Around an year back, I was waiting in Porur signal. An auto overtook my car very fast and closely, as if it would rub against my door, and stopped before me. I lowered my door to scold that driver…but HOLD ON…
In the backside of that auto, there was a poster, with Shiva Linga, and a statue of Goddess Parvathi. There was a huge hill behind it, and it was very steep looking also. I tried reading that poster, but could not, since the fonts were small. I moved my car now towards the auto 🙂 and saw the last line, and it read “Parvatha Malai !!!”
I heard this place for the first time in life, and decided that moment, “I should go there once sometime !”. Deciding something without enough details can be very costly, as I realized later 🙂
During our Thumburu trip, I was talking to Jo about Parvatha Malai, and he confidently told me, “Palani…Parvatha Malai is only 60% of this effort. We will go there once.” Since he had already visited the hill 4-5 times, I trusted his words. He continued, “It will take maximum 1.5 hours to reach the top. We shall spend some time and come down.” I was totally flattened. Such a good place, in such a small time ??? I was all set to travel. We had set Amavasya day, 30th of March to travel. Reason, simple. There will be someone to walk with us. And there were some shops also that day.
This time we got a totally unexpected team. Jo, myself, Sakthi, my B.E. professor, Prabhuraj sir, and Jo’s friend, Jana sir.
The Parvatha-Malai, as such is 4560 feet tall. Sri Mallikarjuna Swami and Sri Brahmarambigai Ambal bless us from there.
It is believed that, when Lord Shiva came to South India, he kept one foot in Thiruvannamalai and other foot here. Through out our trip, Jana sir, who knows meditation was saying there is lot of energy there in hills. Since I am a blank slate, I didn’t know it though 🙂 Also, whenever I read some post, they were saying that a dog will accompany first-timers to some distance. It was a surprise to me.
Come, lets scale:
Our trip started at 3 AM in the same Porur signal. All of us assembled there. And we were at the foot hills at 6.50 AM. From the parking, we had to walk around 1.5 to 2 kms to reach the foot hills.
We took a de-turn at the end, to reach and pray Ayyanar there at a small temple. There were lot of women sleeping in the floors. I thought this place was safe. There were some invitations to us to have “Kanji”, which we gracefully rejected since it was only getting ready, and we were already late. We returned back to our old ways after that.
It was 7.15 AM, when our long trek started. Already sun was blazing, and we expected since it is almost April, the complete hill would be dried. We got ourselves 5 ltrs of water, some Abhishegam things, and archana sets, since we were not sure if it will be available there. So we had enough load to carry.
We had come to the ascent route. There was a temple-shed with Vinayaga, Muruga with His consorts and a swami padham to pray and walk.
From this point, we had steps to climb. Jo was saying, “Half of the distance will have steps. Then it will be easy.” The first premise, which I had read came true. A dog came to us as we started walking, didn’t make any noise near us, and started walking ahead of us.
I was very shocked with its behaviour. There were some others also walking just before or behind us, but they were not accompanied! It came almost 600 to 700 steps with us, before I got it some “Murukku” to signal parting ways with it. And after that, it never came !!!
The steps were very convenient at some places and very narrow at others. And there was a very vigilant watch from over head monkeys also. It almost took us 50 minutes to cover that steps way.
We walked and walked, and almost when we came to end of the steps, there was the magic number written on that – 1263 ! So we have walked so many steps. Intelligently, the person who wrote it, did it in ascending order, so that a first timer will never get upset of walking, since he doesn’t know what is left over 🙂
In the last step, there was a board “Sakthi Vinayagar temple”. And I was surprised to see the temple below it 🙂 Much magnified snap below.
Took some rest there, and we started to climb. We walked through the rocky terrain for some 10 minutes, when there was a building to our left, with lot of deities.
There was no one to tell us what it was, but the place turned to be a sweet surprise for me. Initially there appeared to be a Saastha deity, which I didn’t look into in detail. Just outside this, were the two brothers 🙂
After praying them and offering some flowers which we had in hand, and also from the neighbouring plants 🙂 we went inside the mandapam. There was a very small Shiva Linga, Agasthiyar peruman photo, 18-Sidhdhargal photo, a stone with a spear, clad with turmeric, and a Shiva Linga and Nandhi in the stone wall as a sculpture. There were lot other Sidhdha photos also. I didn’t individually look into each of them.
