Making a new Inner Path segment on Arunachala


There has been development going on on the northside of Arunachala, between the Holy Hill and Adi Anamalai Village, for the last few months. We were told that it is agriculture, on property that is zoned for such use, and so this development is acceptable to local government. Acceptable or not, it is seen as an eyesore by many, and a violation of the quiet serenity that is experienced on the Inner Path.

In an attempt to return some of the serenity for the person walking girivalam (pradakshina, circumambulation) on the inner path, a group of people recently created a new path segment that avoids most of the developed area.

The map below shows this area and the new path segment. On the map below is the old Inner Path and the new segment below. Now it is closer to the hill.


This work was funded by a westerner, Ricki. It was done by Ramesh, Elumalai, Manikkom and Raju. Ramesh Mutthu is a man we know through Quality of LIfe Trust, where he was getting results working with villagers and the Eco-San toilet project. Now he is managing supervisor for Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation, one of the oldest organizations involved in the greening of Arunachala. Find out more about them here.

I met with them before they started the work to discuss their idea of routine and some other details of the work. I also had some tools – pruning clippers and saw – that I let them use for the work.

Ramesh and Elumalai walking up the Inner Path.


Reviewing the Plan

First we review their planned route. I gave them some tips about the need for stones to cross the water, and how best to approach the required pruning.


There is groundwater along the route during the monsoon. This is not as bad as the present route of the Inner Path, though.

The route will make use of other small paths that crisscross the area.


Starting the work

The two men start work now. The other will arrive in an hour or so.


Plants in the way need to be pruned or removed.


Rocks need to be removed. Where possible, they are used to line (and define) the path. I have known that all the rocks that line the Inner Path were moved there by someone who loves Arunachala. Here we actually see someone doing this.


I had to leave. This was Saturday. More workers were to come. Also the day’s monsoon rains were to come. This did not stop the work.

The results – a new segment of the Inner Path

Monday I went to inspect the work. After the weekend’s monsoon rains, there was much water on the old Inner Path. In fact it was flooded. as is usually the case now when it rains. The people who worked on the path a few months ago did not do a good job designing for the rainy season.

Now there is a new way to go on the path to avoid the flooded area. Note that there are flat rocks to use to cross, if there is water here.

An arrow marks the start of the new segment.


There are many painted rocks, lining the way. You should not get lost.


Water seeps from the hill in some areas. Still better than the older flooded path. Note the stones lining the path, and the white painted arrows lining the path.


Arunachala in the background of the new path segment.


A neatly laid out line of stones marks the path here.



We pass above the Frog Pond. They have not yet laid out the path to the pond.


The path goes through more seeps.


Then is dry the rest of the way.


The new path goes through the forest here. I like it.



It comes out at the end of the new section of the old path.


A river flows down the new “old” path route. This shows one of the reasons why an alternate route was needed.


This was good work that Ramesh and his crew did. I talked with him afterward, and he was so happy. He felt a deep inner charge after doing this kind of selfless service to Arunachala.

Ramesh also said that the owner of the land being developed came up to talk with him, suspicious about the work that he was doing. The man asserted long ownership of the property, speaking of his grandfather’s ownership. He also felt that he was generous, giving a five-feet path of the property to the Inner Path (the new version of the Inner Path through here that works so badly when it rains.) He also said that the Frog Pond tank was on his property, and he was giving this to the Inner Path as well.

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