Best of Arunachala – Part Two


This continues the series that shows the best of our Arunachala photos from over our four years here, selected from over 50,000 pictures we have taken. Some are common views, some are of locations not seen by most who visit Tiruvannamalai. Part One can be seen here.

Arunachala from the West

Most of these first photos were taken from a house we lived in for two years that was just west of Parvati Hill.

Arunachala from the west in afternoon light. Parvati Hill is in front, Arunachala rises behind. 12 January 2010.

I would rise before sunrise to meditate with Arunachala and was blessed to see the sun rise over the Holy Hill each morning. Before the sun would rise, the sky would turn blue, and then, if there were any clouds, they would light up with fire. It was through the grace of Arunachala that I was able to take these photos.

2 March 2010


29 October 2010


18 November 2010


11 March 2010

22 April 2010

16 October 2009

6 October 2010

23 October 2010

9 April 2010

27 August 2010

3 March 2010


19 June 2010


10 March 2010

10 May 2010

11 April 2010

16 June 2009

Arunachala sunrise

19 June 2009


19 June 2009

Copy of HPIM4964

1 January 2010


16 January 2009


8 February 2010


14 March 2010, Mahasivaratri morning

5 April 2010, Easter morning

7 April 2010

11 November 2009

29 November 2010

16 November 2009, starting out on our walk.


13 May 2010


19 May 2010

Sunset light on Arunachala, 29 June 2009


Arunachala’s North Side

The most prominent view from the north side of Arunachala is a structure called “The Elephant,” which is comprised of the peak, and another hillock that is seen to be the trunk. On the north side, The Elephant can be used almost like a compass. You can figure your location by the orientation of the head to the trunk. Parvati Hill is at the west end, and the section of the Inner Path that I call “Trees” is to the east.

The Elephant Area

Here is The Elephant, taken from near Girivalam Road (Hillround Road).

To get to the north side of Arunachala, avoiding the road that is the Outer Path, there are two basic routes. One is via the Inner Path. The other is to climb over one of the low passes between Parvati Hill and Arunachala. The photo below is from the West Pass.


The Northside Promontory from the West Pass. Arunachala is certainly green nowadays, unlike the bare mountain just 20 years ago!


The Elephant, again, with his head in a cloud, from the West Pass. There is a low hill in the foreground between us and The Elephant. We look over this hill.


This is another view of the low hill we looked over in the photo above. The East Pass, which is the original Yellow Path route, is on the other side of this hill.


The Adi Annamalai gopuram from the West Pass. In places on this path you get very nice views.


Now we look from the Inner Path. The slope of Parvati Hill is in the foreground, The Elephant behind. It is about 6 AM.


This morning there are low clouds, and The Elephant rises above them.


The photo below was taken a little later in the morning, with a clearer view of Arunachala rising behind the slope of Parvati Hill. This was taken during the dry part of the year.


The sun rises behind The Elephant.


The Elephant, his head again in clouds, the last bit of the downslope of Parvati Hill in the foreground.


Sun rising behind The Elephant. In the foreground is a small tank we call the “Frog Pond,” which dries out during the hot season, when this photo was taken.


Now The Elephant can be seen over the same tank, this time with water in it. The water is dirty brown from recent rains.


The tank is full in this photo.


Parvati Hill from the same tank. Parvati is shrouded in a cloud.


A camphor light is offered to Arunachala in a pooja done to open the Yellow Path in 2010. Parvati Hill is in the background.


This is the pass that the present Yellow Path goes over.


We are at the next tank. We call this the “Northside Basin.” It is a large tank. Sometimes, like in the photo below, it has a lot of water in it. This water settles back into the subterranean water table. There is a nice reflection of The Elephant in the water.


The Elephant is behind a low-hanging cloud. Looking over The Northside Basin.


In the photo below, the Northside Basin is empty of water. It is green, though, so it has been raining some.

Arunachala - The Elephant

Full of water again. The Northside Promontory is in the center of the photo.


Looking at Parvati Hill over the Northside Basin.



Same view, dry Basin.


The Elephant from Girivalam Road.


