Exploring Mountain Trails Near Pachaiamman Koil on the East Side of Arunachala

by

The most common request I hear about paths on Arunachala is for a route on the Inner Path that would bypass the city streets of Tiruvannamalai for the last leg of the walk. I have heard that Global Watch Trust has plans to build such a path. Carol and I went out recently to explore what the route might be. The photos in this posting were taken that day.

Below is a map that shows the Inner Path (in red), the Outer Pradakshina route (in orange), and the section of the mountain path we walked this day (in yellow). Also shown are a few landmarks, including Arunachaleswara Temple and Pachaiamman Koil.

The route proposed by Global Watch Trust will go low on the side of the Holy Hill, and pass above Turtle Cave (and Tortoise Rock), where Sri Ramana had what is called his “Second Death Experience,” and then go to Virupaksha Cave. We got about a quarter of the way this day.

screenhunter158

We started the walk near Pachaiamman Koil, in the field to the left of the entrance.

20100311_6977

In the left hand corner of that field there is a path leading through the trees. This is the route we took. We had explored here before, so we knew a bit about where we were going.

20100311_6975

20100311_6978

The path goes through a wooded area, where sometimes we walked and sometimes we climbed.

20100311_6983

20100311_6984

Coming out of the wooded area, on the right there is a path marked with white rocks going straight up the side of the hill. This is a fire trail, and is a very difficult walk up the hill. This is only recommended for those of you in great shape.

20100311_6989

We head straight on the path, between a big rock on one side and a small hill on the other. Carol pauses to clip some thorns.

20100311_6992

Looking up the Holy Hill, we see this big rock formation on the East side of Arunachala.

20100311_6993

We head up the path. Here it is obvious where it goes. This is not true all the way today.

20100311_6997

Atop the hill to the right there is a nice rock formation. I wonder if there are any caves here? It looks like there might be.

20100311_7000

Looking back along the trail. The small spot of white between the two rocks is the gopuram of Pachaiamman Koil

20100311_7002

Up the trail. This path around the city will have some uphill walking. I wonder how this climbing will be for those who have already walked 10 km?

20100311_7005

We see the city beyond, in the distance.

20100311_7006

Another view back down the trail, with Pachaiamman Koil just beyond the big rock.

20100311_7011

Up the hill, we can see the Arunachala peak.

20100311_7014

Here is a good view of the rock formation we saw earlier on the walk.

20100311_7020

There are some trees here, planted by reforestation efforts. There is not much shade on this walk, and since it is on the east side of the mountain, in the morning and midday it is in full sun. This route will be pretty hot during most of the day (until more planting is done, and the trees have a few years to grow).

20100311_7021

Rocks rise from the hill near where we walk.

20100311_7024

There are a few old stone walls on the route.

20100311_7045                             

This part of the walk is more open, and pretty flat.

20100311_7026

Looking up towards the Arunachala peak again. I like this view. The rocky rise to the left of the peak is where Seven Springs is.

20100311_7027

Looking down the hill, the city is all around in the background.

20100311_7030

This rock formation may be another place to look for caves. Also, to the left of it, I see some kind of shrine, with white horse statues nearby. We will have to go check this out.

20100311_7031

The city and a big water tank below us.

20100311_7032

Ahead of us is a ridge we have to climb over to go any further. Maybe more caves, too. More exploration is definitely called for.

20100311_7034

The peak again.

20100311_7036

Maybe the way over the ridge is up the rocky cut that angles up and to the left?

20100311_7038

We tried to walk further, but it got pretty rough, and we did not have the walking sticks we use when we are climbing Arunachala. We will come back and try again on another day. And we will bring our walking sticks.

One last look up to the peak, and then we head back.

20100311_7043

We are happy with this day’s exploration. We have gotten into an area that is new for us, and one that is rarely visited by Westerners. More of the hill  to explore!

We also got a bit of a preview of the possible route over the hill from Pachaiamman Koil to Virupaksha Cave. We see that it will be doable, that there can be a good route to walk. There will be two issues though: Climbing up the hill after walking 10 km or so, and the ever-present sun. These two issues may make this route difficult for all but the most avid Path walkers.

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to “Exploring Mountain Trails Near Pachaiamman Koil on the East Side of Arunachala”

  1. Vignesh Murugan Says:

    Dear Richards,
    i feel so happy to know this kind of hill way inside our arunachala mountain so its create a revolution for each and every visitors who wants to trek inside the mountain to move around the every side of mountain…so its a awesome work done by urs and global watch trust…

    thanks for exploring our Arunachala siva…

  2. ereuthe Says:

    Dear Richard, thank you for sharing this exploration with us. It feels like we are there with you at Arunachala! Excellent pictures and wonderful to consider walking around Arunachala without going into town. thank you for your explorations. Elizabeth

  3. vpsrao Says:

    richard,

    thank you very much for your exploration and sharing your experience. hopefully, the global watch trust will embark on the project soon.

  4. shivayashiva Says:

    Great pictures it must have been a great experience too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. drpvssnraju Says:

    Dear Richards,
    Arunachala Siva is using your upadhi for this noble work.
    You are blessed.

    • richardclarke Says:

      WE know that we live blessed with Arunachala’s grace. No more blessing is possible.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: