Best of Arunachala – Part One


We have been in Tiruvannamalai now for almost four years, and taken more than 50,000 photos. This posting is the first of a series that will show what I think are the best of the Arunachala pictures from our first four years. There is much interest in Arunachala, both from those who visit Tiruvannamalai, and those who are not able to. This series will show more of Arunachala than most people ever see, even those who live near the Holy Hill.

There will be three postings, working our way around Arunachala from Ramanasramam. This first posting shows the south and southwest sides of the mountain. Arunachala provides a different view  from each side. Once you get to know the mountain, you can tell where you are by the view of the mountain.

South side, from Ramanasramam

This is the south side, from a small road about 3 km from Arunachala.

Entry to Ramanasramam.


Macaque monkeys grooming one another, at Ramanasramam.


Walking on the Inner Path from Ramanasramam, this is the first peek at the Arunachala peak.


Climbing up Arunachala, you can see Ramanasramam as the white building among all the trees.

About half way to the top, above Ramanasramam, this large rectangular rock has a cave at its base. The peak is in the background.


Looking down from the rock. The forest is close to Arunachala, the city of Tiruvannamalai beyond. The large body of water is Samuthiram Lake.


Inside the cave at the base of the rock.


Climbing down from the rock. A stone wall goes down the hill. The white speck in all the green is Ramanasramam.

On the Inner Path, the Arunachala  peak shows behind the nearby hill.


The peak is more visible.


Up the hill is a large rock. Often a tribe of Langur monkeys is around here.


Some are sitting on the stone wall.


Continuing on the Inner Path. During the rainy season this is a small waterfall into a pool.


Arunachala rises majestically above us. We are in the area between The Forest Way reforestation station and the mountain.


Another view of the peak.


A growing area in The Forest Way, with Arunachala in the background.


A hill rises to the left of us. Atop this hill is the hillside natural Nandi.


Another view of the peak from The Forest Way grounds.


One more view of Arunachala.


Arunachala with the next hill now seeming to be taller. It is not, just in the foreground now.


The last view of Arunachala from this area.


This is the same view of Arunachala, from Bangalore road.

The Deepam fire is lighted atop Arunachala.

Fireworks go off everywhere around the mountain.

Arunachala from one of the houses we lived in

Dawn. Some clouds below the peak.


Before dawn, scattered clouds.


The red dawn fills the sky.

The sky seems to be opening up to the right.


The sun is rising right over the peak.


A cloudy morning enshrouds Arunachala in mist.

Bands of red sunrise.

Arunachala Sunrise after Mahasivaratri night

The sunrise, bright on the horizon.


The full moon, rising over a lingam on our roof.

arunachala moonrise 2

The full moon rises over the horizon.


Here is the peak from our house. (This is what I use now as my computer wallpaper image.)

The peak from the first house we rented. (It is near our present house.)

Arunachala Adjusted DSCF3495

Another view from our first house.


Arunachala behind clouds.


Southwest Side

This is the southwest side, from Girivalam Road (Hillround Road in English).

The peak rises from behind a hill to the right of it.


Another view.


Now we are climbing up to Aum Amma’s and Papaji’s Caves.


This large split rock is a landmark. Aum Amma’s Cave is on the other side of the rock.


Carol climbs up the path.


Two sadhus sit atop Aum Amma’s Cave. Our guide for the day is in the foreground.


The entrance to Aum Amma’s Cave.


In the entrance is this nicely painted Yin-Yang symbol The walls and floor of this cave are carefully paved with concrete.


Down a set of concrete stairs is another room with a great window.


The peak from the area of Papaji’s Cave.

HPIM3937 a

Monkeys sit atop the split rock.


Carol is on a path beyond Papaji’s Cave. There are more caves in this  area.


Coming down we can see Parvati Hill rising to the north.  It is the west end of Arunachala.


Here is the peak from a new tank near the path up to Papaji’s Cave.


Another view over the tank.


The big rock in the middle of the photo is the split rock and Aum Amma’s Cave.


Looking south over the same tank.


This tank is next to Girivalam Road.


A Sadhu meditates on Leopard Rock.


Arunachala slopes down here (to meet a small hill called either Ganesh or Skanda Hill, then Parvati Hill). The view is from Leopard Rock.


After Leopard Rock is Kattu Siva Tank. This is the only tank near Arunachala that has water all year long. Sadhus gather here in the morning for their daily bath.


One Sadhu bathes, while another looks  on.


Here is a Macaque monkey, sitting in the ruins of Kattu Siva Ashram.


Another view of the Kattu Siva Tank.


Langur Monkeys come here, too. This troupe lives around here.

This is another tank, hidden from the road, but near it. Most people never see it.


This shrine is in the forest, next to a tank on the Inner Path. It is here, since villagers say that they can hear the footsteps of God here.


This looks into a pass between Ganesh Hill and Parvati Hill. There is a very old path that goes through this pass. Work is going on now to restore this old path.


Looking down into the forest that is on the southwest side of Arunachala, from the route of the path that is being restored.

Looking south from the same area. The forest is extensive on this side of Arunachala.

Another view into  the forest from the pass.


Looking from the pass. The hill to the right is Parvati Hill.


Another view south from the pass.


Arunachala rises from behind the ridge.

Climbing up the side of Parvati Hill.


The top of the hill is above us.


Looking down into the forest from the same spot.


Near the west end of Arunachala, from the road.

HPIM2870 closeup

May these views of Arunachala remind you of what you love, and fill your heart with the grace of Arunachala.

Click this link to go to Part Two.

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13 Responses to “Best of Arunachala – Part One”

  1. Acs Ramesh Thangavel Says:

    really nice picts and info…thanks giving everything…by T.R

  2. Azriel Re'Shel Says:

    Wow! where have you been? In another post you said I could have a pic of Arunachala – I love the dawn picture with clouds (beneath the one with fireworks) and/or the one you use as wallpaper. My email is:

    with thanks

  3. Azriel Re'Shel Says:

    Hi Richard
    How are you? Were you able to send me a pic by email? love Azriel

  4. Azriel Re'Shel Says:

    Wow, that’s really great, thank you so much! I asolutely love Arunachala and am hoping to visit later this year when I come to Oneness University again, in Chennai! I can’t wait, it’s been a dream to visit for many years.

    I love the dawn one with the clouds (pic beneath the one with fireworks), really beautiful and evocative picture, also the one you use as wallpaper. My email is

    I’d like to chat more also about whether I could use a pic for a project I’m working on. look forward to your email xxx

  5. Azriel Re'Shel Says:

    Hi Richard, beautiful pictures! wow. such a special and amazing place. Do you sell any pics? I’m after a beuatiful pic of Arunachala xx

  6. Devasena Guna Says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Muz Murray Says:

    Wonderful collection Richard! Lovely work. Makes me feel I am right back there!

    Muz Murray (Ramana Baba)

  8. Anu Says:

    Beautiful pics!!!

  9. Raman K Says:

    Nice pictorial presentation. Well done Mr. Richard.

  10. drsundaram Says:

    fantastic mr richard. Thank you so much.

  11. mnaren Says:

    Thank you very much! It is wonderful to have seen so much of Arunachala even before I visit :)

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