One remarkable thing with this place, we were there around 15 minutes. It was a bit cooler than the sunny steps and rocks we were walking. Also, we started without any eating anything in the morning, so we decided to have some snacks there, before going on. After eating things did I realize one thing. My complete tiredness of walking had gone !!! Though I can attribute a part of it to glucose which we ate, the rest was definitely because of the place. Also, Jana sir mentioned there was huge energy in that place, and it really pushed him out when he meditated !
We came out, and started walking again. I could still the top of the hill in a very distant place.
Another 5 minutes of walk. There was a place like a Sidhdhar tomb. I couldn’t make out, but the place was painted stripes. So there should be something I thought.
Some more time, another steep way. I had started losing energy already. And after it, there was an ant hill. Some pooja should have happened sometime back, but the flowers had dried away.
As we continued our walk further, the luxury of walking on rocks went off. There were sand ramps, and it was very slippery. But mindful locals, have kept iron handles, which are properly bolted in the ground, for support. It was way too helpful.
Again continued, and we got rocks again. Now we could see way markings, since there were alternate routes. Steeper paths had become the order of the day!
By now, we have cleared the easier parts of the trek !!! What Jo said at the beginning started materializing before me slowly. This Trishul was the mark of beginning 🙂
Within 5 minutes, we reached this spot. I have read regarding this in many blogs. There will be Iron rods / kadapaarais on both sides to catch and climb. The path is very steep, and slippery, and people have chiseled small carvings, so that a person can keep his legs to climb. This is what I knew. See this. It was almost half km.
Basically, am an expert in “Maan-Karaate”. If there is something like this, I would prefer to run away from there 🙂 I have never climbed to see the overhead tank in my house, just because of the fear of falling down, and it has only 10 steps 😦
Direct opposite thing happened. My brother was standing 25-feet in front of me, and after seeing this, shouted to me, “dei….romba steep a irukku. Mudiyumanu theriyala!!!”. Same time, Jo said to me, “Many come till here, and seeing the steepness, they leave.” Had it been a normal day, I would have happily told, “Me too”, and I would have climbed down. I saw the steepness, and I don’t know what happened to me there, that I said, “Climb carefully da…I will come behind you. And Jo, take care of Sakthi.” Most mechanical thing I have done possibly in my life. Now I feel my mind got switched off that moment 🙂
My brother started climbing followed by Jo, myself, and after me Prabhuraj sir came. One by one, and by one, we started climbing on this path. This started with a ladder of 10 steps, then rocks followed, and there was another ladder in the middle. Again rocks, which were very slippery, but for the cut-down part. Slowly, and steadily we went up. Jo kept on saying, “Never see the surroundings. Look only your steps and Kadapaarai’s”. Somewhere in the middle I tried to see down, and GOD !!! I was seeing a complete valley. Had I fallen down, they would probably have not got even bones 🙂
Around 15 minutes, that we climbed this portion, which is the toughest part of the complete climb. We went there, and for good, did not look back. We went forward, and thank God, there was a mandapam with enough place to sit. The cool breeze was awesome. With 10 minutes of our rest, around 15 people gathered and we started to walk together.
After walking for another 5 minutes, the next steep climb came. This time, I did a clean monkey-walk in some places, walk with my hand on rocks for support. Trust me, it was very easy to climb that way, without any skid.
By this time, the temple and the annadhana complex were visible very close to us. This gave us the energy to walk further. In a turning there was a small Nandhi, which Prabhuraj sir noted. Was too cute.
We again started walking in narrow paths, and steep climbs. There was a iron railing, with side support.
After crossing this, the next right was a very narrow steep steps. But it was easy to climb, since there were rocks on both sides for support. When I clicked this picture, the lady in yellow chudidhar was very courteous to say, “If you are taking for blogging, take a snap when we are climbing. Let women understand we can climb this hill, and let them visit!”. Was surprised, and “Thank you Madam!”
We climbed this part, and went through very narrow, slippery and steep portions of rock, to finally reach the Temple!!!
We finally entered the temple complex. I forgot to click it 😦
It was almost 10 AM, 3 hours from our start time, that we reached the temple.
The first sannidhi houses Sri Vinayagar, Sri Subramanyar with Valli and Devasena, Sri Aghora Veerabhadrar, Sri Kali, and Sri Nagarajar.
Sri Mallikarjuna Swami:
Next in a Sanctum was Sri Mallikarjuna Swami. Advantage in Parvatha Malai, is, there is no regular Gurukkal to do poojas. In case you take Abhishega things, you can yourself do Abhishegam to the Lord inside sanctum. Remember one thing though, you are entering one of the most sacred sanctums in the world. Remove your shirt and enter bare-chested into the sanctum. This will also allow you to take much of the energy waves that are there. People there don’t prevent anyone from entering the sanctum or doing Abhisgegam, which is also a good tradition followed.