The Yellow Path, going towards the Northside Promontory area.


Northside Promontory Area

Before we get to the Northside Promontory, there is a hard-to-find path up the side of the hill. We are being guided up this path to a cave by a French friend, G.

The northside hillside.

Carol follows the path to where G stands, trekking up the northside hillside.


The northside hillside. G stands and waits for us.


G and Richard in the cave he took us to on the northside hillside.


The Elephant, behind the Northside Promontory.


The Promontory, from the Inner Path.


Walking up the path to the left of the Northside Promontory, it rises grandly ahead of us.


From the Promontory, looking west towards Parvati Hill.


Looking east from the promontory into the surrounding forest.


Some friends, Jim Clark and Joseph Librizzi, sit and talk atop the Promontory.


Looking towards the mountain peak from the top of the Promontory.


The Elephant from the Northside Promontory.


Another view west from the Promontory.


Looking north from a ridge just east of the Promontory. Adi Annamalai village is to the right.


The Elephant, from that same ridge area.


Clouds over The Elephant, from the same area.


A bit lower and to the east, The Elephant above us.


Here is the Elephant from a similar angle. I have driven my motor scooter from Girivalam Road up a dirt road towards the mountain.

“Trees” Section of the Inner Path

This is from the Inner path. We are now east of The Elephant, as you can see this by the changed position of the trunk vs. the head. Some people see an old man’s face at the tip of the “trunk” from this angle.

Arunachala from Northside

Walking into the Trees section of the Inner Path. Carol sits on a rock and waits for me.


Here is another shot of that same rocky area, in nice morning light.


The Elephant from this area.


The Inner Path snakes through the trees.


The Elephant through the trees.

Arunachala from Trees area of Inner Path

The Arunachala peak from Girivalam Road.


A lower peak of Arunachala on the east side of the hill, seen through the trees.


Carol walks into a small village near the end of the Inner path.


The Arunachala peak (and The Elephant) from the road, to the northeast of Arunachala.

I hope you have enjoyed all the Arunachala views on the west and north. The last of the three articles of the “Best of Arunachala” series will be posted in a few more days.

If you wish to use any of these photos, or to repost them, for instance in Facebook or on your own blog, you are free to do so. Just let me know, and make sure that you give a photo credit to this blog I write this blog and offer it freely, not asking for donations or any kind of payments for use of the materials in here. I just ask that you give it credit so that people who are interested know where they can go to see more.



9 Responses to “Best of Arunachala – Part Two”

  1. Kaushalya B Narendra Jayasundera Says:

    Thanks i am from sri lanka would like to meet u & carol in annamalai next to know more about the inner path

  2. Pradeep Nayar Says:

    Dear Richard,
    A kind of internet Guru it has come to be, who knows, you have this duty to the world from out there. You succeed in giving a feel of the place, I have been there, perhaps must have even seen you. Being personal you make one feel near.



  3. karthik Says:

    Thanks for those awesome pictures.

    I apologize if I’m wrong, some pictures with fiery clouds are little too photo graphic.

    Maybe I’m again wrong, I’ve to come and experience it in Arunachala to realize the truth.


  4. anabhakta Says:

    Many thanks, Richard and Carol!

    Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Arunachalaramanaya!

  5. satyaja Says:

    Richard, these photos inspire the heart. All gratitude to Arunachala Shiva for calling you to this work. All gratitude to you for following the call. Thank you for sharing the abundance.
    Love to you and Carol.


  6. Srinivas Rajagopalan Says:

    Mind Blowing pictures of Arunachala , you are doing a great work Richard, Thanks a lot

  7. Devasena Guna Says:

    Very beautiful pictures of arunachala! Thanks for sharing.

  8. nealtsat Says:

    Richard and Carol,
    Again I thank you for the inspirational photos.
    Ramana Maharshi has pulled me for two years now.
    Arunachala is splendid!
    Maybe a journey there one day.
    I live in northern califonia; may I be of service to you in some way?
    Neal Troiano
    San Ramon, Ca

  9. mnaren Says:

    Amazing! Thanks a million and keep up the great work!

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