Arunachala.
We are approaching Ramana’s Bridge. There is a building that looks like an ashram to the right.
Here is Ramana’s Bridge on the left side, with the building that has been ‘recently’ built. There is also a nicely paved sidewalk for those doing girivalam. This sidewalk does not extend all the way around Arunachala, just from about here, to where Girivalam Road meets the big road into Tiruvannamalai.
The bridge on the right, with the ashram behind it. You would think, given the special nature of this location that they would at least have benches for devotees to sit. I did not see any.
The building is marked, “Namashivaya Charitable Trust.”
looking across to Arunachala, we see the peak, and the hillock called, from this angle, Parvati. The main peak is called Siva. So here the view is of Siva and Parvati. It is said that the famous comet at the time of Ramana’s Mahasamadhi emanated from here, from Parvati.
Looking back, we can see the small hill at the end of Arunachala, between the main hill and Parvati Hill.
Looking forward, we see the east end of Arunachala.
Here is a photo of the road ahead.
Many people, when doing pradakshina, will stop here. Maybe they will sit a bit and contemplate Arunachala. Maybe they will meditate. Maybe they will make an offering. Maybe they will just sit and be quiet.
When you do this, remember Ramana walking down the dirt track with a small band of devotees, singing hymns to Arunachala as they walked. Stop and take in Arunachala and let Arunachala fill you with silent Being. Let your mind be quiet. Is there any difference between you and Arunachala?