Recently I noticed poles being put in next to the Arunachala Pradakshina route in Tiruvannamalai.
Here is one on Chengam Road.
And on Girivalam Road.
A trench was dug first.
Here is another post.
Wires were put in the trench, then buried as the trench was filled. Then the posts were put up. You could see wires dangling from the top of the pole.
Atop some posts already is a speaker. Its design is very directional, and it is pointed towards the walkers. Only a few have been installed so far.
Another post and speaker. I heard from a neighbor that they will be playing chants, I guess to add to the holy atmosphere for those who come here for Arunachala girivalam.
It was a quiet peaceful day on Girivalam Road when I took these photos.
Not many walkers, just the usual traffic; sadhus walking by the road, a truck speeding by.
The Thiruner Annamalai Shrine is a special place along the Arunachala Girivalam route. It has a new post next to it now.
The Arunachala sthala purana (verse 392) hails this temple as being the reason for the giripradakshina practice. According to legend, Parvathi at one time having lost the favour of Shiva comes here as Unnamulai Amman and performs penance to regain the favour of her Lord. But still the Lord refuses to appear. Undaunted she starts to walk around the hill barefoot (giripradakshina) and it is at this spot that the Lord appears and re-unites with her. And thus the first giripradakshina was performed by the Divine Mother Herself!
Now they will hear the chant – I heard it on Sunday from the speakers – A-om Namah … A-om Namah …
I guess this will not be every day, 24 X 7. So far it seems that they will just play the chant on special days. Since the speakers are directional, and widely spaced, a walker will hear the chant for a while, then there will be silence, then the chant again, and again the silence. What I heard on Sunday seemed pretty nice, not too obtrusive, not too loud. I do wonder, though, at places like the Thiruner Annamalai Shrine, often used for meditation, if the endless chanting (at least on the special days – and nights?) will get in the way of the meditation?
Though Arunachala is motionless, silent and changeless, around Arunachala it keeps changing. We should pay attention to what is permanent, and not so much to that which comes and goes.