Arunachala Inner Path Closure


The hot and dry season is starting now in Tiruvannamalai. So the Forest Department has, accordingly, stepped up their closure of the Inner Path.

A few days ago in the local Tamil newspaper they published an announcement about this, saying that they had closed 30 different access points to the Inner Path. A cou0ple of days later I saw this new sign on Pradakshina Road:

This is the first sign posting the closure.

Last year’s issue was fires, the worst fire season in years. There were five big fires. He are a couple of articles I wrote about fires:

Arunachala in Flames
More Fires on Arunachala

This article shows the recovery in one of the fire areas a few months after the burn. It also has a map that shows the extensive burn area of four of the five big fires last year.

After the Fire on Arunachala

Govind, of the Forest Way leads the fire suppression team. He said that fighting the five fires was like running five marathons in a row. Fighting these fires up on the side of Arunachala take an enormous effort.

We will see what it is like this year. I hope the fire prevention effort is successful. Let this also be a reminder to each of you to always be ‘fire safe’ when visiting Arunachala. Do not smoke, or even light camphor or oil deepam lights near the mountain.


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15 Responses to “Arunachala Inner Path Closure”

  1. S.t. Sasidharan Says:

    Ramanasramam is the part and parcel of Indian spiritulity. It must abe safe guarded for generations to come. There is no parallel to Sri Manama bhagavan.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Agree. I think the current menagement is doing a good job. What do you think?

  2. G G Arumugam Govindraj Says:

    Suggest that they allow restricted access or appoint a forest officer as a guide to the tourist with a fee of Rs1000. Maybe you can bring this matter during your council meeting, Sir.

    • kalpa108 Says:

      How would they enforce ‘restricted access’? Would we all meet at 6.00 AM and have a nice walk around the Hill led by a paid guide? Is that the spirit of walkng the inner path?
      I don’t think we should encourage further money-making from the Inner Path and Hill! This is the whole problem – selling off rights to build on the Hill etc.
      I must only presume you’re joking!

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I am not a member of any such council, so cannot make these suggestions.

  3. Phillip Lucas Says:

    Hi Richard. I really enjoy these blogs and photos. Is there a way I could send the feature on Mayana Kollai so that my Facebook friends can see the photos and blog? They are remarkable photos.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      You can link to the article in FB. Just drop the url for it into FB. Aftyer it sets up the link you can comment.

  4. Ronald Faraldo Says:

    So sad.
    December, january, febuary I used to walk the inner path every morning. I never met anyone other than 2 or 3 indian men meditating or washing clothes at the lake.
    Is the way closed year round now??It was a very important part of my day.
    Thank you Richard .

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      It has been closed since last August. The Inner Path is important to many people. I am sure that the fires are not started by any of the walkeers, but I think the local government feels like they have to ‘do something’ to ‘solve’ the problem. They do not really have much in the way of enforcement capability, so this action is something that they can do.l Since August they have caught a few walkers and fined them (rs 1000 I think). they were taken to the police department, and the experience was unpleasant.

    • kalpa108 Says:

      Is it true that the Forestry Dept. only leases that portion of the forest from the temple?
      What happened to the clearing of the encroachments from the Hill set to start last year?


    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I heard that there was an effort to consolidate control of the whole hill under the Forest Department. And the effort to clean up the encroachments stopped and the local Collector (chief admin officer for the district) was transferred to another city right after the announcement was made of clearing the encroachments. No actual clearing happened. This clearing order was the result of a High court decision from the Madurai court, ruling in a case that was more than a decade old. the case tried to stop the encroaracment of an ashram that was being built on the hill. The ruling was the it has to be removed., Even with the court order, the local government was not able to take action.

  5. mysticresearcher Says:

    Hope this closure is only for months April and May (summer season). And hope the closure does not apply forever.

    I support the Inner Path Movement.

  6. agoyvaerts Says:

    Likewise Lalitha, I too hope that there will be no fires. Here too in Ireland it is the custom to burn the Gorse during the winter before the end of February, often the fires get out of hand and destroy lot of vegetation and threaten houses. I’m also very happy with your updates of Arunachala and Shri Ramana Ashram Richard, you cannot imagine how important this is for those of us who cannot be there regularly. Very much appreciated.

  7. kalpa108 Says:

    While we all wish fires to cease on Arunachala’s forested slopes it is nonsensical of the Tiruvannamalai Forestry Dept. to ban all people from enjoying the Inner Path the whole year round in such a heavy-handed manner. Obviously devotees continue to walk it and there have been no fires this last fall and winter seasons. There has always been a tradition of burning off the lemon-grass by the grass cutters and it was probably these folks who started the fires last year, and then left to avoid detection, rather than tending the fire.

  8. Lalitha Ramesh Says:

    I hope there will be no fires this year Richard.
    Your posts and photographs keep me so updated with Arunachala that I feel Arunachala is just in my backyard. Thank you so much.

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