When I was going up, there was one area where there were lot of Dharba grass. I had taken some in my bag, though I didn’t think much why I should take it. We waited for around an hour to get our chance of abhishegam. I had taken very few items though. Santhanathi thailam, Sandal powder, Honey, Rose essence (Panneer), and a tender coconut. Seeing our preparation, Prabakar, who accompanied us, got us a packet of Vibhoothi. I offered to do the abhishegam, and all others readily accepted !!! Prabakar got us the chance through his influence to do abhishegam also.
With stern crowds occupying the sanctum, I told others, it will be atleast 1 PM to start abhishegam. We will be very late to start down. Just then I didn’t know what happened, every one started rushing out. It was 11.10, proper and most auspicious Guru hora, when we entered the sanctum, and saw the Lingam for first time. Before us, there were 10 people inside, one on another. I felt we need not replicate same, and come out heavily sweating. An agreement was made quickly. Myself and Jana sir will enter the sanctum. Others will wait outside and see the pooja. This was just to avoid congestion inside sanctum.
Those were the most gifted moments in my life, I would say. It was so hot outside, and the sanctum was like a double ton AC built-in room! I started the pooja with Ganesha Pancharatna, did Sri Rudram – dhyanam, followed by chanting Namakam lyrics which I knew. Abhishegam to the Lord started with Santhanathi thailam, Honey, Tender coconut, Vibhoothi, and then Panneer + Sandal wood powder with the Lord wearing my chain (Swarnabhishegam)!
When I did the Abhishegam, did I understand something…The previous abhishegam people had done milk and curd, and had left it, without properly rinsing the Lingam. Ho, is it for we brought Dharba grass I thought. Slowly used the Dharbha grass to rinse the Lingam with little amount of water we had, and Lingam was back to its proper old rough surface. I should also share another surprise. People were shouting at others inside sanctum, if they stayed more than 10 – 15 minutes. Also there was a huge noise in the complex. But after we started, they were so silent, and waited patiently till 11.50, when we finally came out, after doing Archana reading ashtothram. I should owe all these to Maharishi Agasthiyar peruman, who I had prayed for a safe journey.
Sri Brahmarambika Ambal:
Next in the temple was Ambal sannidhi…Goddess was so cute and beautiful. There are some significant surprises written in other blogs about this statue, which I didn’t know when we went there. Nevertheless, She has such a cute smile in her cheeks, which I was able to witness, when I entered the sanctum.
Just did an archana, since I didn’t know the procedure for abhishegam, and also I felt unfit, and left the sannidhi around 12.00 sharp!Just in praaharam, we have Nandhi devar.
And, just when I left, saw these Sidhdhar installations in the left wall outside Ambal sannidhi.
Finally prayed the kodi-maram, before we left at 12.40 PM.
Climbing down was very very difficult. The rocks and sand were too hot to walk bare foot, and also you have to take grip from the rocks to climb down. It took us close to 3 hours to come down, of which almost one hour went only in crossing till Kadapparai padi from the temple. We had to be very careful coming down step by step. But Jo and Jana sir came down just like that! So Jo took care of Sakthi again, and Prabhuraj sir took care of me!! Advantage of having a very good professor 🙂 Around 4 PM, we reached the Adivaaram.
Things to remember:
1) Very tiring trip. Almost Sathuragiri height, but half of the distance to climb(Roughly 6 kms). So its very steep.
2) Keep Amla (Nellikai) in your mouth when you walk up. This reduces sweating and also controls your BP when you walk up. Info courtesy : Jana sir
3) In Full moon and Amavasya days, there are shops with water bottles and Lemon-soda. But in ordinary days, you will find none. So take enough water for your trip.
4) Most important thing, climbing up and down, is like exercising for one whole year 🙂 The next whole week, each and every nerve and muscle in body was paining. So, try this out 🙂
How to Reach:
Two routes are there:
1) Your place – Thiruvannamalai – Then-Maathi-Mangalam, and trek.
2) Your place – Kanchipuram – Arani – Polur – Then-Maathi-Mangalam.
Request to devotees:
In that height, doing construction for our convenience is very difficult. And its happening due to efforts of some people. I saw this poster there. In case you wish to contribute, use this information (at your own risk though)!
P.S : After 4-5 days I had called Jo, and only thing I asked him was, “Jo, when are we going again 🙂 “